Surviving Spouse: Legal Definition

In the context of VA disability, a “surviving spouse” is someone who was married to a veteran at the time of the veteran’s death, lived with the veteran continuously from the marriage date until the date of death, and has not remarried or cohabitated with another person in a domestic arrangement resembling marriage.

The spouse of a deceased veteran who separated with the veteran through no fault of their own or because of misconduct on the veteran’s behalf still qualifies as a surviving spouse despite not meeting the continuous living requirement.

Benefits Available to Surviving Spouses of Veterans

Surviving spouses of veterans are eligible for a number of financial benefits from VA. These include the Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (DIC) program and Survivors Pension. A veteran’s husband or wife may be able to receive their VA benefits after they pass away as well.

Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (DIC)

Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (DIC) is a VA program that provides benefits to surviving spouses and dependents of deceased veterans. It compensates them for many of the economic losses they endure following the veteran’s death.

For a surviving spouse or dependent child to qualify for DIC, the veteran must have:

  • Died in the line of duty or during their military service; or
  • Died from an injury or illness sustained in the line of duty or during their military service; or
  • Died from another cause but while living had a 100% VA impairment rating due to an injury or illness sustained in the line of duty or during their military service.

If you are a surviving spouse whose veteran died under one of the conditions above, a VA disability lawyer can help you receive DIC benefits from VA.

Survivors Pension

A Survivors Pension is a tax-free monetary benefit paid to certain surviving spouses of deceased service members. This benefit is restricted to surviving spouses with limited incomes and who are not remarried. It is also available to unmarried children of veterans who died in combat duty.

If a surviving spouse meets the income requirements and has not remarried, they may qualify for the Survivors Pension if their veteran met all three of these service requirements:

  • If they entered the service before September 7, 1980, they must have served on active duty for at least 90 days, with at least one of those days being in a wartime period.
  • If they entered the service after September 7, 1980, they must have served 24 consecutive months or the full period of active duty for which they were called, with at least one day during their service being in a wartime period.
  • They must have received a discharge that was not dishonorable.

For a Free Disability Consultation and Case Evaluation, Call Disability Advantage Group Today at 865-566-0800

If you have a question about VA disability, or if you are applying or appealing for benefits, a VA disability lawyer from the Disability Advantage Group may be able to help. Call us today for a free consultation and case evaluation: 865-566-0800.