How Eligible Family Members Can Get Veteran DIC Benefits

by Laura Schaefer   ·  9 months ago  

Are you the spouse, parent, or child of a veteran currently drawing VA benefits? Then you may qualify for veteran DIC benefits as well. “DIC” stands for “dependency indemnity compensation.” The veteran DIC benefit is a tax-free monetary payment for the survivors of a veteran who died in the line of duty or due to a service-related injury. The VA also extended this benefit to those who depend on a veteran with a “totally disabling” injury, meaning they can no longer work.

If you are curious about the amount of this type of benefit, click here to review the current rate tables.

Veteran DIC Benefit Eligibility Rules for Widowed Spouses

Step 1: Confirming You’re an Eligible Surviving Spouse

One of the following must describe you:

  1. You lived together as married spouses until the eligible veteran’s death.
  2. You lived apart from the veteran at the time of their death but are not at fault for the separation.

Step 2: Confirming Your Marriage Meets the Veteran DIC Benefit Eligibility Rules

In addition to the above, one of the following must also be true:

  • You married the veteran within 15 years of discharge from the period of military service during which their qualifying illness or injury started or got worse.
  • Your marriage to the veteran lasted for at least one year.
  • You and the veteran had a child together.

Step 3: Extra Rules That Only Apply to Remarried Spouses

You can get or keep your veteran DIC benefits and other VA-based payments after remarriage, but only if you remarried:

  • On or after December 16, 2003, and were at least 57 years old on that date, OR
  • On or after January 5, 2021, and were at least 55 years old on that date.

You must also provide evidence with your claim showing your now-deceased veteran spouse:

  1. Died while on active duty, active duty for training, or inactive-duty training, OR
  2. Died from a service-connected illness or injury, OR
  3. Was eligible to receive VA compensation for a totally disabling service-connected disability for a certain period.

Evidence may include military service records, doctor’s reports, and medical test results.

How Surviving Children Can Qualify for Veteran DIC Benefits

If you are the surviving child, you may be eligible for VA benefits or DIC compensation if you:

  • Aren’t married
  • Aren’t included on the surviving spouse’s compensation (i.e., you’re still a dependent on someone else’s tax filings)
  • Are under age 18 (or 23 if you’re attending school)

IMPORTANT: Were you adopted out of the veteran’s or service member’s family but meet all other eligibility criteria? Then you may still qualify for compensation.

You’ll need to provide evidence with your claim showing your deceased veteran parent:

  • Died while on active duty, active duty for training, or inactive-duty training, OR
  • Died from a service-connected illness or injury, OR
  • Was eligible to receive VA compensation for a totally disabling service-connected disability for a certain period.

Evidence may include documents such as:

  • Military service records
  • Doctor’s reports
  • Medical test results

Veteran DIC Benefit Rules for Surviving Parents

If you are the surviving parent, you may be eligible for DIC if:

  • You’re the veteran’s biological, adoptive, or foster parent AND
  • Your income is below a certain amount.

Check the VA’s parents DIC rate table.

What to Know About Expanded Eligibility Requirements

Your family may be eligible for compensation in the form of a tax-free monetary benefit called DIC. A new law has expanded eligibility requirements for DIC. There are now more periods of service and over 20 additional conditions that qualify. If you’re the survivor of a service member who died in the line of duty or of a veteran who died from a service-related injury or illness, then you may qualify for this benefit.

A new law expands access to services and benefits for veterans exposed to toxic substances.

IMPORTANT: If VA previously denied a claim for DIC based on a condition that qualifies under the new law, survivors can now apply to collect benefits as far back as the date of their original application. If VA owes you benefits your family never received, you may also be eligible for a one-time accrued benefits payment.

The VA added more than 20 burn pit and other toxic exposure presumptive conditions based on the PACT Act. This 2022 law also expanded benefits for Gulf War era and post-9/11 veterans. If a condition is “presumptive,” it means you do not have to prove your loved one’s military service caused it.

To connect with a VA-accredited attorney for free claim help by phone, click here.

Laura Schaefer
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Laura Schaefer is the author of The Teashop Girls, The Secret Ingredient, and Littler Women: A Modern Retelling. She is also an active co-author or ghostwriter of several nonfiction books on personal and business development. Laura currently lives in Windermere, Florida with her husband and daughter and works with clients all over the world. Visit her online at lauraschaeferwriter.com and linkedin.com.