The Veterans Administration provides various benefits to former service members, including disability compensation, healthcare, pensions, educational benefits, and insurance. Many people also want to know, “Do spouses of deceased veterans get benefits?” Yes, spouses may be eligible for certain types of VA benefits, such as:
- Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (DIC)
- Survivors Pension
- Aid and Attendance or Housebound benefits
- Civilian Health and Medical Program of the Department of Veterans Affairs (CHAMPVA)
- Survivors’ and Dependents’ Education Assistance Program
- Fry Scholarship
- Montgomery GI Bill (MGIB) Death Benefits
- VA Home Loan Guaranty
- Burial Benefits
You are considered the spouse of a veteran if your marriage was a legal marriage according to the laws of the place where at least one of the parties resided when they were married, or when the claimant became eligible for benefits. Same-sex marriages are also recognized regardless of where the veteran currently or previously resided.
Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (DIC) is a monthly monetary benefit paid to the spouse of veteran who died while serving on active duty, active duty for training, or inactive duty training, or died from a wartime (service-connected) injury or illness. A spouse can also qualify for the benefit if the veteran died from a non-service connected injury or disease, and the veteran was totally disabled from a service-connected disability:
- At least 10 years immediately preceding death.
- Since the Veteran’s release from active duty and for at least five years immediately preceding death.
- At least one year immediately preceding death if the Veteran was a former prisoner of war.
DIC is tax-free. The spouse must have lived with the veteran or service member without a break until their death, or if separated, you were not at fault for the separation. The spouse must have married the veteran or service member within 15 years after their discharge from the service period where the qualifying illness or injury started or got worse, or the spouse was married to the veteran/service member for at least a year or had a child with the veteran/service member.
A spouse who remarried may be allowed to continue to receive DIC if the remarriage took place on or after December 16, 2003 and the spouse was 57 years of age or older at the time, or the spouse remarried on or after January 5, 2021 and was 55 years of age or older.
The surviving spouse of a deceased veteran who never remarried after the veteran’s death may be entitled to a Survivors Pension if they meet certain income and net worth limits. Survivors Pension is a monthly tax-free monetary benefit. The financial requirements for this benefit are established by Congress.
One of the these must be true about the veteran’s military service to be eligible:
- The veteran must have served at least 90 days of active duty, with at least 1 day during a wartime period.
- If the veteran entered active duty after September 7, 1980, the veteran must have served at least 24 months or the full period for which they were called to service, with at least 1 day during a wartime period.
- The veteran was an officer and started on active duty after October 16, 1981, and hadn’t previously served on active duty for at least 24 months.
The veteran must have also received an honorable or anything other than dishonorable discharge.
Spouses of deceased veterans can also qualify for the VA’s Aid and Attendance benefit. This is an additional monetary benefit that can be added to the amount of monthly Survivors Pension or DIC. It is paid to qualified veterans and spouses in need of long-term care.
With Aid and Attendance, the spouse must need help with some of the activities of daily living such as bathing, dressing, toileting, eating, and mobility. The maximum monthly benefit amount for Survivors Pension with Aid and Attendance is $1,432 per month tax-free.
There are very specific income and asset requirements that must be met. If you would like to know more about the Aid and Attendance benefit, please contact one of our Benefit Consultants today at 877-428-8065 or click here.
The Civilian Health and Medical Program of the Department of Veterans Affairs (CHAMPVA) can help cover the cost of some types of health care services and supplies. Spouses may qualify for this benefit if they do not qualify for TRICARE and the veteran died in the line of duty, or died from a service-connected disability, or was rated permanently and totally disabled at the time of their death.
Spouses can receive monthly monetary benefits to help cover the cost of various education programs through the Survivors’ and Dependents’ Educational Assistance Program (DEA).To qualify the veteran must be permanently and totally disabled due to a service-connected disability, or:
- The veteran died on active duty or because of a service-connected disability, or
- The veteran is missing in action or was captured in the line of duty by a hostile force, or was forcibly detained or interned in the line of duty by a foreign entity, or
- Is in the hospital or getting outpatient treatment for a service- connected permanent and total disability and is likely to be discharged for that disability.
A spouse can also qualify for a home loan through the VA Home Loan Guaranty program if the spouse was married to the service member, and the service member died as a result of a service-connected injury or illness, or the spouse was:
- married to a service member officially listed as missing in action or who is currently a prisoner of war for more than 90 days.
- Never remarried, or
- Remarried after the age of 57.
Spouses can also be buried at a National Cemetery. There are 164 National Cemeteries across the United States and its territories. The purpose of a National Cemetery is to provide a burial space for veterans and their eligible family members. Spousal burial benefits include being buried with the veteran, perpetual care and the spouse’s name, date of birth and death inscribed on the veteran’s headstone.