As a Veteran, you may know all about the healthcare benefits and disability compensation you can receive for your honorable service to America.
But, what about your dependents? Your children, spouse, or family caregivers may be eligible for VA-dependent benefits. The VA offers several types of benefits to your dependents, ranging from healthcare benefits to education benefits and more
Read on for more information about VA-dependent benefits, what they include, and who qualifies to claim them.
According to the VA, a dependent is financially reliant on a Veteran to remain safe and housed. Normally, this includes a spouse or significant other with significant financial ties to the Veteran and any children of the Veteran.
However, it can also include elderly family members, such as the Veteran’s parents, if the Veteran cares for them physically and financially.
However, only some VA dependent benefits are available to some dependents, and some benefits become ineligible for claiming if a dependent reaches a certain age. Note that many dependent benefits are not available just to dependents of a deceased Veteran; most benefits are available to dependents while the Veteran is still alive.
After enrollment, most benefits awarded to biological children also apply to stepchildren, with a few exceptions.
Spouses, surviving spouses, and dependent children or family members may qualify for various healthcare benefits. These include:
In addition to these generalized benefits, a dependent may qualify for specialized healthcare programs, such as the Spina Bifida Health Care Benefits Program. This is only available to biological children of Korean or Vietnam War Veterans diagnosed with spina bifida.
Eligible Veterans’ dependents may also qualify for various educational benefits, called Chapter 35 benefits. Dependents are eligible for VA education benefits if they are:
Children of Veterans may qualify for two primary G.I. Bill programs, which offer educational assistance to both dependents of Veterans and survivors of Veterans. These include:
Both programs offer monetary assistance or education and on-the-job training resources to qualified dependents of Veterans. Notably, spouses and children can get both G.I. Bill benefits simultaneously rather than having to choose between one or the other.
Dependent family members of a servicemember or Veteran with a service-connected disability could be eligible for employment benefits through Chapter 36 regulations. A dependent of an armed forces Veteran is eligible for educational and career counseling benefits if:
With educational and career counseling, a dependent can receive help determining a career path, exploring their interests and abilities, and planning how to use VA benefits wisely. This can be particularly beneficial for young adults or students attending school who want to take full advantage of VA financial benefits to maximize their career prospects.
Surviving spouses of deceased Veterans may qualify for VA home loan programs. These are VA-backed home mortgages.
Surviving spouses must have a Certificate of Eligibility, which the spouse can then show a lender that they qualify for the home loan benefit.
To qualify for a CEO, at least one of the below descriptions must be true:
For most of these qualifications, the surviving spouse must not remarry unless they were 57 years old before December 16, 2003.
Federally backed VA home loans are beneficial because they usually have low interest rates and down payment requirements. In this way, surviving spouses of Veterans can secure affordable housing for themselves and any other dependents, such as children, without having to take out predatory loans from less reliable lenders.
The VA offers life insurance for qualified Veterans, their spouses, and dependent children. Specifically, Veteran dependents may qualify for Family Servicemembers’ Group Life Insurance (FSGLI). This covers spouses and dependent children of servicemembers already covered under full-time Servicemembers’ Group Life Insurance policies.
To qualify for this life insurance benefit, one of the below things must be true:
Luckily, this life insurance covers both spouses and dependent children of servicemembers. Life insurance goes up to $100,000 of coverage for spouses and up to $10,000 of coverage for every dependent child.
Notably, you don’t have to pay any premiums or fees for life insurance for a Veteran’s child, as coverage for them is free if you qualify.
Bearing a servicemember is always hard, but it can also be expensive. Surviving spouses of Veterans who died in the line of duty or from a service-connected disability may qualify for burial benefits like a Veterans burial allowance and memorial items if the Veteran qualifies for a military burial in the first place.
Additionally, surviving spouses can take advantage of bereavement counseling if they lose an active-duty service member, National Guard soldier, or Reservist.
The VA Survivors Pension is a monthly payment to qualified unmarried dependent children and surviving spouses of wartime Veterans. A dependent is eligible for this regular pension if one of the below things is true:
Furthermore, children of deceased wartime Veterans are eligible for this benefit only if they are unmarried and:
VA Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (VA DIC) is available to some Veteran dependents. It’s only available if those dependents survive a servicemember who died in the line of duty or died from a service-related injury or illness.
The VA DIC is a tax-free monetary benefit that can help pay for everyday expenses, medical care bills, and funeral expenses. Surviving spouses of Veterans can receive up to $1562.74 per month. Children can receive $327.99 per month or $659.83 per month, depending on their age and whether they are in a qualified school program or disabled.
Surviving spouses and dependent children previously denied this monetary benefit should refile a new application because the PACT Act changed the qualifications for Veteran benefits across several aspects.
If you have several benefits and are a Veteran, those dependents could be entitled to dependent benefits for their education, healthcare, and more. Knowledgeable Veterans law attorneys like Berry Law can help determine which dependent benefits your spouse or children qualify for and help you start claiming those benefits immediately.
Contact us today for a free consultation and more information.
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