Veterans Benefits FAQ
Q. I am the widow of a Korean War veteran. How do I apply for benefits?
A. The application for VA Survivors Benefits is a straight forward process that involves the claimant completing the appropriate forms and supplying the necessary documentation. Applications are then sent to the appropriate VA Regional Office or Pension Management Center for processing. It is strongly recommended that claimants make duplicate copies of their application for their own records.
Q. Who can help me file my claim?
A. There are a few options. You may seek assistance at your local VA regional office, or County Veteran Service Officer, or you may use a VA accredited attorney.
Q. What benefits could I receive as the widow of an eligible veteran?
A. Death Pension or Survivors Pension is a needs-based financial benefit payable to the unremarried surviving spouse or unmarried child of a deceased wartime veteran. As noted, eligibility for this benefit is based on the financial need of the applicant. Another potential benefit is the Dependents Indemnity Compensation or DIC benefit. Eligibility is not financially based but related to service connected injuries or illness.
Q. What is the difference between DIC and SBP?
A. Dependents Indemnity Compensation (DIC) is an entitlement benefit paid to eligible survivors (spouse and unmarried children) or certain deceased service member and veterans. The DIC benefit is managed by the Department of Veterans Affairs and is dispersed to surviving family members that meet specific criteria. The Survivor Benefit Program is a voluntary annuity program offered for purchase to service members as a retirement benefit for family members. This program is managed by the Department of Defense. Participation in this program is voluntary and not all service members opt to participate.
Q. Is Dependents Indemnity Compensation taxable income?
A. No, it is not. Dependents Indemnity Compensation is exempt and is not considered to be taxable income.
Q. As a surviving spouse, am I eligible for VA medical care?
A. The Department of Veterans Affairs offers CHAMPVA healthcare coverage to family members that meet specific eligibility criteria. The Civilian Health and Medical Program of the Department of Veterans Affairs (CHAMPVA) is a comprehensive health care program in which the VA shares the cost of covered health services and supplies with eligible beneficiaries. The program is administered by the Health Administration Center. Due to the similarity between CHAMPVA and the Department of Defense TRICARE program (previously named CHAMPUS) the two programs are often mistaken for each other. CHAMPVA is a Department of Veterans Affairs program whereas TRICARE is a regionally managed health care program for active duty and retired members of the armed services, their families, and survivors. In some cases a veteran or survivor may appear to be eligible for both or either program on paper. However, if you are a military retiree or the spouse of a veteran who was killed in action you are and will always be a TRICARE beneficiary.