No matter how long ago your spouse served in the military, you could be entitled to Veterans Administration (VA) benefits after his or her death. Depending on the benefit, you could collect up to $1500 a month—a nice bonus for anyone on a fixed income. However, the VA is not going to track you down and fork over the cash. You have to know what you are eligible for and submit a complete application. Our team of elder law attorneys is here to help.
VA Benefits for Surviving Spouses
After the loss of a spouse, people often struggle to make ends meet. Even if they have enough to get by, a little extra is always welcome. If your spouse served in the military, even if it was only for a few years and it was 50 years ago, you might be entitled to the following VA benefits:
- Retirement funds. If your spouse stayed in the military until retirement AND elected to make funds available to a surviving spouse after their death, you would be eligible to continue to collect part of their retirement benefits. You may not know if they made this election when they retired or not, but it is worth finding out.
- Aid & Attendance. Widows and widowers of wartime Veterans may be eligible for Aid & Attendance benefits. You must meet asset and income requirements and be in need of healthcare assistance to qualify, but the approximately $1100 per month could make a big difference in your quality of life.
- DIC. Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (DIC) is available to surviving spouses of Veterans who had a service-related disability rating of 100 percent for at least 10 years prior to their death. These benefits are also available to widows and widowers of Veterans who died as a result of a service-related injury.
All of these benefits require that you meet very specific requirements, and someone who has experience working with the VA can help you figure all of that out.
Talk to Lawyers Who Know the VA
It may have been many years since your spouse did their military service, so applying for VA benefits may not be at the top of your list when your spouse dies. However, if they did serve, and you think you might be eligible, do not hesitate to contact our elder law team to find out for sure and to help you apply for the appropriate benefits. Ross & Shoalmire, P.L.L.C., has helped many military widows and widowers get the benefits to which they were entitled, and we can help you as well.