Benefits for Veterans' Dependents

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Benefits are available for spouses and children of military veterans. The benefits are administered through the United States Department of Veterans Affairs and state Veterans Administration offices. Spouses can receive the benefits regardless of their age, while the benefits are generally only available to military veterans' single children who are younger than 23 years of age.

Tuition Assistance

  • If military veterans are deceased or permanently disabled, their spouses and dependent children under the age of 18 can get their college and university tuition, lab fees and books paid for through the GI Bill. Spouses and dependent children of military members who are held captive by foreign governments are also eligible to receive the educational benefits. Funds from the program cover the costs of attending post-secondary school for up to 45 months. Spouses and dependent children can use the money to complete accredited degree and certificate programs. The GI Bill also pays for spouses and dependent children to complete on-the-job training programs and apprenticeships.

Burial Assistance

  • After a military member dies, the person's spouse and dependent children can contact a local Veterans Administration office and ask staff members at the office to check whether the deceased military member qualifies for burial benefits. For example, some active duty members who die while on active duty can get buried at the Veterans Affairs National Cemetery. Family members of deceased military members can also contact their local Veterans Administration office to receive a folded American flag, a headstone or marker and a memorial certificate signed by the President of the United States free of charge.

Bereavement Counseling

  • Spouses and dependent children of deceased military members can contact their local Veterans Administration office to receive bereavement counseling. They can apply for the counseling whether or not the deceased military members died in the line of duty.

Death Pension

  • Military members who serve a minimum of 90 days on active duty and at least one day during wartime qualify their spouses and dependent children to receive a death pension. If military members enlisted in the military after September 7, 1980, they must serve a minimum of 24 months on active duty to qualify their dependents to receive the pension after they die. The oldest ages allowed for dependent children to receive the death pension is 23 years; the children must also attend college or university. If dependent children are not attending an accredited college or university, the maximum age that they can receive the benefits is up to 18 years. The amount of the benefits that spouses and dependent children of deceased military members receive is based on their incomes and cost of living expenses.

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