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Mesothelioma VA Survivors Pension

Veterans who developed mesothelioma while in the military may qualify for benefits for themselves and their loved ones from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). If a veteran passes away from mesothelioma, their surviving family members may be able to receive anywhere from $2,743 to $21,130 a year from a VA Survivors Pension.

Updated by: Laura Wright on

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What Is a Mesothelioma VA Survivors Pension?

A mesothelioma VA Survivors Pension is a tax-free monthly payment for eligible families of veterans who died from mesothelioma caused by military asbestos exposure.

Surviving spouses and dependent children who qualify for a VA Survivors Pension can use this tax-exempt income to cover outstanding medical bills, recoup lost wages, pay for funeral and burial expenses, and more.

Mesothelioma Hope can help veterans with mesothelioma apply for VA pensions and other benefits for themselves and their families. Our team of fellow veterans and trusted Patient Advocates can walk you through the application process and ensure that you get the benefits you’re eligible for.

Download our Free Veterans Compensation Guide to learn about the benefits you may be entitled to and find out how we can help.

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VA Survivors Pension Eligibility Requirements

In order to receive a VA Survivors Pension, there are unique requirements related to the deceased veteran and their surviving family members that must be met.

Learn more about the VA’s different requirements below.

Deceased Veteran Requirements

In most cases, the deceased veteran must have served at least one day during a recognized wartime period in order for surviving family members to receive VA Survivors Pension benefits.

The VA recognizes the following periods as wartime periods for the purposes of VA Survivors Pension benefits:

  • Mexican Border period (May 9, 1916 to April 5, 1917)*
  • 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
    • Veterans who served in the Republic of Vietnam (November 1, 1955 to May 7, 1975)
    • Veterans who served outside the Republic of Vietnam (August 5, 1964 to May 7, 1975)
  • Gulf War (August 2, 1990 to a date that will be set by law or presidential proclamation)**

*Veterans must have served in Mexico, on its borders, or in adjacent waters.
**Those who served in Operation Iraqi Freedom (2003-2010), Operation New Dawn (2010-2011), and other parts of Southwest Asia between August 2, 1990, and the present are considered Gulf War veterans for the purposes of VA benefits.

Mesothelioma VA Survivor Benefits Video Thumbnail

Survivor benefits might be available to family members of veterans who passed away from mesothelioma. Call us at (866) 608-8933 to learn how VA-accredited attorney Eric Hall can help you file for benefits. View Transcript.

Duration: 00 min 47 sec

There are several types of survivor benefits that are available to surviving spouses and dependent children of veterans who have passed away as a result of an injury that they sustained while they were in the military, to include mesothelioma and other asbestos-related diseases.

Some of the benefits available to survivors include a monthly income, health care benefits, and a burial benefit. Family members of veterans who receive VA benefits may be entitled to other types of compensation as well.

We encourage them to call Mesothelioma Hope so that we can work together to help them file for VA benefits.


Net Worth Requirements

In addition to the veteran having served during a recognized wartime period, family members must meet certain eligibility requirements to be approved for a VA Survivors Pension.

To qualify for benefits, the applicant’s net worth must be below a certain limit that changes annually. If you apply for a VA Survivors Pension between December 1, 2022, and November 30, 2023, the net worth limit is $150,538.

Your net worth is calculated by combining your family’s income and assets:

  • Your income is the sum of your wages, including commissions, tips, bonuses, and overtime.
  • Assets include any real property you own (such as buildings or land) as well as personal property (like investments and furniture), minus any debt you owe for them. They do not include primary residences, cars, or certain types of household appliances.
  • The VA also subtracts certain types of expenses (like education and non-reimbursable medical expenses) as applicable deductible expenses.

If your net worth is less than $150,538, you may be eligible for mesothelioma VA Survivors Pension benefits.

Surviving Spouse Requirements

Husband and Wife Holding Hands

In order for a surviving spouse to qualify for a mesothelioma VA Survivors Pension, they must not remarry after the veteran’s death. Additionally, the veteran must not have been dishonorably discharged from service.

The veteran must also meet at least one of the following requirements:

  • Entered active duty on or before September 7, 1980, and served 90 days or more on active military service with at least one day of service occurring during a covered wartime periodOR
  • Entered active duty after September 7, 1980 and served 24 months or longer (or the full period for which they were called to active duty) with at least one day of service occurring during a covered wartime period
  • Was an officer and entered active duty after October 16, 1981, without having previously served on active duty for at least 24 months prior

Dependent Child Requirements

Surviving children may be eligible for a mesothelioma VA Survivors Pension if they are unmarried and meet at least one of the following criteria.

The dependent child must be:

  • Under the age of 18
  • Under the age of 23 and enrolled in a school program approved by the VA
  • Unable to care for themselves due to a disability that occurred before the age of 18

Not sure whether you’re eligible for a mesothelioma VA Survivors Pension? The Mesothelioma Hope team can help you find out. Reach out to our Patient Advocates today to get started.

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2023 Mesothelioma VA Survivors Pension Rates

VA Survivors Pension rates are based on the applicant’s Maximum Annual Pension Rate (MAPR), which is the maximum amount payable to a veteran or to their surviving spouse or children.

MAPR limits are set by Congress and vary based on the number of dependents the applicant has, their marital status, and whether they qualify for Housebound and/or Aid & Attendance benefits. These limits are adjusted each year to account for increases in cost of living.

To calculate the actual pension rate, the applicant’s annual income is subtracted from the MAPR.

VA Survivors Pension Rates: Surviving Spouses

Congress adjusts MAPR limits each year, so if you’ve considered applying for a VA Survivors Pension before, the figures will be different from when you last checked.

If you are a surviving spouse with at least one dependent child, your MAPR will range from $14,078 to $21,130 depending on whether you qualify for Household or Aid and Attendance benefits.

Surviving spouses with more than one dependent child can add $2,743 per child to their MAPR.

If you are a surviving spouse with no dependent children, your MAPR will range from $10,757 to $17,888 depending on whether you qualify for Household or Aid and Attendance benefits.

There are a few additional circumstances that may affect your MAPR amount. A full VA Survivors Pension rate table can be found on the VA website at

Reach out to our Patient Advocates at (866) 608-8933 to see how we can help you access VA Survivors Pension compensation.

VA Survivors Pension Rates: Surviving Children

The VA Survivors Pension rate for surviving children is much easier to determine. In all cases, the MAPR amount is $2,743.

How to Apply for VA Survivors Pensions

Surviving spouses and children can apply for a mesothelioma VA Survivors Pension online, in person, or by mail.

However you choose to apply, working with an experienced mesothelioma law firm will allow you to move through the process as quickly and easily as possible. These firms have VA-accredited attorneys on staff who can help you fill out VA form 21P-534EZ, which allows you to submit evidence while filing a claim.

If you’re considering applying for a VA Survivors Pension, start gathering the materials you might need to prove your eligibility for benefits.

These materials may include:

  • Birth certificate (for a surviving dependent child)
  • Discharge papers
  • Marriage certificate (for a surviving spouse)
  • Medical records that prove the veteran had mesothelioma
  • Records of the source of asbestos exposure that led to the veteran’s condition
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Other VA Benefits for Mesothelioma Victims and Survivors

Survivors pensions are just one of the many VA benefits that veterans and their loved ones may be able to take advantage of.

These are some of the other VA benefits offered to eligible veterans and their families:

  • Aid and Attendance (A&A): Veterans who are permanently disabled and require in-home care may qualify for A&A. If the spouse of a veteran with mesothelioma acts as an in-home caregiver, they may be eligible for this tax-free monthly payment.
  • Burial and funeral benefits: Families that lose a loved one may also lose a source of income, making it difficult to afford memorial services. Burial and funeral benefits help cover those costs so veterans’ families can have a proper memorial service at a U.S. military cemetery.
  • Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (VA DIC): If a veteran dies because of a service-related injury or illness like mesothelioma, their surviving family members may qualify for VA DIC. Families cannot receive VA DIC and a VA Survivors Pension at the same time.
  • Disability compensation: Eligibility for disability benefits depends on the severity of the veteran’s injury or illness as well as its prognosis. Payment amounts vary based on disability rating and marital status, but a married veteran with mesothelioma can get $3,823.89 or more per month.
  • Housebound benefits: Like A&A, VA housebound benefits are for veterans who are usually at home because of their illness or injury — however, they don’t need to be permanently disabled to be eligible. Veterans and their family members cannot receive A&A and housebound benefits at the same time.
  • Special Monthly Compensation (SMC): Veterans who have lost the use of specific extremities or organs due to a service-connected disability may qualify for SMC as well as VA disability compensation. Veterans who qualify can receive both of these monthly benefits simultaneously.
  • VA Health Care: Not many doctors specialize in treating asbestos-related diseases like mesothelioma, but the VA health care system offers veterans access to some of these specialists. Treatment at VA health care centers is generally low-cost or free for qualifying veterans.

To learn more about the veterans benefits the VA offers, download your copy of our Free Veterans Compensation Guide.

Apply for a Mesothelioma VA Survivors Pension Now

A mesothelioma VA Survivors Pension can make a world of difference for families who have lost a loved one from this deadly cancer. The sooner you submit your application, the sooner you can start potentially receiving much-needed financial compensation.

Whether you apply by mail, in person, or online, Mesothelioma Hope can help you file for a VA Survivors Pension quickly and efficiently. Our team includes VA agents who can walk you through the VA’s pension application and take the stress out of the filing process.

If you’re interested in applying for a mesothelioma VA Survivors Pension, call (866) 608-8933 or contact us now to find out how we can help.

Mesothelioma Survivor Pension FAQs

Are VA survivor benefits taxable?

No, VA survivor benefits are not taxable, so an eligible surviving spouse or child will receive the total amount of the benefit issued by the VA.

An experienced mesothelioma lawyer can help you get the full amount of VA survivor benefits you qualify for.

What is the income limit for VA Survivor Pension?

There isn’t a separate VA Survivors Pension income limit. Although income plays a role, the VA will look at your enire net worth when judging eligibility for a VA Survivors Pension. Your net worth includes your income as well as your assets.

The net worth limit for a VA Survivors Pension is $150,538. If approved, the pension rate will vary based on the applicant’s annual income.

Can I receive a VA Survivors Pension and Social Security if my loved one died from mesothelioma?

If your loved one died from service-related mesothelioma, you may be eligible for a VA Survivors Pension in addition to Social Security payments. Although you can receive both, you will have to apply for each separately.

Can you apply for a VA Survivors Pension and DIC?

Applicants use the same form (VA Form 21P-534EZ) to apply for both a VA Survivors Pension and VA DIC.

Unfortunately, you cannot receive a VA Survivors Pension and VA DIC at the same time. However, if you are eligible for both, the VA will offer you the benefit that gives you the most money.

Written by:

Lead Editor

Laura Wright is a journalist and content strategist with more than 15 years of professional experience. She attended college at the University of Florida, graduating magna cum laude with a bachelor’s degree in journalism in 2008. Her writing has been featured in The Gainesville Sun and other regional publications throughout Florida.

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  1. 2023 VA Survivors Pension benefit rates. U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. (n.d.). Retrieved February 6, 2023, from

  2. About VA Form 21P-534EZ. U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. (n.d.). Retrieved February 6, 2023, from

  3. Gulf War Service – Public Health. U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. (2013, December 17). Retrieved February 7, 2023, from

  4. Information for Military & Veterans. Social Security Administration. (n.d.). Retrieved February 6, 2023, from

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