DIC Benefits: Here’s What We Know!

Jan 12, 2022 | Blog

DIC Benefits: Here’s What To Know!

It’s incredibly difficult to plan for the death of a loved one, even more so when they’ve passed away in the line of duty, as a hero, working to actively protect our nation and preserve our freedom.

Whenever this occurs, our law firm is prepared to help the surviving family members know that they may be entitled to benefits from the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), that benefit being Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (DIC), one in which is usually paid out to the Veteran’s surviving spouse or family members.

According to the VA, DIC is a tax-free monetary benefit that is paid to eligible survivors of a Veteran who unfortunately passed away in the line of duty or passed away due to a service-related condition – these benefits are also extended to children and parents.

A great example of where DIC benefits would be available is if a military member passes away from cancer after a routine exposure to what’s commonly known as Agent Orange.

DIC rates are structured on an annual basis, and instructions on how to submit a claim are put out by the defense finance and accounting service.

 

How Do I Know If I’m Eligible? 

 

 

| Surviving Dependent:

 

If you’re one of the dependent children of a service member who passed away from a service-connected injury, you need to be under the age of 18 to qualify for benefits. Surviving children across the United States who are enrolled in higher education will qualify for benefits until the age of 23.

As a surviving child, you cannot be married or included in the compensation of a surviving spouse – so, if your father passed away while in the military, both you and your mother will receive compensation, but you cannot apply for DIC benefits as well.

The rules regarding DIC eligibility, created by Congress, are set for those who are either biological children or adopted children of the military member in question. For dependents, the parent in question must have passed away while on active duty, or while taking part in a training exercise (either for active duty or in-active duty).

In some cases, which are a bit rare in nature, benefits can be issued if the Veteran was rated as totally disabled due to a service-related injury or illness for a specific time.

For example, if a parent who is a Veteran passes away after being hit by a car, but was rated at 100% disabled or housebound after a hip replacement surgery that took place a decade before the aforementioned car accident, you may meet the requirements to receive a survivor’s pension.

 

 

| Surviving Parent:

 

The parents of a military member may qualify to receive DIC benefits if their level of income is below a predetermined threshold. Parents must fit into one of these categories: biological parents, adoptive parents, and/or foster parents. However, foster parents are defined as those who’ve served as the primary parent before the last entry of active military service.

The compensation from the Department of Veterans Affairs will ultimately hinge on several factors, which include whether the parent lives with a spouse. The eligibility guidelines in place state that the Veteran’s passing must have occurred in either the line of duty or during active duty or inactive duty training.

Parents are generally eligible if their child passes away from a service-connected injury or illness, either while in the line of duty or during inactive training.

 

 

| Surviving Spouse:

 

There are several different eligibility requirements and options that can help entitle surviving spouses to disability compensation.

If you were either married before January 1st, 1957 or married within 15 years of discharge, or remarried before the Veteran passed away, you can qualify for a special survivor indemnity allowance (SSIA) in the form of a monthly payment – it’s important to note in the case that you’ve been married for at least 365 days, you’d also potentially qualify.

Spouses are eligible if their partner passed away from a military service-related injury or illness, or if they passed away in the line of duty or during training.

Spouses may also become eligible if their partner was receiving compensation for total disability before the passing, even if the immediate cause of their death was unrelated to the military.

Finally, you can receive DIC benefits even if you were not technically married. If you had a child with your partner, or if you were in the process of pursuing remarriage at the time of the application, you should certainly still learn more about your options. If this applies to you, you would need to show that you lived with the military member in question before their death, or that your separation from them was found to not be your fault.

(Please Note: If you were 57 years old or older, and married after December 16th, 2003, you’re also eligible to continue receiving any types of compensation.)

 

 

Are There Any Restrictions on Total Disability?

That’s a great question!

If you are a spouse, or a dependent (child) that is currently trying to file for DIC benefits under the Total Disability qualification, the military member in question must have held this rating for at least a decade before they passed away – or, for at least 365 days (one year) up until the time of their death, provided they were classified as a former POW after September 30th, 1999.

Dependents or spouses can also qualify if the aforementioned rating was held in place since a release from active duty or for at least five continuous years before their death.

For instance, if a military member suffered from a catastrophic injury during one of their training exercises that ultimately left both of their legs in need of amputation, they may have received a total disability rating of 100% upon their release.

From there, they’d need to have maintained this rating for at least 1,825 consecutive days until the day of their passing from any cause not related to the time they spent in the military.

 

How Do I Receive SBP & DIC? 

At this current point in time, some survivors of Veterans are eligible to receive both a Survivor Benefit Plan (SBP) as well as their DIC benefits at the same time, otherwise known as SBP-DIC.

This specific type of compensation package is most commonly available to spouses who are entitled to both and were remarried at any point after the age of 57.

(Please Note: New laws were passed to help reduce the offset of SBP benefits due to DIC benefits. The regulations were passed, and will work to eliminate it by January 1st, 2023.)

 

Monthly DIC Benefits Compensation Breakdown

The amount of tax-free compensation that’s able to be received will always vary depending on everything from the specific type of survivor that you may be, to the total amount of income earned by your loved one at the time of their passing.

Unfortunately, in some cases, you may not even be able to qualify for a monthly benefit payment.

For example, a parent who earns over $15,641 per year will not be able to qualify for DIC benefits. If you’re the surviving spouse of a Veteran who passed away on or after January 1st, 1993, you are eligible for $1,437.66 per month – and, in addition to that, you may qualify for the following levels of additional payment:

  • 1st Child, Under 18: $356.16
  • 2nd Child, Under 18: $356.16
  • 8-Year Provision: $305.28
  • Aid & Attendance: $356.16
  • Transitional Benefit (730 Days After Death): $306.00

If you’re a surviving child and the Veteran in question did not have a surviving spouse, you may be eligible for a payment of $307.41 – but only if you’re between the ages of 18 and 23, and are in a qualified school program. Surviving children over the age of 18 that are permanently unable to support themselves due to a variety of different reasons are also qualified for a payment of $607.25 per month. Finally, if you are the surviving eligible child of a Veteran whose spouse does not qualify for DIC benefits, you may also be in the position to be eligible for between $207.97 and $607.02 per month. For more information, click here.

 

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Claim Denied? Need Help? Schedule a Free Consultation Today!

Marcari, Russotto, Spencer & Balaban is prepared to help veterans with benefits issues and to also pursue relief for victims of various debilitating diseases or injuries, like knee replacements, all of which are directly related to and in conjunction with prior military service.

If you or a loved one is a United States Veteran and requires help, please call us today at (866) 866-VETS or contact us online for a free consultation.

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