Please Note: -- There are a number of outdated links in this document --
Check List for Widows/Widowers/Children
Following the Death of a Veteran
This is by no means all inclusive.
Michael A. Harris – VSR/VVA
Besides the veteran’s Death Certificate, this is the most important document to have available following the passing of a veteran. Make sure you have a copy in your file. The Veterans Administration will also have a copy:
If you cannot locate the document then you can request a copy here:
Brief: How Much Does VA Pay?
You may be eligible for a VA burial allowance if:
- you paid for a veteran's burial or funeral, AND
- you have not been reimbursed by another government agency or some other source, such as the deceased veteran's employer, AND
- the veteran was discharged under conditions other than dishonorable.
VA will pay up to $2,000 toward burial expenses for deaths on or after September 11, 2001. VA will pay up to $1,500 for deaths prior to September 10, 2001. If the veteran is buried in a VA national cemetery, some or all of the cost of transporting the deceased may be reimbursed.
VA will pay up to $300 toward burial and funeral expenses and a $300 plot-interment allowance for deaths on or after December 1, 2001. The plot-interment allowance is $150 for deaths prior to December 1, 2001. If the death happened while the veteran was in a VA hospital or under VA contracted nursing home care, some or all of the costs for transporting the veteran’s remains may be reimbursed. There are other stipulations and criteria. Usually a Funeral Home will assist with this benefit. The VA Form 21-530 is utilized:
Full Military Honors: Discuss this matter with the funeral home director.
Application for “Dependency and Indemnity Compensation” (DIC), “Death Pension” and “Accrued Benefits” by a Surviving Spouse and/or Child:
VA Form 21-534 – The eligibility and explanation of benefits are detailed on this form. When it is filed all three facets will be considered and adjudicated by VA.
Brief – 1) If a veteran was rated Permanently and Totally (P&T) disabled by the VA, and passed away of a “service-connected” (SC) disability or disabilities, or a SC disability or disabilities contributed substantially to his/her death, then the spouse/children may be eligible for “Dependency and Indemnity Compensation” (DIC).
2) If a veteran was P&T for at least 10 years at the time of his death then he/she can pass of any disability/disease and the spouse/children will receive DIC.
Currently this DIC benefit pays approximately $1,400.00 per month.
A “Death Pension” is based on a veteran having “wartime service” and it is determined by non-service connected disabilities. The widow or widower must meet the income limitations.
A Death Pension will automatically be adjudicated, along with DIC, when the applicant files the VA Form 21-534.
A veteran may have pending VA claims, or other compensable claims, before VA when he/she passes. “Accrued Benefits” will also be adjudicated when the applicant files the VA Form 21-534.
DIC Compensation rate:
Death Pension rate:
Note: It is not a pleasant subject, but often a detailed autopsy will assist in proving the cause of death. A Death Certificate does not always assess all disabilities. It may behoove you to know what “service-connected” disabilities your spouse suffered from and have someone discuss the matter with the coroner’s office.
Service-Disabled Life Insurance (S-DVI)
While living a veteran is offered this insurance when he/she is rated at a higher percentage. VA will “waive” the premiums on a $10,000 policy. A veteran must have filed for the insurance within (2) years of being awarded a new service-connected disability. Upon death the veteran will have filed for the insurance. You can check to see if you are eligible by contacting the VA Insurance agency in Philadelphia, PA at:
1-800-669-8477 – http://www.insurance.va.gov
ChampVA Health Insurance
Eligibility for CHAMPVA ends at midnight on the date of your remarriage if you remarry prior to age 55. If you remarry on or after your 55th birthday, The Veterans Benefit Act of 2002, Public Law 107-330, allows you to keep your CHAMPVA benefits.
Termination of Remarriage:
If you are a widow(er) of a qualifying sponsor and you remarry and the remarriage is later terminated by death, divorce, or annulment you may reestablish CHAMPVA eligibility. The beginning date of your re-eligibility is the first day of the month after termination of the remarriage or December 1, 1999, whichever date is later. To reestablish CHAMPVA eligibility, copies of the marriage certificate and death, divorce, or annulment documents (as appropriate) must be provided.
Survivors and Dependents Educational Assistance
Uniformed Services I.D. Card
The I.D. card for the veteran is “Indefinite”. The spouse’s card must be renewed every 5 years.
VA List of Links/Forms for Dependent Benefits:
Agencies to Contact following the death of a Veteran – [This targets Oregon widows/widowers. Please adjust for your State.]
Portland, Oregon VA Regional Office – Notification of the veteran’s death and any future change of address:
ChampVA - Notification of the veteran’s death and any future change of address: