Mesothelioma VA Survivors Pension

Quick Summary

VA Survivors Pension provides monthly payments to the surviving spouses and dependents of veterans with wartime service. Starting at $9,224 a year for surviving spouses without dependents, the pension provides tax-free income to low-income spouses and children. For individuals diagnosed with mesothelioma and their family members, having access to this pension can help alleviate financial strain and provide crucial support.

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What Is VA Survivors Pension?

VA Survivors Pension, also known as the Death Pension, is a monthly benefit available to families that have been impacted by mesothelioma and other asbestos-related conditions. This benefit is provided by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).

Similar to VA Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (DIC), the Survivors Pension allows qualified spouses and dependents of deceased veterans to receive monthly payments that vary based on your income.

For the surviving families of veterans that have served during the recognized wartime periods, the Survivors Pension offers help to families struggling in the wake of a veteran’s death.

For families of veterans that have died from mesothelioma and other asbestos-related illnesses, the pension relieves some of the burden associated with treatment.

Benefits of VA Survivors Pension for Mesothelioma

Following the death of a mesothelioma patient, benefits such as a VA Survivors Pension can greatly assist families during a time of great financial and emotional stress.

For low-income survivors of veterans who were diagnosed with mesothelioma, the extra income from a VA Survivors Pension can assist with the costs associated with both mesothelioma treatment and general expenses.

VA Survivors Pension can help eligible dependents and spouses pay for:

  • Living expenses
  • Funeral benefits
  • Medical expenses
  • Groceries
  • Health care
  • Education
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VA Survivors Pension Rates

The amount in which recipients of the VA Survivors Pension receive each month depends on what category (spouse, dependent, etc.) they fall under and their yearly countable income.

If you qualify for Survivors Pension based on your status as a spouse or dependent, and your annual income falls under the limits set by Congress, your monthly payments will consist of the difference between your countable income and the Maximum Annual Pension Rate (MAPR).

Your countable income is the sum of your yearly earnings as well as income from your dependents.

Countable income can include:

  • Salary
  • Investments
  • Disability and retirement payments
  • Income from a business

The MAPR amount, which is adjusted according to the cost-of-living, is the maximum amount of money a veteran, spouse, or dependent child can receive.
If you are a spouse, your MAPR amount is also impacted based on whether you receive Aid and Attendance (A&A) or Housebound benefits and have at least one dependent.

For example, if you have one surviving child and don’t qualify for the aforementioned benefits, you will receive $12,072. If you did quality for Housebound or A&A benefits, your MAPR would go up to $14,116 and $17,586 respectively.

As of December 2019, a beneficiary must make less than $129,094 in order to receive the VA Survivors Pension.

How to Calculate VA Survivors Pension

The amount you will receive in VA Survivors Pension is calculated as the difference between your MAPR and countable income.

For example, if you make $12,000 in yearly income and your MAPR is $17,586, your pension amount will be will receive $5,586 a year divided into monthly installments.

It is important to note that Social Security and other forms of uncountable income will not reduce your monthly payments.

Who Qualifies for VA Survivor Benefits?

Whether or not the families of veterans can receive the Survivor Pension depends on their ability to meet the criteria set by the VA.

Dependents of former service members that have served during wartime are eligible if they meet the following eligibility requirements.

Spouse RequirementsDependent Child RequirementsDeceased Veteran Requirements
Meets income limits set by CongressMust not be marriedNot discharged under dishonorable conditions
Must not have remarried following the veteran’s deathUnder 18; or under 23 and going to a VA-approved school; or incapable of caring for themselves due to a disability that occurred before the age of 18Served at least 90 days of active duty, with at least one of those days during a period of war

If the veteran entered active duty after September 7th, 1980, they must have served for at least 24 months of active duty service or completed the full period of active duty for which they were called up. At least one of those days must be in a wartime period.

Mesothelioma VA Survivors Pension FAQ

Is VA Survivors Pension taxable?

No, VA Survivors Pension is a tax-free benefit.

What is the income limit for VA Survivors Pension?

The current income limit for VA Survivors Pension $129,094. This amount increases as Social Security cost-of-living does.

Does Social Security count as income for VA Survivors Pension?

No, Social Security income is not counted as it is considered non-countable.

How do I file for VA Survivors Pension?

Family members of deceased wartime veterans can apply for VA Survivors Pension by mail, online, or at your nearest VA office.

Your application should include:

  • Medical information
  • Military records
  • SSN or VA file number
  • Financial information
  • Work history
  • Direct deposit

Do I qualify for VA survivor benefits?

If you are the spouse or unmarried child of a veteran that was injured, disabled, or passed away due to military service, you may qualify benefits if you meet the VA’s requirements. Contact our team of VA-accredited claims agents and attorneys to learn more.

Get Help Applying for Veterans Benefits

If you lost a loved one due to service-connected mesothelioma, being able to access disability benefits from the VA provides important relief and help.

If you or a loved one is suffering from mesothelioma and you are seeking to learn more about your benefits, you can apply by mail, online, or at your nearest VA office. If you need assistance, the Mesothelioma Veterans Center can help you understand the disability compensation you may be entitled to.

Get help with your VA claim today.

Veterans Support Team
Eric P.W. Hall (Capt RIANG) PhotoReviewed by:Eric P.W. Hall (Capt RIANG)

VA-Accredited Attorney

  • Fact-Checked
  • Editor

Eric P.W. Hall (Capt RIANG) is an attorney, a former Sergeant in the U.S. Marine Corps, and a legal advisor at the Mesothelioma Veterans Center. Today, Eric continues to serve as a Captain in the Rhode Island Air National Guard where he is Deputy Staff Judge Advocate, upholding his dedication to his country and fellow veterans. Eric considers it his duty to help his veteran family and strives to help them navigate the VA and receive the benefits they so bravely earned.

Christopher Dryfoos PhotoWritten by:

Contributing Author

Christopher Dryfoos is a journalist and member of the American Medical Writers Association (AMWA). As the grandson of the U.S. Navy’s first forensic pathologist, he aims to help veterans with mesothelioma access needed care.

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