What type of veterans widow benefits am I eligible for?

A fellow caregiver asked...

I am a veteran's widow and we were legally married with no children. What type of veterans widow benefits am I eligible for?

Expert Answer

Two major veterans benefits may be available to you as the widow of a veteran, depending on your financial situation and on your husband's military experience. These may include a pension and Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (DIC).

If you have very low income, you might qualify for a pension.(It's not available to you if you're remarried, however.) Your veteran husband must have had at least 90 days of active military service, at least one day of which was during a period of war, though there's no requirement that he actually saw combat. The pension can be up to $625 per month, depending on your financial need. The amount can go higher if you are housebound or you need regular in-home assistance.

Depending on your husband's experience in the military, you might also be eligible for Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (DIC), which pays at least $1,091 a month. To qualify for DIC payments, your husband must have met one of the following requirements:

  • Died while on active duty;
  • Died from an injury or disease incurred while on active duty or on inactive duty training; or
  • Had a 100 percent-rated service-connected disability for ten years prior to his death, or for five years from date of his discharge until his death.

To get more information about veterans benefits for a widow, you can call the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) toll-free at 800-827-1000. Advisers can answer questions and direct you to a nearby VA benefits office, as well as start a benefits application for you. You can also get information about specific veterans benefits by going to the VA website, which has an online application page. Or you can make an appointment to talk to a VA benefits counselor in person at a local VA benefits office, which you can find by using the VA website's office locator page.