2019 Survivor's Pension Rates

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The VA Survivor's Pension (also known as the Death Pension) is a tax-free benefit paid to eligible dependents of deceased wartime veterans.

VA Survivor's Pension Eligibility

You may be eligible if:

  • the deceased veteran was discharged from service under other than dishonorable conditions, AND
  • they served 24 months or more of active duty with at least 1 day during wartime.  AND
  • you are the un-remarried surviving spouse or unmarried child of the deceased veteran, AND
  • your countable income is below a yearly limit set by law:
Current Income Limits
If you are a... Your yearly income must be less than...
Surviving spouse with no dependent children $9,078*
Surviving spouse with one dependent child $11,881**
(Add $2,313 to the limit for EACH additional child)  
Housebound surviving spouse with no dependents $11,095
Housebound surviving spouse with one dependent $13,893
Eligible dependent who needs aid and attendance with no dependents $15,097
Eligible dependent who needs aid and attendance with one dependent $17,309
Surviving spouse who needs aid and attendance with no dependents $17,309
Surviving spouse who needs aid and attendance with one dependent $17,833
Surviving child (no eligible parent) $2,313

Note: Some income is not counted toward the yearly limit (for example, welfare benefits, or some wages earned by dependent children) * To be deducted, medical expenses must exceed 5% of MAPR or $453 ** To be deducted, medical expenses must exceed 5% of MAPR or $594

The Death Pension Payment Amount

VA pays you the difference between your countable income and the yearly income limit which describes your situation (see chart above). This difference is generally paid in 12 equal monthly payments rounded down to the nearest dollar. 

The Death Pension Application Process

You can apply by filling out VA Form 21-534, Application for Dependency and Indemnity Compensation Or Death Pension by Surviving Spouse or Child. If available, attach copies of dependency records (marriage & children's birth certificates).

Stay On Top Of Your Benefits

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Related Topics

Survivor Benefits