Widows of veterans of foreign wars are eligible for both short- and long-term financial help in cases where the deceased veteran died while serving on active duty. Financial assistance benefits also extend to widows of veterans who die from illnesses or injuries connected to military duties. In addition, widows of veterans who die within 120 days of being discharged from military service in foreign wars are also eligible for financial assistance benefits.
Pension and Death Gratuity
Widows receive short-term financial help from a death gratuity awarded by the military service in which the deceased veteran served. According to the United States Department of Veteran Affairs (VA), the death gratuity totals $100,000 and is payable automatically to the next of kin. The VA provides long-term benefits in the form of a monthly pension of $1,154 to widows of veterans who passed away while serving in war. Wives without dependents who survive a veteran who died before Jan. 1, 1993, qualify to receive an annual death pension of $7,993 and $10,385 for those with one dependent child. Wives who are permanently housebound receive $9,696 in annual death pension benefits and $12,681 if they require living assistance.
Burial and Funeral Help
Widows who pay for burial and funeral expenses of a military spouse who served in a war are reimbursed by the VA. The reimbursement is limited to $2,000 and is not automatic. Widows are required to submit an application to the VA for consideration. In addition, war veterans are eligible for burial in a national cemetery at no cost to the next of kin. Veterans buried in any national cemetery are memorialized with the distinctive white marble or granite headstone used in all veteran cemeteries. The headstone and transportation to a national cemetery is also provided at no cost to the next of kin.
Widows also qualify for financial help in pursuing educational programs. Widows of veterans who pass away while on active duty have 20 years from the date of death of the veteran to use education benefits. Widows attending school full time receive $925 a month for a maximum of 45 months. Benefits are eligible to help defray the cost of higher education, independent study programs, cooperative training, technical schools and apprenticeship programs.
Family Insurance Benefits
The Family Servicemembers' Group Life Insurance extends life insurance coverage to spouses and dependent children of deceased service members insured under the SGLI program. Military widows can receive up to $100,000 in insurance coverage, a personalized beneficiary financial counseling service and accelerated benefits if the veteran submitted an application to FSGLI prior to death. In addition, FSGLI provides an accelerated benefits option to a terminally ill spouse of a deceased war veteran.
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