VA Survivors Pension (Formerly VA Death Pension)

Army National Guard: Active Duty Under Title 10 USC or Title 32 USC (Full-Time National Guard Duty)

Benefit Fact Sheet

Summary

The Survivors Pension benefit, which may also be referred to as Death Pension, is a tax-free monetary benefit payable to a low-income, un-remarried surviving Spouse and/or unmarried Child(ren) of a deceased Veteran with wartime service.

Eligibility

The Surviving Spouse may be eligible for this benefit if they have not remarried after the Veteran’s death, and if the deceased Veteran did not receive a dishonorable discharge and their service meets at least one of the requirements listed below.

At least one of these must be true. The Veteran: young child hugging a tombstone in a veteran cemetery

  • Entered active duty on or before September 7, 1980, and served at least 90 days on active military service, with at least 1 day during a covered wartime period, or

  • Entered active duty after September 7, 1980, and served at least 24 months or the full period for which they were called or ordered to active duty (with some exceptions), with at least 1 day during a covered wartime period or

  • Was an officer and started on active duty after October 16, 1981, and had not previously served on active duty for at least 24 months

And this must be true for you:

Your yearly Family income and net worth meet certain limits set by Congress. Your net worth equals the value of everything you own (except your house, your car, and most home furnishings), minus any debt you owe. From December 1, 2022, to November 30, 2023, the net worth limit to be eligible for Survivors Pension benefits is $150,538.

A Child of a deceased Veteran may be eligible for this benefit if they are unmarried and meet at least one of the requirements listed below.

At least one of these must be true:

  • You are under age 18, or

  • You are under age 23 and attending a VA-approved school, or

  • You are unable to care for yourself due to a disability that happened before age 18

Benefit Highlights

Amount of Benefit Payable: VA pays the difference between applicant's countable income and the yearly income limit that describes their situation. This difference is generally paid in 12 equal monthly payments rounded down to the nearest dollar. Refer to the following charts to find your Maximum Annual Pension Rate (MAPR) amount:

Income Limits (effective December 1, 2022)

For qualified surviving Spouses with at least 1 dependent:

Spouses 1 dependent

If you have 1 dependent Child and…

Your MAPR amount is (in U.S. $):

You do not qualify for Housebound or Aid and Attendance benefits

$14,078

You qualify for Housebound benefits

$16,462

You qualify for Aid and Attendance benefits

$20,509

You qualify for Aid and Attendance benefits and you are the surviving Spouse of a Veteran who served in the Spanish-American War (SAW)

$21,130


Notes:

  • The Survivor Benefit Plan (SBP)/Minimum Income Annuity (MIW) limitation is $10,757.

  • If you have more than 1 Child , add $2,743 to your MAPR amount for each additional Child.

  • If you have a Child who works , you may exclude their wages up to $13,850.

  • If you have medical expenses , you may deduct only the amount that is above 5% of your MAPR amount ($703 for a surviving Spouse with 1 dependent).

For qualified surviving Spouses with no dependents:

Spouses no dependents

If you have no dependents and…

Your MAPR amount is (in U.S. $):

You do not qualify for Housebound or Aid and Attendance benefits

$10,757

You qualify for Housebound benefits

$13,147

You qualify for Aid and Attendance benefits

$17,192

You qualify for Aid and Attendance benefits and you are the surviving Spouse of a Veteran who served in the Spanish-American War (SAW)

$17,888

Notes:

  • The Survivor Benefit Plan (SBP)/Minimum Income Annuity (MIW) limitation is $10,757.

  • If you have medical expenses , you may deduct only the amount that is above 5% of your MAPR amount ($537 for a surviving Spouse with no dependent Child).

For qualified surviving Children:

Surviving Children

If you are…

Your MAPR amount is (in U.S. $):

A qualified surviving Child

$2,743

To apply for Survivors' Pension download and complete VA Form 21P-534ez, Application for Dependency and Indemnity Compensation, Death Pension and Accrued Benefits by a Surviving Spouse or Child and mail it to the Pension management Center (PMC) that serves your state. If available, attach copies of dependency records (marriage & Children's birth certificates). You may also visit your local regional benefit office and turn in your application for processing. You can locate your local regional benefit office using the VA Facility Locator.

Additional Information

For more information, please visit the Survivors' Pension webpage maintained by the Department of Veterans Affairs:
https://www.va.gov/pension/survivors-pension/

Department of Veterans Affairs Survivor and Eligible Dependents Webpage:
https://www.va.gov/opa/persona/dependent_survivor.asp

Improved Survivors' Pension Rate Table:
https://www.va.gov/pension/survivors-pension-rates/

Document Review Date: 05 December 2022