Dependent Benefits

Surviving spouses and dependents of deceased veterans may be eligible for a monthly pension payments from the Veterans Administration.

Widow’s DIC (Depended Indemnity Compensation)

Widow’s Pension Non-Service Connected

When a veteran passes away, the widow may be eligible for one of two types of pension.

The first, DIC, is a monetary compensation for the widow because the veteran died of a service related condition.

For example:

The veteran was service connected for Diabetes, hypertension, bilateral hearing loss.

If the death certificate lists one of the above conditions as a primary or contributing cause of death, the Widow is then eligible for DIC. This monetary benefit is not contingent on income.

DIC is a monthly benefit paid to eligible survivors of:

Military service member who died while on active duty, active duty for training, or inactive duty training, OR

Veteran whose death resulted from a service-related injury or disease, OR

Veteran whose death resulted from a non service-related injury or disease, and who was receiving, or was entitled to receive, VA Compensation for service-connected disability that was rated as totally disabling:

  1. For at least 10 years immediately before death, OR
  2. Since the veteran’s release from active duty and for at least five years immediately preceding death, OR
  3. Or at least one year before death if the veteran was a former prisoner of war who died after September 30, 1999

Who Is Eligible?

The surviving spouse if he or she:

Validly married the veteran before January 1, 1957, OR

Was married to a service member who died on active duty, active duty for training, or inactive duty training, OR

Married the veteran within 15 years of discharge from the period of military service in which the disease or injury that caused the veteran’s death began or was aggravated, OR

Was married to the veteran for at least one year, OR

Had a child with the veteran, AND

Cohabited with the veteran continuously until the veteran’s death or, if separated, was not at fault for the separation, AND

Is not currently remarried *

Note: A surviving spouse who remarries on or after December 16, 2003, and on or after attaining age 57, is entitled to continue to receive DIC.

The surviving child(ren), if he/she is:

Not included on the surviving spouse’s DIC

Unmarried, AND

Under age 18, or between the ages of 18 and 23 and attending school

Note: Certain helpless adult children are entitled to DIC. Call the toll-free number below for the eligibility requirements.

The surviving parent(s) may be eligible for an income-based benefit. See our fact sheet, Parents’ DIC.

How Much Does VA Pay?

The basic monthly rate of DIC is $1,195 for an eligible surviving spouse.  The rate is increased for each dependent child, and also if the surviving spouse is housebound or in need of aid and attendance.

VA also adds a transitional benefit of $296 to the surviving spouse’s monthly DIC if there are children under age 18.  The amount is based on a family unit, not individual children.

Click the button below for benefit rate tables, including those for children alone and parents.

Non-Service Related Death

What Is Death Pension?

Death pension is a benefit paid to eligible dependents of deceased wartime veterans.

Who Is Eligible?

You may be eligible if:

The deceased veteran was discharged from service under other than dishonorable conditions, AND

He or she served 90 days or more of active duty with at least 1 day during a period of war *, AND

You are the surviving spouse or unmarried child of the deceased veteran, AND

Your countable income is below a yearly income limit set by law

* Note: Anyone who enlists after September 7, 1980, generally must have served at least 24 months or the full period for which called or ordered to active duty. Service from August 2, 1990 to present is considered to be a period of war (Gulf War) in addition to other periods of war such as World War II, Korea, and Vietnam.