Dependents' Benefits

Survivors Pension Benefits

Survivors Pension, which was formerly referred to as Death Pension, is a tax-free benefit payable to a low-income, un-remarried surviving spouse or unmarried child(ren) of a deceased Veteran with wartime service.

There are 3 levels of Survivors Pension.

  1. Basic Pension
  2. Housebound
  3. Aid and Attendance

Basic Pension – low income

Housebound – is an increased monthly pension amount. It is paid to permanently disabled surviving spouses who are greatly confined to their homes.

Aid and Attendance – is a higher monthly pension amount paid to a surviving spouse if you require help to perform activities of daily living ORyou are bedridden OR, you are in a nursing home due to mental or physical incapacity, OR you have corrected visual acuity of 5/200 or less in both eyes, OR you have concentric contraction of the visual field to 5 degrees or less.

*You cannot get all 3 levels of pension. You can only qualify for one.

THE VA WILL VERIFY ALL INCOME.  If income is reported wrongly you could end up owing the VA money. If income changes after applying the VA needs to be notified.

You may be eligible if:

• The deceased Veteran was discharged under other than dishonorable conditions, AND

• He or she served 90 days or more of active duty, with at least one day during a time of war*, AND

• Your income is below the amount listed in the Survivors Pension Rate Table, AND

• Your net worth meets the limits set for the Community Spouse Resource Allowance (CSRA) established by Congress for Medicaid., AND

• You are one of the following:

       o The unmarried surviving spouse (or you were previously married and the marriage ended before Nov. 1, 1990).

       o The unmarried child of the deceased Veteran who is under 18, became permanently disabled before 18 or is between 18 and 23 years old and enrolled in              an approved educational institution.

* If the deceased Veteran entered active duty after Sept. 7, 1980, he or she must have served at least 24 months of active-duty service. If the length of service is less than 24 months, the Veteran must have completed their entire tour of active duty. See the Survivors Pension Rate Table at for the current net worth limit and maximum annual pension rate.

Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (DIC)

DIC is paid to surviving spouses when the veteran dies as a result of one of the following conditions:

  • A service-connected disability or a condition directly related to a service-connected disability.
  • An injury incurred or aggravated in the line of duty while on inactive duty training.
  • A disease or injury incurred or aggravated in the line of duty while on active duty or active duty for training.

Survivors are also eligible for DIC if the veteran was totally disabled from service-connected conditions at the time of death, even though their service-connected conditions might not have caused their deaths. In this example the survivor qualifies if the veteran was:

  • Continuously rated for a period of 10 years immediately preceding death.
  • Continuously rated totally disabled from the date of military discharge and for at least 5 years immediately preceding death.
  • A former Prisoner of war (POW) who died after Sept. 30, 1999, and who was continuously rated for at least 1 year immediately preceding death.



MEDICAL CARE FOR DEPENDENTS AND SURVIVORS, the VA Civilian Health and Medical Program, shares the cost of medical care for dependents and survivors of veterans. If not eligible for CHAMPUS (the medical program for civilian dependents provided by the Defense Department) or Medicare, Part CHAMPVA.
  1. The spouse or child of a veteran who has a permanent and total service-connected disability.
  2. The spouse or child of a veteran who died of a service-connected condition or was totally disabled from a service-connected condition at the time of death.
  3. The spouse or child of a person who died in the line of duty, not due to misconduct, within 30 days of entry into active service.
Beneficiaries age 65 or older who lose eligibility for CHAMPVA by becoming potentially eligible for Medicare, Part A, benefits on the basis of a disability may reestablish CHAMPVA eligibility by submitting documentation from the Social Security Administration certifying they are not entitled to or have exhausted Medicare, Part A, benefits. Persons under age 65 who are enrolled in both Medicare Parts A and B may become eligible for CHAMPVA as a secondary payer to Medicare. Apply to the VA Health Administration Center, P.O. Box 65023, Denver, CO. 802006 or call 1-800-733-8387.

Survivors and Dependents Education Assistance (DEA) Chapter 35

You may be able to get these benefits if both you and the Veteran or service member meet certain eligibility requirements.

One of the descriptions listed below must be true:

  • The Veteran or service member is permanently and totally disabled due to a service-connected disability, or
  • The Veteran or service member died while on active duty or as a result of a service-connected disability, or
  • The Veteran or service member is missing in action or was captured in the line of duty by a hostile force, or
  • The Veteran or service member was forcibly detained (held) or interned in the line of duty by a foreign entity, or
  • The Veteran or service member is in the hospital or getting outpatient treatment for a service-connected permanent and total disability and is likely to be discharged for that disability (effective December 23, 2006)

If you’re the child of a Veteran or service member

  • You can get benefits if you’re between the ages of 18 and 26, except in certain cases. You may be married or unmarried.
  • If you’re over 18 years old and using DEA, you can’t get Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (DIC) from us.
    Learn about DIC
  • If you join the military, you can’t use this benefit while on active duty. And if you want to use this benefit after you leave the service, you can’t have a dishonorable discharge. Military service can extend your eligibility, but this increase doesn’t usually go past your 31st birthday.

If you’re the spouse of a Veteran or service member

  • Your benefits start on the date we conclude that you qualify or on the date of the Veteran’s death, and last for 10 years.
  • If we rated the Veteran as permanently and totally disabled, with an effective date that’s 3 years after discharge from active duty, you’ll qualify for benefits for 20 years from that effective date. This new policy began on October 10, 2008. We won’t pay benefits for training you started before this date.
  • If the service member died on active duty, your benefits end 20 years from the date of death.
  • You can get DIC payments from us and use DEA benefits.

Dependents Education Assistance Program

Home Loan Guaranties

You may be eligible if you’re the spouse of a Veteran, and at least one of these descriptions is true.

At least one of these must be true:

  • The Veteran is missing in action, or
  • The Veteran is a prisoner of war (POW), or
  • The Veteran died while in service or from a service-connected disability and you didn’t remarry, or
  • The Veteran died while in service or from a service-connected disability and you didn’t remarry before you were 57 years old or before December 16, 2003, or
  • The Veteran had been totally disabled and then died, but their disability may not have been the cause of death (in certain situations)

Note: A surviving spouse who remarried before December 16, 2003, and on or after their 57th birthday, must have applied no later than December 15, 2004, to establish home loan eligibility. We’ll have to deny applications we received after December 15, 2004, from surviving spouses who remarried before December 16, 2003.

NC State Property Tax Relief

The property owner must be the surviving spouse (who has not remarried regardless of age) of either:

(1) a veteran who had a permanent and total service-connected disability or

(2) a veteran that received benefits for specially adapted housing under 38 U.S.C. 2101 or

(3) a veteran who died as a result of a service-connected condition or

(4) service member's death occured while on active duty in the line of duty and not due to service member's own withful misconduct.

Contact our office to complete all documents needed.

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