Military Retiree Survivor Checklist
The following checklist should be reviewed by military retirees and their beneficiaries on an annual basis. This checklist is designed to equip you and your loved ones with knowledge and information that may prove helpful. While it may be impossible to truly prepare for the overwhelming emotions and dilemmas that arise with the loss of a loved one, it does help when most of the below issues have been put into place.
__ Create a military file that includes your retirement orders, separation papers, medical records, etc. Make sure your spouse knows the location and telephone number of the nearest military installation.
__ Create a military retired pay file that includes the pertinent information for DFAS
__ Create an annuities file. This file should have information about the Survivor Benefit Plan , Reserve Component Survivor Benefit Plan or the Retired Servicemans Family Protection Plan , Civil Service annuity, etc. Additional information regarding SBP annuity claims can be obtained from the DFAS-Cleveland office at 800-321-1080.
__ Create a personal document file that has copies of marriage certificates, divorce decrees, adoptions and naturalization papers.
__ Create an income tax file. Include copies of your state and federal income tax returns.
__ Create a property tax file. Include copies of tax bills, deeds and any other related information.
__ Create an insurance policy file. Include life, property, accident, liability and hospitalization policies.
Aid And Attendance For Long Term Care
Aid and Attendance is available for those who need the aid and attendance of another person for their routine daily living activities on a permanent basis. Often as women age, they need assistance with activities of daily living such as: dressing, bathing, help using the bathroom, meal preparation, laundry and more. This type of assistance is considered custodial care even though the need for custodial care is often caused by a medical condition such as congenital heart failure, arthritis, diabetes, etc. When custodial care is needed permanently, health insurance such as Medicare will not cover the cost. On-going custodial care is considered long-term care. Fortunately, the VAs Aid and Attendance benefit can help with the cost of long term care.
If Youre The Surviving Spouse Of A Veteran
Your monthly payment rate is: $1,562.74Effective December 1, 2022
You may also be eligible for added amounts based on certain factors. Find any descriptions in the table below that are true for you. Add the amount listed in the Added monthly amount column of each description to your monthly payment. This is your total monthly payment.
Added amounts for surviving spouses
Effective December 1, 2022
|If this description is true||You may qualify for this benefit||Added monthly amount|
|If this description is true||
||You may qualify for this benefit||8-year provision||Added monthly amount||331.84|
|If this description is true||You have a disability and need help with regular daily activities||You may qualify for this benefit||Aid and Attendance||Added monthly amount||387.15|
|If this description is true||You cant leave your house due to a disability||You may qualify for this benefit||Housebound allowance||Added monthly amount||181.37|
|If this description is true||You have 1 or more children who are under 18||You may qualify for this benefit||
||Added monthly amount||
Example of how to calculate your DIC payment
If you’re the surviving spouse of a Veteran, your monthly rate would start at $1,562.74.
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Va Memorial Benefits For Surviving Spouses
Surviving spouses of Veterans who have passed are spouses eligible for VA benefits who may qualify for burial benefits by the Department of Veterans Affairs, including interment at one of VAs national cemeteries. The benefits also include a free headstone and ongoing care of the Veterans graves.
However, it is not compulsory to bury Veterans at a VA cemetery you will still be eligible for memorial benefits if you choose a civilian burial ground.
You can also fax the form to 1-855-840-8299.
If the Veterans death was due to service-connected conditions, the VA would contribute up to $2,000 toward the burial costs. However, if the cause of death was not service-connected, you may receive up to $796.
You will need to submit the following documents to the VA certifying your marriage to the Veteran until his time of death.
- VA Form 21-534 for DIC, death pension and accrued benefits
- Copy of the Veterans death certificate
- A copy DD214, i.e., Veterans discharge certificate
- A copy of your marriage certificate or any other proof of marriage
Spouses causing wrongful or intentional death of a Veteran are not eligible to receive any benefits associated with the Veterans death.
Can I Get Benefits If I’m The Surviving Spouse Of Someone Who Died While Working For The Federal Government
If the employee died while covered under the Civil Service Retirement System , then you could get a monthly payment if your spouse completed at least 18 months of creditable civilian service. To qualify for the monthly benefit, you must have been married to the employee for at least 9 months.
If the employee died while covered under the Federal Employees Retirement System , then you could get a basic employee death benefit and a monthly payment. To qualify for the basic employee death benefit, your spouse must have completed at least 18 months of creditable civilian service and you must have been married to the employee for at least 9 months. To qualify for the monthly payment benefit, your spouse must have completed at least 10 years of creditable service and you must have been married to the employee for at least 9 months.
For both CSRS and FERS, a survivor annuity may still be payable if the employee’s death occurred before 9 months if the death was accidental or there was a child born of your marriage to the employee.
If a former spouse was awarded part of the total survivor CSRS or FERS annuity, you’ll receive the remainder. If the former spouse loses entitlement because of death or remarriage before age 55, you can receive the full annuity.
If the employee’s death was job-related, workers’ compensation benefits may also be payable.
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Can My Former Spouse Continue Health Insurance Coverage
Yes, but not under your family enrollment. There are two possible options for your former spouse to remain enrolled. First, all former spouses are eligible for a Temporary Continuation of Coverage enrollment that lasts for 36 months. Second, former spouses eligible for a monthly court-ordered benefit are eligible for former spouse federal health insurance.
Military Retiree Pay Protection Strategy
US VetWealths Military Pension Protection System gives military spouses more income protection and flexibility than the SBP annuity. The program is a voluntary, private insurance plan that service members can design instead of the SBP coverage.
Unlike the SBP, US VetWealth works with the nations best insurance carriers so that any death gratuity payment pays out immediately upon the death of the insured veteran, with no waiting period required.
Plus, there are no premiums to be paid for as long as you live so if you should ever need it, your loved ones will receive 100% of your policy face value. And unlike SBP, US VetWealth allows beneficiaries to continue receiving payments after the death of the service member or retiree. So if youre looking for better-of-mind and more options in protecting your income, US VetWealth is the way to go.
Insurance policy benefits are paid directly to the beneficiary after the death of the service member or retiree. Beneficiaries can be changed and updated to ensure a legacy.
SBP coverage can be turned down at retirement but once coverage is elected it must be continued for life. The US VetWealth Military Pension Protection System premiums are completely flexible.
US VetWealth provides a simple design to allow the service member or retiree to determine how much coverage they need based on the maximum death gratuity payment from the government.
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What Is The Survivor Benefit Plan
The Survivor Benefit Plan allows retiring service members to allocate a portion of their retirement pay to a spouse or other eligible beneficiaries after their death. Every retiring service member with an eligible spouse or child is automatically enrolled in the Survivor Benefit Plan at the maximum level.
Only retirees pay into the Survivor Benefit Plan. It is not an insurance policy its an annuity.
If you are on active duty and have a spouse and/or children, they receive automatic protection under the Survivor Benefit Plan, at no cost to you, should you die while still on active duty.
If you are divorced, your former spouse may receive benefits instead of your current spouse based on the requirements a court-ordered divorce decree has imposed. So its important to ensure your policy is in compliance with any court orders.
Learn how the Survivor Benefit Plan works.
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Survivors & Dependents Educational Assistance
The DEA program helps eligible children and spouses of veterans pay for school or job training.
The program is for spouses and dependents of veterans that either:
- Were disabled by a service-related condition
- Died on active duty or from a service-related illness
These VA spouse education benefits may be awarded for up to 45 months to pursue:
- College degrees
- Business, technical or vocational certifications
- Preparatory courses for admission tests to a university or college
For Veterans With No Dependents:
|If you have no dependents and||Your MAPR amount is|
|If you have no dependents and||You dont qualify for Housebound or Aid and Attendance benefits||Your MAPR amount is||16,037|
|If you have 1 dependent and||You qualify for Aid and Attendance benefits||Your MAPR amount is||31,714|
- If you have more than one dependent, add $2,743 to your MAPR amount for each additional dependent.
- 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 thats above 5% of your MAPR amount .
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What If The Veterans Child Is Adopted
A child can also be the veterans adopted child, as shown by evidence that the veteran legally adopted the child before they turned 18. Proof of this would be a copy of the adoption decree or of the adoptive placement agreement.
A child that is the biological child of the veterans spouse, former spouse, or surviving spouse may qualify for benefits as the veterans stepchild.
The marital and biological relationship would have to be established, and the veteran must show that the child currently resides in the veterans household. If it is for DIC benefits, the surviving spouse must show that the child resided in the veterans household at the time of the veterans death.
Military Spouse Preference Program
The Department of Defense Military Spouse Preference Program or MSP assists military spouses in securing the desired employment. Under this program, as a spouse, you will get preferential treatment for employment in placements positions open for a civilian in the Department of Defense .
If you wish to know more, you can contact your local Human Resource Office or Civilian Personnel Office for ongoing positions.
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Getting Ready To Buy A Home Find A Trusted Va Lender In Just A Few Minutes
Some VA lenders are tailored for borrowers with weaker credit, while others offer a larger variety of VA loan types. The best way to determine if you are eligible is to start by connecting with a lender. Lenders can pull your Certificate of Eligibility in minutes to see if you meet the basic service requirements and have VA loan entitlement. Additionally, a lender can review your financial information to determine if you meet credit and income guidelines.
Whats The Net Worth Limit To Be Eligible For Veterans Pension Benefits
From December 1, 2022, to November 30, 2023, the net worth limit to be eligible for Veterans Pension benefits is $150,538.
On October 18, 2018, we changed the way we assess net worth to make the pension entitlement rules clearer. Net worth includes your and your spouses assets and annual income. When you apply for Veterans Pension benefits, youll need to report all of these assets and income.
Note: If your child’s net worth is more than the net worth limit, we don’t consider them to be a dependent when we determine your pension.
Read our definitions below:
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As A Retiree What Kind Of Benefits Are Payable To My Survivor
The types of benefits payable are:
- Current spouse survivor annuity
- Former spouse annuity that is voluntarily elected or awarded by a court order in divorces granted on or after May 7, 1985
- A one-time lump sum benefit
Under FERS, a basic employee death benefit may be payable to the surviving widow, widower, or former spouse of an employee who dies while employed.
Veterans Burial Benefits And Death Benefits At Private Cemeteries
Family members of some vets buried in private cemeteries may be able to get a veterans death benefit, or burial allowance. Eligible vets include those who received a VA pension or disability compensation when they were alive. The burial allowance can help pay for burial, funeral, and transportation costs.
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Eligibility For Death Pension
A surviving spouse is eligible at any time until remarriage, whereas a surviving child is only eligible if he or she is:
- less than 18 years old,
- under the age of 23 and attending a school approved by the VA, or
- had a injury or illness prior to age 18 that caused a permanent disability such that the child cannot support himself or herself.
Fact checked by Brain Bartell
It is well known that as the spouse of a military member on active duty or a Veteran, you are entitled to various benefits. But did you know that there are military death benefits for spouses as well?
U.S military death benefits are available in a range of aspects, including health care, Internet access, and insurance, among others.
Keep reading this article on military spouse benefits after death for the details. By the end, you should have a complete understanding of military survivor benefits!
If you are a Veteran wishing to know what your spouse and/or children are entitled to in the worst case scenario, you will want to start with the answer to, What happens to my military retirement pay when I die? Well, the short answer is that it stops. That being said, the answer to, Does my spouse get military retirement after death? is also unfortunate: no.
So, are your hands tied? Luckily, NO!
There are after-death benefits that can support your spouse and/or children. Continue reading to get an idea of what they are.
How Divorce Affects Va Benefits
Most monetary VA benefits, such as disability compensation and veterans pensions, simply remain with the eligible veteran following a divorce because payment is based entirely on their qualifying military service. A spouses VA health care benefits through the Civilian Health and Medical Program of the Department of Veterans Affairs also terminate upon the dissolution of the marriage to the eligible veteran. As a rule, only current or surviving spouses and dependents factor into VA benefits decisions.
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Requirement Of Wartime Service
What counts as wartime service for the purpose of the death pension requirements? If the veteran served on or prior to September 7, 1980, the full period of service must have been at least 90 days without at least one day during wartime for survivors to be eligible for the pension.
Veterans who went on active duty after September 7, 1980 must have served a full 24 months or the full period of service, and also have served at least one day during wartime.
Many times veterans and their families believe the veteran’s service qualifies as wartime, but the VA has strictly defined only certain periods as wartime.