People who have served in the military and their families are eligible to receive government help of various kinds. If you are the spouse of a deceased veteran, you are eligible to apply for these same benefits, which vary from education benefits to monthly cash payments that help you cover your family expenses. The Department of Veterans Affairs is responsible for providing these benefits.
VA Home Loan
As a widow of a veteran, you are eligible to apply for a VA home loan. A VA home loan is not an actual loan that the VA office offers you, but it is a guarantee for the mortgage loan you obtain. To receive the VA home loan benefit, you must find an approved VA home lender. A VA home loan increases your possibility of being approved for a mortgage since the lender is protected against loss. The VA office guarantees up to $417,000 of your home loan. You can use this money to build or buy a house, condominium or other home in which you are going to live.
VA Death Pension
As the widow of a veteran, you might also be eligible to receive monthly payments, called VA Death Pension. This is a needs-based benefit, so you can receive it only if you have a low income. The Department of Veterans Affairs determines your income and eligibility by reviewing your financial situation and counting such factors as whether you have dependents. The Department of Veterans Affairs analyzes your countable income, which includes your job-related income, any disability and retirement benefits, any interest and dividends, and self-employment income. The maximum income you can have and still qualify for the benefit is set annually by Congress. In 2010, it was set at $10,385 for an adult with one child. If you qualify, you can receive these benefits at any age.
As the widow of a veteran, you are also eligible to receive education benefits. The VA Dependents' Educational Assistance program provides education benefits to veterans' surviving family members, including spouses. You can education benefits over 45 months to receive job training, pay for vocational services or complete a college degree.
As the spouse of a deceased veteran, you are also eligible to receive a free United States burial flag to place on your spouse's casket or to accompany his urn. The flag honors your spouse's service to the country. You can apply for the flag by filling out VA Form 21-2008, Application for United States Flag for Burial Purposes.
CHAMPVA is the health insurance available to you as spouse of a deceased veteran; it helps you pay for necessary medical and psychological treatments. To be eligible to receive CHAMPVA benefits, your spouse must have died of a service-related disability or he must have been completely disabled and died of other causes.
- Department of Veterans Affairs; Eligibility for the VA Home Loan Program; April 2010
- Department of Veterans Affairs; VA Death Pension November 2009
- Military; Survivors & Dependents Educational Assistance (DEA); 2011
- Department of Veterans Affairs; Burial Flags; November 2009
- Department of Veterans Affairs; CHAMPVA; January 2011
- Military; What is a VA Guaranteed Home Loan?; 2011