VA Disability Benefits For Veterans' Survivors And Dependents
Dealing with the loss of a loved one is very tough for a veteran's family. This loss can also bring financial troubles, especially if the veteran is the main breadwinner. So, do widows and surviving family members of veterans receive VA disability benefits?
Luckily, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs provides various financial VA benefits for surviving spouses and widows of wartime veterans.
Who Can Get VA Survivor Benefits?
The VA has specific rules to decide who qualifies as a veteran's surviving spouse and who can be eligible for VA survivor benefits.
Spouses of veterans need to meet several criteria to qualify for DIC. The requirements include:
- A surviving spouse should have been married to a service member who passed away during active duty, inactive duty training, active-duty training, or legally married to the veteran (who has died) before January 1, 1957, or
- There should be a gap of at least one year between their marriage and the death of the veteran or
- If they had a baby and resided with the veteran until their passing. It's essential to mention that they don't file for divorce during the marriage unless the surviving spouse is not accountable for the separation.
- A surviving spouse must have wed a veteran whose demise resulted from a service-related injury or ailment. The marriage should have started within 15 years from the veteran's discharge, leading to the disability.
- Remarried surviving spouses face strict criteria. Generally, a remarried spouse isn't entitled to DIC benefits. Yet, eligibility, in some instances, hinges on the remarriage date.
- Spouses who marry again after reaching the age of 57 and remarry on or after December 16, 2003, can still potentially qualify for DIC benefits.
Dependency And Indemnity Compensation (DIC) Benefits
Dependency and Indemnity Compensation, abbreviated as DIC, is a monthly benefit provided to survivors of veterans who lost their lives while on active duty and to survivors of veterans who passed away due to service-related disabilities or held a 100 percent disability rating for a duration before their demise.
This benefit is also exempt from taxes.
What VA Benefits Do Widows And Spouses Of Veterans Obtain?
We'll delve deeper into these shortly, but spouses and widows of veterans have various VA benefits they might meet the criteria for, such as burial benefits, monthly DIC compensation benefits, CHAMPVA healthcare, Educational Assistance, and others.
How Much Are VA Survivor Benefits From VA?
DIC benefits rely on the service-connected disability of the veteran or service member, whereas eligibility for Survivors Pension is unrelated to this factor.
Sometimes referred to as the "death pension," the survivor's pension is a tax-free financial aid provided to a financially disadvantaged, unmarried surviving spouse of a deceased veteran with wartime service. The specific amount can fluctuate, but it typically adheres to the Survivor Benefit Plan (SBP)/Minimum Income Annuity (MIW) cap of $9,896, a rate determined by Congress.
Survivor's And Dependent's Educational Assistance (DEA) Program
The VA also provides educational benefits via the Dependent's Education Assistance program and Survivor's, created under the GI Bill. This initiative furnishes educational support to qualified dependents of veterans who are permanently and completely disabled due to a service-connected disability.
The VA assesses whether a disabled veteran's compensation rating qualifies their dependent children and spouses for these benefits. It's important to note that the VA considers the character of discharge when granting specific benefits, including VA home loans, education and pension benefits.
Typically, there isn't a character of discharge prerequisite for applying for life insurance. However, if you were discharged under dishonorable conditions, it's essential to investigate the specific VA requirements.