Spouses, Dependents & Survivors

VA Benefits for Veterans’ Spouses, Dependents, and Survivors

Family members and dependents of Service members who have died or were seriously injured in the line of duty may be eligible for many types of VA benefits. These benefits may be used to advance in a career, get an education, or provide supplementary income. Surviving spouses may benefit from VA-guaranteed home loans, too.

Explore below, other VA benefits you may have earned as a spouse, child, or parent of a Veteran or Service member by visiting these pages:

Disability Compensation:
The Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (DIC) program provides monthly benefits to surviving spouses and dependent children in recognition of the economic loss caused by a Service member’s death during military service, or by the death of a Veteran as a result of a service-connected disability. VA also pays these benefits to the survivors of a Veteran whose death is not service-connected, but who was rated by VA as being totally disabled due to a service-connected disability for a specified period of time immediately preceding death.

In addition to the DIC program for surviving spouses and dependent children, surviving dependent parents of Service members or Veterans, whose deaths were service-connected, may be eligible for Parents’ DIC if they meet the income requirements.

Education and Training:
VA provides education and training opportunities for certain Veterans’ spouses, dependents, and survivors through various programs to help cover the cost of tuition, housing, books, and supplies. Education benefits may be used toward a traditional degree, non-college degree, on-the-job training, apprenticeships, and more. Explore the following programs:

Employment Services:  
If you are a family member caring for a service-disabled Veteran, you may be eligible for counseling to determine your career goals and training to increase your skills.

Veterans’ dependents who are eligible for the VA Survivors’ and Dependents’ Educational Assistance program may also receive the following assistance from the Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment program:

  • Career choice – Understand the best career options based on your interests and capabilities.
  • Benefits coaching – Make effective use of your VA benefits and/or other resources to achieve education and career goals.
  • Personalized support – Receive academic or adjustment counseling and personalized support to remove barriers to your success.

Health Care: 
A Veteran’s spouse, dependent, or survivor may be eligible for VA health care benefits through programs such as the Civilian Health and Medical Program, Spina Bifida, Children of Women Vietnam Veterans, Foreign Medical Program, and Caregivers. Enrolling in these programs may reduce or eliminate your costs for medical supplies, office visits, or prescriptions. Get details about family health benefits at VA’s health beneficiaries page.

Home Loans and Housing Related Assistance: 
VA offers three home loan guaranty programs to eligible surviving spouses of Veterans and Service members. These programs may be used to refinance a mortgage or help purchase, construct, or improve a home. Certain surviving spouses may be eligible for the following programs:

Life Insurance: 
Service members’ spouses can convert their spousal coverage under Family Service members’ Group Life Insurance (FSGLI) to an individual plan of insurance with a private insurance company, without proof of good health, within 120 days of the Service member’s separation.

Beneficiaries of all VA life insurance programs receive a tax-free monetary death benefit that may be used in any way. In addition, if you are a beneficiary under the SGLI, VGLI, FSGLI spousal coverage, or TSGLI programs, you are eligible for free VA Beneficiary Financial Counseling Servicesand Online Will Preparation Services to help you obtain independent financial advice in using your insurance proceeds and prepare a will without having to hire an attorney.

Explore VA life insurance programs in more detail using the links below:

  • FSGLI
  • Accelerated Benefit Option, which provides those insured under SGLI and VGLI with access to up to half of the value of their insurance if they are terminally ill with nine months or less to live.

Memorial Benefits:  
VA honors many spouses, dependents, and survivors of eligible Veterans with a final resting place in one of 135 VA national cemeteries maintained by VA throughout the United States. Benefits may include burial with the Veteran, the inscription of name and date of birth and death on the headstone and perpetual care of the grave-site. Eligible spouses and dependents may be buried in a VA national cemetery even if their Veteran loved one is not buried or memorialized in a VA national cemetery, or if their death occurs before the Veteran’s.

Consult with the VA National Cemetery Administration for more information about burial eligibility for Veterans’ spouses, dependents, and survivors.

Pension:  
VA offers pension benefits to the survivors of wartime Veterans who meet certain criteria. Among other requirements, yearly family income must be less than the amount set by Congress. Those eligible may receive tax-free supplemental income. VA offers the following types of pension support for Veterans’ survivors:

  • Survivors Pension – Surviving spouses and dependent children of deceased wartime Veterans are eligible for monthly pension benefits if they meet the net worth and income requirements.
  • Additional Pension Allowance – Surviving spouses and dependent children of deceased wartime Veterans may receive a larger pension if they are housebound or cannot perform activities of daily living without the aid of another person.

If you have further questions, contact the Veteran Service Officer (VSO) in Your Area
Click here to find a VSO in your area

Return to VA&R Services’ Menu