V.A. Death Pension

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What is a V.A. Death Pension?

A V.A. Death Pension is a monthly payment made to very low-income surviving spouses (who have not remarried), or minor or permanently disabled children, of deceased veterans who served in time of war.

Who's eligible for a V.A. Death Pension?

Eligibility for a V.A. Death Pension depends on both the deceased veteran and the survivor(s) meeting certain criteria. The deceased veteran must meet both of the following conditions:

  • The veteran must have been discharged from service under other than dishonorable conditions.

  • The veteran must have served at least 90 days of active military service, at least one day of which was during an official period of war. If the veteran entered active duty after September 7, 1980, he or she must have served at least 24 months, or the full period for which called or ordered to active duty.

The surviving family member must be at least one of the following:

  • The surviving spouse, of any age, who has not remarried

  • The unmarried minor child of the veteran

  • The unmarried child who was permanently disabled before the age of 18 and incapable of self-support

A surviving family member also must have "countable" income that's below an extremely low yearly limit.

What's considered "countable income" for a V.A. Death Pension?

Most types of income received by a deceased veteran's survivor are counted by the V.A. when considering eligibility for a V.A. Death Pension. This includes earnings, profits from a business, Social Security and other retirement and disability payments, and interest and dividends.

However, certain types of income are not counted by the V.A. These are generally amounts paid to the veteran's surviving spouse or child as part of a federal, state, or local public assistance program based on financial need, such as Supplemental Security Income (SSI), general assistance (welfare), and food stamps. Also, some out-of-pocket medical expenses the survivor incurs after filing a claim may be deducted from countable income, resulting in a higher Death Pension amount (see below).

How does the V.A. calculate the amount of a V.A. Death Pension?

The V.A. sets a yearly Death Pension limit amount, which depends on whether the veteran is single or has a spouse and/or minor dependents. This annual Death Pension limit is currently $7,933 for a single survivor or $10,385 for a survivor with one additional qualifying dependent. If a survivor qualifies for extra benefits because of being housebound, the amounts are $9,696 for a single survivor or $12,144 for a survivor with one dependent. If a survivor qualifies for extra benefits because of requiring the regular aid and attendance of another person, the amounts are $12,681 for a single veteran or $15,128 for a survivor with one dependent. These amounts go up by $2,020 for each additional dependent.

To calculate a qualifying survivor's Death Pension, the V.A. starts with the set limit and deducts the survivor's annual countable income. The amount that's left is the survivor's V.A. Death Pension, paid monthly.

Example: The annual V.A. Death Pension income limit for a single survivor is $7,933. If a survivor (who otherwise qualifies for a V.A. pension) has a yearly countable income of $6,000, that veteran's V.A. pension would be $1,933 ($7,933 - $6,000 = $1,933), paid to the veteran in monthly amounts of $162.

Can out-of-pocket medical expenses add to a V.A. Death Pension amount?

If the survivor of a veteran has out-of-pocket medical expenses (amounts that neither Medicare, Medicaid, nor any other insurance pays) that add up to more than 5 percent of the survivor's annual Death Pension limit, the V.A. will subtract the amount above 5 percent from the survivor's countable income. The result is a higher V.A. Death Pension payment.

Example: For a single survivor, 5 percent of the annual V.A. Death Pension limit is $397 (5 percent of $7,933 = $397). If a survivor has $1,000 in out-of-pocket medical expenses, that amount is more than 5 percent of the Death Pension limit. So the V.A. would deduct $603 from the survivor's countable income, which is the amount over the 5 percent limit ($1,000 - $397 = $603).

How can the survivor of a veteran apply for a V.A. Death Pension?

The survivor of a veteran can begin the application process for a V.A. Death Pension by downloading and completing the V.A.'s online Form 21-534, Application for Dependency and Indemnity Compensation, Death Pension and Accrued Benefits by Surviving Spouse or Child.

You must send the completed application and any copies of other requested documents to the V.A. regional office in the region where the survivor lives.

Note: Reapply if survivor later has out-of-pocket medical expenses. If a survivor doesn't qualify for a V.A. Death Pension because of slightly too much countable income, the survivor can reapply at any time if his or her out-of-pocket medical bills (not paid by Medicare, Medicaid, the V.A. health system, or other insurance) are more than 5 percent of the annual V.A. Death Pension limit for that survivor's pension category, and if subtracting the amount of those unpaid medical bills would bring the survivor's countable income below the yearly income limit.

Where can I get help applying for a V.A. Death Pension?

You can get free assistance with any V.A.-related question or problem by phone or in person through one of the V.A.'s Vet Centers, which are located in every state. You can also get assistance by contacting the V.A.'s Veterans Benefits Administration office nearest you. The V.A. also has a toll-free telephone help line at 800-827-1000.


6 months ago, said...

why its so hard to get your husdand pension /he was a world war two vet / purple heart / 4 star..


7 months ago, said...

Need to know what to tell my wife of 64 years if and when I die! I am in assisted living and she is in a retirement home! I am currently 85 and she is currently 84!


7 months ago, said...

Why is the Death Pension so much lower than the Federal Poverty Guideline? The surviving spouse (usually the woman) dedicate so much to the family while the military spouse is serving and should be compensated at the very least better than what they end up receiving, if at all. My father-in-law passed away and now my mother-in-law is thinking of getting a job at 75 yrs old, if not live with just the social security benefit which is close to nothing. I just don't understand!


8 months ago, said...

My husband passed away 8 years ago and I am not aware for applying death pension after he died. Am I still eligible for a death pension even if it is 8 years ago now? I already wrote VA regional office but I did not receive any response.


10 months ago, said...

My grandfather passed away he committed suicide i don't want to post are names but i would like to know if he will be honoured with a military death were my grandmother gets a flag and taps is played please any help will do if it helps he was in Vietnam and I was in Iraq


almost 2 years ago, said...

husband was in the military was an mp guarded prisoners in operation desert storm he passed away a couple of months ago from a terminal brain tumor at the age of 52 have no income comming in he had a wonderful job at ups so didnot need to work i am 40 would i qualify for his pension??


over 3 years ago, said...

I am 48. My dad serve in the Korea war and died in 1997. He is buried I. The riverside national cemetery. I am collecting some disability money it it ishary enough to live. Is there Any way I would been titled to any money form my dada ringing thewr when he died it was about 2 weeks before he recurve his fidgeting chi which was sad. He was mentally i. He died a d ever vot help cor bis long standing mentL illness elp so he lost everything I life. He lived. Sunland and tujunga I. Hi adult life


over 3 years ago, said...

very helpfull


almost 4 years ago, said...

Thank you so much for the prayer. If you would, please say a prayer for mother also. Thank you in advance.


almost 4 years ago, said...

The eligibility details and the specifics of the VA death pension limits.


almost 4 years ago, said...

I WAS JUST INFORMED BY LETTER THAT I HAVE BEEN DENIED SURVIVOR BENEFITS FOR MY HUSBAND, BECAUSE I WAS MARRIED LESS THAN A YEAR B4 HIS DEATH. WHAT THE HELL DOES THAT HAVE TO DO WITH ANYTHING!? I WAS LIVING IN THE SAME HOUSE FOR 4 YEARS B4 WE MARRIED AND TOOK CARE OF HIM DURING HIS ILLNESS.IM IN NEVADA A COMMUNITY PROPERTY STATE. WOULDNT THAT MEAN COMMONLAW SHOULD BE CONSIDERED?


about 4 years ago, said...

I am a disabled vet and I am alarmed by the number of active duty service members who are committing suicide. I started www.SharedSorrows.com to help people after the loss of a loved one. A good friend even helped me put together a thought of the day for 365 days after a loss. It is called CaringThought and it is free so if you know of someone who needs some encouragement after a loss by suicide, please tell them about us.


over 4 years ago, said...

Not understanding why Death Pension linit is so low when Cost of Living is so much higher.


over 4 years ago, said...

Just want to ask If I can get the VA death pension since my father passed away already, and I'm 22 years of age, I can't support myself now because I don't have work now?


over 4 years ago, said...

If my husband draws 100% Permanent Service Connected Disability from the VA, If he dies will I draw any of that monies and how much? My income is $800 a month in Social Security Disability for my own medical problems. Thanks


over 5 years ago, said...

Hi william, Thank you very much for your question. If you'd like, you can post your comment in our Ask & Answer section located here: (http://www.caring.com/ask). Take care -- Emily | Community Manager


over 5 years ago, said...

My moms ex husband died and she receives a death pension and she wants to know if she can receive food stamps while receiving this pension?


over 5 years ago, said...

Hi BellsnavyLi, Thanks for your question. If you'd like, you can post your comment in our Ask & Answer section located here: (http://www.caring.com/ask). Take care -- Emily | Community Manager


over 5 years ago, said...

I would also like to know if I didn't marry but my ex - husband married, can I receive his benifits ? His children are only by me, are adults.


over 6 years ago, said...

Assisted Living communities in Kentucky provide no health services, other than initial first aid as needed. They only provide aid for activities of daily living including bathing, dressing, grooming, transferring, toileting, and eating.


over 6 years ago, said...

Thanks for sharing the information. VA benefits helpful for a low income Veteran, their dependents, surviving spouse, child or parent of a deceased Veteran,Uniformed service member and Present or former reservist or National Guard members. More about veteran benefits can be read at http://www1.va.gov/opa/newtova.asp


over 6 years ago, said...

My Dad has just recently passed away. (Died of Pnemonia/due to complications having to do with his Senior Dementia.) I have sent the form; Application For Accrued Amounts Due A Deceased Beneficiary. How long do I wait before VA notifies me on whether or not I'll receive a claim? Plus they told me at the VA that my Dad stop paying his pension in 1993 (Korean War Vet) so that means that as his benificary I don't collect on his pension because it no longer exist. Is that true? Also exactly how much will I be getting if my claim goes thur. I hate to be morbid but I'm of low-income and I don't think my Dad would have liked me to strave and/or become homeless.


over 6 years ago, said...

The amount of the pension depends on the veteran's income and can be as much as $930 per month for a single veteran or $1,220 for a couple, but it's usually much less. Veterans who are more seriously disabled may also qualify for additional amounts called Aid and Attendance or Housebound benefits. A veteran cannot receive a V.A. pension if he or she is also receiving V.A. compensation for a service-connected disability. A veteran can apply for both, however, and the V.A. will pay whichever benefit is higher. If you're caring for a veteran, it's good to know that numerous veterans benefits programs from the Department of Veterans Affairs (V.A.) can provide financial support to a veteran, his or her spouse, and survivors. Even if he hasn't claimed veterans benefits before, his age, physical condition, or low income may now qualify him for financial help. By assisting him in the application process, you may be able to help improve his quality of life or benefit his survivors. Tags:- Payday Instant Loans | Paydayuk