A Guide To OIF Veterans’ Benefits 

An OIF veteran is someone that has served in the U.S. military during the Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF) conflict. Read on to learn more about these veterans and their specific concerns. 

What is an OIF Veteran?

OIF veterans are enlisted military personnel that served in the Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF) campaign of 2003. The conflict resulted in the death of nearly 4,500 service personnel and injury to more than 31,000 others. 

Thousands of OIF veterans have been disabled or ill due to their participation in Operation Iraqi Freedom. Consequently, many are eligible to receive disabled veterans fits and services from the United States Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).

What is the History of OIF (Operation Iraqi Freedom)?

Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF) began on March 19, 2003, in response to the Iraqi invasion and annexation of Iran. The primary objectives were to eliminate the Iraqi regime’s weapons of mass destruction, end Saddam Hussein’s reign, and instill an Iraqi-supported democratic government. 

The conflict ended after four days of ground fighting, and control over the capital of Baghdad was assumed after 21 days. Even so, the U.S.-led coalition struggled to secure peace in the region for years afterward. 

How Did the OIF Affect Veterans?

Many veterans of Operation Iraqi Freedom experienced a range of physical and mental health issues due to their deployment in Iraq. Some of the most prevalent were diseases related to exposure or ingestion of particulate matter. Many of these can be traced to specific conditions and situations that occur in a military environment. 

Airborne Hazards

Some of the most debilitating conditions resulted from exposure to “airborne hazards .”These are defined as contaminants and toxic substances that OIF veterans breathe in from the air in contaminated environments. Unfortunately, many service members are thought to have been exposed to these hazards during OIF. 

The war presented many opportunities for service personnel to come in contact with airborne hazards. Open burn pits from which toxic fumes and smoke emanated were quite common. Exposure to sand and dust was also a constant factor, often for prolonged periods. 

Physical Effects

Breathing in smoke and fumes from open burn pits poses certain health `risks. The pits were typically used to burn waste products such as paints, chemicals, and even medical and human waste. As a result, those exposed frequently experienced irritation of the eyes and throat, coughing, difficulty breathing, and rashes or itching. 

Many of these issues cleared up without needing further treatment when the individual was removed from the affected area. But close contact with the contaminants, and long-term exposure, have resulted in chronic health problems.

Exposure to burn pits has also been linked to presumptive conditions such as brain, head, kidney, and gastrointestinal cancer. These and other conditions are presumed to have been caused by the toxic material and fine particulates emitted by open burn pits. 

Other common presumptive conditions include lymphoma and lymphatic cancers, post-service asthma, chronic bronchitis, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), chronic rhinitis and sinusitis, and many other types of cancer. 

Mental, Emotional, and Behavioral Effects

Many veterans of Operation Iraqi Freedom also experienced mental, emotional, and behavioral issues due to their deployment. These include depression, apathy, anxiety, irritability, irrational rage and anger, antisocial impulses, and lethargy. 

Veterans commonly experienced difficulty returning to their normal lives and reestablishing relationships with friends and family members. It is common to lose interest in things or activities that have previously given them pleasure and satisfaction, including sex, family relationships, and hobbies. 

An alarming number of veterans suffered from chronic depression and even developed suicidal tendencies. Without proper treatment, many found it extremely difficult to resume their former place in society.  

Moral Injury

For many OIF veterans, the moral injuries caused by their military service were just as debilitating as the physical and mental injuries. In fact, moral injury was often the root of the physical and mental issues they suffered. 

“Moral injury” refers to a broad and varied range of emotional responses to traumatic and challenging events and circumstances. For OIF veterans, it often resulted from morally ambiguous situations that caused them to question the morality of their roles and actions. 

Many cases involved questioning long-held notions of “right” and “wrong” and having these overturned. This often leads to a severe existential crisis that makes the sufferer question why they were even alive and what purpose they served in the grand scheme of things. 

How Does the VA Support OIF Veterans?

The United States Department of Veterans Affairs offers a range of benefits and services to military personnel that have served in OIF and subsequently developed a disability or illness resulting from their deployment. OIF veteran benefits include compensation for medical problems that are presumably related to contaminant and particulate matter exposure.

What are the Common Challenges Faced by OIF Veterans?

Many OIF veterans experienced physical and mental health issues directly related to their deployment in Iraq. Post traumatic stress disorder is of course common. Moral injuries are also prevalent, which has resulted in severe physical and mental consequences and higher VA disability rates

As with veterans of many other conflicts, OIF veterans often struggle to find employment, reestablish personal relationships, and return to their roles as active and productive members of society. Trauma collected from combat exposure affects these veterans for a long time. For some, these challenges can last for years after leaving the service and may even remain for life if they do not get the appropriate help and all necessary mental health treatment. 

How can OIF Veterans Receive Support for Their Physical Injuries?

OIF veterans can file disability claims for injuries and health conditions they have incurred within ten years of leaving the military. If approved, they may receive VA health care and other health benefits to which they are entitled by merit of their service. Guidelines on filing disability claims are available on the Veteran Affairs website. 

VA healthcare provides disability compensation in monthly tax-free payments. Eligibility is dependent on three requirements: an illness or health condition resulting from air, soil, or water hazard exposure, previous active duty in a combat setting where such hazards were present, and an honorable discharge. 

What is the Rate of Suicide Among OIF Veterans?

A study conducted by Tim Bullman and Aaron Schneiderman sought to examine suicide risk among veterans of Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF), Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF), and Operation New Dawn (OND). 

Among the 1,935,168 veterans involved in the study, 4,618 committed suicide. It was also revealed that higher suicide rates were found among those in active duty, as opposed to reserve and National Guard veterans. 

Higher suicide rates were also found among Caucasian personnel as opposed to non-white veterans. The same was true for both men and women veterans compared to officers. In general, more army and marine personnel committed suicide than navy and air force personnel. 

How can Families Support Their OIF Veteran Loved Ones?

Families of OIF veterans should recognize and acknowledge the difficulties that their loved ones may face as a result of their deployment. Caring, patience, and understanding are essential, as is a healthy and open flow of communication. 

Family members may also participate in programs designed to help them care for veterans with PTSD or mental illness. More information is available at http://dvbic.dcoe.mil/audience/family-friends. You can also call the VA’s caregiver support line at 1 (855) 260-3274.

What Resources are Available for OIF Veterans to Access?

OIF veterans are encouraged to participate in the “Returning Support for Veterans Program” (RSVP). The program provides veterans and their families with information on benefits, education, health services, employment, and other concerns. 

RSVP can be reached by calling the CARE-LINE of the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services at 1-800-662-7030. Interested parties may also send an email to [email protected]

Mental health services are available at the VA Palo Alto campus. Interested veterans may visit the site to make an appointment for a consultation. 

There is also a Veterans Crisis Line that can be reached by calling 1-800-273-8255. Veterans may also receive assistance by calling the Santa Clara County Mental Health Assessment Line at 1-800-704-0900. 

What is the Rate of Homelessness Among OIF Veterans?

A cross-sectional study by the VA known as “VetPop 2007” revealed that there were 73,740 homeless veterans of the OIF and Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF). This figure was derived from the 18,997,936 veterans that established contact with the VA homeless services from 2001 to 2007. 

Administrative data derived from the HCRV Program of the VA also revealed that there were 9,201 homeless among the 30,348 veterans incarcerated in state and federal prisons. Homelessness among incarcerated veterans is five times higher than that of the general population‒30% versus 6%.

How can Communities Support OIF Veterans?

Communities should provide easy access to therapeutic services, crisis hotlines, and other initiatives that promote the continuing care of OIF veterans. In addition, more efforts should be made to address returning veterans’ concerns concerning employment, physical and mental healthcare, and teaching them how to return to being active contributing members of society.

OEF Veteran – Benefits and Eligibility

The United State Government launched the OEF in response to the 9/11 terrorist attacks and primarily focused on combating terrorism in Afghanistan. OEF veterans played a vital role in the mission to dismantle terrorist networks, remove the Taliban from power, and support establishing a stable democratic government in Afghanistan.

As a result of their service and its impact on their health and well-being, OEF veterans may be eligible for various benefits, including healthcare, disability compensation, and even educational assistance.

These veterans face unique challenges related to their service, so it is important to recognize and support their contributions to the mission.

This post discusses some of the benefits an OEF veteran can receive.

What are the common experiences of OEF veterans?

Many OEF veterans experienced combat during their deployment, which may have involved exposure to gunfire, explosions, and other traumatic events.

OEF veterans may have been exposed to hazardous materials, such as burn pits, which could have long-term health effects.

The stress of being deployed in a combat zone for an extended time can also significantly impact mental health and well-being.

They may have sustained physical injuries during deployment, such as traumatic brain injuries, amputations, or other disabilities.

What are the common physical health conditions faced by OEF veterans?

Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI): OEF veterans may have sustained a TBI due to exposure to blast waves from explosions, resulting in headaches, memory loss, and difficulty concentrating.

Hearing loss: Exposure to loud noises during combat can cause hearing loss, tinnitus, or other auditory problems are also some of the OEF health issues.

Musculoskeletal injuries: OEF veterans may have sustained injuries to their bones, joints, or muscles due to the physical demands of combat, leading to chronic pain or limited mobility.

Respiratory problems: Exposure to burning pits or other environmental hazards may cause respiratory problems such as asthma or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).

Infectious diseases: OEF veterans may be infected with diseases while deployed, such as malaria, hepatitis, or tuberculosis.

What support and resources are available for OEF veterans?

The government provides support and resources for OEF veterans to help them transition back to civilian life and address their unique needs. Some of these resources include:

VA healthcare: OEF veterans are eligible for medical treatment through the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), which provides various medical and mental health services to those eligible active service members.

Disability compensation: OEF veterans may be eligible for disability benefits through the VA for any injuries or illnesses related to their veterans service.

Education and job training: The VA provides education and job training programs, such as the Post-9/11 GI Bill, to help OEF veterans pursue higher education and job opportunities.

Veteran Service Organizations (VSOs): Many VSOs support and advocate for OEF veterans, such as Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA) and the Wounded Warrior Project.

Mental health services: OEF veterans can receive mental health services through the VA, including counseling and therapy, to help address issues such as PTSD and depression affected by active duty military service.

Career counseling and employment services: The VA and other organizations provide career counseling and employment services to help OEF veterans find and maintain employment after leaving the military.

Disability Benefits Available to OEF Vets

You may qualify for the following:

5-year free healthcare: starting from the discharge date, you may be eligible to receive five years of healthcare service at no cost.

180-day dental benefits: starting from the discharge date, this covers six months of full dental care to fix issues caused by the above service.

Vet center support: the VA may link you up with centers that can offer additional support to boost the quality of your life.

How does the VA (Department of Veterans Affairs) help OEF veterans?

The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) provides a wide range of services and VA disability rates to help OEF veterans with their healthcare, education, employment, and other needs. Some of the ways the VA helps OEF veterans are through:

Healthcare: OEF combat veterans are eligible for VA health care services and treatment, including medical and mental health services and access to specialized care for conditions such as traumatic brain injury (TBI) and post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

Disability compensation: OEF veterans who have suffered injuries or illnesses related to their service may be eligible for disability compensation from the VA healthcare program.

Education and training: The VA provides education and training benefits, such as the Post-9/11 GI Bill, to help OEF veterans pursue higher education or job training.

Home loans: The VA offers programs to help OEF veterans buy, build, or refinance homes.

Vocational rehabilitation and employment: The VA provides vocational and employment services to help OEF combat veterans find and maintain employment after leaving active service.

Survivor benefits: The VA benefits and services are provided to military families of OEF veterans who have died or were injured due to their military service.

What are the benefits available to OEF veterans under the GI bill?

Veterans service will qualify OEF veterans for education benefits under the Post-9/11 GI Bill. The disabled veteran benefits under this program include the following:

Tuition and fees: The GI Bill pays up to 100% of tuition and fees for in-state students attending public colleges or universities and a specified cap for private or out-of-state schools.

Monthly housing allowance: OEF veterans who attend school full-time may be eligible for a tax-free monthly housing allowance based on the cost of living in their area.

Books and supplies stipend: The GI Bill provides a stipend of up to $1,000 per year to help cover the cost.

Transferability: OEF veterans who meet certain eligibility requirements can transfer their GI Bill benefits to their spouse or children.

Yellow Ribbon Program: The Yellow Ribbon Program can help cover the cost of tuition and fees that exceed the GI Bill cap for private or out-of-state schools.

Vocational training and apprenticeships: The GI Bill can pay for vocational training and apprenticeships in healthcare, technology, and aviation.

Programs and Benefits for Disabled Veterans in California

California receives more discharged members yearly than other states in the U.S. The state is prepared to provide quality assistance to those who have served the country through the California Department of Veterans Affairs (CalVet).

An OEF Veteran or OIF Veteran can access various benefits and services to help them transition to civilian life. California Veterans benefits include education, employment, healthcare, home loans, housing, advocacy, and VA claims. Veterans have dedicated their lives to military service, and California VA strives to provide the highest quality care and services for them and their families in return.

Here’s a comprehensive guide to disabled Veterans benefits in California:

What Are Disability Benefits for Veterans in California?

The California Veterans Disability Compensation is a monthly benefit for Veterans for injuries, conditions, and illnesses incurred while on active duty or during treatment in a VA healthcare facility.

How Do I Apply for Disability Benefits as a Veteran in California?

A Veteran may work with a Veterans Representative at a County Veterans Service Office (CVSO) or Veterans Service Organization (VSO). There are different locations to apply for California Disability Compensation, but not all services are available at each site.

What Is the Process for Getting Disability Benefits in California?

The process for getting disability benefits in California involves the following steps:

Step 1: File a Claim

An applicant files a claim with the help of a Veterans representative from the CVSO or VSO.

Step 2: Acquire Evidence

The disabled Veteran must submit evidence to support the claim. Evidence must be accurate and complete, and the Veterans Affairs (VA) may request more information.

Step 3: Complete a VA Physical Exam

The VA will request military medical records, and the applicant’s nearest VA Medical Center will schedule the requested exams.

Step 4: Get Complete Records Rated

The VA evaluates the records and evidence after completion. The VA pays the maximum benefits the law allows based on the received and rated records.

Step 5: Receive the VA Decision

The VA will notify the applicant of the decision and provide reasons for granting or denying the claim.

What Documentation Do I Need To Apply for Disability Benefits in California?

A California Veteran must submit verified service dates and medical records to the VA. The VA may also request more information, including detailed letters about service experiences, dependents, employment history, and income.

What Are the Eligibility Criteria for Disability Benefits in California?

An eligible Veteran must have a service-connected disability (S/C) or be discharged under other dishonorable conditions. An S/C is not just a combat injury. It could be any injury or illness aggravated while in uniform.

How Much Money Can I Receive for Disability Benefits in California?

Here are the monthly VA disability benefits compensation rates for Veterans:

  • 10% Disability Rating: 165.92 USD
  • 20% Disability Rating: 327.99 USD

Monthly benefits for compensation rates for Veterans with a 30% to 100% disability rating will depend on the Veteran’s dependent status. Generally, Veterans with no dependents receive the following Veterans benefits:

  • 30% Disability Rating: 508.05 USD
  • 40% Disability Rating: 731.86 USD
  • 50% Disability Rating: 1,041.82 USD
  • 60% Disability Rating: 1,319.65 USD
  • 70% Disability Rating: 1,663.06 USD
  • 80% Disability Rating: 1,933.15 USD
  • 90% Disability Rating: 2,172.39 USD
  • 100% Disability Rating: 3,621.95 USD

Can I Receive Both VA Disability Benefits and Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) Benefits in California?

Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and VA Disability Benefits are independent, so Veterans may apply and be eligible for both.

What Happens If My Disability Claim Is Denied in California?

The Veterans Administration will notify the claimant if the claim is denied. If the claimant has questions about their claims, they may call (800) 827-1000 toll-free.

Can I Appeal a Denied Disability Claim in California?

Yes, claimants may appeal a denied disability claim in California. An appeal will involve the following steps in strict time limits:

  • Notice of Disagreement (NOD)
  • Statement of the Case (SOC)
  • Formal Appeal (VA Form 9 or equivalent)
  • Hearings (Optional)
  • Board of Veterans’ Appeals (BVA)
  • United States Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims (CAVC)

Remands at the BVA and Court of Veterans Appeals (COVA) levels may also be involved.

Can I Receive Education and Training Benefits as a Disabled Veteran in California?

Eligible service members, Veterans, and dependents can receive educational benefits for California State Approving Agency for Veterans Education (CSAAVE)-approved education and training programs through the GI Bill® benefits.

The Montgomery GI Bill, for example, helps Veterans pay for education and training programs in California Community College, California State University, and other institutions as education benefits. The same applies to Santa Cruz, San Diego, San Francisco, and other cities.

Veterans can only use one VA benefit for education or training at a time.

Are Health Care Options Available to Disabled Veterans in California?

Disabled Veterans can compare affordable, quality health insurance options through Covered California™, a joint partnership with the California Department of Health Care Services (DHCS). It implements California’s federal Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, allowing applicants to qualify for financial aid to make health coverage more affordable.

How Does California Support Disabled Veterans With Home Loan Benefits?

Homeless Veterans can purchase or refinance a home through the California Veterans Home Loan. It protects homes and investment, allowing eligible Veterans to afford single-family homes, planned unit developments (PUD), condominiums, manufactured homes installed on a permanent foundation, mobile homes in mobile home parks or state parks, and farms.

What Are the Tax Benefits for Disabled Veterans in California?

Through the Disabled Veterans’ Exemption, disabled Veterans get reduced property tax liability on the principal place of residence. There are two levels of the Disabled Veterans’ Exemption:

  1. Basic. Also referred to as the $100,000 exemption is an exemption amount compounded annually by an inflation factor.
  2. Low-Income. Also referred to as the $150,000 exemption is available to qualifying claimants with an annual household income that does ​not exceed a specified income limit, also compounded annually by an inflation factor.

Trajector Medical At Your Service

Trajector Medical is a Veteran-owned and operated company developing medical evidence to support pursuits of VA disability benefits. Are you ready to claim your Disabled Veterans benefits in California? We’re prepared to help. Contact us today!

Veterans Burial Benefits

When you’re a spouse or family member of a veteran, you might need to understand the burial benefits you get, if the service member passes away. Veterans and their families are entitled to specific benefits that cover many different things. Family members offer burial benefits to help cover the cost of a funeral, burial, and more.

If your spouse is an active duty service member or a veteran, you should know the VA burial benefits you’re entitled to. Let’s look at the benefits you gain for a national cemetery, a private cemetery, and the other veteran’s burial benefits you can access.

What Type of Burial and Death Benefits are Available to Families of Veterans?

There are several different veterans benefits available for burial and death. While this is certainly not a pleasant topic to discuss, it’s one you should understand. Burial and death benefits can help you in many ways if your active duty service member or veteran has passed. The benefits you can gain vary a bit, but here are the main burial benefits offered to veterans.

Veterans Burial Allowance

The most common VA benefit for death and burial is the burial allowance. It’s sometimes referred to as the Veterans death benefits. This allowance will help cover the funeral, burial, and transportation costs.

If you’re an eligible veteran, you can get a burial allowance for burial and funeral costs, along with a VA plot or an allowance for the cost of a plot in a private cemetery. It’s also possible to get reimbursement for the cost of transporting the Veteran’s remains to the final resting place.

It’s important to note that you will have to pay for these services and apply for the burial allowance to reimburse you. This must be done within two years of the burial or cremation of the veteran.

To be eligible for VA burial benefits and burial benefits, you’ll need to be the surviving spouse, the surviving partner, surviving child, surviving parent, or executor or administrator of the Veteran’s estate. The Veteran also cannot have a dishonorable discharge and must meet one of the following eligibility requirements:

  • Died as a result of a service-connected disability.
  • Died while receiving VA care at a VA facility or a facility contracted by Veterans Affairs.
  • Died while traveling with authorization at the Veterans Affairs expense to or from a facility for treatment or case.
  • Died while receiving a Veteran pension or was eligible for a VA pension or compensation at the time of death, but chose to receive disability pay or full military retirement.

If you’re on active duty, serving as a member of Congress, or serving a federal prison sentence, you won’t be eligible for the burial allowance benefit.

What is the Burial Allowance Amount?

The amount you will get as a burial allowance will depend on whether the death was a service-connected or non-service-connected death. It also depends on when the veteran died.

For service-connected deaths, the amount will be $1,500 or $2,000, along with some or all of the transportation costs to a VA national cemetery. When it’s a non-service-connected death, the amount can vary based on when the veteran died. You will get a $300 burial allowance and $734 to $893 for a plot. This amount can go up if Veterans Affairs hospitalized the veteran at the time of their death.

You can also get a headstone or marker allowance along with the burial allowance. This allowance will also vary based on when the veteran passed away. It can range from $199 to $290. Of course, all of these dollar amounts can change based on the amount of burial compensation and other allowances the government authorizes each year.

Memorial Items

Veterans are entitled to more than just benefits to help pay for burial and funeral services. They can also get specific memorial items to honor the military service of your veteran. When a veteran or eligible family member is buried in a national cemetery, or in a qualifying veterans cemetery, you can get an allowance for a headstone or marker, but you can also get other memorial items.

The following items are all memorial items veterans may qualify for:

  • Veteran’s headstones and markers – You can get an allowance for a headstone or markers. These memorial items may also be available for National Guard members and reservists. You will need to fill out the right VA form to find out what you might be eligible.
  • Medallions – Veterans and active-duty military service members can potentially get a medallion when buried in a private cemetery. If a headstone or marker was privately purchased, you may be able to get a bronze medallion or a Medal of Honor, if eligible.
  • Burial flag – A United States flag will be provided to be draped on the casket or coffin be placed with an urn in honor of the Veteran’s military service. A burial flag will be provided if the Veteran is eligible.
  • Presidential Memorial Certificates – Some Veterans may qualify for a Presidential Memorial Certificate (PMC), which is an engraved paper certificate that the current president will sign.

Bereavement Counseling

While having your Veteran buried in a national cemetery and getting an allowance for the funeral and burial are great benefits, bereavement counseling should not be overlooked. This is a benefit specifically for the surviving spouse, children, and parents of a military service member that has passed away while serving their country.

When this happens, you may qualify for bereavement counseling through the Veteran’s Center. With this type of counseling, you can get the support and assistance you need when going through this very psychological and emotional stress, after the death of an armed forces veteran.

Bereavement counseling or grief counseling is available to a surviving spouse, child, or parent of a military service member that fits one of the following:

  • An armed forces member who passed away while serving their country
  • A reservist who died while on active duty
  • A National Guard member who died during active duty
  • A veteran who was receiving services from the Vet Center when they passed away

While the funeral and burial benefits are helpful, getting the grief counseling you need can make a big difference.

Along with these three main veterans’ benefits for burial and death, you can also get pre-need burial eligibility for burial in a VA national cemetery. Veterans can apply in advance to find out if they are eligible to be buried in a VA national cemetery. This benefit makes it easier for your family members to handle the burial planning process.

Eligibility for Pre-Need Burial Benefits

There are a few eligibility requirements if you want to be buried in a VA national cemetery. Veterans who were not dishonorably discharged when they left the military are eligible for burial in a national cemetery. Some family members may also be eligible including spouses and dependent children, even if the Veteran has already passed away. In some cases, an adult-dependent child can also be eligible.

How can I make sure I Gain Access to All the Benefits I am Entitled to in this Case?

One of the best ways to gain all the benefits you’re entitled to is to use a Veterans service like Trajector. When you want to ensure you get a full allowance for the funeral and burial, we can help. Our team will ensure you get the benefits you are entitled to, from burial in a national cemetery to the proper military funeral honors for your loved one.

VA Survivor Benefits

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.

Health Care

As a surviving spouse or child, you may qualify for health care through the CHAMPVA program, the TRICARE program, or another program.

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.

Survivors Pension

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.

What Benefits do Spouses of Deceased Veterans Get

You might be entitled to some benefits when you go through the horrific experience of losing your spouse. If your spouse was a veteran with active duty military service, the government provides some benefits for the surviving spouse.

Before you contact the Veteran’s Affairs Office, it’s a good idea to understand the benefits you might be entitled to. Let’s look at some of the common questions surrounding the question, what benefits do spouses of diseased veterans get?

Does the Government Provide for Spouses of Deceased Veterans?

The short answer to this question is yes. There are spouse benefits offered for the surviving spouse of a veteran that suffers death during active duty and in a few other circumstances.

Understanding the benefits you can get as a surviving spouse is important. There are several different benefits you might qualify for, including:

  • Health Care through the CHAMPVA Program or the TRICARE Program
  • Education and Training, including help paying for job training or schooling
  • Home Loan Programs to purchase, repair, refinance, or build a home
  • Financial Counseling to help with paying a VA-backed loan
  • Life Insurance benefits through the Family Servicemembers’ Group Life Insurance coverage options
  • Burial Benefits, including memorial items and pre-need eligibility for burial in a VA national cemetery
  • Survivor’s pension provides monthly pension payments
  • VA Dependency and Indemnity Compensation or DIC benefits offer tax-free monetary payments

These benefits are provided for the surviving spouse of a veteran, and all come with different eligibility requirements. Understanding all the benefits you might qualify for as a surviving spouse is important. While the most common benefit is the survivor’s pension, there are other benefits you can use for burial, health care, and helping in other ways.

What Type of Survivors Pension can I Receive?

The survivor’s pension you receive will depend on some specific factors. This is also known as a death pension. A VA survivors’ pension will provide monthly payments if you are a qualified surviving spouse. This should not be confused with the DIC benefits, which differ from a survivor’s pension.

To be eligible for this benefit, at least one of the following must be true:

  • The veteran began active duty on or before September 7, 1980, and was a service member on active duty for at least 90 days with at least one day of wartime service.
  • The veteran entered active duty after September 7, 1980, and has at least 24 months of active duty service with at least one day of wartime service. Some exceptions do apply to this qualification.
  • The veteran was an officer that started active duty after October 16, 1981, and hadn’t previously served on active duty for at least 24 months.

Along with the requirements above, your yearly family income and net worth will have to meet the limits set by Congress. Your home, car, and most home furnishings will not be counted in your net worth.

The wartime periods that are recognized for this benefit include:

  • Mexican Border period from May 9, 1916, to April 5, 1917
  • World War I from April 6, 1917, to November 11, 1918
  • World War II from December 7, 1941, to December 31, 1946
  • Korean Conflict from June 27, 1950, to January 31, 1955
  • Vietnam War Era from November 1, 1955, to May 7, 1975
  • Gulf War from August 2, 1990, through a future date that will b set by presidential proclamation or by law

You can receive a survivor’s pension if you qualify as a surviving spouse.

VA Survivors Pension Rates

The rate for your survivor’s pension will depend on the difference between your countable income and the limit set by Congress. The limit set by Congress is called the Maximum Annual Pension Rate or MAPR.

Your countable income is the amount you earn, which will include your salary, payments from investments, and retirement payments. It can also include any income you may get from dependents in your household. Expenses, such as non-reimbursable medical expenses may reduce your countable income.

The MAPR amount will be the maximum VA pension amount payable to a Veteran, surviving spouse, or child set by Congress. This varies based on how many dependents you will have, if you’re Housebound, or if you require Aid or Attendance benefits. It changes yearly based on a cost-of-living increase.

It’s also important to note that there is a net worth limit for eligibility for this benefit. The current limit is $138,489 and can change from year to year.

The yearly survivor’s pension amount will range from $12,941 to $19,438, based on your specific situation, including your dependents.

Will the Cost of a Funeral for the Veteran be Covered?

With the high cost of funerals, you probably want to know if a funeral for a veteran will be covered. There are a few things to look at:

What will Veteran’s Affairs Cover for Burial and Funeral Costs?

The VA benefit for burial will cover some of the costs, but often it will not cover all of the costs. This is paid through a burial and plot allowance for eligible veteran family members.

The burial allowance offers a tax-free benefit that will automatically be paid for veterans of the armed forces that have suffered death. You will have to provide the Veterans Affairs Office with receipts to show the actual cost paid.

The actual benefit amount will depend on how the service member’s death occurred.

  • If the death happened during hospitalization by the VA, you get an $828 burial allowance and $828 for a burial plot.
  • If the death is service-connected, the VA will pay a burial allowance up to $2,000 and may provide reimbursement for some transportation costs.
  • If the death is not service-connected, the burial allowance will be $300 with $828 provided for a burial plot.
  • For any indigent veteran with no next of kin, the VA will provide a casket or cremation urn for interment in a national, state, or tribal veterans cemetery.

You can also get a death benefit payment of $255 from the Social Security Administration. These amounts will likely change every year.

All veterans with other-than-dishonorable discharges can gain access to free burial in a national VA cemetery. However, space is limited, so the VA suggests you request pre-determination of burial eligibility to avoid delay.

Surviving spouses are often eligible to be buried next to the veteran at no or no cost. A marker will also be provided.

Can I get DIC Benefits as a Surviving Spouse?

Yes, a dependency and indemnity compensation or DIC benefit will be paid to the surviving spouse of a military service member who died in the line of duty or died from a service-connected illness or condition during active duty. The DIC benefit often helps the surviving spouse more than any other death benefit.

DIC benefits offer monthly tax-free payments to the surviving spouse for the rest of their life. The base rate is $1,437.66 and can go up based on the situation.

How can I Access this Help?

Applying for health care benefits, a survivor’s pension, and the many other benefits through the veteran’s service can be overwhelming. You might not get all the benefits you’re eligible for if you don’t understand what you’re applying for.

Trajector provides the assistance you need when applying for surviving spouse benefits. We can help you navigate the entire process, from choosing the VA form you need to fill out to advising you of the benefits you should apply for.