During World War I, Americans hung blue stars in their windows for every family member serving in the military. If a loved one died in service, a gold star replaced the blue one. Since then, the Gold Star has symbolized the spouses and family members of those who made the ultimate sacrifice. Every year on April 5, America salutes these spouses on Gold Star Spouses Day.

If you are a survivor of a fallen Veteran or service member, you are not forgotten. VA provides a variety of benefits that can help you navigate life after your loss.

Available benefits

There are some specific eligibility requirements for each of these benefits, so be sure to check out the full list of family member benefits to find out which benefits you may qualify for and how to access them.

VA recognizes the sacrifices Gold Star spouses have made for their country. To honor the legacy of your loved one, VA continues to ensure that you and your family receive the benefits and services you have earned.


Meghan Badame is a communications and marketing specialist with VBA’s Office of Strategic Engagement

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5 Comments

  1. Barbara L Schwarz April 11, 2021 at 12:22 am

    My mother in law was married to a serviceman KIA in WW2. She remarried, divorced, remarried, divorced and married again. Her last husband died and we went to the local VA office in our town to reinstate her widows benefits since she was single again. The man we spoke to said she had no benefits. I felt he was wrong since I was a military wife of a retired Navy Senior Chief and asked him if he was positive about her losing the benefits permanently. He was adamant that she was entitled to nothing. I asked him to check with someone who might know more in the VA but again he was adamant that he knew what he was talking about. His error cost her years of benefits. He didn’t know what he was talking about or he didn’t listen to us that she was a widow of a KIA service member from WW2 who was again widowed. She and her son at the time her husband was declared KIA received the benefits due them and those were discontinued when she married again. When she was widowed again she could re-apply for those benefits except that the man in the VA office was sure he was right. The VA opened a new office in our town and we decided to talk to them again. The man who helped us was an angel. He checked into everything he could and found she did qualify and could even get it paid retroactive for a number of years plus her out of pocket expenses for medical if she had receipts. Please make sure who ever you work with does indeed know what widows are entitled to, don’t loose years of benefits like she did.

  2. Michael Culler April 10, 2021 at 9:26 pm

    I don’t know if you can help me, my wife died in January of 2020. Became very depressed and as a result moved to Jacksonville Florida, keep my world together for the most part for a year lost my job last month and now finding myself on the streets homeless could probably use some counseling but I don’t know what to do anymore is there somewhere for me to turn I also had tricare but I think it is lapsed because I don’t have the money. Please get back to me

  3. Sue (Karnes) Richardson April 6, 2021 at 5:22 pm

    My Mother has been a GSW since the Vietnam War. My father served two tours of duty until he was KIA. She raised my brothers and me alone and never remarried. The love of her life had died.

  4. Daniel Alvarado April 6, 2021 at 2:15 pm

    Spouses under go so much from Veterans, especially upon returns from long deployments. I am glad that they are being recognized for all the comfort, open mind, and patients it takes us to live on a day to day basis.

  5. Sherry Pace April 5, 2021 at 4:18 pm

    Good for them. Those families deserve our support

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