Military Spouse Retirement Benefits

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Military Love That Lasts (Photo: Stock Image)
(Photo: Stock image.)

Did you know that, as the spouse of a retiree, you may be eligible for a number of benefits? There are many things for which you may be eligible, including medical insurance, free legal assistance, property tax discounts and more.

While no list can cover all the benefits to which you are entitled, this page lists some of the bigger ones.

As the spouse of a military retiree, you may be eligible for:

VA Education Benefits: Learn to use your GI Bill.

VA Pension: Whether you have a Medal of Honor pension, survivor's pension or veteran's pension, understand what you're entitled to and how to utilize it.

Readjustment Counseling: Vet Center counselors provide individual, group and family readjustment counseling to combat veterans to assist them in making a successful transition from military to civilian life. That includes treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and help with any other military-related problems that affect functioning within the family, work, school or other areas of everyday life.

Educational and Career Counseling: The Department of Veterans Affairs can offer personalized counseling to military members, veterans and their dependents to help guide their career paths, ensure the most effective use of their VA benefits, and achieve their goals. Understand your entitlements.

Commissary Privileges: Shopping at the commissary can save you thousands of dollars annually. Spouses continue to have commissary access after military retirement.

Exchange Privileges: The exchange services operate department-like stores, gas stations, military clothing stores, convenience stores, food courts and liquor stores on military bases around the world and are tax free. Your military ID card can get you exchange privileges.

Military ID Card: After military retirement, your military ID card will move from an active-duty dependent card to a retiree dependent card. Like the active-duty card, your retiree military ID card will give you base access, allow you to use the commissary and other on-base services, and serve as your health ID card at the doctor's office.

Tricare: There are multiple options for retirees to continue receiving Tricare coverage. The fee structure does change, so be sure to understand your benefits before making a decision.

CHAMPVA: If you're not eligible for Tricare, you may be eligible for the Civilian Health and Medical Program of the Department of Veterans Affairs (CHAMPVA), which is a health benefits program in which the VA pays part of the cost of certain health care services and supplies.

Dependency & Indemnity Compensation (for Surviving Spouses): Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (DIC) is a monthly benefit paid to eligible survivors of certain deceased veterans.

Free Legal Assistance: Legal assistance staff are located on almost every base, ship and installation across the world. Retirees are eligible to take advantage of this incredible benefit.

State-Specific Benefits: State benefits range from free college and employment resources to free hunting and fishing licenses. Most states also offer tax breaks for their veterans and specialized license plates; some states even provide their veterans with cash bonuses just for serving in the military.

Burial in a VA Cemetery: A surviving spouse of an eligible veteran who married a nonveteran prior to Oct. 31, 1990, and whose remarriage was terminated by death or divorce prior to or on that date, is eligible for burial in a national cemetery. Eligible spouses and dependents may also be buried in a VA cemetery even if they predecease the veteran.

Burial in Arlington National Cemetery: Honorably discharged members in certain categories are eligible for burial in Arlington National Cemetery, including,

  • Members who died on active duty and their immediate family
  • Retirees and their immediate family
  • Recipients of the Purple Heart, or Silver Star and above

Inurnment in Arlington National Cemetery: Those eligible for burial as well as expanded categories (such as veterans and their immediate family) are eligible for inurnment.

Burial at Sea: While family members are eligible for burial at sea, they aren't allowed to attend a committal service onboard a military vessel.

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