VETERANS CORNER: Let’s talk about D.I.C.

by Gary Kennedy

I hope everyone had a very enjoyable Veterans weekend holiday. It’s always great to have three days off in a row to share time with family and friends. Some vets and I see each other every week. Often on Tuesday mornings we will meet in the rear section of the cafeteria and share information. Perhaps one day we will see you there. The coffee is not bad and the company is enjoyable and enlightening.

This week we talked about many topics but the one that drew the most attention was D.I.C.. Dependency and Indemnity Compensation is a VA benefit awarded to eligible VA deceased veterans, spouse, child or parent due to the loss of life of a Veteran who died in the line of duty or the survivor of a veteran who passed away from a service related injury or illness.

Some of the qualifications are you were married to the veteran for more than a year or had a child with the veteran. You would be eligible even if you remarried after age 55 or older. Evidence needs to be made available such as proof that the service member died on active duty or the service member died from the service connected illness or injury. If the veteran was totally disabled they must have had this rating 10 years before their death or five years immediately after military release or one year before their death if they were a former prisoner of war, who died after September 30, 1999. Totally disabling means veteran could not work. You will need to supply some evidence, military medical records, doctors reports, etc.

You should be able to show veteran died on active duty, training or died from service connected illness or injury or the veteran was eligible to receive VA compensation for a service connected disability rated at totally disabling for a certain period of time. If the veteran died from their service connected / aggravated condition and had Covid-19 then perhaps you can secure a connection because of the aggravation.

Another point I would make that isn’t showing up for veterans or dependents review: it has been my experience that you can be married to a veteran with less than 100-percent disability and still receive DIC. One trick that I use is one that isn’t usually sought after or mentioned and that is diabetes. If your loved one had diabetes when he / she passed it is quite possible that the diabetes had something to do with it. When you turn over the body of your loved one make sure you mention that your family member had diabetes so he can put that on the death certificate. I know that sounds a little inhuman but trust me, it can make the difference. This would be the same scenario for Covid.

Now I will try to explain the monetary rates. Benefits are possibly available for you, your children under 18 years of age or 23 if in college, also a parent may be eligible for this benefit. The same would be true of adopted children. The rate this year, 2023 is $1,562.74. You may also be eligible for other money depending on your loved ones Special Monthly Compensation awards. So, make sure you do the legwork to obtain all that you may be entitled. I think I am starting to sound like a social security ad.

Most VA staff are working for your best interest but it’s ultimately up to you to get what is intended and that which your veteran would have wanted for you. So, when this sad day occurs you need to remember what I have said, go to Social Security and report the passing, there is a small amount of money there as well. Then you will have also contacted Veteran Service Officer, (VSO) who will aid you through the process. There is also the possible burial benefit that VA can help you with.

I have given you only a brief as there is so much more in many cases. This will at least help with some of your questions and direct you on how to answer others. VA has a fine staff of V.S.O. officers who are caring, compassionate and really want to help you through your ordeal. I hope this has helped in some small way.

God bless and guide you through this traumatic time in your life. We are here for you.


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