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Dependency and Indemnity Compensation
Dependency and Indemnity Compensation
When a veteran passes away, it is a tragic loss for family members. It is vital for the members of the surviving family to know that the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) may owe them specific benefits due to the deceased veteran’s service.
The Department of Veterans Affairs defines the Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (DIC) as “a tax-free monetary benefit paid to eligible survivors of veterans who died in the line of duty or eligible survivors of veterans whose death resulted from service-related conditions.”
Who Is Eligible to Receive Dependency and Indemnity Compensation?
Certain family members of a deceased veteran are often qualified to receive DIC payments. Eligible surviving family members usually include the veteran’s surviving spouse and dependents. The VA states that one of the following conditions should be met to qualify for DIC benefits:
- The veteran died while on active duty, active duty for training, or inactive duty training.
- The service member died due to a service-connected disease or injury.
- The veteran died from a non-service connected injury or disease and was totally disabled due to their service-connected disabilities for 10 years or more prior to their death; or after their release from active duty; no fewer than five years before their death; or, if the veteran was a prisoner of war (POW), one year before their death.
As of December 2017, VA’s dependency and indemnity compensation rate is $1,283.11 monthly and is paid out tax-free to the veteran’s eligible surviving family members. Additional compensation rates can be found on the VA website.
You are considered a surviving spouse if you meet the following conditions:
- You were married to a servicemember who died on active duty, active duty for training, or inactive duty training; or
- You validly married the veteran before January 1, 1957; or
- You married the veteran within 15 years of discharge from the period of military service in which the disease or injury that caused the veteran’s death began or was aggravated; or
- You were married to the Veteran for at least one year; or
- You had a child with the veteran, and cohabited with the veteran continuously until the veteran’s death or, if separated, you were not at fault for the separation, and are not currently remarried.
Surviving children may be eligible if they are not included on the surviving spouse’s DIC, they are single, under 18, or attending school and between the ages of 18-23.
Do You Need a Lawyer to File a DIC Claim?
While you are not required to have a lawyer to file a DIC claim, it is a good idea to have legal counsel on your side. Surviving spouses and children are often denied DIC benefits due to a mistake by the VA, or the claim is denied because the VA determined that the veteran’s death was not related to his or her military service.
If your DIC claim is denied, you may need the experienced VA benefits lawyers at Berry Law Firm to help you file an appeal. We handle DIC benefits claims related to combat injuries, traumatic brain injuries, vehicle accidents, chemical exposure, infectious illnesses, and other service-related conditions that may have caused your loved one’s death.
Our legal team can collect evidence to prove your loved one had a service-connected condition that contributed to his or her death. We will represent you and fight for your interests every step of the way, including appeals to the Regional Office, the Board of Veterans Appeals, and the Court of Appeals for Veterans’ Claims.
Contact The Berry Law Firm Now
Let us help you get the DIC benefits you deserve. Contact us online or by phone for a free consultation today.
Established in 1965 by Vietnam War veteran and attorney John Stevens Berry Sr., Berry Law Firm is a team of veterans dedicated to defending, safeguarding, and fighting to protect the rights of veterans. Over the decades, thousands of veterans from across the country and all branches of the military have trusted our firm with their cases and, more importantly, their futures.