Can I receive veteran's benefits again from my first late husband?

1 answer | Last updated: Oct 14, 2016
A fellow caregiver asked...

My first husband died in the service over 40 years ago. I have been married twice since then, but I am divorced now. Can I start receiving veteran's benefits again from my first husband?

Expert Answers

Rita Files, LPN, VSR, a nationally recognized expert on the elderly, has more than 30 years of experience in the health care industry, with 20 years focused on eldercare. She has developed programs for many leading providers in the senior living industry. Accredited through the V.A. in veterans' benefits, she is an advocate and powerful resource committed to educating veterans and their families about the nonservice connected pension benefit and providing them with accurate information. She is cofounder and COO of Aging with Grace.

Yes, you may be able to since you were married to the veteran at the time of his service-connected death and are not currently married, you may be eligible for the [Restored Entitlement Program for Survivors (REPS)] ( to begin receiving VA benefits under your first husband again.

REPS benefits are payable to certain survivors of members or former members of the Armed Forces who died while on active duty prior to August 13, 1981, or who died from a disability incurred in or aggravated by active duty prior to August13, 1981.

This restoration policy for widows and widowers has been in effect since 1998 and is similar to the benefits for students and surviving spouses with children between ages 16 and 18 that were eliminated from Social Security benefits.

The benefits are payable in addition to any other benefits you may qualify for. The amount of the benefit is based on information provided by the Social Security Administration.

Contact or visit your local or [Regional VA office] ( for additional information about filing [VA form 21-8924] ( and the necessary documentation that is needed.