The Veterans Administration offers a variety of special pension benefits for surviving spouses of wartime veterans. Most benefits are based on financial need and/or long term health care needs and require that the surviving spouse either be permanently disabled or 65 years or older. Benefit programs, which are paid monthly in amounts relating to the surviving spouse’s needs and income, include:
Death Pension for surviving spouses who either are 65 or older or are disabled; both must meet minimum income and asset levels.
Household Allowance for surviving spouses who are eligible for death benefits and whose medical problems confine them to their home.
Aid and Attendance for surviving spouses who are elibigle for death benefits and either are in a nursing home, are blind, or require assistance to perform activities of daily living such as eating, bathing and dressing.
Dependency and Indemnity Compensation for surviving spouses of veterans who either died on active duty, from a condition related to their service or who were receiving VA benefits for a totally disabling service-related injury. Unlike the benefits listed above, there are no medical need requirements or income/asset limits for these payments.
There’s some small print requirements for these benefits, which depend mostly on when the veteran served. There are marriage requirements, such as that the surviving spouse must have been living with the veteran at the time of the veteran’s death. The veteran must have served a certain amount of days of active duty, at least part of which was during a period of war, and cannot have been discharged dishonorably. To determine financial eligiblity, the VA looks at the surviving spouse’s assets, income, and medical expenses.
The eligibility requirements and application process are complicated, so we recommend enlisting the aid of an attorney.