It takes a special kind of courage to serve in the military, and the heroes of the United States military are not limited to those who wear the uniform. They also include the loved ones and families of those who have served and made the ultimate sacrifice.

San Bernardino County Veterans Affairs (VA) is here to support and assist the surviving dependents, spouses and parents of fallen service members. Veterans Affairs specializes in assisting eligible individuals in obtaining the benefits they are entitled to after the passing of their loved one who served in the military. The VA is committed to obtaining these benefits in a timely manner.

“The families of service members and veterans are our extended family, and we treat them with the same honor, respect and care as our veterans themselves,” said San Bernardino County Veterans Affairs Director Ralph Duarte. “At the heart of their work, Veteran Service Officers (VSO) strive to provide a helping hand to San Bernardino County’s military and veterans’ families. They understand the sacrifices that these families have made, and they are committed to ensuring that they receive all the benefits they are eligible for to continue providing for their loved ones.”

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs offers many benefits and programs to the spouses, children and parents of our fallen heroes. Some of these benefits include:

  • VA Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (DIC) – A tax-exempt financial benefit available to surviving children, spouses and parents of a service member who died in the line of duty, or from a service-connected injury or illness and in some cases veterans who were deemed permanently and totally disabled by the VA for a certain time period before their death. 
  • Survivors Pension – Monthly payments to eligible surviving spouses and unmarried dependent children of deceased wartime veterans based on income and net worth limits set forth by Congress.
  • TRICARE – Comprehensive health coverage for eligible uniformed service members, family members of an active-duty, retired or deceased service member, National Guard soldier, Reservist, or Medal of Honor recipient.
  • Civilian Health and Medical Program of the Department of Veterans Affairs (CHAMPVA) – Cost sharing health insurance for medical services and supplies for eligible current or surviving spouse or child of a veteran with disabilities or a service member who died in the line of duty.
  • Survivors and Dependents Education Assistance (DEA) – Monthly payments for the children or spouse of a veteran or service member who has died, is captured or missing, or has disabilities, to help cover the costs of programs such as college or graduate degrees, career training certificate courses, apprenticeships and on-the-job training. Educational and career counseling may also be available.
  • Fry Scholarship – Scholarship for children and spouses of veterans who died in the line of duty on or after September 11, 2001, while serving in the Armed Forces or was a member of the Selected Reserve who died from a service-connected disability, providing up to 36 months of benefits including money for tuition, housing, books and supplies.
  • Aid and Attendance or Housebound Benefits – Monthly payments are added to the amount of monthly pension, DIC and service-connected eligible veterans and survivors in need of assistance with daily activities or who are housebound.
  • VA Burial Allowances – Allowances for burial and funeral costs, plot or interment allowance for the cost of the plot or interment and transportation reimbursement for veteran’s remains to the final resting place are available for eligible spouse, partner from a legal union, child, parent, or executor or administrator of the veteran’s estate. Benefits apply to all legal burial types, including cremation, burial at sea and donating a veteran’s remains to a medical school.
  • Bereavement Counseling – Assistance and support for emotional and psychological stress after the death of a loved one for eligible surviving spouse, child or parent of a service member or veteran who died.
  • VA Housing Assistance – Assistance for veterans, service members and surviving spouses to buy a home, refinance a loan, build, improve or keep a current home.   

For additional information about benefits for veterans and their families, please visit the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs at San Bernardino County Veterans Affairs’ VSOs can assist with reviewing eligibility requirements and applying for benefits by calling toll-free 1 (866) 472-8387.

Additional County Update News – April 4, 2024