The spouse or widow of a veteran could be eligible for various spousal benefits.
If you are married to a veteran receiving or they recently filed for VA monthly compensation, you will want to verify that you are listed on their award letter as their spouse. This might sound a little elementary, but it is sometimes overlooked by the veteran when filing. This will ensure that they are getting paid the correct amount and make it easier to connect to your spousal benefits after he/she passes.
There are a couple of situations where the surviving spouse can receive a monthly benefit.
- If the veteran is rated at 100% or is paid at the 100% rate through Individual Unemployability (IU) for at least 10 years.
- If the veteran passed from something that he/she is compensated for through the VA.
If the veteran is 100% he/she is eligible for CHAMPVA. A health insurance program through the VA. This benefit is continued for the spouse even after the passing of the veteran.
Another benefit is the Non-Service Connected Pension. The basic point of eligibility is that the veteran had to serve during a period of war. There are some income /asset factors to concern as well, but I would advise talking to a Veteran Service Officer about those details.
The “basic” pension program offers help to those with extremely low income by paying a maximum benefit of $768 monthly. The Aid & Attendance pension program covers paying for in-home, nursing home, or assisted living facilities. For surviving spouses, the maximum benefit is $1,228 monthly.
In the state of Michigan, if the veteran was Permanent & Totally Disabled 100% or IU at the time of death, and he/she owned a permanent residence, then those property taxes could be exempted for the surviving spouse as well.
As always, please call or visit the Grand Traverse County Dept. of Veterans Affairs for more information with these benefits or for assistance in filing a claim.