VA Survivors Pension
A VA Survivors Pension offers monthly payments to qualified surviving spouses and unmarried dependent children of wartime Veterans who meet certain income and net worth limits set by Congress. Find out if you qualify and how to apply.
Am I eligible for a VA Survivors Pension as a surviving spouse?
You may be eligible for this benefit if you 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 these requirements.
At least one of these must be true:
The Veteran 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
The Veteran 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
The Veteran 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.
Am I eligible for a VA Survivors Pension as the child of a deceased wartime Veteran?
You may be eligible for this benefit if you’re unmarried and you meet at least one of these requirements.
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
What wartime periods do you recognize for pension benefits?
Under current law, we recognize these wartime periods to decide eligibility for pension benefits:
- Mexican Border period (May 9, 1916, to April 5, 1917, for Veterans who served in Mexico, on its borders, or in adjacent waters)
- World War I (April 6, 1917, to November 11, 1918)
- World War II (December 7, 1941, to December 31, 1946)
- Korean conflict (June 27, 1950, to January 31, 1955)
- Vietnam War era (November 1, 1955, to May 7, 1975, for Veterans who served in the Republic of Vietnam during that period. August 5, 1964, to May 7, 1975, for Veterans who served outside of the Republic of Vietnam.)
- Gulf War (August 2, 1990, through a future date to be set by law or presidential proclamation)
How do I apply for a VA Survivors Pension?
You can apply in any of these ways:
With the help of a trained professional
You can work with a trained professional called an accredited representative to get help applying for VA survivors pension benefits.
Use the QuickSubmit tool through AccessVA to upload your form online.
Fill out an Application for DIC, Death Pension, and/or Accrued Benefits (VA Form 21P-534EZ).
Mail your completed application to this address:
Department of Veterans Affairs
Pension Intake Center
PO Box 5365
Janesville, WI 53547-5365
Bring your application to a VA regional office near you.
Should I submit an intent to file form?
You may want to submit an intent to file form before you apply for VA Survivors Pension benefits. This can give you the time you need to gather your evidence while avoiding a later potential start date (also called an effective date). When you notify us of your intent to file, you may be able to get retroactive payments (payments that start at a point in the past).
How long does it take VA to make a decision?
It depends. We process VA Survivors Pension claims in the order we receive them, unless a claim requires priority processing.