If you are the spouse of a deceased veteran, you may be entitled to compensation.  VA benefits for spouses of deceased veterans include Disability Indemnity Compensation (DIC), Survivors Pension and Aid and Attendance.

Disability Indemnity Compensation (DIC)

The surviving spouse (child or parent) of a service member who died in the line of duty, or from a service-connected injury or illness may be entitled to a tax-free VA benefit called Disability Indemnity Compensation. The spouse must provide:

  • evidence that shows the service member died while on active duty, active duty for training or inactive-duty training, OR
  • the veteran died from a service-connected illness or injury, OR 
  • if the veteran didn’t die from a service-connected injury or illness but was eligible to receive VA disability compensation for a service-connected disability rated as totally disabling (the veteran’s injuries made it impossible to work) for a certain period of time.

In cases where the veteran’s eligibility was due to a rating of totally disabling, they must have
had this rating for at least 10 years prior to death, OR

  • since their release from active duty and for at least 5 years prior to their death, OR 
  • for at least 1 year before their death if they were a former prisoner of war who died after September 30, 1999.

To qualify for the benefit, the spouse must have lived with the service member or veteran without a break until their death, or if you were separated from the veteran, you weren’t at fault for the separation.

Additional requirements include being married to the veteran or service member within 15 years of their discharge from the period of military service during which their illness or injury started getting worse, or you were married to the veteran or service member for at least 1 year, or you had a child with the veteran or service member.

A spouse who remarried can also receive the benefit if the remarriage took place on or after December 18, 2003, and the spouse was 57 years of age or older when the remarriage occurred, or the remarriage took place on or after January 5, 2021, and the spouse was 55 years of age or older at the time of the remarriage.

Survivors Pension

The Veterans Administration provides a monthly monetary benefit to low-income spouses of deceased veterans. The unmarried, dependent children of a veteran may also qualify for this benefit.

To qualify for a Survivors Pension, the veteran must have entered military service on or before September 7, 1980 and must have served at least 90 days of active duty with at least one day during an eligible period of war. The recognized wartime periods are:

  • World War II – December 7, 1941, to December 31, 1946
  • Korean conflict – June 27, 1950, to January 31, 1955
  • Vietnam War era – November 1, 1955, to May 7, 1975, for veterans who served in the Republic of Vietnam or on a ship off the coast of Vietnam, and August 5, 1964, to May 7, 1975 for veterans who served outside of the Republic of Vietnam (anywhere in the world).
  • Gulf War – August 2, 1990, through a future date to be set by law or presidential proclamation.

A veteran who entered active duty after September 7, 1980, must have served at least 24 months or the full period for which they were called or ordered to active duty (with some exceptions), with at least one day during an eligible wartime period.

The surviving spouse of a veteran who 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, may also be eligible for this benefit.

Additionally, the veteran must also have received an honorable (or anything other than dishonorable) discharge.

The surviving spouse must have been married to the veteran for at least a year, and never remarried. There are also very specific income and asset requirements.

Aid and Attendance

The Aid and Attendance benefit is a tax-free, long-term care pension for spouses who need help with personal care such as:

  • Mobility – help going up and down stairs, getting in or out of bed, moving from a seating to standing position and help getting from place to place.
  • Bathing – assistance with bathing, help adjusting the shower head or water temperature, reminders to bathe
  • Dressing – assistance putting clothes on or taking them off, help picking out clothes
  • Toileting – help getting on or off the toilet and assistance with incontinence
  • Feeding – helping the person eat (or drink)

The benefit is a reimbursement for home care, adult day care, board and care, assisted living and skilled nursing facility care. Home care can be provided by a family member, friend, or professional caregiver. The person does not have to be licensed to provide assistance with personal care.

The maximum monthly benefit amounts are:

Surviving Spouse$1,244 Monthly ($14,928 Annually)
Single Veteran$1,936 Monthly ($23,232 Annually)
Married Veteran$2,295 Monthly ($27,540 Annually)
Two Vets Married$3,071 Monthly ($36,852 Annually)

Just like the requirements for a Survivors Pension, the veteran must have served at least 90 days of active duty, with at least 1 day during a wartime period, with an honorable or other than dishonorable discharge.

The spouse must also have been married to veteran for at least a year when the veteran passed, and never remarried (with one exception – the spouse of the deceased veteran remarried and divorced the second spouse (or the second spouse passed away) between January 1st, 1971, and November 1st,1990 and never married again.

A spouse who had a child with the veteran but was married for less than a year can apply for the benefit as well.

If you or a loved one would like to know more about the VA Aid and Attendance benefit, including income qualifications, asset requirements and how the claim process works, contact one of our Benefit Consultants today at 877-427-8065 or click here.

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