Family Member Benefits

Death Pension

What is Survivors' (Death) Pension?
Survivors' (Death) Pension is a needs-based benefit paid to an unremarried surviving spouse or an unmarried child, who meets certain requirements of a qualified deceased wartime Veteran.

There are a number of criteria that may affect your eligibility to pension benefits. If you are unsure if you meet all criteria, we encourage you to contact our office to discuss your income and assets. Unreimbursed medical expenses may lower your annual income and help provide eligibility. Often surviving spouses use this benefit to assist in payment of an Assisted Living Facility, Nursing Home Fees or home healthcare.

Dependency Indemnity Compensation (DIC)

DIC is a monthly benefit paid to eligible survivors of one of the following:

  • a military service member who died while on active duty, active duty for training, or inactive duty training
  • a veteran whose death resulted from a service-related injury or disease
  • a veteran whose death resulted from a non-service-related injury or disease, and who was receiving, or was entitled to receive, VA Compensation for service connected disability that was rated as totally disabling. It must meet one of the following sets of criteria:
    • occurred for a duration of at least 10 years immediately before death
    • occurred since the veteran's release from active duty for a duration of at least five years immediately preceding death
    • occurred at least one year before death if the veteran was a former prisoner of war who died after September 30, 1999
  • a veteran who, in certain instances, has a presumptive condition.

Emergency Financial Assistance

Surviving spouses and or minor children may be eligible for Emergency Financial Assistance. Follow this link to see the Financial Assistance section of our site.

CHAMPVA Information

The Civilian Health and Medical Program of the Department of Veterans Affairs (CHAMPVA) is a comprehensive health care program in which the VA shares the cost of covered health care services and supplies with eligible beneficiaries. The program is administered by the Veterans Health Administration Office of Community Care (VHA OCC) in Denver, Colorado. In general, CHAMPVA covers most health care services and supplies that are medically and psychologically necessary. Upon confirmation of eligibility, you will receive a CHAMPVA Program Guide that specifically addresses covered and non-covered services and supplies.

For a complete listing of non-covered services and supplies please consult the CHAMPVA Policy Manual.


Agent Orange Exposure
Surviving spouses of in-country Vietnam Vets can follow this link to review the Agent Orange Exposure List. If your spouse's cause of death was one of the diseases on that list you should file a claim for DIC.

agent orange VA poster