If you are a widow of a veteran, you may be eligible for certain benefits from the US Government. Although widow veterans benefits are fairly complicated to understand and navigate, we’ve made it a bit easier for you by rounding up these examples of veteran widow benefits that you may be eligible for:
- Servicemembers’ Group Life Insurance – The widow or other beneficiary is awarded a lump sum or in 36 equal monthly installment payments of SGLI by the Office of Servicemembers’ Group Life Insurance (OSGLI).
- Death Gratuity– This benefit is designed to benefit widows of veterans in which the veteran died while on active duty, during training or within 120 days of release from active duty as a direct result of a service-related injury, the widow may be eligible for money awarded directly from the Department of Defense. The death gratuity amount given is $100,000 and is exempt from being taxed.
- Burial Benefits – According to the VA’s website, burial benefits include a grave site in any of the 131 national cemeteries when space is available, opening and closing of the grave, a Government headstone or marker, a burial flag, perpetual care and a Presidential Memorial Certificate. All of this is provided to the widow at no cost. Some widows may also be eligible for burial allowances which may reimburse some of the additional costs associated with the burial. Levels of reimbursement vary from case to case, so it’s important to find out exactly what you are eligible before making arrangements.
- Disbursement of Pay and Allowances – Pay and allowances awarded to the veteran prior to his or her death will be paid to a beneficiary (such as the widow). Usually the amount awarded will be the amount earned in the last month the veteran lived, or since the last pay day.
- Survivor Benefit Plan – This is a benefit for veterans widows or dependents which awards 55% of what a veterans retirement pay would have been if he or she was retired and eligible for 100% disability pay.
- Dependency and Indemnity Compensation – This benefit is for eligible survivors of active duty service members and survivors of veterans who died by service-related causes (and this is verified by the Department of Veterans Affairs, VA). The DIC is a monthly payment and is adjusted annually according to living increases. It is also non-taxable.
On the tragic outcome that you do become a veterans widow, know that the above benefits are available to you. If such a tragic event does occur, make sure you thoroughly explore all that is available for you in order to get all of the benefits that you’re legally entitled to.