Survivors Pension

The Survivors Pension benefit, which may also be referred to as Death Pension, is a tax-free monetary benefit payable to a low-income, un-remarried surviving spouse and/or unmarried child(ren) of a deceased Veteran with wartime service.

The deceased Veteran must have met the following service requirements:

  • For service on or before September 7, 1980, the Veteran must have served at least 90 days of active military service, with at least one day during a wartime period.
  • If he or she entered active duty after September 7, 1980, generally he or she must have served at least 24 months or the full period for which called or ordered to active duty with at least one day during a wartime period.
  • Was discharged from service under other than dishonorable conditions.

The Survivors Pension is also based on the yearly family income, which must be less than the amount set by Congress to qualify. If eligible, your pension benefit is the difference between your “countable” income and the annual pension limit set by Congress. VA generally pays this difference in 12 equal monthly payments.

Countable Income includes income from most sources as well as from any eligible dependents. It generally includes earnings, disability and retirement payments, interest and dividend payments from annuities, and net income from farming or a business. Some expenses, such as unreimbursed medical expenses, may reduce your countable income.

Net Worth includes assets such as bank accounts, stocks, bonds, mutual funds, annuities, and any property other than your residence and a reasonable lot area. You should report all of your net worth. The VA will determine whether your assets are of a sufficiently large amount that you could live off of them for a reasonable period of time.

If for example, the annual income limit on the most recent publication is $8,359 or $696.58 monthly.