* This site is privately owned and is not affiliated or endorsed by the Social Security Administration or any other government agency.

Death Pension


Death Pension is a benefit provided to eligible surviving spouses and dependent children of deceased wartime U.S. military veterans. It is a tax-free, needs-based monetary assistance designed to help family members maintain an adequate standard of living. The amount received depends on the recipient’s income and the applicable payment limit set by Congress.

Key Takeaways

  1. Death Pension is a needs-based benefit provided to the surviving spouses and dependent children of deceased wartime veterans who meet specific eligibility criteria.
  2. Beneficiaries of Death Pension may receive monthly payments, which are determined by their income and net worth, to help supplement their financial needs after the loss of a veteran.
  3. The survivor must apply for the Death Pension, and the VA will review factors such as the veteran’s service, the applicant’s relationship to the deceased, and financial information to determine eligibility and the benefits amount.


The term “Death Pension” is significant within the context of VA benefits because it directly impacts the financial well-being of eligible surviving spouses and dependents of deceased veterans who served during periods of war.

This tax-free monetary benefit aims to provide a stable source of income to those who have lost loved ones in the line of duty or due to service-related causes.

By offering financial support, the Death Pension plays a crucial role in helping the bereaved families maintain their standard of living, cope with the loss of their loved one, and navigate the challenges that may arise following a death in the family.


The purpose of the VA Death Pension is to provide financial support and stability to the surviving dependents of deceased wartime veterans, ensuring they can maintain a modest standard of living. This crucial benefit not only acknowledges the ultimate sacrifice of the veteran but also underlines the commitment of the U.S.

government to look after the families of those who served. By offering a monetary safety net, the Death Pension can assist with covering basic living expenses, including shelter, food, and medical necessities, and help ease the financial burden faced by the surviving spouse or children.

The Death Pension is designed to be used for a variety of purposes, depending on the individual needs and circumstances of the surviving dependents. It can be applied to cover rent or mortgage payments, utility bills, groceries, medical expenses, and other essential costs tied to daily life.

In doing so, this benefit fosters a sense of security and stability for the loved ones left behind, ensuring their well-being despite the tragic loss of their family’s primary provider. Overall, the VA Death Pension is a meaningful demonstration of the nation’s gratitude and commitment to those who bravely fought for its freedom and principles.

Examples of Death Pension

The VA Death Pension, now referred to as Veterans Survivor Pension, is a benefit that is paid to eligible dependents or surviving spouses of deceased wartime veterans. Eligible beneficiaries must meet certain income and net worth limitations.

Example 1: Jane DoeJane Doe is a surviving spouse of a WWII veteran, who passed away from non-service-related causes. Jane has a limited income and needs financial assistance to cover her daily living expenses. After verifying her eligibility and meeting the income threshold requirements, Jane successfully applied for and began receiving the VA Death Pension, now called Veteran Survivor Pension. The pension provides her with a monthly payment to help her cover her living expenses.

Example 2: John SmithJohn Smith served in the Vietnam War, and after completing his service, married and raised a family. Unfortunately, John passed away due to a heart attack, leaving his wife and two minor children behind. The surviving spouse applied for the VA Death Pension and was granted the benefit to assist her in supporting their children. The monthly pension payment has helped ease the financial burden during this challenging time for the family.

Example 3: Maria GarciaMaria Garcia’s husband served during the Korean War, and he passed away later in life after facing chronic health issues. Maria struggles with a disability that limits her ability to work, which causes financial difficulties. Aware of the VA Death Pension, Maria applied for the benefit by submitting the required evidence of her husband’s service and demonstrating her financial need. Upon approval, Maria began to receive the monthly pension payments, which have been a critical financial assistance in her life.

FAQs: VA Death Pension Benefits

What is the VA Death Pension?

The VA Death Pension is a tax-free benefit provided to eligible surviving spouses or dependents of deceased wartime veterans to help them cope with financial difficulties. The amount received is based on the family’s annual income, which must not exceed certain limits set by Congress.

Who is eligible for the VA Death Pension?

To be eligible for the Death Pension, you must be a surviving spouse who has not remarried or an unmarried child of the deceased wartime veteran. The veteran must have served at least 90 days of active military service, including at least one day during a period of wartime, and in most cases, have been discharged under honorable conditions.

What are the income limits for the VA Death Pension?

The VA uses income limits called the Maximum Annual Pension Rate (MAPR) to determine eligibility for the Death Pension. These limits are updated annually and depend on your family size, additional allowances, and other factors. To get the current income limits, you can visit the VA website or contact a VA regional office.

How do I apply for the VA Death Pension?

To apply for the VA Death Pension, you need to fill out the VA Form 21P-534EZ (Application for DIC, Death Pension, and/or Accrued Benefits) and submit it with the necessary supporting documents to the VA. The documents may include the veteran’s discharge documents, marriage certificate, and death certificate, among others. You can apply online through the VA website, by mail, or with the assistance of a VA regional office.

Can I receive VA Death Pension and DIC at the same time?

No, you cannot receive Death Pension and Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (DIC) at the same time. These are two different benefits for surviving family members of deceased veterans. If you’re eligible for both, the VA will typically pay the higher of the two benefits, depending on your situation.

Related VA Benefit Terms

  • Survivors Pension
  • Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (DIC)
  • Service-Connected Death
  • Burial Benefits
  • Veterans Funeral Allowance

Sources for More Information