Spouse & Survivor Benefits
Applying for Benefits
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Office Location: 206 Court Street, Chilton, WI 53014
Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (DIC) is a tax free monetary benefit paid to eligible survivors of military service members who died in the line of duty or eligible survivors of Veterans whose death resulted from a service-related injury or disease.
Eligibility (Surviving Spouse)
You may be eligible for VA benefits or compensation if you meet these requirements.
One of these must be true:
- You lived with the Veteran or service member without a break until their death, or
- If you’re separated, you weren’t at fault for the separation.
And one of these must be true:
- You married the Veteran or service member within 15 years of their discharge from the period of military service during which the qualifying illness or injury started or got worse, or
- You were married to the Veteran or service member for at least 1 year, or
- You had a child with the Veteran or service member.
Note: If you remarried, you can receive or continue to receive compensation if one of these describes you:
- You remarried on or after December 16, 2003, and you were 57 years of age or older at the time you remarried, or
- You remarried on or after January 5, 2021, and you were 55 years of age or older at the time you remarried.
You’ll need to provide evidence with your claim showing that one of these descriptions is true for the Veteran or service member. Evidence may include documents like military service records, doctor’s reports, and medical test results.
Provide evidence showing that one of these is true:
- The service member died while on active duty, active duty for training, or inactive-duty training, or
- The Veteran died from a service-connected illness or injury, or
- The Veteran didn’t die from a service-connected illness or injury, but was eligible to receive VA compensation for a service-connected disability rated as totally disabling for a certain period of time.
If the Veteran’s eligibility was due to a rating of totally disabling, they must have had this rating:
- For at least 10 years before their death, or
- Since their release from active duty and for at least 5 years immediately before their death, or
- For at least 1 year before their death if they were a former prisoner of war who died after September 30, 1999.
Note: “Totally disabling” means the Veteran’s injuries made it impossible for them to work.
Applying for Death and Indemnity (DIC) Compensation
- Supporting documentation includes:
- Copies of marriage license to Veteran,
- Divorce decrees from all marriages,
- Copy of the Veteran’s death certificate and appropriate medical records.
Survivors Pension Benefit
(Aid & Attendance/Housebound)
The Survivors Pension benefit provides monthly payments to qualified surviving spouses and unmarried dependent children of wartime Veterans who meet certain income and net worth limits set by Congress.
You may be eligible for this benefit if you haven’t remarried after the Veteran’s death, and if the deceased Veteran didn’t receive a dishonorable discharge and their service meets at least one of these requirements.
At least one of these must be true:
- The Veteran entered active duty on or before September 7, 1980, and served at least 90 days on active military service, with at least 1 day during a covered wartime period, or
- The Veteran entered active duty after September 7, 1980, and served at least 24 months or the full period for which they were called or ordered to active duty (with some exceptions), with at least 1 day during a covered wartime period, or
- The Veteran was an officer and started on active duty after October 16, 1981, and hadn’t previously served on active duty for at least 24 months.
- World War II (December 7, 1941 - December 31, 1946).
- Korean conflict (June 27, 1950 - January 31, 1955).
- Vietnam era (November 1, 1955 - May 7, 1975) for Veterans who served in the Republic of Vietnam during that period; otherwise (August 5, 1964 - May 7, 1975).
- Gulf War (August 2, 1990 - through a future date to be set by law or Presidential Proclamation).
And this must be true for you:
Your yearly family income and net worth meet certain limits set by Congress. Your net worth includes all personal property you own (except your house, your car, and most home furnishings), minus any debt you own. Your net worth includes the net worth of your spouse. Find out about Survivors Pension rates
Eligibility for a VA Survivors Pension as the child of a deceased wartime Veteran
You may be eligible for this benefit if you’re unmarried and you meet at least one of these requirements.
At least one of these must be true:
- You’re under age 18, or
- You’re under age 23 and attending a VA-approved school, or
- You’re unable to care for yourself due to a disability that happened before age 18.
Aid & Attendance (A&A)/Housebound
Veterans and survivors who are eligible for a VA pension, and require the A&A of another person, or are housebound, may be eligible for additional monetary payment. These benefits are paid in addition to monthly pension, and they are not paid without eligibility to Pension.
Since A&A and Housebound allowances increase the pension amount, people who are not eligible for a basic pension due to excessive income may be eligible for pension at these increased rates. A surviving spouse may not receive aid and attendance benefits and housebound benefits at the same time.
The Aid & Attendance (A&A) increased monthly pension amount may be added to your monthly pension amount if you meet one of the following conditions:
- You require the aid of another person in order to perform personal functions required in everyday living, such as bathing, feeding, dressing, attending to the wants of nature, adjusting prosthetic devices, or protecting yourself from the hazards of your daily environment.
- You are bedridden, in that your disability or disabilities requires that you remain in bed apart from any prescribed course of convalescence or treatment.
- You are a patient in a nursing home due to mental or physical incapacity.
- Your eyesight is limited to a corrected 5/200 visual acuity or less in both eyes; or concentric contraction of the visual field to 5 degrees or less.
This increased monthly pension amount may be added to your monthly pension amount when you are substantially confined to your immediate premises because of permanent disability.
Applying for Survivor Pension (A&A/Housebound)
- A statement from the surviving spouse’s physician must be submitted which provides the medical history, diagnosis, prognosis, and the degree of disabling effect of the medical condition.
- VA Form 21-2680 is available from the County Veterans service Office to serve this purpose.
- Supporting documentation includes:
- A copy of the Veteran's discharge from active duty,
- Proof of income and net worth: (social security, pension, checking, savings, stocks, bonds, IRA's, etc.),
- Calculation of out of pocket medical expense,
- A copy of Marriage certificate, if applicable,
- If the surviving spouse is in a nursing home, assisted living facility, or receiving in-home care; a statement attesting to the level of care and the cost of care must be submitted. A form for this purpose is available from the County Veterans Service Office.