Dependency & Indemnity Compensation (DIC)
DIC is for surviving spouses, dependent children, and low income parents of service members, who die while on active duty, or if a service connected disability caused/contributed to the death. DIC will also be granted if the veteran died from medical treatment received in the Veterans Affairs (VA) medical system or through Vocational Rehabilitation. This is not income based.
As of 1978, DIC has also been granted for veterans, who had been rated at 100 percent disability for more than ten years and died from non-service connected causes, with the exception of willful misconduct; or when the veteran dies within ten years of discharge and was rated at 100% for at least five years.
Prior to January 1, 1993, DIC was based upon the rank of the veteran. Since then, DIC has been based upon a flat rate plan with an additional allowance if the veteran was rated totally disabled by a service connected disability and the surviving spouse had been married to the veteran for eight or more years immediately preceding the death. Surviving spouses may also qualify for Housebound or Aid and Attendance.
- If a surviving spouse remarries prior to the age of 57, DIC is terminated
- If a surviving spouse remarries and the marriage is terminated by divorce, death, or annulment, the spouse can reapply for DIC
Low income parents may be granted DIC if the death was service connected. This is income based, not net worth.
A child may be eligible for DIC if there is not a surviving spouse, they are under the age of 18 and unmarried, or if the are under the age of 24 and attending school.
A special allowance may be given for aid and attendance if a surviving spouse or parent receiving DIC is a patient in a nursing home or needs the regular assistance of another person. Surviving spouses are also eligible for a special allowance if they are housebound.
A death pension is a needs based income supplement for surviving spouses and /or dependent children of a veteran with wartime service. Eligible wartime service is based upon at least 90 days of active duty service and at least one day of during a wartime period. The 90 days may be waived if failure to meet the 90 day period was based upon a discharge due to a disability.
Currently there are three approved death pension programs:
- Old Law Pension/Protected Pension
- Section 306 Pension/86-211 Pension
- Improved Pension
As of January 1, 1979, all persons requesting a pension, or reopening a previously terminated pension, will only be eligible for the Improved Pension. Those who have current Old Law or Section 306 Pension are protected at their current pension program, but cannot receive additional compensation for housebound or aid and attendance. Income and net worth are used to determine eligibility for a death pension. This includes social security payments to the surviving spouse or dependent children. However, medical expenses can be deducted from income.
Home Loan Guaranties
The following people may be eligible for a VA loan guaranty:
- An unmarried spouse of a veteran, who died from service connected disabilities
- A surviving spouse of a veteran, who died from service connected disabilities, that remarries after the age of 57
- A spouse of a service member, who has been officially listed as "missing in action" or a prisoner of war for more than 90 days
Educational assistance is available to spouses, who have not remarried, and children of:
- Veterans who died or are permanently and totally disabled as a result of a service connected disability
- Veterans who died from any cause while rated permanently and totally disabled from a service connected disability
- Service members who are currently listed as missing in action for more than 90 days
- Service members who are currently listed as Prisoners of War (POW) for more than 90 days
A surviving spouse who has lost her/his benefits due to remarriage can have the benefits reinstated if the remarriage is ended through divorce or death.
Benefits can be awarded for the following:
- Associate degree
- Bachelor degree
- Graduate degree
- Degrees may be pursued through:
- Colleges and universities
- Independent study
- Cooperative training
- Study abroad
- On-the-job training
- Farm cooperative courses
- Some correspondence courses (spouses only)
- Secondary school programs for those without a high school diploma
- Degrees may be pursued through:
Montgomery GI Bill Death Benefit
There is a special Montgomery GI Bill benefit for the designated survivor in the event of:
- Service connected death of an active duty service member
- Service connected death of a veteran within one year of discharge
The deceased must have been entitled to the Montgomery GI bill.