Are a Veteran’s Dependents Entitled to Healthcare Benefits if the Veteran Dies?

November 13, 2021

The short answer is yes – children of a deceased veteran are entitled to healthcare benefits. The question then becomes how to claim those benefits, and under what circumstances they can be claimed. The following are a few of the options available to children of a deceased veteran.

TRICARE Benefits

TRICARE benefits are available to biological children, stepchildren, and adopted children of active duty and retired service members, provided the children are:

  • Unmarried; and 
  • Under the age of 21; or
  • Under the age of 23 and enrolled in a post-high school education program.

While these benefits must be claimed while the parent is still an active-duty service member, the benefits remain available after the death of the service member or veteran, provided the child has not aged out of eligibility, gotten married, or been disqualified for any other reason. If the child does not qualify for benefits under TRICARE, they may be eligible for CHAMPVA benefits. 

CHAMPVA Benefits

CHAMPVA benefits, which stands for Civilian Health and Medical Program of the Department of Veterans Affairs, are available to children whose veteran parent meet any of the following criteria:

  • The Veteran has been rated permanently and totally disabled for a service-connected disability by a regional office; or
  • The Veteran has died from a VA-rated service-connected disability; or
  • The Veteran was at the time of death rated permanently and totally disabled from a service-connected disability.

Spouses or children who survive the Veteran are eligible for CHAMPVA benefits based on the above criteria. An additional option for eligibility includes the surviving spouse or child of a service member who died in the line of duty, not due to misconduct, however in most cases, these family members would qualify for TRICARE, not CHAMPVA.

Learn More About Veteran’s Benefits from the team at the Law Office of Andrew P. Gross

Attorney Andy Gross is a veteran of the U.S. Army, having served in the U.S. Army Reserves, Maryland Army National Guard, and Active Component as a Judge Advocate. He understands the issues related to military service and appealing VA Disability Compensation Benefits Claims. Click here to learn more.