How Can a Veteran's Widow Obtain Benefits?


Quick Answer

A veteran's widow can obtain benefits based on her deceased spouse's military service by downloading VA Form 21-534EZ "Application for DIC, Death Pension, and/or Accrued Benefits" from the United States Department of Veterans Affairs website's "Pension" page, and then mailing the completed form to the local regional benefit office. There is a "Find the Office of Jurisdiction" link at the end of the last paragraph on the "Pension" page that opens to a new page where visitors can find mailing addresses for regional benefit offices and other VA locations by clicking on a map.

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Full Answer

There are three types of benefits that a deceased veteran's spouse may be eligible for: Dependents Indemnity Compensation, Death Pension or Accrued Benefits. Dependents Indemnity Compensation, or DIC, benefits are available for widows if their spouse died while on active duty or training, died as a result of a disability related to their service or died while either collecting or being eligible for benefits related to a service-based total disability. Certain time-frame requirements apply in cases where the deceased collected VA total disability benefits, as noted by Nolo. To be eligible for DIC benefits, the surviving spouse must also meet specific marriage time-frame requirements.

Death Pension VA benefits may be available to those surviving spouses who are not eligible for DIC benefits. The amount of the pension depends on the survivor's income level, and the veteran must have served during a VA-defined wartime period in order for the survivor to be eligible.

Accrued Benefits, also called Retroactive Disability Compensation Benefits, are a lump-sum backlog of VA disability benefits that become payable to the surviving spouse if the veteran died before they could be paid.

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