Whenever a United States Military veteran returns home with a disability following active service, he might not be able to support his family or be able to provide them with the same standard of living that is equivalent to the living that the veteran would have been able to provide if not injured in service. To help support the family of a disabled veteran, certain health care, educational, and monetary benefits might be available to their spouses.
Dependents, surviving spouses, and qualifying spouses of veterans or individuals who are military members who are serving currently might be eligible for one or multiple VA benefits. Those benefits areas have varying requirements, benefit duration, and application time frames.
These include the following:
- VA Disability Compensation for Dependents and Spouses
- VA Training and Education
- VA Home Loans
- VA Health Care
- VA Burial Benefit and VA Memorial Benefits
- Life Insurance
None of these programs in the categories above are “automatic.” All of these benefits must be applied with, and all of the supporting document and any other information that a specific benefit requires must be provided.
VA Disability Compensation for Dependents And Spouses
Monthly benefits are offered by the Department of Veterans Affairs Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (DIC) program to surviving dependents and spouses, that recognizes the economic loss that has been caused by the death of the Servicemember as a result of their military service, or a Veteran’s death that was caused by a service-connected disability.
Those benefits might also be available in qualifying situations for a veteran’s survivors where their death was not service-connected if the individual was VA-rated as 100% disabled due to reasons that were service-connected.
Eligibility Requirements For VA DIC
In order to qualify for VA DIC assistance, a surviving spouse must:
- Be married to a Servicemember whose death was a result of their military service
- Was married to the Veteran before January 1, 1957, or;
- Was married to the Veteran within 15 years of their discharge from the military service period in which their cause-of-death injury or disease was aggravated or started or;
- Was married to a Veterans for one year at least or;
- Had a child with a Veteran and lived together with them continuously until the death of the Veteran or, if they were separated, was not at fault for their separation, and is not remarried currently.
Surviving spouses who have remarried on December 16, 2003, or after, and on or after they turn 57 years old are allowed to apply for or continue to receive DIC.
In order for a surviving dependant to qualify to receive VA DIC, he or she is required to:
- Not be included on the DIC of the surviving spouse, AND
- be unmarried, AND
- be less than 18 years old, or attending school and 18 to 23 years old.
VA DIC for Dependent Parents Who Qualify
There is also a program that offers the surviving dependent parents of Veterans or servicemembers with compensation if the death of the individual is deemed to be service-connected. The VA compensation program is income-based and called Parents’ DIC.
VA Training and Education Benefits for Survivors, Dependents, and Spouses
There are education benefits that are available to dependents and spouses. The official state of the Department of Veterans Affairs that family members who care for service-disabled veterans might qualify for skills training and career counseling. Similar opportunities might be available also for dependents of a veteran who qualifies for the VA Dependents’ and Survivors’ Educational Assistance program. The following opportunities under the VA Employment and Vocational Rehabilitation for qualifying family members:
Career Assistance – assist caregivers with finding the best career options that are based on their interests and abilities.
Benefits coaching – teach how to get the most out of VA benefits as well as other resources that are available to them.
Personalized support – receive re-adjustment assistance, academic counseling, and more might be available depending on available space, resources, need, etc.
You can get assistance with an application for those benefits from the VA Regional Office nearest to you.
VA Health Benefits for Veteran Family Members
The VA official site states that there are certain qualifying circumstances that make members of a Veterans family eligible for health benefits. Those programs might reduce health care costs. In certain cases, some expenses might be entirely eliminated depending on the specific application as well as its funding.
Those programs include, but might not be limited to:
- Camp Lejeune Family Member Program (CLFMP)
- Foreign Medical Program (FMP)
- Spina Bifida (SB)
- Children of Women Vietnam Veterans (CWVV)
- Civilian Health and Medical Program of the Department of Veterans Affairs (CHAMPVA)
VA Home Loans for Veterans Surviving Spouses
VA home loan eligibility is offered by the Department of Veterans Affairs to qualified, but not remarried surviving spouses of a veteran whose death was the result of their military service, was declared missing in action, killed in action or a prisoner of war.
A surviving spouse might qualify for three basic kinds of home loans:
- VA Interest Rate Reduction Refinance Loans (VA IRRRL)
- VA Cash-Out Refinancing loans
- New purchase VA mortgages
VA Pension Benefits for Qualifying Dependent Children and Surviving Spouses
The Department of Veterans Affairs provides a need-based pension benefit to wartime veteran survivors who meet the eligibility requirements of the VA, which includes a Survivor’s Penson with the applicable net worth and income requirements. An extra Pension Allowance is provided to Survivor’s Pension recipients who are housebound or unable to perform their daily living requirements without help.
The deceased veteran in all cases must meet the following requirements of the VA:
For Veterans who service before or on September 7, 1980, the individual must have served for 90 days at least on active duty with one day at least during a period of wartime as is defined by the VA.
For those who served on active duty after September 7, 1980, then the veteran is required to have served for 24 months at least or the entire period ordered or called to active duty with one day at least during a period of wartime.
The Veteran must not have a dishonorable discharge.
The final say on who is considered to be eligible to receive those benefits based on the criteria above and the financial need of the recipient is the Department of Veterans Affairs.
A disabled veteran’s spouse might be eligible as well to receive benefits from the person’s state of residence. There re some states that offer benefits like employment assistance, free counseling services, and property tax exemptions. These benefits vary from one state to the next. Spouses who are interested should contact the Department of Veterans Affairs in their state to get more information.
Ex-spouses and spouses might also be eligible for survivor benefits or dependents benefits if the disabled veteran is eligible to receive Social Security Disability Insurance.
Contact us if you need assistance in applying for additional information so that we can help ensure you get what you deserve and need.