VA Survivors Pension
Find out if you’re eligible and how to apply for a survivors pension as a surviving spouse or child of a deceased Veteran with wartime service.
Can I get this benefit as a surviving spouse?
You may be able to get this benefit if you haven’t remarried after the Veteran’s death, if the deceased Veteran didn’t receive a dishonorable discharge, and if the Veteran’s service meets at least one of the requirements listed below.
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 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 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.
How do I know if the Veteran served under an eligible wartime period?
Under current law, we recognize the following 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 (February 28, 1961, 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)
Can I get this benefit as the child of a deceased wartime Veteran?
You may be able to get this benefit if you’re unmarried and you 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
How do I apply?
You can apply in any of these ways:
Fill out an Application for DIC, Death Pension, and/or Accrued Benefits (VA Form 21-534EZ).
Download VA Form 21-534EZ.
Mail it to the Pension Management Center (PMC) for your state.
Find your PMC.
Bring your application to a VA regional benefit office near you.
Find a VA regional benefit office near you.
With the help of a trained professional
You can work with a trained professional called an accredited representative to get help applying for survivors pension benefits.
Get help filing your claim.
How long does it take VA to make a decision?
It depends. We process claims in the order we received them, unless a claim requires priority processing.