What is V.A. Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (DIC)?
DIC is a monthly payment to the surviving spouse and/or dependent children of a veteran who dies from service-related causes, or who was totally disabled by a service-connected disability at the time of death (even if the disability didn't cause the death). DIC is payable regardless of the survivor's income or assets.
Who's eligible for V.A. Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (DIC)?
A veteran's surviving spouse and dependent children are eligible for DIC if the veteran died as the result of:
A disease or injury incurred or aggravated in the line of duty, while on active duty.
An injury incurred or aggravated in the line of duty while on inactive duty training.
A service-related disability or a condition directly related to a service-connected disability.
A veteran's surviving spouse and dependent children are also eligible for DIC if at least one of the following conditions is true for the veteran at the time of death:
The veteran had been continuously rated by the V.A. as totally disabled for the ten years immediately before death.
The veteran had been continuously rated by the V.A. as totally disabled from the time of discharge from the service and for at least five years before death.
The veteran was a former POW who died after September 30, 1999, and who was continuously rated by the V.A. as totally disabled for at least one year immediately before death.
How much are V.A. Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (DIC) Payments?
The amount a survivor receives in DIC payments depends on when the veteran died.
If the veteran's death was on or after January 1, 1993: For the survivor of a veteran who died on or after January 1, 1993, the basic monthly DIC rate is $1,154. In addition to this basic amount, survivors of certain veterans also receive extra compensation:
$246 per month added compensation if at the time of the veteran's death, the veteran had a service-connected disability rated by the V.A. as totally disabling (including a rating based on being unemployable) for at least eight years immediately before death. If this compensation is to go to a surviving spouse, the spouse had to be married to the veteran for the eight years immediately before the veteran's death.
$286 per month added compensation for each dependent child (under age 18 or totally disabled before age 18).
$286 per month added compensation if a surviving spouse requires the regular aid and attendance of another person.
$135 per month added compensation if a surviving spouse is housebound.
If the veteran's death was before January 1, 1993: The amount of DIC payments for the surviving spouse of a veteran who died before January 1, 1993, depends on the veteran's pay grade at the time of discharge from the service. These various amounts can be found on the V.A. website's DIC compensation page.
How does the survivor of a veteran apply for V.A. Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (DIC)?
The survivor of a veteran can begin the application process for DIC by downloading and completing the V.A.'s online Form 21-534, Application for Dependency and Indemnity Compensation, Death Pension and Accrued Benefits by Surviving Spouse or Child.
You must send the completed application and any copies of other requested documents to the V.A. regional office in the region where the survivor lives.
Where can I get help applying for V.A. Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (DIC)?
You can get free assistance with any V.A.-related question or problem by phone or in person through one of the V.A.'s Vet Centers, which are located in every state. You can also get assistance by contacting the V.A.'s Veterans Benefits Administration office nearest you. The V.A. also has a toll-free telephone help line at 800-827-1000.