Veterans Benefits for Families

Because the United States heavily supports its troops, it offers a plethora of family veterans benefits to the spouses, dependents, caregivers and parents of retired military service men and women.

Some of the benefits offered include health care, housing loans and assistance, education, training, pension for families and employment assistance. The Veterans Affairs Administration provides simple and convenient ways to apply for dependent and military spouse benefits. Below, you will find information about all of the veteran benefits that are offered and available to veteran families and how you can apply.

Applying for Family Veterans Benefits

The Veterans Affairs Administration offers an online portal to make applying for family veteran benefits convenient and easy. Applicants must individually apply for the types of benefits they wish to receive, there are separate applications for all the benefits mentioned below.

Applicants must provide various documents of proof, depending on the benefit program. However, all applications must include the veteran’s proof of service.

Veteran Disability Benefits for Families

Military service men and women who qualify for disability benefits are those who were injured or who became mentally or physically disabled while on duty. Families of deceased veterans may also qualify to receive these disabled veterans benefits. The veteran could have been killed during military service or passed away from a disability incurred while on duty. Veterans Affairs may also provide family disability benefits even if the veteran died due to non-service related incidents. This case qualifies as long as the veteran’s death was due to service-related total disability immediately before death.

Family VA disability benefits are awarded in the form of monthly financial compensation to the family of the deceased veteran. Compensation is divided into two groups: veterans who had 30 percent to 60 percent disability and veterans who had 70 percent to 100 percent disability prior to death. These categories include different possible household member combinations to supply benefits for.

Family VA Education Benefits and Training

Family VA education benefits include funding for veterans to attend school. Expansion of the GI Bill resulted in inclusion of the veteran’s family members in education benefits. The two main veteran dependent scholarships are the Marine Gunnery Sergeant John David Fry Scholarship (Fry Scholarship) and the Dependents’ Education Assistance Program (DEA).

Fry Scholarship

The Fry Scholarship is reserved for spouses and dependents of deceased service members who died on or after September 11, 2001 in the line of duty. Recipients may receive full payment of education for 36 months.

DEA

This veteran dependent scholarship awards dependents of permanently and totally disabled veterans education and training opportunities as long as they are eligible. DEA allows participants to take part in degree, certificate and apprenticeship programs as well as on-the-job training. This program grants the veteran dependent benefits for up to 36 months of education or 81 months if the recipient is eligible for the DEA and another VA education program.

Employment Assistance

Dependents eligible for the DEA program may also be eligible to receive employment assistance and training. This service is meant to provide the recipient with counseling to determine his or her best career path and coaching to reach educational and career goals and increase skills.

Eligible service members are also able to transfer some or all of their unused educational benefits to their children our spouse under the Post-9/11 GI Bill.

Veterans Family Health Insurance

The Veterans Administration supplies comprehensive veterans family health insurance. Like non-veteran medical insurance, the recipient (veteran) has the option to include his or her family as part of the insurance plan as beneficiaries. The following are medical plans that qualifying veterans’ family members may be able to receive care from:

  • 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 (CWVV) Program
  • Spina Bifida Healthcare Program (SB)
  • Caregiver Program

CHAMPVA

The CHAMPVA programs provide veterans benefits for widows or spouses and dependent children of veterans who are permanently and totally disabled or are deceased from the disability. Families of veterans who died on active duty or dependents who not qualify for the Department of Defense’s TRICARE program may be eligible as well. This program covers most medically or psychologically needy health services and has rates similar to Medicare.

CLFMP

CLFMP is a program for families and veterans who were stationed at Camp Lejeune between August 1, 1953 and December 31, 1987 who were exposed to potentially dangerous industrial chemicals. The VA provides healthcare to veterans who were on active duty at the time and provides reimbursement to qualifying family members. Eligible family members are those who developed certain diseases due to the chemicals.

CWVV

The CWVV Program is for women Vietnam Veterans who gave birth to children with defects. This program provides veterans benefits in the form of reimbursement. The beneficiary receives funds for medical expenses incurred for services related to the birth defects. Spina Bifida is excluded from this plan.

SB

This program reimburses the recipient for medical services and supplies that treat spina bifida. It is primarily administered to certain children whose parents are Korean War Veterans.

Caregiver Program

The VA offers healthcare coverage to primary caregivers of Veterans who served during Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom. These recipients cannot already be entitled to other healthcare programs like Medicare or Medicaid. This program not only provides health insurance, but offers the caregiver stipends as well.

In addition to VA healthcare programs, families of veterans may be eligible to receive lower premiums on private health insurance.

Housing Assistance for Families

Family housing assistance and veterans home loans are available for both veterans and their families. These programs include purchase loans, cash-out refinance home loans and interest rate reduction refinance loans. Spouses can use the compensation from these programs to refinance a mortgage or purchase, renovate or construct a new home.

Veterans Life Insurance for Families

Veterans life insurance, paid by the service member while serving, helps to provide his or her family with financial assistance after he or she passes away. While serving, members of the military can join different life insurance programs:

  • Family Service Members’ Group Life Insurance (FSGLI)
  • Service Member’s Group Life Insurance (SGLI)
  • Veterans Group Life Insurance (VGLI)
  • SGLI Traumatic Injury Protection Program (TSGLI)

Under FSGLI, the spouse of the veteran can transfer his or her coverage to an individual plan with a private insurance company. But under all of the VA life insurance programs, family members will receive monetary compensation that can be used for anything.

Pension for Families

While pensions are typically reserved for veterans themselves, certain circumstances make family pensions available for spouses and dependents. Spouses and children of deceased wartime veterans who meet financial criteria may be able to receive Survivors Pension. Family members experiencing increased financial struggle and cannot perform daily activities without aid or are homebound may be eligible for Additional Pension Allowance. This program provides a larger pension than Survivors Pension.

Veteran Memorials

A family’s veteran memorial benefits include the VA making special arrangements to honor the deceased veteran at no extra charge. This includes burying the veteran in a veterans cemetery. A headstone or marker, inscription, burial flag and continuous care of the grave is included with the burial.

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