Divorced Couples

Veteran’s Benefits for Widows and Divorced Couples – Are You Still Eligible If Your Spouse Passes or You Get Divorced?

Through our dearvaguy@gmail.com email service, we frequently receive letters from widows or divorced couples who are concerned about their VA Pension eligibility and changes as a result of death or divorce. Below are some recent letters that we have received. These are common questions that our office receives on a regular basis. We hope you find the replies helpful.

Veteran’s Pension for Surviving Spouses

Dear VA Guy,

My deceased husband served in the Korean War but was not in combat and, in fact, never actually went to Korea. I was told by the local VA office that because my husband was not injured while in the service, that I am not entitled to any benefits. However, a friend of mine told me that as the surviving spouse of a wartime Veteran, that I may be entitled to a Veteran’s Pension. My friend suggested I contact you. So am I entitled to a Veteran’s Pension even though my husband is deceased?

Sincerely,
Benefits Confused

There is the possibility that you would eligible for a pension benefit. The criteria for Veteran’s Pension insists that he must have served during a qualifying wartime period. A service-connected injury is not a requirement for VA Pension qualification, as that requirement only applies to Disability Indemnity Compensation, also known as DIC. The criteria for qualification are listed below:

  • Your husband must have served during a qualifying wartime period.
  • Your husband must have received an honorable discharge or better.
  • You must require assistance with activities of daily living.
  • You must pass an incoming asset test.

So it is absolutely possible that you may qualify for Veteran’s Pension as the widow of a veteran who was serving during the time of the Korean War. For a surviving spouse like yourself, you could be eligible for a pension amount of approximately $1,300 a month.

Does the VA Pension Change If One Spouse Passes?

Dear VA Guy,

My father and mother were receiving $2,120 per month from the VA. My mother died in November and my father is worried sick that since my mother has passed away, that his VA Pension will stop. Do we have to notify the VA of my mother’s death? Does my father’s pension stop?

Sincerely,
Stressed and Confused

We deal with this each and every day and we’ll be happy to help. The short answer is yes. We do have to notify the VA that your mom has passed. But the good news is that the pension belongs to him (since he is a Veteran), so it doesn’t stop. The only change would be that the pension will now transition from the couples pension amount of $2,120 to $1,900 a month for just your father. So he would see a reduction in the benefit amount, but he would continue to receive his pension.

Does the VA Pension Change When A Widowed Veteran Remarries?

Dear VA Guy,

My mother was married to my father for 52 years. He served in World War II and was stationed in Hawaii on December 7, 1941, when the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor. Fortunately, he was not injured. My parents were married 52 years but he died 10 years ago. My mother met another man in an assisted living home and they were married for 3 years until his death last year. My mother needs money to stay in assisted living. Is she eligible for a widows pension under my father?

Sincerely,
Second Marriage

Unfortunately, she would not be no longer be eligible for the pension. If your mother would have remained a widow, yes. But since she remarried, she’s not eligible for the pension under your father’s name. But if her second husband was a Veteran, you may be able to qualify under his name. The pension amount is the same, you would just need to get a copy of his DD214 to see if he served during a qualified wartime period.

Are VA Pension Benefits Available for Divorced Couples?

Dear VA Guy,

My father was a pilot in Vietnam and he was honorably discharged in 1968. My parents were married for 25 years and while my father served in the Air Force, they got divorced about 15 years ago. My father remarried but his wife died several years ago. My father died last year. My mother never remarried. Is my mother eligible for VA Pension under my father?

Sincerely,
Divorced Parents

Unfortunately, she would not be eligible. Divorce eliminates any rights that your mom may have to the VA pension for your dad. As a result, divorced couples of veterans do not qualify for that benefit.

Contact Us for More Information About Your Specific Case

If you have additional questions about Veteran’s Pension eligibility for you and/or your spouse, please don’t hesitate to contact us. You can send an email to dearvaguy@gmail.com or complete this form here.

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