Being married to a veteran can be challenging, and likely means you've spent long periods of time away from your husband when he deployed or went to military training. The Department Veterans Affairs offers numerous benefits to veterans and to their spouses that can make the struggles of military life a little easier and reward both you and your spouse for his service.
During your spouse's time in service, both you and he are eligible for free or reduced-cost medical care. After his retirement, you can apply for health insurance programs designed specifically for veterans and their spouses, and you may also be eligible for reduced-cost health care at Veterans Affairs hospitals and some military bases. Your spouse will need to fill out military paperwork to sign you up for benefits, and you'll likely will have to provide a copy of your marriage license. If your spouse dies, you may be eligible for free or reduced-cost grief counseling.
If your spouse dies or is permanently and completely disabled, you can receive educational assistance under the GI Bill. Not all educational programs qualify for assistance, so check the program you've chosen. Survivors and Dependents Assistance is available to help you cover the costs of tuition and can significantly reduce your educational costs. If you have children, they are also eligible for assistance under the program.
Veterans are eligible for federally guaranteed reduced-rate mortgages that may also offer lower down payment requirements. These loans, of course, also benefit veterans' spouses. If your spouse has died during active duty and you have not remarried, you are also eligible for home loan assistance.
After your spouse retires, he is eligible for a pension determined by his pay rate and his number of years in service. If he dies, you can receive a need-based pension to help cover your lost income and living expenses. Your spouse's veteran status might also increase his Social Security benefits and your Social Security payments upon his death. The military also offers burial benefits to help cover the costs of funerals, a burial flag to drape over a veteran's coffin and the option to bury your spouse in a veterans' cemetery.
Retired veterans and their spouses generally have access to most of the recreational activities occurring on military bases, as well as access to the Base Exchange, which typically offers everyday products at reduced prices. Veterans and their spouses are also eligible for home, auto and life insurance through USAA.
- U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs: VA Home Loan Guaranty Benefits for Surviving Spouses
- U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs: Survivors and Dependents Assistance
- Military.com: Checklist for New Military Spouses
- State of Oregon: Spouses and Dependents Benefits
- U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs: Burial Benefits
- The Military Advantage; Terry Howell
- Jupiterimages/Creatas/Getty Images
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