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By Ken Cruickshank
Veterans Services Officer for Tulare County 

Dependency and Indemnity Compensation

 

Last updated 3/2/2023 at 6:21pm | View PDF



In this column, we will be discussing a benefit available to a survivor of a veteran. We will talk about Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (DIC).

DIC is a benefit that is paid on a monthly basis to eligible survivors of a: military service member who died while on active duty, active duty for training, or inactive duty for training; or a veteran whose death resulted from a service-related injury or disease; or a veteran whose death resulted from a non-service-related injury or disease, and who was receiving, or was entitled to receive VA Compensation for service-connected disability that was rated as totally disabling for at least ten years immediately before death, OR since the veteran’s release from active duty and for at least five years immediately preceding death, OR for at least one year before death if the veteran was a former prisoner of war who died after September 30, 1999.

So, who is eligible to receive the benefit? If you are the surviving spouse and meet any of the following criteria, you may be eligible:

• You were validly married to the veteran before January 1, 1957, or were married to a veteran who died on active duty, active duty for training, or inactive duty for training; or

• Married the veteran within 15 years of discharge from military service in which the disease or injury that caused the death began or was aggravated; or

• Were married to the veteran for at least one year prior to the death; or

• Had a child with the veteran and cohabitated with the veteran continuously until the veteran’s death or, if separated, were not at fault for the separation, and are not currently remarried. (A spouse that remarried on or after December 16, 2003, and on or after reaching age 57, can be entitled to continue to receive DIC).

For the surviving children to be eligible, they must not be included on the surviving spouse’s DIC, must be unmarried, and must either be under age 18, or between the ages of 18 and 23, and attending school.

As you can see, it can be very confusing to try to figure out if you may be eligible for this benefit. Please contact our office, and we can assist you in seeing if you may qualify to apply. We will also assist you in completing the required Department of Veterans Affairs claim forms for submission.

In some cases, veterans’ parents may be entitled to DIC. This benefit is called Parents DIC and is a monthly benefit paid to the parents of veterans who die in service or because of a service-connected disability. Unlike the surviving spouse or children’s DIC, there are qualifying income limits, and the amount that may be payable varies based on the parent’s other income.

The current basic monthly rate of DIC from the VA is $1,562.73 for an eligible spouse. This rate can increase for each dependent child and when the surviving spouse needs aid and attendance or is housebound.

Due to a recent law change, for survivors who were also in receipt of the veteran’s Survivor Benefit Plan (SBP) and DIC, there will no longer be an offset of the DIC benefit.

Ken Cruickshank, the Veterans Services Officer for Tulare County, is a retired Navy Master Chief Petty Officer. Contact him at the Veterans Services Office at 3348 W. Mineral King Ave., Visalia; by phone at (559) 713-2880; or by email at kcruicks@tularecounty.ca.gov

 

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