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What Is DIC?

Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (DIC) is a monthly monetary benefit from the VA for survivors of Veterans under certain circumstances. The DIC is a set amount, with the amount dependent on certain circumstances.

VA Disability Does Not Transfer to the Surviving Spouse

This is a question that is often asked. If the Veteran is drawing a disability benefit from the VA, families often ask if the disability benefit will continue after the Veteran passes so that the surviving spouse will receive it. The simple answer is no. The VA Disability ends upon the death of the Veteran.

However, there are two monthly benefits which the surviving spouse may qualify for. These are DIC or a Surviving Spouse Pension. We will cover the pension at a later time, today is dedicated to DIC.

Qualifications for DIC

In order to be eligible for the monthly DIC, certain conditions must be met.  For the surviving spouse:

One of these must be true:

  • You and the Veteran lived together without a break until the Veteran’s death, OR
  • If you were separated, you as the Surviving Spouse were not at fault for the separation

One of these must be true:

Tree limb with wedding rings hanging on it
  • You married the Veteran (or service member) within 15 years of their discharge during which their qualifying illness or injury started or got worse OR
  • You were married to the Veteran or service member for at least 1 year, OR
  • You had a child with the Veteran or service member

In addition, one of these must be true:

  • The service member died while on active duty, active duty member for training, or inactive-duty training, OR
  • The Veteran died from a service connected condition, OR
  • The Veteran didn’t die from a service connected condition, but were rated as 100% disabled for at least 10 years before their death, OR
  • Rated 100% since their release from active duty and for at least 5 years immediately before death,OR
  • Rated 100% for at last 1 year before death if they were a former POW who died after September 30, 1999

These are the basic qualifications. There are other qualifications if the spouse remarried after the death of the Veteran. All of these qualifications may be found here on the VA website. In order to apply for DIC, survivors can file a VAForm 21P-534EZ. However, we would recommend that you go to your local Veteran Service Officer for assistance. VSO’s receive continual training, so they will be aware of any changes to VA regulations. Most of the time they will also be able to file your paperwork online.

How Much Is DIC?

The monthly amount of DIC currently is $1,562.74. This may be increased depending on certain circumstances. The amount is increased by $387.15 for each child under the age of 18 that the surviving spouse has. In addition, if the Veteran had a 100% disability rating from the VA for at least 8 years AND the surviving spouse was married to the Veteran for those same 8 years, there is an added $331.84.

Final Notes

Receiving DIC will not affect a surviving spouse’s Survivor Benefit Plan (SBP). The SBP is a program administered by the Defense Finance and Accounting Service (DFAS) and is chosen by a Veteran upon their retirement from the military. A surviving spouse can receive both DIC and SBP at the same time.

On the other hand, if a surviving spouse is eligible for both DIC and a Survivor’s Pension from the VA, then the VA will pay them whichever benefit will give them the most money. A survivor cannot draw both the Survivor’s Pension and the DIC.

Again, we strongly recommend that survivor’s speak to their local Veteran Service Officer. They are accredited by the VA to help Veterans and their families with VA benefits.

As always, if you have any comments or questions you can drop them in the comment section below. You can also reach us at info@nwavet.org.

God Bless,

NWAVet

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2 Comments

  1. All of my medical records in St Louis were destroyed by fire and as a result I need buddy letters to support my disability claims. Do have examples of buddy letter that I can fwd to those assisting me by sending buddy letters?

    1. Good morning Robbie. I don’t have any examples of buddy letters. What I can tell you is the letters will need to identify the letter writer, what unit you were in together, where and when you were together, and how that applies to the condition you are applying for. There is not formal template for a letter. It just needs to be a simply paragraph or two with all of the who, what, when, where and why.

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