Article from John Donnelly at Roll Call in the 8 September, 2016 edition. Summarizes many of the key background stories and overall issues involved with this disparity in survivor benefits. Would serve well as an over-all single reference piece.
Article from the Winter 2016 edition of the Reserve Officers Association magazine. This article entitled "They Turned Their Back on Us" highlights the plight of one specific family impacted by these disparity in benefits following a fatal Apache helicopter accident during a training mission in 2007.
In March 2003, Major Pete “Oly” Jahns perished in a T-38 aircraft accident during a training mission at Randolph AFB in San Antonio, TX. His death in the line of duty occurred while serving on Inactive Duty Training (IDT). In January 2012, Pete’s surviving family received one of the 95 letters sent by the Defense Finance and Accounting Service (DFAS) stating a “significant error” was made when accounting for their loved one’s administrative pay status at the time of his death. Below is a link to this story.
On 10 March 2015, a Blackhawk helicopter crashed during a training mission in Florida claiming the lives of all 11 souls on board. 4 of these service members were members of the Army National Guard being paid from the Inactive Duty Training (IDT) administrative pot of money that day. All of their surviving family members receive greatly reduced survivor benefits than do the families of the other 7 "active duty" families. Below are media links to the relevant news stories.
Adding further tragedy to the treatment endured by one of the surviving families of the Blackhawk Helicopter crash, one of the deceased Guardsmen made national news when he was denied burial at Arlington National Cemetery because he was being paid from the Inactive Duty Training (IDT) pot of money when he died. Below is a link to one of the national media news stories on this specific topic.