VA Survivors Pension (Formerly VA Death Pension)

Army National Guard: Retired

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 haven’t remarried after the Veteran’s death, and if the deceased Veteran didn’t 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 hadn’t 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.

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

At least one of these must be true:

  • You’re under age 18, or

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

  • You’re 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 chart:

Income Limits

Income Limits (effective December 1, 2020)

If you are a...

Your yearly limit is...

Surviving Spouse with no dependent Children

$ 9,344

To be deducted, medical expenses must exceed 5% of MAPR

$467

Surviving Spouse with one dependent Child

$ 12,229

To be deducted, medical expenses must exceed 5% of MAPR

$611

(Add $2,382 to the limit for each additional Child)

Housebound surviving Spouse with no dependents

$11,420

Housebound surviving Spouse with one dependent

$14,300

Surviving Spouse who needs aid and attendance with no dependents

$14,934

Surviving Spouse who needs aid and attendance with one dependent

$17,815

Surviving Child (no eligible parent)

$2,382

Note : Some income is not counted toward the yearly limit (for example, welfare benefits, some wages earned by dependent Children, and Supplemental Security Income)

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: 04 December 2020