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What benefits are you eligible for as a spouse of a disabled veteran?

Partners of war veterans have access to certain benefits thanks to their spouses' work on the battlefield defending the interests of the United States.

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The United States honors the sacrifices made by its service members and their families. As such, spouses of disabled veterans are entitled to a range of benefits that acknowledge their support and compensate for the hardships they may face.

Health care benefits

CHAMPVA: The Civilian Health and Medical Program provides health care benefits to eligible spouses of veterans who are permanently and totally disabled due to service-related conditions.

Educational benefits

Chapter 35 DEA: The Dependents’ Educational Assistance program offers education and training opportunities to eligible dependents of veterans who are permanently and totally disabled due to service-related conditions.

Financial support

VA Survivors Pension: A tax-free monetary benefit for low-income, un-remarried surviving spouses of deceased veterans with wartime service.

Survivor’s pension requirements

  • The veteran must have served at least 90 days of active military service, with at least one day during a recognized period of war.
  • The veteran must have been discharged from service under conditions other than dishonorable.
  • The spouse must not have remarried after the veteran’s death.
  • Children must be under the age of 18, or under 23 if attending a VA-approved school, or have been permanently incapable of self-support due to a disability before the age of 18.

Income test

  • The Survivor’s Pension is a needs-based benefit, meaning that the income of the surviving family members must not exceed a yearly limit set by Congress.
  • The VA subtracts any income the family receives from the maximum pension amount to determine the eligible pension amount.

VA Home Loan Guaranty Program 

The VA Home Loan Guaranty program is a valuable benefit for spouses of veterans who have been rated as 100 percent permanently and totally disabled due to a service-connected disability. This benefit helps eligible surviving spouses purchase, build, repair, retain, or adapt a home for personal occupancy.

Key Benefits of the VA Home Loan Guaranty for Eligible Spouses:

  • No Down Payment Required: One of the most significant advantages of the VA Home Loan is that it often does not require a down payment, making homeownership more accessible.
  • No Private Mortgage Insurance (PMI): Unlike many conventional loans, VA loans do not require private mortgage insurance, which can lead to substantial monthly savings.
  • Competitive Interest Rates: VA loans typically offer lower interest rates compared to traditional loans, which can significantly reduce the cost over the life of the mortgage.
  • Limitation on Closing Costs: The VA limits the closing costs lenders can charge to VA loan applicants, further reducing the cost of purchasing a home.
  • Assistance with Mortgage Payments: In cases of financial hardship, the VA can provide assistance to help prevent foreclosure.

Eligibility for surviving spouses

  • The unremarried spouse of a veteran who died while in service or from a service-connected disability is eligible.
  • Spouses of service members missing in action or prisoners of war may also be eligible.
  • In some cases, surviving spouses who remarry after the age of 57 may still be eligible.

Burial benefits

Veterans Burial Allowance: Spouses are entitled to burial benefits that help cover the cost of burial, funeral, and transportation expenses.

Dependency And Indemnity Compensation (DIC)

If your spouse passes away with a 100% VA disability rating, you may be eligible for Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (DIC).

In 2024, the base compensation rate for a surviving spouse is $1,612 per month. Also, there are circumstances where additional compensation may apply:

  • If the deceased veteran spouse maintained a 100% VA disability rating for a minimum of eight years preceding their passing, and the surviving spouse was married to them for the entirety of those eight years, the compensation is increased by an additional $342 per month.
  • Should the surviving spouse have a disabling condition necessitating regular assistance with daily activities, compensation increases by $399 per month.
  • If the surviving spouse is confined to their home due to a disability, compensation is increased by $187 per month.
  • You can also get additional monthly compensation for dependent children.

Additional benefits

  • Property Tax Exemptions: Some states offer property tax reductions or exemptions for the spouses of disabled veterans.
  • Employment Services: Various programs assist spouses in finding employment.
  • Insurance Coverage: Access to life insurance options tailored for military families.

How to apply

To access these benefits, spouses should contact the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) directly or visit their website. Documentation such as marriage certificates, dependent form,  the veteran’s service records and ID, along with disability information will be required.

The array of benefits available to spouses of disabled veterans reflects the nation’s commitment to those who have served. These benefits provide crucial support in areas like health care, education, and financial stability, ensuring that spouses are not left to bear the burden alone.

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