Would my Mom be eligible for survivor benefits if Dad didn't serve in Vietnam but was in the Navy during that period?

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He was honorably discharged and I was just wondering if she would be eligible for any survivor benefits if/when she becomes in need of medical/home health care?

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Laurie,

The best thing to do is to visit your local VA office or check the Veteran's Affairs website. This link http://www.va.gov/opa/persona/dependent_survivor.asp will take you to a page on the VA website specifically for dependents and survivors. There are also other pages that speak about Aid & Attendance, etc. In some instances the benefits are available based on low income, whether the service member had a service connected disability or disease, whether payments were made to the Spousal Benefit, etc. You would just need to do some investigating and possibly contact a nearby VA office in person or by phone.

I would suggest that if you think its at all possible that your Mom might be eligible for some type of benefit, print the forms (they're available online), fill them out and mail them in with the information required. All you can be told is yes or no. It's worth the effort.

FYI. My Dad died a month ago of LBD. He was retired military. He never even thought of applying for benefits while he was alive as he wasn't disabled, injured, etc. My Mom and I visited the casualty office at the local military base because we were told we should do that to make certain his death information was properly recorded. Without us even asking, the person we visited with pulled up all the online forms for VA claims and filled them out for my Mom. The forms included a claim for a monthly benefit due to the fact that my Dad served in southeast Asia during the Vietnam War (though not in Vietnam itself) and the base he was stationed at was probably contaminated by agent orange (which we were not aware of and which is apparently known to lead to Parkinson's Disease and cardiovascular problems), a claim for payment of funeral and burial expenses, and some other claims which I don't remember. She also filled out the paperwork for a burial marker and for the portion of his last retirement check that my Mom is due. We are aware that nothing might come of the monthly benefit claim, and that it might take upwards of nine months to hear the result, but at least someone was on top of things enough to let us know what was out there and to take the time to complete all the paperwork. Those people are available. You just might have to make some phone calls and visit some websites.
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there is a stipulation that widows/widowers can remarry (a non-veteran) and still collect benefits so long as they remarried after a certain age...I want to say 52 or 62 but the VA.gov site will have that info stated accurately.
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Ferris,I think you're talking about something other than Veteran's Aid and Attendance. Judylbo is exactly right about the requirements for A&A. I've also been thru this for my mom and she's now receiving that benefit. She would not have been eligible under the requirements you mention.
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Thank you Debralee, I went on that site, and things have changed. Just an FYI too, when a spouse dies, Social Security doesn't want the death certificate, they want to see the marriage license. Odd isn't it?
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Well during WWII era and forward, veterans had to have served 20 yrs., been married 20 yrs. during the service, and there's another "20" (I can't remember) and it was called "20,20,20". I guess things have changed and I am so happy judylbo your mother is receiving her benefits!
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ferris1 - I wasn't addressing how long they had been married (67 years when my dad died), but your original answer stated that you had to have served in the military for at least 20 years and that's not so. My father served over 3 years during WWII and was honorable discharged in 1945. My mother qualified and is now receiving the benefit.
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judylbo - If your father served in WWII, and your mother was married to him during that time, she has to have been married longer than 20 yrs. You don't say how long, but my husband was in WWII, Korea, and Vietnam and we have been married almost 30 yrs. He no longer has to pay into SBP, but I will receive benefits when he dies. I will never marry anyone else unless they have a military background because we have the best medical benefits. I am glad you got benefits for your mother, but I know there is more to her story than what you have disclosed. Any woman who remarries a non vet will not get benefits or will be cut-off from receiving them (if she is currently receiving them)
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Some of the people here are mistaken about this benefit. You do NOT have to be retired or be receiving a pension from the military nor do you have to have served more than 20 years. If your father was a member of the military during a war he will qualify. My father served during WWII and I applied for this benefit on behalf of my mother and she began receiving it in December. Like with all government benefits, the paperwork is complicated. Make sure you provide all the information they request and fill out the forms VERY carefully. It would be beneficial if you contacted a local veteran's organization for assistance. If you do it right the first time, the time involved in the process of your application will be shortened considerably. Good luck to you.
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Oops. Signmeister is wrong, I've been though this. Father has to have served a short time, (9 days?) in ACTIVE duty during wartime but didn't have to be on the front lines. Have an honorable discharge, and here's the big NO for my mom. She had married again to a non veteran. No benefits. Just wrong! Why would she be more eligible if she had lived widowed for these 26 years since dad passed away in the V.A. Hospital? Second husband wasn't a vet, but is deceased. Sad situation. She lives on $1200. A month. Has to have help from us just to live in a remodeled hotel in two rooms. I was also told to get a lawyer to help with paperwork because the VA will try to find reasons to deny you. There are some who do it for free. ( in Mo.)
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