Survivor’s Pension

Also known as a Death Pension, the Survivor’s Pension aims to ease the financial burden carried by the surviving spouse or child of a deceased veteran. To qualify, a spouse must not be remarried and should be considered low income.* In order for a child to be eligible to receive his or her parent’s Survivor’s Pension, the child must be under the age of 18 or under the age of 23 if attending a VA approved school. Additionally, children who are  permanently unable to care for themselves due to a disability prior to age 18 are eligible for benefits without an upper age limit.

What are the service requirements for the veteran?

Above are the requirements for the recipient. What requirements are placed upon the veteran?

The deceased veteran must have met the following criteria:

  • Service on or before 9/7/1980 requires 90 days of active duty with at least one day during an active war period
  • For active duty after 9/7/1980, the veteran must have served for at least 24 months OR the full time for which they were called to duty with at least one day in an active war period
  • The veteran must have been discharged from service under other than dishonorable conditions

Don’t be confused – active duty during an active war period does not mean the veteran must have been involved in any sort of combat operations.  Those who served stateside far from the warzone during a conflict are just as eligible as those who saw combat.

How much money is the Survivor’s Pension?

The amount of pension paid is the difference between declared income/net worth and Congress’s current maximum allowed pension rate (currently $8,485). That difference is then split into 12 monthly payments.

To receive Survivor’s Pension, you’ll need to first determine your income and net worth. Because many applicants have quite a bit of medical expenses, it is important to include these to receive as large of a monthly benefit as possible. As long as the veteran’s service qualifies as above, and your income falls below the federal maximum, you can easily apply using the VA form 21-534EZ.

If you have questions about eligibility or the criteria involved in determinging Survivor’s Pension eligibility, reach out to us for a free consultation.  Simply complete the “Need Help” form or call the phone number on the upper right of this page to set one up.

* The definition of low income varies each year, subject to Congressional guidelines. For a spouse with no dependents, the current years’ maximum income allowed is $8,485. However, there are many deductions which can be used. The calculation can be quite complex. A survivor may apply or reapply any time their income/net worth falls below the maximum.