Military Spouse Death Benefits

Military Spouse Death Benefits

It is hard enough to lose a dearly loved one, but to lose a spouse on active duty is another story. The federal government generously supports spouses of those who died serving their country.

Thus, the Department of Defense and other organizations are committed to connecting survivors with options to alleviate financial stress and assist with decision-making following a service member’s death. 

You can read on to learn some of the most significant benefits military spouses can receive following the death of their spouses.

Survivor Benefit Plan (SBP) Coverage

This military spouse death benefit comes in an annuity, a monthly payout provided by SBP to qualifying beneficiaries. An annuitant is a person who receives an SBP annuity. The SBP percentage is calculated based on the retiring salary. 

The proportion varies depending on whether the member elects full or limited coverage when they vote (generally at retirement or 20-year qualification). When a service member dies, SBP pays up to 55% of their retirement salary to an eligible beneficiary. 

The SBP annuity is given out monthly to the surviving spouse or the member’s kid or children when the service member goes away.

Base AmountSBP CostsSBP Benefits: 55% of Base Amount

Dependency And Indemnity Compensation (DIC) 

If you are the spouse, child, or parent of a service member who died in the line of duty or the spouse, child, or parent of a veteran who died from a service-related illness or accident. In that case, you may be eligible for Dependency and Indemnity Compensation, a tax-free monetary benefit (DIC). Surviving Spouses that match the following criteria may be eligible for DIC.

Provisions include:

  • Married the veteran or military member before January 1, 1957 
  • Married the veteran or service member within 15 years of their release from military duty when the qualifying illness or injury began or worsened
  • Were married for at least one year to the veteran or service member
  • Had a child with the veteran or service member, aren’t currently remarried, and either lived with the veteran or service member without interruption until their death or were not at fault for the separation.


If the sponsor served or was ordered to active duty for more than 30 days at death, surviving wives and unmarried children of deceased active duty or retired service personnel are eligible for Tricare.

Provisions include:

  • For the first three years after the active-duty sponsor’s death, claims will be cost-shared at the active duty family member rate and then at the retiree rate.
  • Widows and widowers are entitled to benefits until they remarry (loss of benefits remains applicable even if the remarriage ends in death or divorce).
  • Unless they meet one of the conditions listed above, children are eligible until they reach the age of 21.

Death Pension

The VA Survivor’s Pension (sometimes known as the Death Pension) is a tax-free benefit given to dependents of deceased war veterans. The difference between your countable income and the yearly income restriction that applies to your case is paid by VA (see chart below). The difference is usually paid in 12 equal monthly installments, rounded to the nearest dollar.

Provisions include:

  • The dead soldier was discharged from the military for reasons other than dishonorable.
  • They were on active duty for at least 24 months and one day during the conflict.
  • You are the dead veteran’s unmarried surviving spouse or unmarried child.
  • You have a net worth and income combined of $138,489 or less.
  • Your net worth does not include your home or car but your savings and investments and items such as furniture.

Death Gratuity

To assist surviving family members in handling financial problems resulting from a military member’s death, the Department of Defense provides them with a non-taxable death gratuity. Survivors will receive $100,000. 

Federal and state income taxes are not due on the death gratuity. Survivors of persons who died under the following circumstances are entitled to a death gratuity.

Provisions include:

  • A member who dies while on active service or while traveling on official business
  • A reservist who dies while doing inactive duty training or traveling on official business
  • An ROTC member who dies while on permitted travel or performing an annual training assignment under instructions for more than 13 days
  • A person who has been approved for active duty dies while en route to or from that location.

Getting financial relief during a difficult time is a form of support the American government recognizes and upholds for military families. People who have lost loved ones serving in the military can benefit from spouse benefits. Visit our blogs at PAGuard today to learn more about military benefits.

Leona Rankin
Founder Leona has worked for years as a Corporate Security Manager until she decided to form the company. She deemed all information regarding security should be regarded as a necessity, especially nowadays where threat may be imminent everywhere, whether in the physical, or the digital world.