| Veterans Affairs (2022)

The Relationship Between PTSD and Suicide

William Hudenko, PhD, Beeta Homaifar, PhD, and Hal Wortzel, MD

This article explores the relation between PTSD and suicide and provides information that helps with understanding suicide.

Help Prevent Suicide

Know about suicide prevention resources:

While helping a suicidal person can be a difficult process, remember that the assistance you provide could save someone's life. If you think someone may be suicidal, you can directly ask him or her. Contrary to popular belief, asking someone if they are suicidal will not put the idea in their head.

Often the most difficult part of obtaining treatment is the initial call to a mental health professional. It is usually easier for a suicidal individual to accept professional help if they have assistance with this part of the process. For help making referrals see Get Help in a Crisis.

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In This Article

How common is suicide?Does trauma increase an individual's suicide risk?Does PTSD increase an individual's suicide risk?Can PTSD treatment help?References

How Common Is Suicide?

It is challenging to determine an exact number of suicides. Many times, suicides are not reported and it can be very difficult to determine whether or not a particular individual's death was intentional. For a suicide to be recognized, examiners must be able to say that the deceased meant to die. Other factors that contribute to the difficulty are differences among states as to who is mandated to report a death, as well as changes over time in the coding of mortality data (1).

Data from the National Vital Statistics System, a collaboration between the National Center for Health Statistics of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and each US state, provides the best estimate of suicides (2). Overall, men have significantly higher rates of suicide than women. This is true whether or not they are Veterans (3). For comparison:

  • From 1999-2010, the suicide rate in the US population among males was 19.4 per 100,000, compared to 4.9 per 100,000 in females.
  • Based on the most recent data available, in fiscal year 2009, the suicide rate among male Veteran VA users was 38.3 per 100,000, compared to 12.8 per 100,000 in females.

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Does Trauma Increase an Individual's Suicide Risk?

A body of research indicates that there is a correlation between many types of trauma and suicidal behaviors. For example, there is evidence that traumatic events such as childhood abuse may increase a person's suicide risk (4,5). A history of military sexual trauma (MST) also increases the risk for suicide and intentional self-harm, suggesting a need to screen for suicide risk in this population (6).

Importance of combat exposure in Veterans

Though considerable research has examined the relation between combat or war trauma and suicide, the relationship is not entirely clear. Some studies have shown a relationship while others have not (1). There is strong evidence, though, that among Veterans who experienced combat trauma, the highest relative suicide risk is observed in those who were wounded multiple times and/or hospitalized for a wound (7). This suggests that the intensity of the combat trauma, and the number of times it occurred, may influence suicide risk in Veterans. This study assessed only combat trauma, not a diagnosis of PTSD, as a factor in the suicidal behavior.

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Does PTSD Increase an Individual's Suicide Risk?

Considerable debate exists about the reason for the heightened risk of suicide in trauma survivors. Whereas some studies suggest that suicide risk is higher among those who experienced trauma due to the symptoms of PTSD (8-10), others claim that suicide risk is higher in these individuals because of related psychiatric conditions (11,12). However, a study analyzing data from the National Comorbidity Survey, a nationally representative sample, showed that PTSD alone out of six anxiety diagnoses was significantly associated with suicidal ideation or attempts (13). While the study also found an association between suicidal behaviors and both mood disorders and antisocial personality disorder, the findings pointed to a robust relationship between PTSD and suicide after controlling for comorbid disorders. A later study using the Canadian Community Health Survey data also found that respondents with PTSD were at higher risk for suicide attempts after controlling for physical illness and other mental disorders (14).

Some studies that point to PTSD as a precipitating factor of suicide suggest that high levels of intrusive memories can predict the relative risk of suicide (9). Anger and impulsivity have also been shown to predict suicide risk in those with PTSD (15). Further, some cognitive styles of coping such as using suppression to deal with stress may be additionally predictive of suicide risk in individuals with PTSD (9).

PTSD and suicide risk in Veterans

Other research looking specifically at combat-related PTSD in Vietnam era Veterans suggests that the most significant predictor of both suicide attempts and preoccupation with suicide is combat-related guilt (16). Many Veterans experience highly intrusive thoughts and extreme guilt about acts committed during times of war. These thoughts can often overpower the emotional coping capacities of Veterans. With respect to OIF/OEF Veterans, PTSD has been found to be a risk factor for suicidal ideation (17). Subthreshold PTSD also carries risk. A recent study found that among OIF/OEF Veterans, those with subthreshold PTSD were 3 times more likely to report hopelessness or suicidal ideation than those without PTSD (18).

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Continuing Education Course

Suicide and PTSD: Navigating Risk and Tailoring Evidence-Based Treatment

This course reviews the factors of suicidal self-directed violence among Veterans with PTSD and provides methods of tailoring risk assessment and intervention in the context of PTSD evidence-based treatment.

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Can PTSD Treatment Help?

Current practice guidelines for treatment of PTSD indicate that trauma-focused therapies are not recommended for individuals with "significant suicidality" (19,20). Because "suicidality" is a vague term and there is no guidance for what significant suicidality means, we interpret this recommendation to pertain to actively suicidal patients, or those in an acute clinical emergency for whom suicidality should be addressed without delay. Providers must therefore use clinical judgment prior to initiating and throughout trauma-focused therapy.

Individuals with PTSD who present with intermittent but manageable suicidal thoughts may benefit from trauma-focused therapy. Two effective treatments for PTSD, Cognitive Processing Therapy (CPT) and prolonged exposure (PE) have been shown to reduce suicidal ideation. A recent study that randomized women who experienced rape into CPT or PE treatment found that reductions in PTSD symptoms were associated with decreases in suicidal ideation throughout treatment. The reductions were maintained over a 5-10 year follow-up period. The effect of PTSD treatment on suicidal ideation was greater for women who completed CPT (21). Further research is needed to provide additional evidence in other populations. Suicide as a traumatic event

Researchers have also examined exposure to suicide as a traumatic event. Studies show that trauma from exposure to suicide can contribute to PTSD. In particular, adults and adolescents are more likely to develop PTSD as a result of exposure to suicide if one or more of the following conditions are true: if they witness the suicide, if they are very connected with the person who dies, or if they have a history of psychiatric illness (22-24). Studies also show that traumatic grief is more likely to arise after exposure to traumatic death such as suicide (25,26). Traumatic grief refers to a syndrome in which individuals experience functional impairment, a decline in physical health, and suicidal ideation. These symptoms occur independently of other conditions such as depression and anxiety.

VA developed fact sheets to share with family members of Veterans who have made a suicide attempt. Products include guides for talking about a suicide attempt with children and are available in Spanish. Although these resources were created with military families in mind, the material includes resources and information that may be useful for civilians as well.

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  1. Knox, K.L. (2008). Epidemiology of the relationship between traumatic experience and suicidal behaviors. PTSD Research Quarterly, 19(4). (PDF)
  2. Statement of the Honorable James B. Peake, MD, Secretary of Veterans Affairs, Before the Committee on Veterans' Affairs, United States House of Representatives, May 6, 2008. Accessed December 10, 2009:
  3. Kemp, J. & Bossarte, R. (2012). Suicide Data Report, 2012. (Report prepared for the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs) Available from (PDF)
  4. Afifi, T.O., Enns, M.W., Cox, B.J., Asmundson, G.J.G., Stein, M.B., & Sareen, J. (2008). Population attributable fractions of psychiatric disorders and suicide ideation and attempts associated with adverse childhood experiences. American Journal of Public Health, 98, 946-952. doi: 10.2105/AJPH.2007.120253
  5. Ystgaard, M., Hestetun, I., Loeb, M., & Mehlum, L. (2004). Is there a specific relationship between childhood sexual and physical abuse and repeated suicidal behavior? Child Abuse and Neglect, 28, 863-875.
  6. Kimerling, R., Gima, K., Smith, M. W., Street, A., & Frayne, S. (2007). The Veterans Health Administration and military sexual trauma. American Journal of Public Health, 97, 2160-2166. doi: 10.2105/AJPH.2006.092999
  7. Bullman, T. A., & Kang, H. K. (1995). A study of suicide among Vietnam Veterans. Federal Practitioner, 12(3), 9-13.
  8. Ferrada-Noli, M., Asberg, M., Ormstad, K., Lundin, T., & Sundbom, E. (1998). Suicidal behavior after severe trauma. Part 1: PTSD diagnoses, psychiatric comorbidity and assessment of suicidal behavior. Journal of Traumatic Stress, 11, 103-112.
  9. Amir, M., Kaplan, Z., Efroni, R., & Kotler, M. (1999). Suicide risk and coping styles in posttraumatic stress disorder patients. Psychotherapy and Psychosomatics, 68, 76-81. doi: 10.1159/000012316
  10. Thompson, M. E., Kaslow, N. J., Kingree, J. B., Puett, R., Thompson, N. J., & Meadows, L. (1999). Partner abuse and posttraumatic stress disorder as risk factors for suicide attempts in a sample of low-income, inner-city women. Journal of Traumatic Stress, 12, 59-72. doi: 10.1023/A:1024742215337
  11. Fontana, A., & Rosenheck, R. (1995). Attempted suicide among Vietnam Veterans: A model of etiology in a community sample. American Journal of Psychiatry, 152, 102-109.
  12. Robison, B. K. (2002). Suicide risk in Vietnam Veterans with posttraumatic stress disorder. Unpublished Doctoral Dissertation, Pepperdine University.
  13. Sareen, J., Houlahan, T., Cox, B., & Asmundson, G. J. G. (2005). Anxiety disorders associated with suicidal ideation and suicide attempts in the National Comorbidity Survey. Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease. 193, 450-454. doi: 10.1097/01.nmd.0000168263.89652.6b
  14. Sareen, J., Cox, B.J., Stein, M.B., Afifi, T.O., Fleet, C., & Asmundson, G.J.G. (2007). Physical and mental comorbidity, disability, and suicidal behavior associated with posttraumatic stress disorder in a large community sample. Psychosomatic Medicine. 69, 242-248. doi: 10.1097/PSY.0b013e31803146d8
  15. Kotler, M., Iancu, I., Efroni, R., & Amir, M. (2001). Anger, impulsivity, social support, and suicide risk in patients with posttraumatic stress disorder. Journal of Nervous & Mental Disease, 189, 162-167. doi: 10.1097/00005053-200103000-00004
  16. Hendin, H., & Haas, A. P. (1991). Suicide and guilt as manifestations of PTSD in Vietnam combat veterans. American Journal of Psychiatry, 148, 586-591.
  17. Jakupcak, M., Cook, J., Imel, Z., Rosenheck, R., & McFall, M. (2009). PTSD as a Risk Factor for Suicidal Ideation in Iraq and Afghanistan War Veterans. Journal of Traumatic Stress, 22, 303-306. doi: 10.1002/jts.20423
  18. Jakupcak, M., Hoerster, K. D., Varra, A., Vannoy, S., Felker, B., & Hunt, S. (2011). Hopelessness and Suicidal Ideation in Iraq and Afghanistan War Veterans Reporting Subthreshold and Threshold PTSD, Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease, 199, 272-275. doi: 10.1097/NMD.0b013e3182124604
  19. VA/DoD Clinical Practice Guideline: Management of Post-traumatic Stress, 2010: Guideline Summary. Washington, DC: Department of Veterans Affairs; 2010. Retrieved from:
  20. Foa, E. B., Keane, T. M., Friedman, M. J., Cohen, J. A., Effective Treatments for PTSD: Practice Guidelines for the International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies. New York: Guilford; 2009.
  21. Gradus, J. L., Sucak, M. K., Wisco, B. E., Marx, B. P., & Resick, P. A. (Article in press.). Treatment of posttraumatic stress disorder reduces suicidal ideation. Depression and Anxiety. doi: 10.1002/da.22117
  22. Andress, V. R., & Corey, D. M. (1978). Survivor-victims: Who discovers or witnesses suicide? Psychological Reports, 42, 759-764. doi: 10.2466/pr0.1978.42.3.759
  23. Brent, D. A., Perper, J. A., Moritz, G., Friend, A., Schweers, J., Allman, C., McQuiston, L., Boylan, M. B., Roth, C., & Balach, L. (1993b). Adolescent witnesses to a peer suicide. Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, 32, 1184-1188. doi: 10.1097/00004583-199311000-00011
  24. Brent, D. A., Perper, J. A., Moritz, G., Liotus, L., Richardson, D., Canobbio, R., Schweers, J., & Roth, C. (1995). Posttraumatic stress disorder in peers of adolescent suicide victims: Predisposing factors and phenomenology. Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, 34, 209-215. doi: 10.1097/00004583-199502000-00016
  25. Melhem, N. M., Day, N., Shear, M. K., Day, R., Reynolds, C. F., & Brent, D. A. (2004). Traumatic grief among adolescents exposed to a peer's suicide. American Journal of Psychiatry, 161, 1411-1416. doi: 10.1176/appi.ajp.161.8.1411
  26. Prigerson, H. G., Shear, M. K., Jacobs, S. C., Reynolds, C. F. I., Maciejewsk, P. K., Davidson, J. R., Rosenheck, R., Pilkonis, P. A., Wortman, C. B., Williams, J. B., Widiger, T. A., Frank, E., Kupfer, D. J., & Zisook, S. (1999). Consensus criteria for traumatic grief: A preliminary empirical test. British Journal of Psychiatry, 174, 67-73. doi: 10.1192/bjp.174.1.67

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What are the new benefits for Veterans? ›

Many VA Benefits Will Be Expanding in 2021 Thanks to a New Law
  • Expansion of Medal of Honor Pension. ...
  • Life Insurance. ...
  • Home Loans for National Guard Members. ...
  • Memorial Benefits. ...
  • Native Americans and VA Copay. ...
  • Stay on Top of Your Veteran Benefits.
17 Dec 2020

How do I access my VA benefits? ›

Once I'm signed in, how do I check my VA claim or appeal status?
  1. Go to your "My VA" dashboard. You'll find the link for this dashboard in the top right corner of the page once you're signed in.
  2. Scroll down to the "Track Claims" section. ...
  3. Click on the "View Status" button for a specific claim.
23 Sept 2022

What are the 5 types of Veterans? ›

Under VEVRAA, a veteran may be classified as a ''disabled veteran,'' ''recently separated veteran,'' ''active duty wartime or campaign badge veteran,'' or ''Armed Forces service medal veteran. ''

How do I talk to someone about VA benefits? ›

Call us
  1. Telecommunications Relay Services (using TTY) 711. Hours: 24/7.
  2. VA benefits hotline. 800-827-1000. Hours: Monday through Friday, ...
  3. GI Bill hotline. 888-442-4551. Hours: Monday through Friday, ...
  4. VA health benefits hotline. 877-222-8387. Hours: Monday through Friday, ...
  5. My HealtheVet help desk. 877-327-0022.
6 Sept 2022

Do you get extra money from Social Security for being a veteran? ›

Since 1957, if you had military service earnings for active duty (including active duty for training), you may have extra Social Security wage credits added to your earnings record.

At what age does VA disability stop? ›

When veterans reach age 67, all VA disability payments would revert to the amount associated with the rated disability level; veterans age 67 or older who are already receiving IU payments would no longer receive them after the effective date of the option.

What are the 4 types of Veterans? ›

What is the difference between a combat, war, or peacetime veteran?
  • Combat Veteran. Every service member who meets the active duty requirement is a veteran, but combat veterans and war veterans are entitled to additional VA benefits other veterans do not receive. ...
  • War Veteran. ...
  • Peacetime Veteran.
5 Jul 2022

Do all Veterans get benefits? ›

All Veterans receive coverage for most care and services, but only some will qualify for added benefits like dental care. The full list of your covered benefits depends on: Your priority group, and.

Is VA disability taxable? ›

Disability compensation is a benefit paid to Veterans because of injuries or disease that happened during active duty. In some cases, an existing disease or injury was worsened due to active military service. This benefit is also paid to certain Veterans disabled from VA health care. The benefits are tax-free.

Does having a DD214 make you a veteran? ›

Even in the private sector, your DD214 proves you are a veteran, letting you apply with companies looking to support or hire vets.

How long do you have to be in the military to be considered a veteran? ›

"As long as you were deployed on active duty for at least 180 days and you didn't get a dishonorable discharge or a bad conduct discharge coming off those orders, then you could be considered a veteran," said Army Sgt.

What medal make you a protected veteran? ›

Armed Forces Service Medal* Veteran Veteran who, while serving on active duty in the U.S. military ground, naval, or air service, participated in a United States military operation for which an Armed Forces service medal was awarded pursuant to Executive Order 12985 (61 Fed. Reg. 1209).

What is the VA 5 year rule? ›

The VA disability 5 year rule allows the VA to ex-examine your VA disability rating within 5 years of your initial examination if your condition is expected to improve over time. However, the VA may still change your disability rating past the 5-year deadline if your condition has significantly improved.

Are VA disability payments for life? ›

VA disability is usually not for life. When you start collecting benefits, it's with the understanding that the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) can and will periodically review your situation and reassess whether you should continue receiving benefits, and at the same level.

What does the Department of Veterans Affairs do? ›

Department of Veterans' Affairs supports veterans, war widows/widowers, eligible defence and police force members, and their dependants and carers, with commemoration, compensation, health care and income support.

Is there really a $16728 Social Security bonus? ›

You can receive as much as a $16,728 bonus or more every year. A particular formula will determine the money you'll receive in your retirement process. You must know the hacks for generating higher future payments.

Can you collect Social Security and VA disability at the same time? ›

Can I collect both Social Security disability benefits and VA disability compensation? Yes, military veterans who become disabled during their service can collect disability benefits from the Social Security Administration (SSA) and U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) disability compensation at the same time.

What special Social Security benefits do veterans get? ›

The average monthly Social Security benefit for veterans is $1,008 compared with $892 for male nonveterans (see Table 3). Among persons aged 62–74, monthly Social Security benefits average $1,028 for veterans and $957 for male nonveterans.

What happens to my VA disability when I turn 67? ›

Even after veterans reach full retirement age, VA's disability payments continue at the same level. By contrast, the income that people receive after they retire (from Social Security or private pensions) usually is less than their earnings from wages and salary before retirement.

Is PTSD a permanent VA disability? ›

Yes, PTSD is considered a permanent VA disability. The Department of Veteran Affairs recognizes post-traumatic stress disorder as a serious, life-altering mental condition and will award disability benefits to qualified veterans suffering from PTSD.

What Veterans are not eligible for VA health care? ›

If you're a current or former member of the Reserves or National Guard, you must have been called to active duty by a federal order and completed the full period for which you were called or ordered to active duty. If you had or have active-duty status for training purposes only, you don't qualify for VA health care.

What is not protected veteran? ›

Not a Protected Veteran: A veteran who meets federal and/or state definition to qualify as a veteran but is not in the protected class of veteran for employment, reemployment or benefits.

How do you prove you are a veteran? ›

To verify Veteran status, CVE generally requests the applicant to provide official documentation from the military such as an individual's DD-214 form.

When a veteran dies Is there a death benefit? ›

Service-related Death

VA will pay up to $2,000 toward burial expenses for deaths on or after September 11, 2001, or up to $1,500 for deaths prior to September 11, 2001. If the Veteran is buried in a VA national cemetery, some or all of the cost of transporting the deceased may be reimbursed.

How much are VA copays? ›

Urgent care copay rates
Priority groupCopay amount for first 3 visits in each calendar year
Priority group1 to 5$30
Priority group6$30
Priority group7 to 8$30
9 Mar 2022

What does 80 VA disability get you? ›

Veterans that obtain an 80 percent VA Disability rating receive $1,778.43 a month from the Veterans Administration. Eligible disabled veterans may also be able to receive extra monthly compensation for dependent children and parents.

Can the IRS take your VA disability check? ›

By law, the IRS cannot levy VA disability benefits or any government checks you receive as public assistance (i.e. VA pension).

Do 100% disabled veterans have to file taxes? ›

No. A disability rating of 100 percent is required to be eligible for the exemption.

Are there any federal tax breaks for 100 disabled veterans? ›

The property of a veteran with a 100 percent disability rating — including joint or community property of the veteran and the veteran's spouse — may be exempt from property tax if it is occupied by the disabled veteran as their principal place of residence.

What does DD stand for in DD214? ›

DD214 and other Department of Defense (DoD) documents
FormDD 214Certificate of Release or Discharge from Active Duty
FormDD 13Statement of Service
FormDA 1569Transcript of Military Record
FormDD 2AArmed Forces Identification Card (Active)
14 more rows
8 Feb 2022

Can I get a military ID if I was honorably discharged? ›

You may be eligible if you meet both of these requirements. Both of these must be true: You served on active duty, in the Reserves, or in the National Guard (including the Coast Guard), and. You received an honorable or general discharge (under honorable conditions)

Are you a veteran if you were discharged in basic training? ›

If a member of the armed forces was discharged during basic training for medical reasons, they are still considered a veteran for Federal student aid purposes so long as they served at least one day before being discharged.

What military branch fights first? ›

The Marine Corps is often first on the ground in combat situations.

Can I call myself a veteran? ›

Can I call myself a Veteran? Yes, just recently signed legislation allows you to call yourself a Veteran. During the December 2016 transition period, President Obama signed H.R. 6416, a bill that says National Guard and Reserve retirees who had zero active duty time are now eligible to be referred to as Veterans.

Why are reservists not considered veterans? ›

Thus former or current members of the National Guard or Reserves are not considered to be veterans unless they had prior or subsequent service with an active component of the Armed Forces. (Reservists called to active duty by Executive Order qualify as veterans.)

What is the difference between a veteran and a protected veteran? ›

If a veteran served on active duty during wartime or if he/she earned a campaign badge, that individual is considered a protected veteran. The protected veteran must have served in ground, naval or air service during a war or expedition for which a campaign badge was authorized by the Department of Defense.

What are the 5 types of veterans? ›

Under VEVRAA, a veteran may be classified as a ''disabled veteran,'' ''recently separated veteran,'' ''active duty wartime or campaign badge veteran,'' or ''Armed Forces service medal veteran. ''

What years are considered wartime? ›

World War I (April 6, 1917, to November 11, 1918) World War II (December 7, 1941, to December 31, 1946) Korean conflict (June 27, 1950, to January 31, 1955) Vietnam War era (November 1, 1955, to May 7, 1975, for Veterans who served in the Republic of Vietnam during that period.

Do veterans get tax breaks? ›

California, for instance, allows qualified disabled Veterans to receive a property tax exemption on the first $196,262 of their primary residence if their total household income does not exceed $40,000 and the Veteran is 100 percent disabled as a result of service.

Do veterans get free life insurance? ›

Totally disabled Veterans are eligible for free coverage and have the opportunity to purchase additional life insurance.

When a veteran dies Is there a death benefit? ›

Service-related Death

VA will pay up to $2,000 toward burial expenses for deaths on or after September 11, 2001, or up to $1,500 for deaths prior to September 11, 2001. If the Veteran is buried in a VA national cemetery, some or all of the cost of transporting the deceased may be reimbursed.

What is a veteran entitled to at death? ›

Eligible vets include those who received a VA pension or disability compensation when they were alive. The burial allowance can help pay for burial, funeral, and transportation costs. Veterans buried in private cemeteries can receive military funeral honors and memorial items.

Can the IRS take your VA disability check? ›

By law, the IRS cannot levy VA disability benefits or any government checks you receive as public assistance (i.e. VA pension).

Do veterans pay property tax? ›

The program provides real estate tax exemption for any honorably discharged veteran who is 100% disabled, a resident of the Commonwealth and has a financial need. Veteran's eligibility criteria: Received Honorable or Under Honorable Conditions discharge.

Do veterans pay taxes on Social Security? ›

Generally, there is no reduction of Social Security benefits because of your military retirement benefits. You'll get your Social Security benefit based on your earnings and the age you choose to start receiving benefits. While you're in military service, you pay Social Security taxes, just as civilian employees do.

Does VA pay for casket? ›

Fact 5: Veterans' Caskets Are Not Free

Neither the VA nor the individual branches of the military provide free caskets for deceased veterans unless death occurs while they are on active duty. Goods and services purchased from funeral homes or cremation providers are not covered by the VA and must be paid for privately.

How much does the widow of a 100% disabled veteran receive? ›

If you're the surviving spouse of a Veteran, your monthly rate would start at $1,437.66. Then for each additional benefit you qualify for, you would add the amounts from the Added amounts table.

Do I get my husband's VA benefits if he dies? ›

A VA Survivors Pension offers monthly payments to qualified surviving spouses and unmarried dependent children of wartime Veterans who meet certain income and net worth limits set by Congress. Find out if you qualify and how to apply.

Who gets the $250 Social Security death benefit? ›

A widow or widower age 60 or older (age 50 or older if they have a disability). A surviving divorced spouse, under certain circumstances. A widow or widower at any age who is caring for the deceased's child who is under age 16 or has a disability and receiving child's benefits.

How much do military widows get paid? ›

The death gratuity program provides for a special tax free payment of $100,000 to eligible survivors of members of the Armed Forces, who die while on active duty or while serving in certain reserve statuses. The death gratuity is the same regardless of the cause of death.

Who gets the flag when a Veteran dies? ›

2. Who Is Eligible to Receive the Burial Flag? Generally, the flag is given to the next-of-kin, as a keepsake, after its use during the funeral service. When there is no next-of-kin, VA will furnish the flag to a friend making request for it.

How much does the VA pay for burial benefits? ›

Reimbursement of Burial Expenses: VA will pay a burial allowance up to $2,000 if the Veteran's death is service-connected. In such cases, the person who bore the Veteran's burial expenses may claim reimbursement from VA.

Does the military pay for veterans cremation? ›

The VA provides burial benefits to eligible veterans to help cover the expense of cremation or a funeral. The VA doesn't pay the money directly to any provider; the benefit is provided as a reimbursement.

How much does a spouse get from VA disability after death? ›

The basic monthly rate of DIC is $1,340 for an eligible surviving spouse. The rate is increased for each dependent child, and also if the surviving spouse is housebound or in need of aid and attendance. VA also adds a transitional benefit of $332 to the surviving spouse's monthly DIC if there are children under age 18.


1. U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Budget Request for Fiscal Year 2023
(House Committee On Veterans' Affairs)
2. Proposed overhaul for Department of Veterans Affairs
(13News Now)
3. Veterans Affairs Scandal Now a Criminal Investigation
(ABC News)
4. What the Dept. of Veterans Affairs is doing to expand care and reduce veteran suicides
(PBS NewsHour)
5. ‘Shadow leadership’ is wielding vast influence at Veterans Affairs, report says
(PBS NewsHour)
6. Department of Veterans Affairs to offer abortions in cases if rape, incest or danger to health

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