VA Releases 2024 Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (DIC) Rates Posted by Berry Law on October 25, 2023 in DIC
The Veteran’s Administration recently announced a $1.612.74 2024 Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (DIC) rate, effective December 1, 2023. This increase reflects the general cost-of-living adjustment (COLA), which was set at 3.2 percent for 2024.
Although the minimum compensation rate for 2024 was set, you may have special circumstances that could increase your DIC benefits above the minimum amount. To learn your DIC rate for 2024, reach out to the dedicated VA disability lawyers at Berry Law today.
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What Are the DIC Rates for 2024? A Quick Summary
The federal Social Security Administration (SSA) establishes an annual cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) each year based on the percentage increase in the Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earnings and Clerical Workers (CPI-W).
Once the Senate passes new legislation incorporating the COLA increase for Veterans’ benefits, the VA increases Veterans’ monthly benefit compensation in accordance with the updated cost of living.
Although DIC follows its own rules and regulations, DIC benefits usually increase every year along with the COLA rates. For example, in 2023, the DIC rates increased by 8.7 percent (the standard COLA increase for 2023) when the monthly payment increased to $1,562.74.
Accordingly, based on 2024’s COLA 3.2 percent increase, the 2024 DIC rate will be $1.612.74. In addition, eligible dependents may also qualify for additional monthly compensation depending on whether they meet certain criteria.
A Basic Understanding of VA Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (DIC)
The VA established various benefits programs for Veterans and their families. Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (DIC) is one form of monthly benefit that pays tax-free benefits to a Veteran’s surviving dependents if the Veteran’s death either occurred during their military service or from a service-related condition.
DIC benefits apply to:
- Active-duty Veterans
- Those Veterans involved in active duty training or inactive duty training and
- Surviving family members of Veterans who died because of their disability.
The surviving dependents who may qualify for DIC benefits include:
- The Veteran’s spouse
- The Veteran’s children and
- Sometimes, the Veteran’s parents.
Because DIC benefit eligibility has different rules than standard VA disability benefits, the annual DIC benefit rates are different and separate from other VA disability benefits.
Let’s review the criteria you must meet to qualify for the DIC benefits the Department of Veterans Affairs offers.
First, Does the Surviving Spouse or Children Qualify for DIC Benefits?
For a Veteran or servicemember to qualify for DIC benefits, at least one of these criteria must apply:
- The Veteran died during active duty, active duty training, or inactive-duty training, or
- The Veteran died from a condition related to their service or
- If the Veteran’s death was not service-related, they could still qualify if the Veteran had a 100 percent disabling condition according to VA disability compensation for Total Disability Based on Individual Unemployability (TDIU):
- For at least 10 years before their death, or
- After release from active duty for at least five years before their death, or
- For at least one year before the Veteran’s death, if they were a former prisoner of war who died after September 30, 1999.
Next, Does the Surviving Spouse Qualify for DIC Benefits?
For a surviving spouse to qualify for DIC benefits, they must have:
- Married the qualified Veteran for at least one year before the Veteran’s death, or
- Had a child with the qualified Veteran and lived together continuously until the time of the Veteran’s death, and they did not separate from the Veteran, or, if they did separate, the applicant was not responsible for the separation.
Which Dependent Children Qualify for DIC Benefits?
A qualifying Veteran’s dependent children cannot be married, and they must meet other criteria to qualify for Dependency and Indemnity Compensation benefits.
Similar to the requirements for standard dependent benefits, a dependent child seeking DIC benefits must be:
- Under the age of 18 or
- If they are between 18 and 23 years old, they must attend a VA-approved school or
- Permanently incapacitated before turning 18.
We Can Help Calculate Your 2024 DIC Benefit Payment Amount
If you are a qualified surviving spouse of a Veteran, your 2024 monthly DIC benefit payment will start at $1,612.74. However, your DIC benefits could increase under certain circumstances.
- The eight-year provision: The VA established an eight-year provision affecting surviving spouses of totally disabled Veterans, including Veterans who quaify for TDIU. This provision applies if the Veteran qualified for a 100 percent disability rating for at least eight years before their death. Also, the surviving spouse must have been married to the Veteran for those same eight years.
- Aid and Attendance (A&A): Surviving spouses who also qualify for A&A benefits can request additional DIC compensation.
- Homebound benefits: Surviving spouses who cannot leave their homes because of a disability may qualify for additional benefits.
- Certain dependent children: Surviving spouses who have at least one dependent child under the age of 18 may qualify.
- Transitional benefit: A surviving spouse with one or more children under age 18 may also qualify.
For more personalized information about your potential 2024 VA pay rates, reach out to our dedicated VA benefits legal team today.
We Can Help You Apply for DIC Benefits
Whether you need to file a new claim for DIC benefits using VA Form 21P-534EZ, also known as the Application of DIC, Death Pension, and/or Accrued Benefits, or if you need to amend a prior application, we are here to help.
To improve your chances of a successful application, we suggest including certain information in addition to the required form. For example, we would also provide documentary evidence, including the Veteran’s death certificate, a surviving spouse’s marriage certificate, and proof of any prior divorce decrees showing the termination of prior marriages.
For additional evidence relating to dependent children, we would submit birth certificates and school transcripts to show dependency. We know these documents can support your application for DIC benefits and also expedite the VA’s decision process.
If Your DIC Claim Was Denied, We Can Help You Appeal
If you already filed a claim for Dependency and Indemnity Compensation but the VA denied it, the experienced VA lawyers at Berry Law may help.
We have advocated for Veterans’ rights since 1965. As Veterans serving Veterans, we have an extensive track record of success in helping Veterans and their surviving dependents overcome VA benefit denials.
If you need help with a DIC benefits application or a Veterans’ disability benefits appeal, contact us to discuss your case.