Spouses, as well as surviving spouses, may have benefits

A lot of veterans ask if their wives have any benefits and I have to say “it depends.”

Spouses and surviving spouses of veterans sometimes have benefits based on the status of the veteran. If the veteran has a VA rating of 100 percent for a service connected illness or injury, spouses are eligible for education benefits, health coverage, ID card privileges, commissary and PX access, employment services and property tax exemptions.

Surviving spouses of veterans who were either rated at 100 percent for 10 years or more, or died from a service connected illness or injury are also eligible for Dependent Indemnity Compensation (DIC) which amounts to approximately $1,100 a month.

If the veteran retired from the military and paid into the Survivor Benefits Program (SBP), the spouse will receive a percentage of the veterans retirement pension however if she is eligible for DIC as well. She should apply for both and she will be paid the higher of the two benefits.

Surviving spouses of veterans who served 90 days of active duty with at least one day during a period of war and are not receiving DIC are also eligible to apply for pension and aid and attendance to help with the cost of assisted living but this benefit is subject to income and net worth limitations.

Sometimes former wives of veterans ask me if they are entitled to benefits and I have to say “it depends.”

Some former spouses of military retirees will get a portion of their ex-husbands retirement and that is discussed during the divorce proceedings but if you were divorced at the time of the veteran’s death, you are not considered the surviving spouse and therefore not entitled to survivor benefits from the VA.

I encourage current spouses and surviving spouses to contact my office if they have specific questions because every circumstance is different. We will carefully review your case and give you the best advice moving forward.

If you are a recent widow of a veteran, please contact my office immediately at 817-579-3292.

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