Benefit Details
Veterans Death Pension
Managing Agency Veterans Benefits Administration (VBA)

Program Description

The Veterans Death pension is a benefit paid by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to eligible dependents (surviving spouse and/or child) of deceased wartime Veterans whose deaths were not related to military service.

General Program Requirements

In order to qualify for this benefit program, you must be the surviving spouse or eligible child of an eligible Veteran. Children of Veterans are eligible if they are under the age of 18, enrolled in a VA-approved educational/training institution or became permanently incapable of self-support before reaching the age of 18. Deceased Veterans must have served at least 90 days of active duty with at least one day of wartime service and died of causes that were unrelated to military service. (Dependents of Veterans whose deaths were caused by military service should view the Veterans Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (DIC) benefit.)

Wartime Service Requirements
World War I World War II Korea Vietnam Gulf War
04/06/1917 to 07/01/1921 12/07/1941 to 12/31/1946 06/27/1950 to 01/31/1955 02/28/1961 to 05/07/1975
*Between 02/28/1961 to 08/04/1964 had to have served in country Vietnam
08/02/1990 through a date to be prescribed by Presidential proclamation or law

Income limits apply. Higher income limits may apply if the surviving spouse is severely disabled or has custody of any dependent children of the Veteran. In addition, if your medical expenses are high, they may help to offset your countable income.

National Guard and Reserve members who were activated for federal military service and later separated are considered to be Veterans. In most cases, these Veterans need not have served 24 months.

Commissioned Officers of the Public Health Service and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration are considered to be active duty members and Veterans, once discharged.

Your Next Steps

The following information will lead you to the next steps to apply for this benefit.

Application Process

To complete an application, use VA Form 21-534, "Application for Dependency and Indemnity Compensation, Death Pension and Accrued Benefits." You can download the form at:

For more specific information, visit:

Program Contact Information

If you have questions:
  • Visit the Inquiry Routing & Information System (IRIS) website to search Frequently Asked Questions or ask a question on-line
  • Call 1-800-827-1000
  • Call 1-800-829-4833, if you are hearing impaired
To apply for additional Veterans' benefits and view your benefit status, open an eBenefits Premium account. eBenefits is a one-stop source for information on Department of Defense and Department of Veterans Affairs benefits and services. With a free Premium level eBenefits account, Veterans and Servicemembers can conduct self-service transactions such as checking claim status information, GI Bill enrollment, and obtaining copies of civil service preference letters, DD214, and other personal information. For further information and to register for a free Premium level account, visit the eBenefits website.