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Do Spouses of Deceased Veterans get Benefits?

Published on June 25th, 2019

The US government doesn’t just take care of its veterans, it takes care of its veterans’ dependents too. There are several ways in which veterans’ dependents can obtain benefits, but one of the most important is the Survivors Pension benefit, also known as the Death Pension. Like with other types of benefits, there are several criteria for eligibility, which depend primarily on the military service of your veteran family member, and your current financial situation.

If you have applied and been rejected for the survivors pension, the veterans benefits of Jackson MacNichol can help with your case nationwide. We can review your financial information, your income and expenses, and the conditions of your family member’s military service, which taken together could show that you are deserving of this pension. Call us today at 800-524-3339 for your free consultation.

Who Qualifies for Veterans Survivors Benefits?

The survivors pension is a tax-free monthly benefit available to qualifying low-income spouses and the unmarried children of a deceased veteran who served during wartime. The veteran must have been discharged under other than dishonorable conditions, and their military service must meet either of the following conditions:

  • Started duty before September 7, 1980–The veteran must have had 90 days of active military service with at least one of those days occurring during wartime.
  • Started duty after September 7, 1980–The veteran must have served a minimum of 24 months, or the full period for which they were called to active duty, with at least one day of service occuring during a war time period.

If you are the spouse of the deceased veteran, you may be eligible for the pension at any age, as long as you have not remarried. But if you are the child of a deceased veteran, strict age requirements apply. You must either be under the age of 18, under the age of 23 and attending a VA approved school, or permanently unable to support yourself because of a disability that developed before you reached the age of 18.

Your Eligibility for Survivors Pensions Depends on Your Income

To qualify for a survivors pension, you must demonstrate that you have financial need. The government has two ways of determining this. First of all, there is a limit set to your net worth, which is the sum of all of your assets and income minus your liabilities. The current net worth cutoff is set at $127,061. Additionally, your financial needs are determined based on your monthly income (what VA calls “countable income”), which may include any of the following income sources:

  • Salary and tips
  • Net income from a farm or business
  • Disability and retirement payments
  • Interest and dividends from investments

Some expenses, such as unreimbursed medical treatment, may reduce your countable income. Once you have figured out your countable income, you must compare it to the annual pension limit. If your countable income is lower than the pension limit, you qualify for the survivors pension.  You will be entitled to the difference between your countable income and the annual pension limit. Generally, the difference is paid out to you in monthly payments.  However, if your income exceeds the limits, you will be found not to be eligible.

At Jackson & MacNichol, we believe in helping America’s veterans and their families to access all of the benefits to which they are entitled. If you need help applying for survivor’s benefits, or if your application has been rejected, call us today at 800-524-3339 for a free consultation about your case.


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