Dependency and Indemnity Compensation
Survivors’ & Dependents’ Educational Assistance
Burials and Memorials
Small Business Ownership
NJ State Licensing Benefits
This section outlines benefits and topics not listed elsewhere on this Benefits page. And you need to know that the Benefits page does not cover every benefit available to every veteran. So if, after looking through all the sections, you have questions or need more information, contact your service officer. He/she may not have immediate answers but can find out and/or refer you to someone who will provide what you need
A Veterans Pension is available to low income wartime veterans who meet certain service, income, and net worth limits. Service in combat is not required, only that any discharge must be other than dishonorable. Active duty service requirement is 90 days except for Gulf War veterans who need 24 months or completion of the requirement for active service, whichever comes first. A veteran younger than age 65 must be totally disabled, but after age 65 there is no disability requirement. For income, VA looks at all household income – essentially everything that comes through the door that is cash or its equivalent is considered income. Payments from programs like Medicaid or SSI are not income, nor are regular payments by family members to maintain the veteran in the home. And unreimbursed medical expenses are deducted before calculating a total. Total income for a veteran and spouse with no medical rating must be less than $16,569 (in 2014) to qualify for a pension. As a rule of thumb, assets should not exceed about $40,000 for a couple, or $20,000 for an individual. Your personal residence, personal property, and automobiles for personal use are not usually counted as assets but you must live in the home. http://www.benefits.va.gov/pension/vetpen.asp
A Survivors Pension may be paid to qualifying unmarried surviving spouses and/or unmarried children (under 18) of deceased veterans with wartime service. Like the Veterans Pension, this benefit is based on need, and the requirements (including length of service) are much the same as those pertaining to an application from the veteran himself/herself. In addition, the marriage must have lasted at least one year or produced a child; the surviving spouse must have lived continuously with the veteran while they were married (unless separated due to fault of the veteran); the surviving spouse must have been married to the veteran when he/she died; and the surviving spouse cannot have remarried after the veteran’s death even if the surviving spouse is currently single. (There is one exception to the remarriage rule – if the surviving spouse married after the veteran’s death and that marriage terminated prior to November 1990 and that spouse has remained single, that spouse can qualify for the benefit.) http://www.benefits.va.gov/pension/spousepen.asp
Unmarried children may also be eligible if they are under age 18, or age 23 and attending a VA approved school. Children who become incapable of self-support because of a disability before age 18 may be eligible for the survivors pension for as long as the condition exists unless the child marries or his/her income exceeds the applicable limit.
Dependency and Indemnity Compensation is a tax free benefit payable to a qualifying surviving spouse, child, or parent of a service member who died while on active duty, active duty for training, or inactive duty training. It is also available to survivors of veterans who die from service connected disabilities or medical treatment received through the VA medical system. A surviving spouse receiving DIC is also eligible for reimbursement of most medical expenses under the CHAMPVA program. DIC for spouses terminates if the surviving spouse remarries before his/her 57th birthday. DIC and Survivors Pension benefits may not be collected at the same time. http://benefits.va.gov/COMPENSATION/types-dependency_and_indemnity.asp
DIC for spouses and dependent children is NOT based on income or assets. DIC for parents is an income based benefit.
IMPORTANT NOTE: It is strongly recommended that veterans/survivors/dependents who believe they may be eligible for Pension or DIC benefits contact your Post, County, or Department Service Officer before attempting to file an application with the Department of Veterans Affairs. There are requirements not stated here which are complicated and sometimes confusing. Service Officers can assist applicants with collecting required documentation and correctly completing VA forms, and will refer applicants to American Legion personnel accredited to represent claims with the Department of Veterans Affairs.\
Survivors’ & Dependents’ Educational Assistance benefits are available to the spouse or child of a Servicemember or Veteran who either died of a service connected disability, or has a permanent and total service connected disability, or has been listed for more than 90 days as missing in action (captured by a hostile force, detained or interned by a foreign government or power). The period of eligibility for spouses is generally 20 years from the date of the veteran’s death or total disability rating. Children usually must be between the ages of 18 and 26, but VA may grant extensions to both spouses and children. Benefits are paid for up to 45 months of full-time education or training, or the equivalent in part-time training or education. Benefits can be awarded for many types of studies including secondary/undergraduate/graduate schools; technical/vocational schools; on-the-job programs, etc. Special Benefits are available to dependents over age 14 with physical or mental disabilities that impair their ability to pursue an education. Disabled or surviving spouses may also qualify. For more information: http://www.benefits.va.gov/GIBILL/DEA.asp
Burial and Memorial benefits are available to veterans who were discharged from active duty under other than dishonorable conditions as well as servicemembers who die while on active duty, active or inactive duty for training. Spouses and dependent children of veterans and active duty servicemembers may also be eligible for benefits. The veteran does not have to die before a spouse or dependent child can be eligible for burial or memorial benefits. Burial in a VA National Cemetery is available for eligible veterans, spouses, and dependents at no cost and includes gravesite, grave-liner, opening and closing of the grave, a headstone or marker, and perpetual care. For Reservists and National Guard members, active duty for training by itself does not confer eligibility unless they were entitled to retirement pay at the time of death or would have been upon reaching the requisite age.
VA will furnish a US burial flag to memorialize veterans. In most cases the funeral director will obtain the flag for the family, or the next of kin may apply for the flag at any VA Regional Office or US Post Office by completing VA form 21-2008. http://www.vba.va.gov/pubs/forms/VBA-27-2008-ARE.pdf
Upon request, the Department of Defense will provide military funeral honors (folding and presenting of the flag and playing of “Taps”). An honors detail has two or more uniformed members of the armed forces with at least one from the deceased’s branch of service. The family should inform the funeral director if honors are desired. DoD maintains a toll free number 877-MIL-HONR (877-645-4667) for use by funeral directors only to arrange for honors.
VA will provide an inscribed headstone or marker and deliver it at no cost to any cemetery (national, state veterans, tribal, or private). The headstone/marker will be consistent with existing monuments at the place of burial. Or VA will provide a bronze medallion to affix to an already existing privately purchased headstone or marker. Headstones, markers, and medallions provided by the VA may be replaced at government expense if they become badly deteriorated, illegible, vandalized, or stolen. Types of headstones, markers, and medallions can be found at http://www.cem.va.gov/cem/hmm/types.asp . Typically, headstones or markers for national cemeteries will be ordered by the cemetery director. For private cemeteries, claims should be submitted by the next of kin or authorized representative. In all cases, proof of the decedent’s military service is required. Instructions and forms for claims for headstones/markers/medallions are at http://www.cem.va.gov/cem/hmm/order_instructions.asp . “In Memory Of” markers and headstones are available for those whose remains have not been recovered or identified, were buried at sea, donated to science, or cremated and scattered.
Presidential Memorial Certificates are issued to recognize the service of honorably discharged deceased veterans and persons who died in the active military, naval, or air service. Next of kin, relatives, and loved ones may request a Certificate by completing an application form (http://www.va.gov/vaforms/va/pdf/VA40-0247.pdf) and mailing/faxing it as directed. Copies of proof of honorable service must be included.
Burial and Plot Allowances may be paid (reimbursed) if the veteran was discharged under other than dishonorable conditions and meets other requirements described in the factsheet found at http://www.benefits.va.gov/benefits/factsheets/burials/Burial.pdf. Any veteran who died from service connected causes meets eligibility requirements. In general, allowances for non-service connected deaths will be paid if the veteran was entitled to pension or compensation, or if death occurred in a VA (or VA contracted) facility or nursing home or a state veterans nursing home. Amounts of the allowances vary depending of when the veteran’s death occurred. There is no time limit for filing a reimbursement claim when the death was service connected. In cases where cause of death was not service connected, claims must be filed within two years after burial or cremation.
The Social Security Administration will make a one-time payment of $255 to a veteran’s spouse or child upon the veteran’s death if the veteran has earned enough work credits under the program. Call 800-772-1213 or go to www.socialsecurity.gov for more information.
Naturalization Preference provides an accelerated path to citizenship to qualified servicemembers who had honorable active duty service during a designated period of hostilities. A non-citizen service member who was in the United States, certain territories, or aboard an American public vessel at the time of enlistment, re-enlistment, extension of enlistment, or induction may naturalize even if he or she is not a lawful permanent resident. This should be done by filing an Application for Naturalization while on active duty or within six months following termination of active service. An individual who files an application after the six month period is not exempt from physical presence and lawful residency requirements, but can count any period of active duty service (minimum one year) toward those requirements. More information can be found at the Citizenship and Immigration Services website (www.uscis.gov) or by calling their help line at 877-247-4645.
Small Business Ownership is an area where many veterans have done well. Veterans interested in entrepreneurship and small business ownership should look to the U.S. Small Business Administration’s Office of Veterans Business Development (OVBD) for assistance. OVBD conducts comprehensive outreach to Veterans, service- disabled Veterans, and Reservists of the U.S. military. OVBD also provides assistance to Veteran- and Reservist-owned small businesses.
Among the services provided by SBA are business-planning assistance, counseling, and training through community based Veterans Business Outreach Centers. For more information, go to www.sba.gov/aboutsba/sbaprograms/ovbd/OVBD_VBOP.html. There are more than 1,000 university-based Small Business Development Centers; nearly 400 SCORE chapters (www.score.org/Veteran.html) and 100 Women’s Business Centers. SBA also manages a range of special small business lending programs, ranging from Micro Loans to the Military-community-targeted Patriot Express Pilot Loan (www.sba.gov/services/financialassistance/index.html ). Veterans also participate in all SBA federal procurement programs, including a special 3 percent federal procurement goal specifically for service-connected disabled Veterans. A special Military Reservist Economic Injury Disaster Loan (www.sba.gov/reservists) is available for self-employed Reservists whose small businesses may be damaged through the absence of the owner or an essential employee as a result of Title 10 activation to Active Duty.
A Veterans Business Development Officer is stationed at every SBA District Office to act as a guide to Veterans, and SBA offers a full range of self-paced small business planning assistance at www.sba.gov/survey/checklist/index.cgi for Veterans, Reservists, discharging Servicemembers, and their families. Information about the full range of services can be found at www.sba.gov/about-offices-content/1/2985, or by calling 202-205-6773 or 1-800-U-ASK-SBA (1-800-827-5722).
New Jersey offers certain Licensing Benefits to veterans, active service members, and members of THE guard/reserve. Professional and occupational licenses issued under Title 45 of state statutes will not expire while the licensee is on active duty and will be extended for a period of 120 days after his/her return from active service. (This applies to most trades as well as medical and other professional licenses.) In addition, if the license is renewed within the 120 day period, no late fees or delinquency fees will be charged. Vendor licenses may be obtained by honorably discharged veterans at no fee from the county clerk, and vendors must also register with the NJ Division of Taxation. (Note that veterans are still required to take any prescribed qualifying courses and necessary state examinations.) NJ residents on active duty are eligible for automatic extensions of motor vehicle licenses, registrations, and inspection expiration dates – go to www.nj.gov/mvc/ for more information. No-fee licenses for honorably discharged veterans with service connected disabilities are available for real estate workers and for fishing and hunting.
Armed Forces Retirement Homes are located in Gulfport, MS and Washington, DC. Veterans are eligible to live there if their active duty service is at least 50 per cent in enlisted, warrant, or limited duty officer status. This is an independent federal agency and there are other requirements as well. To learn more go to www.afrh.gov, or call 800-332-3527 or 800-422-9988.
HUDVET is a veteran resource center sponsored by the US Department of Housing and Urban Development. It works with national veterans organizations to serve as a general information center on all HUD sponsored housing and community development programs and services. Contact HUDVET at 800-998-9999 or visit www.hud.gov/hudvet.