Veterans Administration Deceased Retirees Benefits

The United States Department of Veterans Affairs, or VA, offers pension benefits for widowed spouses and dependent children who had a retired military family member pass away. The claimant can file to receive the pension benefits if meeting certain requirements concerning her living conditions if she is the spouse. The dependent children may be eligible for the pension benefit depending on their age and living conditions.

  1. Assisted Living Benefits

    • Aid and Attendance benefits surviving spouses when they require aid due to medical or health reasons. This applies when the claimant cannot perform daily functions of bathing, dressing, feeding, attending to bathroom requirements and need protection from hazards in their everyday living. To be eligible for this benefit, a claimant must be bedridden with disabilities that requires him to stay in bed, or must be a nursing home patient due to physical or mental incapacity or is blind. The surviving spouse can receive the Aid and Attendance benefit along with their monthly pension. Claimants confined to their immediate premises that have been evaluated as having a 100 percent disability can file for Housebound Benefits.

    Death Pension and Death Gratuity

    • The Veterans Administration provides a Death Gratuity payment when a service member dies within 120 days after retiring from the military. The next of kin can receive a $12,420 payment, but will get no payments if the service member dies after the 120-day period.

      For spouses and children of a deceased wartime veteran to receive the Death Pension, the deceased wartime veteran had to serve one day during a wartime period, at least 90 days of active duty and did not receive a dishonorable discharge upon release from service. If the veteran also served 24 months during a period of wartime after September 1980, the spouse and children are eligible under the requirements for benefits. The deceased veteran also had to have a countable income, such as disability payments, earnings, retirement payments, farm or business net income, interest and dividends, below the yearly limit set by Congress for the widowed spouses and children to receive the Death Pension.

      The following age requirements apply: surviving spouses at any age who never remarried; unmarried children under age 18 who need benefits; and children 18 years of age, who are in school and under 23; or those who are unable to support themselves.

    Dependency and Indemnity Compensation

    • U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs benefits include the Dependency and Indemnity Compensation, or DIC. The DIC benefits the survivors of the deceased veteran with a service-connected disability. The VA uses a chart to determine the compensation payments that is based on how severe the disability is and if the veteran has a spouse or children. For spouses to receive DIC, the deceased veteran had to be rated with a total disability, although the condition did not cause the death at the time. The veteran had to be continuously rated as being totally disabled for 10 years before death or no fewer than five years immediately before death to be considered eligible, according to the Social Security Administration. Eligibility applies if the veteran was a former prisoner of war who died after September 30, 1999, and was continuously rated as having total disability for at least one year before death.

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