Survivor Pension

By: Kay L. Lee, Veterans Service Officer

The Department of Veteran Affairs has a program to assist the survivors of veterans, which many may not be aware of, called Survivors Pension benefit, which may also be referred to as Death Pension. This is a tax-free monetary benefit payable to a low-income, un-remarried surviving spouse and/or unmarried dependent child(ren) of a deceased Veteran with wartime service.

The deceased Veteran must have met the following service requirements:

  • For service on or before September 7, 1980, the Veteran must have served at least 90 days of active military service, with at least one day during a war time period.
  • If he or she entered active duty after September 7, 1980, generally he or she must have served at least 24 months or the full period for which called or ordered to active duty with at least one day during a war time period.
  • Was discharged from service under other than dishonorable conditions.

Survivors Pension is also based on your yearly family income, which must be less than the amount set by Congress to qualify. There are three levels to the pension benefits to include Standard pension, Pension with Housebound benefits & Pension with Aid & Attendance. These levels are based on the severity of the survivor’s disabilities, and the level of assistance needed to attend to daily needs.

The annual income limits per level are as follows:

Standard Level $ 8,656.00

Housebound $10,580.00

A & A $13,836.00

The Department of Veteran Affairs also takes into consideration un-reimbursed medical expenses when calculating a survivor’s eligibility to the pension benefit. Some examples of un-reimbursed medical expenses maybe, Assisted Living Facilities, Nursing Home or Personal Care Homes, In-Home Care, Medication, Medical Insurance premiums, etc.

While an un-remarried spouse is eligible at any age, as long as she remained married to the veteran until his death, a child of a deceased wartime Veteran must be:

  • Under 18, OR
  • Under age 23 if attending a VA-approved school, OR
  • Permanently incapable of self-support due to a disability before age 18

If you have questions concerning this or any other VA or State Veteran Benefits, please contact Montgomery County Veterans Service at 936-539-7842 or email