Learn How to Apply for VA Family Benefits

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Learn How to Apply for VA Family Benefits


Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (DIC) requirements depend on several factors. GI Bill requirements differ among the available programs. A petitioner may meet the requirements for Survivors’ and Dependents’ Educational Assistance while failing to meet the conditions for a VA-backed home loan. Determining DIC veterans qualifications will require unique information and procedures for each veterans program. Some programs, such as the Survivors’ and Dependents’ Educational Assistance program, require the family to provide a wide array of documentation proving a relationship to the veteran. In the case of death while in service, the family will need to provide the service member’s death certificate. To learn how to qualify for Veterans Affairs benefits programs that help dependents of service members, please refer to the following program overviews:

  • Dependency and Indemnity Compensation
  • GI Bill
  • VA Home Loan
  • Veterans Burial Benefits

Find Out How to Qualify for the Dependency and Indemnity Compensation

Dependency and Indemnity Compensation is available to surviving family members of service members who died in the line of duty or whose death was a direct result of an injury or disease incurred during a tour. The Dependency and Indemnity Compensation is available to qualifying spouses who were married to the service member at the time of death or who married the veteran within fifteen years of the veteran’s discharge from service (during which time the injury or illness presented itself). In order to qualify for DIC, the spouse must have lived with the veteran and have a shared child with the veteran. If divorced, spouses must have been married to the veteran for at least one year, and they may not be remarried to a new spouse.

To meet the Dependency and Indemnity Compensation guidelines, children who apply must be unmarried, not included on any other DIC forms, younger than 18 years of age or enrolled in school if between 18 and 23 years of age. DIC also requires evidence of the relationship between the applicant and the service member. To indicate a relationship with a service member, applicants can furnish service papers, discharge papers, birth certificates and other official identification papers.

Learn How to Qualify for GI Bill

By meeting GI Bill guidelines, the spouses, dependents and survivors of service members can receive educational assistance. GI Bill requirements vary depending on the particular program, as several different programs comprise the GI Bill. The Survivors’ and Dependents’ Educational Assistance Program (DEA) offers educational assistance to family members of veterans who died in the line of duty or were permanently disabled while on active duty. Funding can pay for certificate and degree programs, on the job training or correspondence courses.

The GI Bill allows unused Post-9/11 benefits to be transferred to qualifying spouses and dependents. The U.S. Department of Defense must approve the transfer, and family members must enroll in the Defense Eligibility Enrollment Reporting System (DEERS). In this program, the GI Bill requirements do not stipulate that the service member be deceased, disabled or injured. Evidence required to demonstrate GI Bill qualifications include personal identification, proof of relationship to the service member, military papers of the service member and copies of school transcripts, as needed.

How can I qualify for a VA home loan?

If a surviving spouse meets VA Home Loan eligibility requirements, he or she may be eligible to refinance his or her existing home, reduce the interest rate on current home loans, renovate an existing structure, purchase a home or construct a home. VA Home Loan eligibility guidelines do not require the applicant to furnish a down payment, maintain private mortgage insurance or be a first-time homebuyer. Retired veterans will also meet VA Home Loan eligibility requirements if they have been discharged under honorable conditions and have met the required number of days in service. The U.S. Department of Defense makes these requirements available on its insurance rates charts.

After determining VA Home Loan eligibility, the VA issues a certificate of eligibility (COE) to the applicant. The COE is the required evidence that the applicant furnishes to the lender who will approve the borrower for the VA-backed loan. Additional forms that are generally required by most banks include personal identification, banking information and a schedule of debts and assets.

Discover How to Access Veterans Burial Benefits

Veterans burial benefits are available to both service members and their family members. Once approved for veterans burial benefits, the VA will provide a burial, inscription on the headstone and continual care of the gravesite at one of 134 cemeteries throughout the U.S. maintained by the Veterans Administration. Burial benefits are available to family members even if the related service member is not yet deceased.

Requirements to qualify for Veterans burial benefits are determined by the VA National Cemetery Administration. Upon the death of a qualifying family member, the service member must provide the required evidence in the form of DD-214 or other discharge papers to the national offices in order to schedule arrangements with a funeral home and then interment in a national cemetery. The process of determining if someone’s qualifications meet the requirements for access veterans burial benefits takes about 10 minutes to complete. If the recipient does not care for a burial in a national cemetery, the VA will provide a burial at a private cemetery, headstone, burial flag, burial allowances for expenses and a Presidential Memorial Certificate. Burials in a national cemetery must take place during the week.

Benefits of Dependency and Indemnity Compensation offer recipients many ways to offset some of the costs incurred as a direct result of being a family member to service personnel, especially military personnel who have been significantly injured or who have died in the line of duty. Each year, thousands of veterans’ spouses and dependents qualify for the GI Bill eligibility award and are able to enjoy access to educational opportunities that otherwise may have been out of reach. Most who go through the various eligibility processes can enjoy thousands of dollars worth of benefits. Discovering the wealth of available Veterans Affairs benefits as well as taking the time to submit the required evidence of eligibility is well worth the investment of time and effort.