Retired Military Benefits For Spouses - There are several VA benefits available to spouses of disabled veterans, such as disability compensation, health care, education and training, employment services, insurance coverage, and survivor benefits.
The VA provides additional monthly compensation to veterans who have eligible dependents who have a disability rating of 30 percent or higher. Qualifying dependents include:
Retired Military Benefits For Spouses
The amount of additional compensation varies depending on the dependency. The CCK 2022 Disability Compensation Chart can help veterans and their family members determine the amount of monthly disability compensation they are eligible for. Disabled veterans who have spouses who need regular assistance and attendance may receive more compensation.
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VA also provides health insurance for spouses of totally disabled veterans under the Civilian Health and Medical Program, or CHAMPVA. For spouses to be eligible, a disabled veteran must meet one of the following criteria:
Importantly, to qualify for CHAMPVA, spouses of disabled veterans cannot be eligible for TRICARE (ie, the health care program for uniformed service members, retirees and their families). CHAMPVA benefits will also extend to spouses age 65 and older if certain eligibility conditions are met.
With CHAMPVA, spouses of disabled veterans will be reimbursed for certain services and supplies (ie, when VA determines they are medically necessary and obtained from an authorized provider). Examples of covered services include:
CHAMPVA will essentially cover the cost of any medical services deemed necessary for the addict's physical and mental well-being. This advantage is very valuable considering the high cost of medical care. CHAMPVA can make a huge difference for families of disabled veterans, especially spouses.
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VA also offers spousal benefits through the Family Caregiver or Caregiver Program. The Caregiver Program was originally established in 2011 to provide benefits to caregivers (such as spouses or dependents who quit their jobs to care for a veteran full-time because of the degree or nature of their disability).
The program provides caregivers with a monthly stipend, medical training, health benefits and respite. Other benefits offered under the Caregiver Program include:
To be eligible for the caregiver program, a veteran must suffer a serious injury that affects their daily life. Examples of serious injuries may include traumatic brain injury (TBI), post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), or loss of a limb. The veteran should also:
In June 2019, the VA Missions Act (aka the VA Sustaining Internal Systems and Strengthening Integrated External Networks Act) was fully implemented. A $52 billion bill was passed to overhaul access to private health care for veterans, including benefits for caregivers nationwide.
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The Mission Act specified that the Caregiver Assistance Program would extend to pre-9/11 veterans. This expansion of benefits, which included eligible veterans of all periods of service, was to be implemented over several years, primarily in two phases.
The Dependents' Educational Assistance (DEA) program, also known as Chapter 35 benefits, offers educational and training opportunities to eligible spouses of certain disabled veterans.
DEA recognizes that as a result of a veteran's death or disability, their caregivers may be left without the resources they need for education or training. It also recognizes that a veteran's caregiver might otherwise have had such resources if the veteran had not died of a service-related condition or been seriously disabled as a result of military service.
DEA benefits can be used for degree and certificate programs, apprenticeships, on-the-job training, and more. In addition, spouses may receive reimbursement for part-time courses. Remedial, deficiency and refresher training is also possible in some cases.
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For spouses of veterans to qualify for DEA VA spousal benefits, the veteran or service member must have:
Through the DEA program, spouses of disabled veterans can receive up to 45 months of education benefits if they started DEA before 2018. August 1.
When the DEA goes into effect, dependents generally have 10 years from the date of the veteran's death or the date DEA benefits are issued to receive the benefits provided. There are certain circumstances in which a dependent will be 20 years old to receive DEA benefits; however, this usually occurs when the veteran died on active duty. The most common scenario includes a 10-year term from the date of either death or benefit.
In some cases, veterans will see terms such as "Dependent Jurisdiction, Chapter 35 DEA / CHAMPVA" in their VA determinations. Here, VA awarded DEA because the veteran had a permanent and total disability. However, before DEA benefits can be distributed, the veteran or his or her spouse must complete a special application (VA Form 22-5490) and submit it to the local regional office.
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Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (DIC) is a tax-free, monthly benefit paid to surviving spouses of veterans whose death is directly related to military service or service status. To receive a DIC VA death benefit, spouses, veterans, and service members must meet one of the VA criteria:
To prove eligibility for DIC, a spouse must establish a service connection for the veteran's cause of death, meaning that the veteran's service-connected disability was the main or one of the causes of their death.
Spouses of disabled veterans are generally eligible for DIC benefits if they were married to the veteran for at least one year before the veteran's death. In certain situations, some surviving spouses may be eligible for additional DIC benefits if some of the following criteria are met:
Importantly, DIC has its own exclusive rates, which tend to increase annually with cost-of-living adjustments. Starting December 1, 2021, the fixed DIC benefit amount is $1,437.65 per month.
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When applying for DIC benefits, spouses must submit VA Form 21P-534EZ, Application for Dependency and Compensation Compensation, Accumulated Benefits and Survivor's Pension. In addition to this form, certain evidence must be submitted to support the claim. The VA will likely ask spouses for documents and information related to their family history, such as:
If the cause of death is related to one of the veteran's service-related conditions, it should be very easy for the VA to issue benefits. If not, survivors may seek evidence suggesting that the cause of death was a service-related condition. Here, the service-related condition does not have to be the primary cause of death if another service-related condition at least contributed to the veteran's death. Secondary causes of death are not always listed on death certificates.
Survivors can collect medical evidence from the time of the veteran's death to help support their claim. For example, let's say an elderly veteran falls in a nursing home and dies from blunt force trauma to the head, which is listed on their death certificate. At the time of his death, the veteran was on duty due to a knee ailment, and as a result of this knee ailment he fell frequently. This suggests that there was a connection between the veteran's knee condition (ie, a contributing cause) and his death, even though his death certificate did not list his knee condition as the cause of death. In such cases, it may be helpful to obtain a medical report from a private physician to help convince the VA that a service-connected condition played a role in causing the veteran's death.
If the veteran dies from a service-related condition, the spouse can still collect DIC. In this situation, the spouse can apply for service connection for the veteran's cause of death, and the VA will go through the usual standard review process. During this process, the VA examines whether the veteran's disability is actually service-connected.
Va Benefits For Veterans' Surviving Spouse, Children And Widows
If a veteran's surviving spouse applies for DIC benefits within one year of the veteran's death, the effective date will be the veteran's date of death. However, if they apply outside of this one-year window, the effective date will be the date VA receives the application. Therefore, if possible, it is important to file DIC claims within one year of the veteran's death.
If the veteran's claim or appeal is still pending at the time of their termination, the surviving spouse may be substituted for the pending claim as a claimant. If a service connection is later recognized, the surviving spouse will receive accrued benefits (ie, back pay that the veteran would have received had he or she been alive) until the veteran's date of death.
In determining eligibility for accrued VA benefits, VA must examine the evidence in the veteran's case at the time of death. According to the VA, examples of accrued benefits include:
To claim accrued benefits, survivors must file the same form used for DIC benefits, VA Form 21P-534EZ.
Va Benefits For Spouses Of Disabled Veterans
A survivor's pension, also known as a death pension, is a tax-exempt VA benefit for the surviving spouse of a deceased military veteran. For spouses to be eligible for survivor benefits, a disabled veteran must meet the following requirements, according to the VA website:
Importantly, survivors must meet the income threshold to be eligible. specifically
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