Does my mother get any death benefits if she was a veteran's widow?

1 answer | Last updated: Jun 28, 2011
Scottr asked...

My father was a veteran and passed away at age 83 in 2007. My mother, his wife, survived for another 4 years and just recently passed away at age 87. I am wondering if there is any death benefit paid upon my Mother's death as a widow of a veteran. Hope this makes sense and I appreciate any guidance you can provide.


Expert Answers

Barbara Repa, a Caring.com senior editor, is an attorney, a journalist specializing in aging issues, and the author of Your Rights in the Workplace (Nolo), now in its 10th edition.

Your question makes perfect sense"”although the answer, which will be based on particular factors such as your father's length and type of service, may seem a bit elusive. There are also some local veterans programs that may provide more generous benefits for surviving family members. So it's worth doing a bit of digging, but you may have to make a few calls or visits.

Widows and sometimes other surviving family members are entitled to some benefits through the Veterans Administration (VA) at death, mostly related to burials and memorials rather than a money payment. For example, many spouses and dependents are entitled to be buried in a national cemetery and have some related costs covered including the gravesite, graveliner, opening and closing of the grave, a headstone or marker, and perpetual care for the grave.

To get more information about veterans benefits for survivors, you call the benefits specialists at the Department of Veterans Affairs at 800-827-1000. Advisers there should be able to answer your questions, which will relate directly to the particulars of your father's service, so be sure to have that information handy.

You would also be wise to talk with a VA benefits counselor at a local VA benefits office, which you can find by using the VA website's office locator page at www2.va.gov/directory/guide/home.asp?isFlash=1.