When your spouse or parent has served in the United States Military and passed away during active duty, you are entitled to certain VA survivor benefits. The government provides surviving spouses and surviving children with benefits since their family members made the ultimate sacrifice for our country.
Before you attempt to qualify for surviving spouse benefits, a survivor’s pension, or any other survivor benefits, it’s best to know what you might qualify for. Let’s look at some of the most common questions and the answers to the benefits you may get as a survivor.
What are Veteran’s Survivor Benefits?
You may qualify for many benefits when you are a spouse or dependent of a veteran. If the veteran passes away, you may qualify for VA survivor benefits. Some of the benefits given to the dependents and spouses of veterans continue as survivor benefits, in this case.
The survivor benefits you may be entitled to include:
- Health care for surviving spouses and surviving dependents
- Education and training for surviving spouses and surviving dependents
- Home Loan Programs or Financial Counseling for surviving spouses
- Life insurance options, claims, and beneficiary assistance for surviving spouses and dependents
- Pre-need eligibility determination for burial in a VA national cemetery for surviving spouses and dependents
- Burial benefits and memorial items for surviving spouses, surviving dependents, and surviving parents
- Survivors’ pension for surviving spouses and surviving dependents
- Compensation for surviving spouses, dependents, and parents known as the DIC benefit
These benefits are provided if a veteran has suffered death during active duty.
How Much Does the Government Provide for the Surviving Family of a Veteran?
The amount of VA survivor and death benefits provided by the government depends on the individual benefit and the circumstances. Each benefit is a bit different and provides a surviving spouse or child of the veteran a certain amount. Let’s look at each individual benefit to see what you might be entitled to as a survivor.
Education and Training
A surviving spouse or child may be eligible for help paying for job training or school through the Survivors’ and Dependents’ Education Assistance Program, known as Chapter 35.
Home Loan Programs or Financial Counseling
A surviving spouse may qualify for the VA home loan program for buying, building, refinancing, or repairing a home. To qualify, you will need to apply for a Certificate of Eligibility (COE) through the Veterans Affairs office. This benefit can also help those struggling to make payments on a VA-backed loan to help with avoiding foreclosure.
Life Insurance Options, Claims, and Beneficiary Assistance
Eligible survivors can apply for the Family Servicemembers’ Group Life Insurance (FSGLI) coverage and access various coverage options. You can also get free financial advice if you’re a beneficiary of a Veteran’s or service member’s policy.
Pre-need eligibility Determination for Burial in a VA National Cemetery
Another VA benefit offered to eligible survivors allows you to apply to be buried in a VA national cemetery in advance. This can help make things easier on the family during the burial process.
Burial Benefits and Memorial Items
Veterans benefits also include step-by-step guidance when planning a burial in a VA national cemetery, or in a state-sponsored veterans cemetery. Surviving spouses, children, and parents can also apply for help with the burial costs and request memorial items.
If you’re a surviving spouse or child of a veteran with wartime service, you might be eligible for a survivor pension, also known as a death pension. This VA benefit provides a monthly pension payment if you’re an eligible survivor.
Compensation for Surviving Spouse and Dependents (DIC Benefits)
DIC benefits are tax-free monetary benefits offered for a surviving spouse, child, or parent of a veteran who died in the line of duty or from a service-related illness or injury.
How Much is the Death Pension Benefit for a Surviving Spouse or Child?
Before you figure out how much the death pension might be, it’s important to look at the eligibility requirements. You may be eligible for a VA survivor’s pension, if:
- The deceased veteran was discharged from service under any circumstances other than dishonorable conditions.
- The deceased veteran served for at least 24 months on active duty with at least one day of wartime service.
- You are the deceased veteran’s non-remarried surviving spouse or the unmarried child.
- You have a combined net worth and income of less than $138,489.
All four of these eligibility requirements must be met to receive a VA survivor’s pension. However, your net worth will not include your house or any vehicles. It includes your investments, furniture, and things like furniture.
If you are eligible to receive a death pension payment, you will receive the following:
- $9,896 for a surviving spouse with no dependent children
- $12,951 for a surviving spouse with one dependent child and $2,523 for each additional child
- $12,094 for a housebound surviving spouse with no dependents
- $15,144 for a housebound surviving spouse with one dependent
- $15,816 for a surviving spouse in need of aid with no dependents
- $18,867 for a surviving spouse in need of aid with one dependent
- $2,523 for a surviving child with no eligible parent
This amount will vary based on income requirements. However, some income will not be counted towards the yearly limit, including welfare benefits, social security, medical costs, and some wages earned by surviving dependents. You must fill out VA Form 21-534 to apply for death pension benefits.
Am I eligible for DIC as a surviving spouse or dependent?
Another monetary benefit you might qualify for is known as the VA Dependency and Indemnity Compensation or VA DIC. This benefit is available for surviving spouses, children, and parents, with different eligibility requirements. If you qualify, you may receive a tax-free monetary benefit.
The 2022 DIC rates for spouses, children, and parents vary quite a bit, depending on many factors. As a surviving spouse, your DIC monthly payment will start at $1,437.66. It can be as high as $3,117.42 per month, depending on several factors.
As a surviving child, the monthly payment rate will start at $607.02. However, this can be less if the child is between 18 and 23 and is in a qualified school program. Other factors can change the amount a surviving child may receive monthly.
Surviving parent rates will depend on the income level of the parent. You must be the only parent alive to qualify for these benefits.
Get the Help You Need When Applying for Survivor Benefits
Applying for veterans’ benefits as a surviving spouse or child can be difficult. Without the right help, you might not gain access to everything you’re entitled to. Trajector provides the help you need when getting the benefits you deserve.
With various experts on our team, you can gain access to the help you need when working with the Veterans Affairs Office. We can help you get the accrued benefits you are eligible for and all other survivor benefits you qualify for.