Spouse, Dependent and Survivor Benefits Information
The Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (DIC) packages offered to service personnel are available to veterans' spouses, dependents and any surviving family members. The DIC program provides family members of injured service members and survivors of deceased veterans with financial compensation. GI Bill benefits can assist in paying for educational expenses, career training and housing costs. VA home loans, life insurance and supplementary income are also available through veterans benefits. To understand Dependency and Indemnity Compensation and other benefits programs, read the comprehensive topics below.
- Compensation from the DIC program
- Payment for education and training
- Health care and life insurance
- Other GI Bill benefits
Compensation From the DIC Program
The Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (DIC) program, run by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), issues compensation payments each month to spouses and children of veterans for the economic loss caused by the death, disease or disability of a service member or veteran. The DIC program pays compensation to survivors of a veteran whose death, although not the result of service activities, followed a specified period of disability recognized by the VA. Dependent parents of DIC veterans whose deaths are service-connected are also eligible to receive Parents' DIC as long as they meet specified income qualifications.
Payment for Education and Training
The Survivors' and Dependents' Educational Assistance program and Post-9/11 GI Bill are two of the main education programs available to servicemembers as well as veterans' spouses, dependents and survivors. The Survivors' and Dependents' Educational Assistance (DEA) program is available to eligible dependents of veterans who are permanently and totally disabled or who died while on active duty or from a service-related condition. Compensation from Post-9/11 GI Bill benefits is available to eligible veterans in addition to spouses and dependents upon transfer of benefits. This GI Bill for dependents and other eligible family members of military personnel is available to split amongst multiple family members. Another GI Bill benefits program is The Marine Gunnery Sergeant John David Fry Scholarship, which accommodates the survivors and dependents of eligible service members. The Marine Gunnery Sergeant John David Fry Scholarship is available to families of service members who died after September 10, 2001 in the line of duty.
These GI Bill benefits for education and training assist beneficiaries with meeting costs of tuition, books, supplies and housing for non-college degree programs, traditional degree programs, apprenticeships, on-the-job training or any other career development program. Eligible Post-9/11 GI Bill service members can transfer GI Bill benefits to on-the-job training programs or to college classes. Although other GI Bill benefits programs are provided by the VA, the Post 9/11 GI Bill program is unique due to two other components known as the Yellow Ribbon Program and Transfer of Entitlement Option.
Health Care and Life Insurance
The Family Servicemembers' Group Life Insurance (FSGLI) can be used by spouses of service members to convert spousal coverage to individual insurance plans with another private company. FSGLI does not require proof of good health, provided the application is submitted within 120 days after the service member separates from the military, separates from the current spouse or dies. Veterans family life insurance is a tax-free monetary benefit that beneficiaries can use for any purposes they wish to fulfill. Beneficiaries of FSGLI spousal coverage, Veterans Group Life Insurance (VGLI) or Servicemenmbers Group Life Insurance (SGLI) also qualify to receive free Online Will Preparation Services. For this reason, they do not need to hire a financial advisor or attorney.
Veterans family life insurance health care benefits are also available to veterans' dependents, spouses or survivors, as long as they meet eligibility conditions. By enrolling to receive benefits from any of these programs, beneficiaries can lower the costs of medical supplies, prescriptions and office visit co-pays. Health care programs under VA coverage include:
- Spina Bifida (SB VA)
- Civilian Health and Medical Program (CHAMPVA)
- Foreign Medical Program (FMP)
- Children of Women Vietnam Veterans (CWVV)
By offering veterans burial benefits, the VA honors dependents, spouses and survivors of eligible veterans, giving them burial space at any of the 134 VA-maintained national cemeteries. Veterans burial benefits include burial, inscriptions on the headstone and perpetual gravesite care. Regardless of whether the VA buries the related veteran at a national cemetery, a licensed gravedigger can bury eligible spouses, survivors or dependents at a national cemetery. Veterans burial benefits are available to the dependents, spouses or survivors, regardless of whether the veteran is alive or deceased.
Other GI Bill Benefits
Dependents who qualify for VA Survivors' and Dependents' Educational Assistance program are also eligible to receive assistance from the VA's Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment program. The program locates jobs for veterans spouses who need economic empowerment while also offering them career choices, coaching and personalized support. While focusing on jobs for military spouses, the program also provides counseling and training to improve employability skills of survivors who are caring for a service-disabled veteran.
Three VA home loans guaranty programs are available to eligible surviving spouses of veterans. VA home loans programs can help veterans to purchase a home, construct a home, finance home improvement or refinance mortgages. Among the VA home loans programs that spouses may qualify for are Cash-Out Refinance Home Loans, Purchase Loans and Interest Rate Reduction Refinance Loans. Purchase Loans enable beneficiaries to purchase homes at more favorable rates than those available to civilians. The Cash-Out Refinance Loan is available to homeowners who would like to use their home equity in order to handle concerns like debt, home improvement or school funding. Interest Rate Reduction Refinance Loans lower the interest of a VA beneficiary by refinancing an existing VA home loan.
In addition to veterans family life insurance, there are pension benefits for survivors of wartime veterans who meet specified eligibility requirements. One eligibility requirement states that a family's annual income should be less than the limit set by Congress in order to be applicable for the pension programs. The VA offers two types of pensions, the Survivors Pension plan and Additional Pension Allowance. A Survivors Pension is available to dependents, children and surviving spouses of deceased wartime veterans, and it is disbursed monthly to qualified families. Additional Pension Allowances are larger pensions distributed to surviving spouses and dependent children who are housebound or unable to perform basic daily activities without the assistance of another person. VA pension-eligible survivors may get tax-free supplemental income from the pension benefits.