Survivor Benefits

Death Gratuity Payment

Military services provide payment, called a death gratuity, in the amount of $100,000 to the next of kin of Servicemembers who die while on active duty (including those who die within 120 days of separation) as a result of service-connected injury or illness.

If there is no surviving spouse or child, then parents or siblings designated as next of kin by the Servicemember may be provided the payment. The payment is made by the last military command of the deceased. If the beneficiary is not paid automatically, application may be made to the military service concerned.

Dependency and Indemnity Compensation

Eligibility: For a survivor to be eligible for Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (DIC), one of the following must have directly caused or contributed to the Veteran's death:

  1. A disease or injury incurred or aggravated in the line of duty while on active duty or active duty for training.
  2. An injury, heart attack, cardiac arrest, or stroke incurred or aggravated in the line of duty while on inactive duty for training.
  3. A service-connected disability or a condition directly related to a service-connected disability.

DIC also may be paid to certain survivors of Veterans who were totally disabled from service-connected conditions at the time of death, even though their service-connected disabilities did not cause their deaths. The survivor qualifies if the Veteran was:

  1. Continuously rated totally disabled for a period of 10 years immediately preceding death; or
  2. Continuously rated totally disabled from the date of military discharge and for at least 5 years
    immediately preceding death; or
  3. A former POW who was continuously rated totally disabled for a period of at least on a year immediately preceding death.

Payments will be offset by any amount received from judicial proceedings brought on by the Veteran's death. When the surviving spouse is eligible for payments under the military's Survivor Benefit Plan (SBP), only the amount of SBP greater than DIC is payable. If DIC is greater than SBP, only DIC is payable. The Veteran's discharge must have been under conditions other than dishonorable.

Payments for Deaths After Jan. 1, 1993: Surviving spouses of Veterans who died on or after Jan. 1, 1993, receive a basic rate, plus additional payments for dependent children, for the aid and attendance of another person if they are patients in a nursing home or require the regular assistance of another person, or if they are permanently housebound.

Aid and Attendance and Housebound Benefits

Surviving Surviving spouses who are eligible for DIC or survivors pension may also be eligible for Aid and Attendance or Housebound benefits. They may apply for these benefits by writing to their VA regional office. They should include copies of any evidence, preferably a report from an attending physician or a nursing home, validating the need for aid and attendance or housebound care. The report should contain sufficient detail to determine whether there is disease or injury producing physical or mental impairment, loss of coordination, or conditions affecting the ability to dress and undress, to feed oneself, to attend to sanitary needs, and to keep oneself ordinarily clean and presentable. In addition, it is necessary to determine whether the surviving spouse is confined to the home or immediate premises. Want to Know More Click Here!  Survivor Benefits