Did you know that surviving spouses of Veterans are eligible to receive some benefits from the VA? There are many different VA benefits that surviving spouses may take advantage of, including:
- Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (DIC)
- Survivor’s pension
- Aid and attendance
- Housebound benefits
- Survivor Benefit Plan
- Death gratuity
- Health care benefits
- Scholarships and educational aid
- VA Home Loan Guaranty
- Burial benefits from the National Cemetery Administration
Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (DIC)
Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (DIC) is a monthly benefit that may be received by a Veteran’s spouse, children, or parents. To be eligible for DIC, the Veteran must meet the following criteria:
- The Veteran died while in active duty or active/inactive duty for training.
- The Veteran died as a result of a service-connected disability or a condition caused or worsened by a service-related disability.
The DIC payment amount varies, depending on the date of the Veteran’s death.
- For Veterans who died on or after January 1, 1993, family members may receive a base monthly payment of $1,562.74. Additional amounts may be added depending on eligibility criteria.
- For Veterans who died before January 1, 1993, the monthly payments made to family vary depending on the Veterans’ monthly payment grade. The lowest pay grade may receive a base monthly payment of $1,562.74, and the highest pay grade can receive up to $3,580.80. All rates can receive additional benefits based on other eligibility criteria.
Survivor’s pension is another monthly payment made to surviving spouses and unmarried dependents of wartime Veterans. Qualifying Veterans must meet certain income and net worth limits set by Congress. Learn more about who qualifies here: https://www.va.gov/pension/survivors-pension/
Aid & Attendance
Those who qualify for DIC or Death Pension may also qualify for Aid & Attendance. Aid & Attendance benefits are monthly payments made to surviving spouses that need regular assistance from another person with daily tasks such as feeding, dressing, and hygiene. For example, survivors who are patients in assisted living situations such as nursing homes due to a physical or mental incapacity are considered in need of regular aid and attendance.
Survivor Benefit Plan
The Survivor Benefit Plan (SBP) is a type of insurance plan that Veterans can opt into upon their retirement from military service. If they choose to enroll in the SBP, they pay monthly premiums that may provide coverage of up to 55% of the Veteran’s retirement pay to surviving spouses, former spouses, children, or disabled dependents after their passing. The SBP is protected from inflation and undergoes annual cost-of-living adjustments.
The death gratuity is a tax-exempt payment of $100,000 given by the Department of Defense to assist survivors. A surviving spouse or child may receive a death gratuity if the Veteran died:
- While on active duty
- During active or inactive duty for training
- Within 120 days of release from active duty if the death came as a result of a disability related to their military service.
Other VA Benefits
The VA offers many other types of benefits to surviving spouses, including:
- Health care
- Scholarships and Educational Aid
- VA Home Loan Guaranty
- Burial Benefits
Learn more about what kinds of benefits are available to surviving spouses here: https://www.va.gov/family-member-benefits/
We are Veterans Helping Veterans
The goal of our organization, the Veterans Legal Assistance Program, is to support both our active-duty and retired service members along with their families. We’ll keep you informed about the issues that affect you and your community, and we’ll connect you with people we trust.
We’ve got your six.