Losing a loved one in the military, such as your husband or wife, is a special form of loss that few people comprehend. On the other hand, the U.S. government attempts to support the spouses of the heroic men and women who have served the country by providing several military spouse perks that they can take advantage of.
Survivors of dead active duty military personnel and veterans are eligible for certain financial payments. Some of these programs are exclusively available to low-income families, while others are based on the veteran’s service-related impairments (if any). Read on to know more about the possible military spouse benefits you can get after losing a husband or wife.
Survivor Benefits Plan (SBP) Payments
SBP payments may be available to the surviving spouses or children of service members who died in the line of duty while on active duty. Since service members do not pay into the SBP death benefit while on active duty, it is offered free.
If a service member dies while on active duty, the SBP annuity pays a payout equal to 55% of their retirement salary if they were retired at 100% disability.
The SBP annuity of surviving spouses eligible for Dependency and Indemnity Compensation from the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) is dollar-for-dollar offset by law.
Dependents Indemnity Compensation (DIC) Benefits
DIC benefits are available to survivors of service personnel killed in the line of duty and survivors of veterans who died from service-connected disabilities or who had a 100% disability rating for some time before death.
However, you may be entitled to dependents indemnity compensation (DIC) benefits instead of continuing disability compensation payments.
Criteria For Eligibility
To be eligible for DIC, a surviving spouse must meet one of the following criteria:
- Married the veteran for at least a year before they died
- Suppose you married a veteran who died from a service-connected disability within 15 years of discharge from the period of duty that caused the disability. In that case, you might be eligible for benefits.
- Married a veteran and had a child with the veteran,
- Married a service member who died while on active duty(including for training) or inactive duty for training.
- Additionally, the surviving spouse must have lived with the veteran without any separations up to the time of death, unless the surviving spouse was responsible for that separation.
Retroactive Disability Compensation (Accrued Benefits)
The same VA application form (21-354) used to request DIC also includes a request for payment of accumulated benefits, using the same application process as detailed above.
Surviving spouses or children who meet the DIC requirements can seek any retroactive payment for service-connected disability compensation that the dead veteran owed. This can be a substantial sum of money at times.
Claiming your deceased military spouse benefits shouldn’t be a difficult process to worry about during an already difficult time. Make all the proper queries before your spouse starts active duty and prepare for the worst-case scenario by researching and exploring our resources at PAGuard today.