Death pension is the income supplement program for a low-income surviving spouse and/or children of a veteran. The basic requirements are: wartime service, income and net worth within specified limits and the veteran’s death was not related to service.
Qualifying wartime service for pension purposes means that the veteran served on active duty for at least 90 consecutive days, at least one day of which was during a wartime period; or if less than 90 days, was discharged because of disability for which service-connection could be established without resort to any presumptive provisions of the law, or had a disability for which service-connection could be established which would have warranted a discharge for disability; or had two or more separate periods of active service for an aggregate of 90 days or more during more than one period of war.
In addition to the above, service requirements for death pension will be met regardless of the length of the veteran’s service if at the time of death the veteran was receiving, or was entitled to receive, compensation or retired pay for a service-connected disability incurred or aggravated during a wartime period. Finally, if a veteran dies while on active duty under circumstances precluding the payment of service-connected benefits (e.g. the death was not in the line of duty or was the result of willful misconduct), death pension may be payable to the surviving spouse and/or children provided the veteran has served honorably for at least two years, any part of which was during a wartime period.
All of the surviving spouse’s and/or children’s income from all sources is counted unless specifically excluded. Higher income limits apply if the surviving spouse has children in custody; however, the children’s incomes are also counted, as well. In addition, higher income limits also apply if the surviving spouse is housebound or in need of regular aid and attendance. Please contact the office for the current allowable income and net worth requirements.