Veteran Spouse Death Benefits

By Fraser Sherman
The VA, death benefits, spouses
cemetery image by Janet Wall from Fotolia.com

Veterans receive several forms of support from the federal government during their lifetimes, and so do their spouses. After a veteran dies, his or her spouse may be eligible for a variety of benefits from the Veterans Administration, including financial aid, medical coverage, job training and bereavement counseling. By staying informed, spouses can make sure they receive the benefits they're entitled to.

Pensions

An unmarried surviving spouse may be entitled to a VA pension. The pension is needs-based---you can't receive it if your income is above a government-set cap. It also requires the veteran to have put in a minimum level of active-duty service.

Dependency and Indemnity Compensation

The VA may be able to help after the funeral.
baddesley clinton image by david hughes from Fotolia.com

A veteran's spouse may be eligible for a monthly Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (DIC) benefit under certain conditions, for example, if the service member died on active duty, as the result of a service-related injury or illness, or was receiving VA compensation. The marriage also plays a part: To be DIC eligible, couples must meet one of various qualifications, such as having married before 1957, being married for one year or having a child.

Education and Training

The VA offers spouses up to 45 months of educational benefits under the Dependents' Educational Assistance Program. This may include work-study programs that allow spouses to "earn while they learn."

Counseling

The VA offers spouses bereavement counseling to help them deal with their grief. Spouses who've received military group life insurance may also be eligible for financial counseling.

Medical benefits

Spouses without insurance may be eligible for the VA's Civilian Health and Medical Program.

About the Author

Author of two film reference books, "Cyborgs, Santa Claus and Satan" and "The Wizard of Oz Catalog." Published in Air & Space, Backpacker, Newsweek, The Writer, and multiple trade journals (can fax samples if requested, don't have them available digitally)