If you are a disabled Veteran and your family is dependent on your VA benefits, you may be wondering what happens to those benefits if you die.
Your Veterans’ disability benefits only continue while you are alive to receive them. However, your surviving spouse may be eligible for survivor benefits known as Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (DIC), a tax-free monetary benefit, if your death results from your service-related injury or illness.
According to the Department of Veterans Affairs, a surviving spouse must meet these requirements to qualify for DIC:
The surviving spouse was:
Married to a servicemember who died on active duty, active duty for training, or inactive duty training, OR
Validly married the Veteran before January 1, 1957, OR
Married the Veteran within 15 years of discharge from the period of military service in which the disease or injury that caused the Veteran’s death began or was aggravated, OR
Was married to the Veteran for at least one year, OR
Had a child with the Veteran, AND
Cohabited with the Veteran continuously until the Veteran’s death or, if separated, was not at fault for the separation, AND
Is not currently remarried.
Note: A surviving spouse who remarries on or after December 16, 2003, and on or after attaining age 57, is entitled to continue to receive DIC.
It is not always easy to determine whether a surviving spouse meets the eligibility requirements. And even if eligible, many spouses find it difficult to complete the application. Working with an accredited attorney can greatly improve an applicant’s chances of getting proper consideration.