Veterans benefits can be obtained for the families of disabled and active duty service members in the military.

Veterans benefits are available to families of service members through a variety of organizations and the Department of Veterans Affairs. These benefits come in the form of general assistance to disabled veterans and active duty families in the form financial claims, job placement, burial services and other benefits to survivors and eligible military service veterans. Who can receive these benefits depends greatly on individual situations and the status of the veteran, but the Veterans Affairs office works with anyone facing a disability or may be a surviving spouse. Military benefits can be obtained even if the veteran died or is missing in combat.

Organizations for Veterans Benefits

There are a variety of different organizations that help families receive veterans’ benefits. On a local level, the Department of Veterans Affairs operates a number of regional offices and liaisons with state governments. Each branch of the armed services operates a specific agency geared towards helping veterans’ families receive benefits. In addition, the Department of Defense and the Social Security Administration can provide additional information. A number of non-profit organizations also provide assistance.

Dependents and Survivors of Military Service

When a veteran dies, either from wounds suffered in service or from other causes, families are eligible for a number of additional benefits to help cope with the loss. These services include burial assistance, education benefits and even compensation. There are a number of stipulations about which members of the family can receive the benefits. Dependents under 18 years of age or 23 if in college, as well as spouses who have not remarried are the most commonly eligible.

Department of Veterans Affairs

The Veterans Affairs Department has a number of provisions for families that assist with bereavement, general counseling and day-to-day assistance. Because a number of veterans suffer from injuries, both physical and mental, families may be in need of help. These benefits come in the form of caregivers, organizations that offer group therapy and spiritual services.

History of Veteran Benefits

Historically, families of veterans received very little in terms of benefits from the government. Prior to the 1940s, veterans themselves did not receive benefits outside of compensation during service and a pension depending on the war. In 1944, President Franklin Roosevelt moved to change this. The Servicemen’s Readjustment Act of 1944 instituted general assistance to veterans for use after World War II. These benefits slowly transferred to the families of veterans as time passed and new wars were fought. The Vietnam Conflict specifically, caused the rise of a number of non-government organizations which helped families of veterans, most notably the National League of Families.

Status of the Eligible Veteran

What veterans benefits a family can receive depends on the status of the military service member. While some benefits, such as educational assistance, cannot be used by the survivors unless the veteran dies, others are available regardless of the situation, including help with disability claims. Besides the policies of the Department of Veterans Affairs, a number of laws require the assistance to families be offered. The most notable law regarding veterans benefits for families of eligible military veterans can be found within the G.I. Bill of Rights, which was upgraded in 2008.

Options for Veterans Benefits

Department of Veterans Affairs

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