The United States heavily relies upon the support of its troops and, therefore, offers numerous family veteran benefits that are available to the spouses, dependents, caregivers and parents of the military service men and women whom have served this country.
Veterans and their families may qualify for benefits such as health care, housing loans, assistance, education, training, pensions and employment assistance.
Applying for Family Veterans Benefits
Not only are a vast amount of benefits provided, but the Veterans Affairs Administration provides simple and convenient ways to apply for dependent and military spouse benefits. The Veterans Affairs Administration makes it easy for applicants applying for family veteran benefits to submit an application through an online portal.
Through this online portal, applicants can apply for multiple types of benefits that they wish to receive. A separate application will be provided for each type of benefit and there is no limit to the amount of benefits a qualifying applicant may apply for.
When submitting an application, applicants will be required to provide various documents that support the information provided on the application. These documents will vary based upon the benefit program, however, all applicants must provide proof of the veteran’s service.
Veteran Disability Benefits for Families
Veteran disability benefits are offered to qualifying service men and women who were injured or became mentally or physically disabled while on duty. However, families of deceased veterans may also qualify to receive these disabled veterans benefits if the veteran was killed during military service or passed away as a result of a disability that occurred while on duty.
In some cases, the Department of Veterans Affairs may also provide family disability benefits, even if the veteran died due to a non-service related incident.
Family VA disability benefits are provided in the form of monthly compensation to the family of a veteran that has passed. The amount of compensation will vary based upon the percentage of the veteran’s disability.
These compensation categories are divided into two groups:
- Veterans who has a 30 to 60 percent disability.
- Veterans who had a 70 to 100 percent disability prior to death.
Family VA Education Benefits and Training
When it comes to VA education benefits, it is worth knowing that the expansion of the GI Bill resulted in the inclusion of a veteran’s family members in education benefits. There are two main veteran dependent scholarships that are available:
- The Marine Gunnery Sergeant John David Fry Scholarship (Fry Scholarship)
- The Dependents’ Education Assistance Program (DEA)
Reserved for the spouses and dependents of deceased service members who died on or after September 11th, 2001 while in the line of duty, the Fry Scholarship provides educational funding of up to full payment for up to 36 months.
The DEA offers eligible dependents of permanently and totally disabled veterans education and training opportunities. Through the DEA program, recipients can take part in degree, certificate and apprenticeship programs as well as on-the-job training opportunities. Qualifying dependents may receive benefits for up to 36 months of education, or up to 81 months if the recipient is also eligible for another VA education program.
Veteran dependent’s that qualify for the DEA program may also qualify to receive employment training and assistance. Through this service, dependents will receive counseling in order to determine the best career path for an individual as well as coaching to reach educational goals, career goals and increases to skills needed to do so.
Eligible service members may also be able to transfer some or all of any unused educational benefits to a child or spouse under the Post 911 GI Bill.
Veterans Family Health Insurance
Comprehensive veterans’ family health insurance is offered through the Veterans Administration. Similarly to standard medical insurances that are not specifically designed for veterans, veterans can choose whether or not to include his or her family in an insurance plan offered through the VA. The following medical plans provide qualifying veteran family members coverage and care.
CHAMPVA provides veteran benefits to widows, spouses and dependent children of a veteran who is permanently and totally disabled or who is deceased due to the disability. In some cases, families of veterans who died on active duty as well as dependents who do not qualify for the Department of Defense’s TRICARE program may also be eligible to receive CHAMPVA benefits. With rates that are similar to that of Medicare, this program provides most medically or physiologically needy health services.
CLFMP is a program that provides benefits to veterans and their families who were stationed at Camp Lejeune between August 1st, 1953 and December 31st, 1987 and were exposed to potentially dangerous industrial chemicals. There are a variety of eligibility requirements in order to receive coverage through CLFMP, but, generally, family members who developed certain illnesses due to the chemicals will be eligible for the program.
Not only does the VA provide healthcare to veterans who were on active duty at the time, but the VA also provides reimbursement to qualifying family members.
The CWVV program offers benefits in the form of reimbursements to women Vietnam Veterans who gave birth to children with defects. Reimbursement funds are provided for medical expenses incurred for services related to the birth defect. However, Spina Bifida is excluded from CWVV.
The SB program offers reimbursement benefits to the recipients of medical services and supplies that treat Spina Bifida. These benefits are primarily distributed to certain qualifying children whose parents are Korean War Veterans.
The Department of Veterans Affairs offers healthcare coverage to the primary caregivers of veterans who served during Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom. Recipients will only be eligible if they are not already entitled to other healthcare programs, such as Medicaid or Medicare. Not only does the caregiver program provide health insurance, but the program also offered the caregiver stipends.
Links to the Above Programs
- The Civilian Health and Medical Program of the Department of Veteran’s Affairs (CHAMPVA)
- Camp Lejeune Family Member Program (CLFMP)
- Children of Women Vietnam Veterans (CMWW) program
- Spina Bifida Healthcare Program (SB)
- Caregiver Program
Housing Assistance for Families
Veteran home loans and family housing assistance is available to both veterans and their families. There are a number of programs available, including purchase loans, cash-out refinance home loans and interest rate reduction refinance loans.
Additionally, spouses can use compensation from these programs in order to refinance an existing mortgage or purchase, renovate or construct a new home.
Veterans Life Insurance for Families
Veteran life insurance programs are typically paid for by the service member while he or she is serving. These programs provide the veteran’s family with financial assistance after he or she passes away. There are a number of different life insurance programs available to veterans, including:
- Family Service Members’ Group Life Insurance (FSGLI).
- Service Member’s Group Life Insurance (SGLI).
- Veterans Group Life Insurance (VGLI).
- SFLI Traumatic Injury Protection Program (TSGLI).
It is worth knowing that, under FSGLI, the spouse of the veteran can transfer his or her coverage to an individual plan with a private insurance company. However, all VA life insurance programs provide family members with monetary compensation that can used for anything.
Pensions for Families
In most cases, veteran pensions are reserved for the individual who serviced in the armed forces and qualifies for a pension. However, certain circumstances can extend pension availability to the veteran’s spouses and dependents in the form of a survivor’s pension. Spouses and children of a deceased wartime veteran that meet eligibility requirements, including financial criteria, may be eligible to receive benefits.
The Department of Veterans Affairs provides family’s with veteran memorial benefits that include special arrangements to honor a deceased veteran. These services come at no extra charge and include a burial in a veteran’s cemetery, a headstone or marker, an inscription, a burial flag and the continuous care of the grave.