Survivor Benefits

Dependency & Indemnity Compensation (DIC)

Dependency and Indemnity Compensation payments may be authorized for surviving spouses, unmarried children under 18 and 23 if attending a Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) approved school, and low-income parents of service members or veterans who died from:

  • Disability compensable by VA
  • Disease or injury incurred or aggravated while on active duty
  • Injury incurred or aggravated in line of duty while on inactive duty training

Death cannot be the result of willful misconduct.

DIC Payments to Surviving Spouse

Surviving spouses of veterans who died after January 1, 1993, receive $861 a month. An additional $187 a month is added to the basic rate if the deceased veteran had been entitled to receive 100% service-connected compensation for at least 8 years immediately preceding death and the surviving spouse was married to the veteran for those years. For a spouse entitled to DIC based on the veteran's death prior to January 1, 1993, the amount paid is based on the veteran's pay grade while in the service.

DIC payments to Children & Parents

There are additional payments for dependent children and for children with no surviving spouse. The monthly DIC rates for parents of deceased veterans depend upon the income of the parents. The maximum annual income for two parents is $12,977; the maximum for one parent is $9,654.

Aid & Attendance Allowance

Surviving spouses and parents receiving DIC may be granted a special allowance to pay for aid and attendance of another person if they are patients in a nursing home or require the regular assistance of another person.


Surviving spouses receiving DIC who are not so disabled as to require the regular aid and attendance of another person but who, due to disability, are permanently housebound, may be granted an additional special allowance.

Death Pension

Surviving spouses and unmarried children of deceased veterans with wartime service may be eligible for a non-service-connected pension based on need. Children must be under 18, or under 23 if attending a VA-approved school. Pension is not payable to those with estates large enough to provide maintenance. The veteran must have been discharged under conditions other than dishonorable and must have had 90 days or more on active duty, at least one day of which was during a period of war, or a service-connected disability justifying discharge for disability.

The Improved Pension program provides a monthly payment to bring an eligible person's income to a support level established by law. The payment is reduced by the annual income from other sources such as Social Security paid to either the surviving spouse or dependent children.

Dependents' Education

Educational assistance is available to spouses and children of:

  • Veterans who died or are totally disabled as the result of active duty service
  • Veterans who died from any cause while rated permanently disabled from service-connected disability
  • Service members listed for more than 90 days as currently Missing in Action (MIA) or captured in the line of duty
  • Service members listed for more than 90 days as currently detained or interned by a foreign government

Monthly Payments

For full time students, the rate is $404 a month, with less money for part-time training. A person may receive educational benefits for full-time training for up to 45 months.