Military service members survivors & death benefits

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Widows, widowers, and other qualified survivors of military service men and women, are eligible for a number of survivor’s and death benefits.

Death gratuity payments
Survivors of members of the military who have been killed on active duty may receive a $100,000 death gratuity payment fully tax-free.

Burial-related expenses
Burial allowances are available to survivors of service members who die on active duty and to survivors of some other veterans. The government provides free markers and headstones to some veterans, as well as some final honors such as flags, presidential certificates, and an honor guard. Almost all veterans are eligible for burial in a national cemetery.

Survivor’s Benefit Plan (SBP)
SBP provides a monthly lifetime annuity payment to qualified widows, widowers, dependent children, and some ex-spouses who are survivors of a retired military service member.

Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (DIC)
DIC provides a monthly pension to widows, widowers, dependent children, and low-income parents of some deceased active duty service members and some disabled veterans (if the disability was service-related). Beneficiaries receive a fixed monthly benefit that usually increases annually with inflation. If you need nursing home care or are housebound, DIC will also pay an extra benefit. Receiving money from DIC will decrease the amount you receive from another benefit plan and the SBP, but is not affected by (and does not affect) Social Security.

Death pension
Available to qualified survivors of low-income veterans, a death pension provides a fixed monthly benefit that usually increases annually with inflation.

Educational assistance
Monthly educational assistance payments can be made to spouses and children of disabled veterans who die. These payments can help pay for college or university classes, secondary school programs, remedial education, apprenticeships, and other courses of study.

Home loans
The widow or widower of a service member who died on active duty or as a result of a service-connected illness or injury may qualify for a Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) home loan to purchase a primary residence. The loan is issued by a financial institution but guaranteed by the federal government. The primary advantages of VA home loans are that they often require no down payment and, since the loan is partially guaranteed by the federal government, require no mortgage insurance payments.

Federal job preference
Survivors of service members who die on active duty or as a result of service-connected disability may receive ten extra points on the results of a competitive examination for a federal job.

Health insurance
The spouse or dependent child of a veteran who dies as a result of a service-connected disability or who died on active duty may purchase government-backed health insurance called CHAMPVA. This health insurance costs less than insurance available from private sources because it is government-subsidized.

For more information or to apply for benefits, call the Department of Veterans Affairs at (800) 827-1000 or contact the nearest VA office.

Prepared by Broadridge Investor Communication Solutions, Inc. Copyright 2016.

 

 

 

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