Being the spouse of a Veteran or active duty service member requires sacrifice. You spend a lot of time supporting your spouse, so shouldn’t you receive support too? Thankfully, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) provides various Veteran spouse benefits, including compensation, healthcare, and home loans. But what exactly are these benefits, and are you eligible to access them? Learn more about the VA benefits for spouses and surviving spouses you’re entitled to.

What Are Veteran Spouse Benefits?

Veteran spouse benefits are benefits and aids provided to the spouses and dependents of military service members to honor the sacrifices Veterans have made. Different benefits are available depending on factors like the military service time of the Veteran, their health condition, and more.

The Most Common VA Benefits for Families and Spouses

Healthcare Benefits

Military spouses have access to the following health and medical programs:

  • VA Aid and Attendance for Spouses: The VA Aid and Attendance benefit is a financial assistance program to help those who require aid with daily living activities, such as bathing, dressing, or meal preparation. This home-based benefit helps alleviate the financial burden on eligible spouses, so they can access the care and support to maintain a better quality of life.
  • TRICARE: This program provides comprehensive health benefits, including health plans, dental plans, medical prescriptions, and programs for Veterans’ family members who have special needs.
  • Civilian Health and Medical Program of the Department of Veterans Affairs (CHAMPVA): CHAMPVA provides health insurance and healthcare services and supplies for spouses, surviving spouses, and dependents who do not qualify for TRICARE. CHAMPVA covers inpatient care, outpatient care, medical supplies, and prescriptions. Enrollees are responsible for copays and cost shares.
  • Camp Lejeune Family Member Program: This program provides healthcare benefits to spouses and dependents who lived at U.S. Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune or Marine Corps Air Station (MCAS) in North Carolina from August 1953 through December 1987. Because of contaminants found in the water at this location, these benefits help with any medical problems military spouses and dependents may have experienced due to exposure.
  • Pharmacy Benefits: Spouses and surviving spouses who qualify for CHAMPVA can receive prescription benefits through their local pharmacy or the VA’s Meds by Mail program.

Education and Training Benefits

While you spend a lot of time supporting your Veteran or service member spouse, you should also be able to pursue your own goals and dreams. The VA provides two main GI Bill programs that offer educational assistance to military spouses and dependent children, including:

  • Marine Gunnery Sergeant John David Fry Scholarship (Fry Scholarship)
  • Survivors’ and Dependents’ Educational Assistance (DEA) program
  • G.I. Bill
  • Employment help through programs like the Military Spouse Career Advancement Account (MyCAA)

Additionally, these programs provide tuition assistance, monthly housing allowance, and stipends to assist with education costs. Eligibility is based on the Veteran’s service history and discharge status.

VA Benefits for Surviving Spouses

Spouses who have lost their partners in the line of duty are entitled to specific benefits to help them. These include:

  • Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (DIC): DIC is a monthly tax-free monetary benefit given to eligible survivors of military service members who died in the line of duty or eligible survivors of Veterans whose death resulted from a service-related injury or disease.
  • Survivor’s Pension Benefits: Survivor’s pension benefits provide a monthly payment to lower-income surviving spouses and unmarried children of deceased Veterans with wartime service.
  • Home Loan Guaranty and Home Adaptation Grants: Surviving spouses may have VA home loan eligibility and can obtain a VA-backed mortgage that offers favorable terms without a down payment. Surviving spouses may also be eligible for grants to adapt or improve their home for wheelchair access or mobility. Eligibility is based on whether the Veteran’s death was service-connected and if they previously used their VA home loan benefit.
  • Burial Benefits and Memorial Items: The VA can help you plan a burial in a VA national cemetery or another Veterans cemetery. You can also apply for financial assistance for burial costs, access grief counseling and transition support, and request memorial items for the funeral or memorial service.

These programs provide invaluable support to eligible military and Veteran families. However, navigating the complex VA system can be challenging. Doing research, understanding eligibility criteria, and applying on time are crucial.

As a military spouse, many more benefits are available to you. Learn more about what you’re entitled to.

Essential Steps to Access Your Veteran Spouse Benefits

Spouses and dependents of Veterans may be eligible for benefits and services provided by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). Here are some essential steps to take to access these benefits:

  1. Understand Your Eligibility Requirements – Eligibility criteria are often based on factors like the Veteran’s military service history, service-connected disabilities, income level, and marital status.
  2. Gather Documentation – Be prepared to provide marriage certificates, birth certificates for dependents, DD214 discharge papers, VA disability rating letters, income statements, and other proof to establish eligibility.
  3. Apply for Benefits – Applications can be completed online, by phone, through mail, or in person at a VA regional office.

Key Takeaways

  • Overall, VA benefits support millions of military and Veteran families. Spouses of deceased or disabled Veterans should explore their eligibility for DIC, pension, education benefits, home loans, healthcare coverage, and more.
  • Navigating eligibility criteria and application processes can be challenging but worth the effort.
  • With proper documentation, timing, and persistence, Veteran spouses can access the resources they’ve earned through their family’s service and sacrifice.

AVCC: Connecting Veterans’ Spouses With Their Benefits

AVCC helps Veterans’ spouses find the benefits they qualify for so they can access them. We also connect Veterans and their family members with home care services and financial assistance. Contact us today to determine which spouse benefits you qualify for.