Pensions for survivors: what you need to know
Many survivors and dependents have no idea that they are eligible for a pension. Over the years working in veterans law, our office has assisted many children, parents, and spouses with attaining the myriad services available to them.
The Survivors Pension Benefit, also known as the Death Pension, is a tax-free monetary benefit paid to a low-income, un-remarried surviving spouse and/or unmarried children of a deceased veteran with wartime service. The deceased veteran must meet the following criteria:
- if the veteran served before September 7, 1980, the vet must have served at least 90 days of active military service, with at lease one day during a war time period
- if the veteran served after September 7, 1980, he or she must have served for at least 24 months or the full period called upon them, with at least one day during a war time period
- the vet must have been discharged under other than dishonorable conditions
The pension is based on yearly family income. Spouses are always eligible, children must be:
- under 18
- OR under 23 if at a VA-approved school
- OR incapable of self-support, which must have been apparent before age 18
To apply, fill out VA form 21-534, Application for Dependency and Indemnity Compensation, Death Pension and Accrued Benefits for Surviving Spouse or Child and submit it to your local VA regional office.
Are you a survivor who was denied benefits or are unsure about your eligibility? Contact us.
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