• May 24, 2024
  • 4:16 AM

Military and Veteran Survivor Guide – What You Need to Know

Welcome to the NDVS Survivor page for information, programs and resources with quick and easy access to help you during this transition.

The Nevada Department of Veterans Services is here to help you during this difficult and challenging time. We offer our deepest sympathies for the loss of your loved one. Please know, you are not alone. View the NDVS Caregivers & Survivors Guide Brochure (PDF)If you are a caregiver, please visit our Caregiver Resource page

A Veterans Service Officer (VSO) can assist you in learning more about the benefits and resources available. Their service is free, and they will also help you file a claim to determine your eligibility. Find a VSO near you.

Starting Point: You will need your loved one’s discharge documents. These important documents are the gateway to all federal and state veterans benefits. If you do not have these documents, contact a Veterans Service Officer.


Burial Benefits guide from the Disabled American Vets answers many questions for survivors and dependents.

Eligible veterans, their spouses and dependents can be interred in one of Nevada’s two State Veterans Memorial Cemeteries located in Fernley and Boulder City. There is no cost for the veteran. For others, the cost is $450 (subject to change). Burial benefits for the veteran include (at no cost) opening and closing of the grave, perpetual care, a government headstone or marker, a burial flag and a Presidential Memorial Certificate.

The Nevada Department of Veterans Services oversees two veteran memorial cemeteries:


Dependency Indemnity Compensation (DIC): DIC is one of the most valuable benefits available to veterans’ survivors. People who meet the criteria for DIC can get tens of thousands of dollars a year in tax-free payments. To learn more, contact a Veterans Service Officer.


Survivors Benefit Plan (SBP): For retirees who opted-into SBP, survivors can continue to receive a portion of their loved one’s retirement income. Contact the Defense Finance and Accounting Service at (800) 321-1080 for questions.

Are you eligible to receive a Survivor Pension? Eligible survivors with modest incomes and who have not remarried, can receive a monthly payment benefit. The benefit is also available to unmarried dependent children of wartime veterans. The amount of the pension is set by Congress. Eligibility is determined by a complex calculation that considers net worth as well as various kinds of income and expenses. For surviving spouses without a dependent child, the maximum annual pension is around $9,000. Those who are homebound or require assistance for basic daily activities may qualify for additional payment. 


While VA Health Care programs for surviving family members are limited, there are several important programs to know about. These include Civilian Health and Medical Program of the Department of Veterans Affairs (CHAMPVA). CHAMPVA provides coverage to survivors of a veteran who is rated permanently and totally disabled due to a service-connected condition at the time of death, or who died of a service-connected disability, or died on active duty. In some cases, there are health care benefits for children of veterans who have been exposed to hazards during military service, including Agent Orange. For details, contact a Veterans Service Officer.


Surviving spouses who meet certain criteria can obtain a VA guaranteed home loan to buy, build or improve a home or to refinance a mortgage. In many cases, these loans can help you save money by not requiring the buyer to make a down payment or pay monthly mortgage insurance premiums. 


Veterans who receive a disability rating connected to their service can qualify for a Service-Disabled Veterans Insurance (S-DVI) life insurance policy, which provides up to $10,000 of coverage. Veterans who are totally disabled are eligible to have their premiums waived. Totally disabled veterans who are approved for a premium waiver can apply for up to $30,000 in additional coverage, but premiums for the supplemental coverage cannot be waived.


Financial help is available for survivors of service members interested in pursuing education or vocational training. The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) in some cases, will pay all or a large part of tuition costs for college and other educational programs.

Two key programs that eligible surviving spouses and children should explore are the Fry Scholarship and the Survivors’ and Dependents’ Educational Assistance (DEA) Program. Under the Fry program, the government pays the full cost of in-state tuition at public institutions, or more than $20,000 a year toward the cost of tuition at private institutions, as well as a monthly housing allowance and an annual stipend for books and supplies. Under the DEA program, the maximum amount for full-time students is around $1,200 per month. The DEA and Fry programs can be used for college, vocational and business technical programs, apprenticeship programs, certification tests and tutoring.

Nevada National Guard Education Benefits: The University of Nevada system may grant a waiver of tuition and laboratory fees for any child or surviving spouse of a Nevada National Guard member killed in the line of duty. A child may use the waiver for 10 years after they attain the age of 18 years. A surviving spouse may use the waiver for 10 years after the member’s date of death.

Nevada Active Duty Education Benefits  for Dependents: Dependents of an active duty member killed in the line of duty, while permanently stationed in Nevada, may be eligible for a financial grant that does not require repayment.