If you are the survivor of a veteran, you may be eligible to receive a pension or Dependency and Indemnity Compensation. you need to File for Dependency and Indemnity Compensation(DIC). Over the next few posts, we’re going to talk about the second one, often referred to as DIC, which very few survivors are educated about.
This benefit is available to the spouses and children of veterans whose deaths are connected to service.
Today, we’re going to shed light on who is eligible for dependency and indemnity compensation:
A veteran’s eligible surviving spouse is the first person in line to receive Dependency and Indemnity Compensation. This payment will be influenced by any children who are minors.
If an eligible spouse has not filed a claim, or if there is no surviving spouse, then children are next to receive DIC. Eligibility is determined by whether a child meets the following criteria:
· The child is a minor, younger than age 18. In this case, the benefit is paid to a “fiduciary-payee”, usually a parent or legal guardian.
· The child is age 18-23 and enrolled in educational courses at an approved institution. If eligible, he or she will receive benefits in his or her own right but will have to choose between the DIC benefit and any educational benefits he or she is eligible to receive.
· The child is what the VA terms a “helpless adult child”. In this case, the child will receive the award in his or her own right.
Dependent Parents. Third in line are dependent parents of deceased veterans. In this case alone, the reward amount will vary based on strict income qualifications. To continue receiving benefits, dependent parents will be required to complete annual income reports with the VA. DIC payments for dependent parents can also be divided if the parents are divorced or not living together
Survivors of veterans are often eligible for a VA compensation benefit called Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (DIC), also commonly referred to as “Service-Connection of a Veteran’s Cause of Death” as it’s available to survivors of veterans whose deaths were service-connected.
Last week, we discussed who is eligible for DIC and today we’ll cover the two different methods. Many times, the VA will refer to two types of DIC. But it’s more correct to say there are two methods by which the survivor of a deceased veteran can prove his or her eligibility for DIC.
Traditionally, a survivor must show that the veteran’s cause of death was due to a disability or condition connected to their service. For example, in the cases of service members dying on active duty (including being MIA or presumed KIA) or the cause of death on a veteran’s death certificate is listed as a service-connected condition, the survivors should be eligible for DIC.
However, you should know that even if the service-connected condition is only considered a “contributing factor” in the veteran’s death, the surviving spouse should receive DIC, provided this can be proven by a medical professional.
Also important to note: If, at the time of the veteran’s death, he or she had a pending claim, the survivor is entitled to the chance to demonstrate that the particular condition was service-connected and a direct or indirect cause of death.
In a nutshell, Section 1318 DIC does not require the veteran’s death to have actually been service-connected. While proving this can become quite complicated, in some cases, it can actually be an easier method of proof than the first.
Some examples include:
The Ten Year Rule: The survivor of a veteran who was entitled to total disability (100%) for 10 years prior to his or her death is entitled to DIC under Section 1318, regardless of what the cause of death was.
The Five Year Rule: If the veteran was entitled to 100% disability compensation for at least five years from the time of his/her discharge until the time of death, the survivor may be eligible for DIC.
The “CUE” Rule: If the veteran should have received 100% disability for a service-connected condition, his or her survivor may show entitlement to Section 1318 if, due to “clear and unmistakable error” (“CUE”) the veteran would have received 100% disability compensation for the 10 years prior to death.
The “Total & Continuous Disability” Rule: In the situation that a veteran was rated totally and continuously disabled for a period of 10 years before his or her death, yet the compensation was withheld for a particular reason, the survivor may be entitled to DIC.
As with anything related to the VA and veterans’ survivors’ benefits, rules and exceptions can be difficult to navigate alone, and it’s always best to discuss your situation with an accredited Veterans’ Benefits attorney. At Jan Dils, Attorneys at Law, we offer free initial consultations.
Call us toll-free at 877-526-3455 or use our online contact form to schedule yours today.
Dependency and Indemnity Compensation for Veterans’ Survivors