Veterans of the United States military are eligible to receive benefits through the United States Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). A veteran's dependents are also eligible to receive benefits. Therefore, the spouse of a veteran can receive benefits for the term of their marriage even if she is not a veteran.
Spousal Dependency Pay
Spousal dependency pay is awarded to veterans who receive a compensation or pension and are married. As of 2011, the approximate monthly pay added to a veteran's benefits is $200. The type of benefits the veteran receives affects that amount, however. If the veteran receives compensation, then he will receive the full $200 per month for his spouse regardless of any other household income he may have. On the other hand, if the veteran receives a pension, his monthly spousal support could be decreased based upon his household income.
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Spouses of a veteran who died in or out of military service are eligible to receive survivor benefits. The spouse must not have remarried and she and the veteran must not have had a divorce or annulment. The amount a spouse receives in survivor benefits depends on the type of benefits the veteran received and the disability percentage rating he had. If the veteran received compensation, then the spouse can collect survivor benefits, and any other household income she has does not decrease how much she can receive. Yet, if the veteran received a pension, the amount the spouse can receive is based upon his income.
A veteran is eligible to attend a post-secondary educational institution and receive money from the VA to help her do so. However, if the veteran does not want to seek further education but her spouse does, she can have her educational benefits transferred to her spouse. The spouse must stay enrolled at a full time status, and proof of enrollment is required every semester to continue receiving the educational benefits.
The VA Civilian Health and Medical Program (CHAMPVA) allows the dependents of veterans to receive medical care. The amount of health care the veteran's family can receive depends on the family's finances and qualifications. Some veterans' families may receive all their health care for free, whereas others might have to make a co-payment to receive treatment. The spouse must be ineligible for Medicare or TRICARE to qualify for CHAMPVA.