Benefits for Veteran/Military Spouses and Family Members



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525,343 Veterans
65,325 Active Duty
17,565 Guard and Reserve
2,000,000 Family Members (estimated)

( and

Benefits available

The Federal Veterans Benefits Administration offers a variety of benefits and services to spouses, children, and parents of Service Members and Veterans who are deceased or totally and permanently disabled by a service-connected disability

What benefits could spouses and children of veterans be eligible for?

  • The U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs (VA) Caregiver Support Program (CSP) offers clinical services to caregivers of eligible and covered Veterans enrolled in the VA health care system.

  • County Veterans Assistance Programs provide assistance to eligible families of deceased veterans who have resided in Washington state for at least one year.  Contact your County Veterans Assistance Program for more information. 

Employment Preference

Preference for public employment is given to surviving spouses of honorably discharged wartime veterans, and spouses of honorably discharged veterans with a permanent and total service-connected disability.

Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (DIC)

When a veteran dies of service-related causes – or was continuously rated totally disabled for at least 10 years preceding death, or five years from date of discharge – benefits may be paid to a surviving spouse, dependent or low-income parents.

Dependents must be:

  • Less than 18 years of age,

  • Not yet 23 years of age if attending a VA-approved school; or

  • Disabled before age 18.

 Survivors & Dependents Education Benefits

Based on the veteran’s length and degree of service-related disability, or other qualifying factors for service members, educational benefits may be available to dependents and spouses who have not remarried.

Dependents must be between the ages of 18 and 26 to receive education benefits, though extensions may be granted.

(A Summary Washington State’s Education Benefits for Dependents of 100% Disabled Veterans or those who died as a result of military service.)

Spina Bifida Allowance

The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) provides monetary allowances, vocational training and rehabilitation and VA-financed health care benefits to certain Korea and Vietnam Veterans' birth children who have been diagnosed with spina bifida (SB). If you are the birth child of a Vietnam Veteran and you have been diagnosed with spina bifida, you may already be receiving monetary allowances, vocational training or rehabilitation due to your condition. For the purpose of the VA SB Health Care Benefits Program, spina bifida is defined as all forms or manifestations of spina bifida (except spina bifida occulta

Home Loan Guarantees 

Spouses who have not remarried may qualify for a VA loan guarantee if they were married to:

  • A veteran;

  • A service member who died of service-related disabilities;

  • A service member who died while on active duty; or

  • A service member who has been listed as MIA or a POW for more than 90 days.

Survivors Pension

Surviving spouses who have not remarried – as well as unmarried dependents of deceased veterans – may receive pension benefits if:

  • The veteran served more than 90 days in active duty military service;

  • Served at least one day during a period of wartime; and

  • Received any discharge other than dishonorable.

Burial Benefits

Benefits include the gravesite, headstone or marker, opening and closing of the grave and perpetual care.

The federal VA may pay reimbursement of a portion of the veteran’s funeral and burial expenses, as well as provide headstones and markers for the unmarked graves of veterans anywhere. Eligible spouses and dependents may also qualify for headstones and markers in national, state veteran or military post cemeteries.

Qualifying veterans, service members, spouses and dependents may be eligible for burial in a VA National Cemetery.

Headstones and Markers

The Federal VA provides headstones and markers for the unmarked graves of veterans anywhere, and for eligible spouses and children of veterans interred in national, state veteran or military post cemeteries.

Gold Star License Plate

Parents, Spouses, Children, and Siblings may qualify for a Gold Star License Plate. Widows(ers) eligible for DIC may receive one plate and vehicle registration at no cost.

Veterans Assistance Fund 

County assistance for families of indigent veterans and deceased indigent veterans may be available based on income and other qualifications. 

The Washington State Department of Veterans Affairs (WDVA) assists veterans, their family members and survivors in connecting to the benefits you earned through your military service.

Veterans Service Offices and a statewide referral service assist veterans and family members in accessing benefits such as:

  • VA Disability Compensation
  • VA Pension or Widows Pension
  • Aid & Attendance
  • Medical Care
  • Higher Education and Vocational Rehabilitation
  • Other Federal, State or County Benefits

Documents that may be needed when applying for benefits include:

  • DD214 or other separation papers
  • Marriage certificate(s) and divorce decree(s)
  • Birth records for each dependent child
  • Death Certificates
  • Service medical records