The surviving spouses of many deceased Veterans may be missing out on certain survivor benefits from the VA. In fact, millions of dollars go unclaimed every year because survivors and dependents are simply not aware of all the benefits available. Here are three the Veterans Assistance Commission wants you to know about:
1. Survivors Pension
Un-remarried spouses whose loved one served during a period of combat may be eligible for this. The VA Survivors Pension can provide much needed financial support for low income surviving spouses who are impoverished due to medical bills. The VA compares the survivor’s household income and assets less medical expenses to determine the need per program guidelines.
2. Dependency and Indemnity Compensation
DIC awarded when it is determined by the VA that the Veteran passed as a result of a service-related illness or injury. For example, in 2010 the VA determined Agent Orange significantly contributed to the development of ischemic heart disease. Survivors of Vietnam Veterans who passed prior to 2010 may have no idea of the connection or the eligibility for a VA benefit. In 2008, the VA announced that survivors of Veterans who served at least 90 days of continuous active duty in the U.S. military and later developed amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) may be eligible for benefits. More recently, The Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans Act of 2019, which took effect Jan. 1, 2020, expanded the potential range for Agent Orange exposure. Now, many whose claims were previously denied could now be eligible for benefits.
3. Partial reimbursement for burial.
Reimbursement for some funeral expenses may also be available if it can be shown that the Veteran passed due to a service-connected condition.
To see if you may be eligible for survivor benefits contact the Veterans Assistance Commission at (815) 334-4229.