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Survivors Benefits


Death Pension – Dependency & Indemnity Compensation
As a surviving spouse of a veteran, you may be eligible for monetary benefits from the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs. 

Death Pension – Also commonly referred to as “aid and attendance” is a needs based benefit paid to an un-remarried surviving spouse, or an unmarried child, who meets certain age or disability requirements, of a deceased wartime veteran. 

You may be eligible if :
  • the deceased Veteran was discharged from service under other than dishonorable condition, And
  • the deceased Veteran served at least 90 days of active military service and at least 1 day was during a war time period.  If he or she entered active duty after September 7, 1980, generally he or she must have served at least 24 months or the full period for which called to active duty and at least 1 day was during war time period, And
  • you are the un-remarried surviving spouse or unmarried child, who meets the age or disability requirements, of the deceased veteran, And
  • your income for VA purposes is below a yearly limit maximum annual pension rate set by law and your net worth does not preclude you from this benefit.

Note that If you are an un-remarried surviving spouse and believe that your veteran spouse’s death was a result of their military service or a presumptive condition relating to their military service, you may be eligible for DIC benefits even if the veteran did not file a disability compensation claim during their lifetime.  For example:   A veteran served in Vietnam (Vietnam veterans are conceded to have been exposed to agent orange) and died at the age of 68 from respiratory cancer (a presumptive condition for exposure to agent orange).  The veteran never filed for VA Disability Compensation benefits for this condition.  Respiratory cancer is one of the fifteen presumptive conditions for exposure to Agent Orange.  The surviving spouse may have filed a claim for Dependency & Indemnity Compensation benefits based on the veterans service in Vietnam & subsequent death from one of the presumptive conditions for exposure to agent orange.  This is only one example.

VA Death Pension is payable at three separate rates:  regular rate, housebound rate, and aid & attendance rate.  Applying for this benefit can be quite confusing and it is critical that the applicant and/or the applicant’s family understand the process which is involved in the awarding & continuation of this benefit.  See the Questions on VA Death Pension/Aid & Attendance flyer for supporting documentation and information that is required for this benefit.

Veteran Benefits Counselors at Ingham County Department of Veteran Affairs will assist you in preparing, completing, submitting and monitoring your claim for death pension.  If you are approved for this benefit, our counselors will assist you throughout the lifetime of your claim as there are yearly reporting requirements.

Dependency & Indemnity Compensation – is a monthly benefit paid to eligible survivors of a :

  • military service member who died while on active duty, active duty for training, or inactive duty training, OR
  • veteran whose death resulted from a service-related injury or disease, OR
  • veteran whose death resulted from a non service-related injury or disease, and who was receiving, or was entitled to receive, VA Compensation for service-connected disability that was rated as totally disabling for at least 10 years immediately before death, or since the veteran’s release from active duty and for at least five years immediately preceding death, or for at least one year before death if the veteran was a former prisoner of war who died after September 30, 1999.