From my notes. The Waterloo medal was the first medal to be awarded by the British Sovereign to British & KGL troops of all ranks & the first awarded to next of kin of men killed during the fighting of 16/17/18 June. The name of the recipient was impressed on the edge of the medal. I don't know the process by which the next of kin applied or received the medal but it was issued quite soon after the campaign on 10 Mar 1816.
Some officers obtained duplicate medals, usually from other ranks with their name erased from the medal.
I have seen the medal of at least one officer who died of wounds shortly after the campaign that was given to his wodow.
The Military General Service Medal 1793-1814 was issued in 1846 only to men that were still alive. It was known as the "Dead Man's Medal" & bore the head of a monarch that was not even born when these wars were fought.