{Survivor Benefits Q & A}

Survivor BenefitsQ & A

What is Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (DIC)?
DIC is a benefit paid monthly to eligible survivors of certain deceased veterans, including military retirees. DIC is administered by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).

Who is eligible for DIC?
Eligible survivors of Veterans who died of a service-related illness or injury can receive DIC. If the veteran's death was not service-related, you may still be eligible if, at the time of death, the veteran:

* had been receiving VA disability compensation for the past 10 10 years (this includes veterans who would have received VA compensation but didn't because they were getting military retirement or disability pay):

* had been receiving VA disability compensation for a total disability continuously since released from active duty and at least five years: or
was a POW and had been receiving VA disability compensation for a total disability continuously for at least one year before death and died after Sept.30,1999.
You may be an eligible survivor if:

* you were married to the veteran for at least one year (there is no time requirement if a child was born to the marriage) and:

* your marriage was valid: and

* you lived with the veteran continuously until his or her death, or if you were separated, you weren't at fault: and

* You are not currently remarried: or

*you are an unmarried child of a deceased veteran; and *you are under age 18, or between the ages 18 and 23 and attending school.

NOTE: Certain incapacitated adult children and some parents of deceased veterans also are entitled to DIC.

How much does the VA pay for DIC?

It pays a basic rate of $935 a month to eligible surviving spouses. The VA can pay more, particularly if the veteran's death was before Jan. 1.1993.

How can I apply for DIC?
You can apply by filling out VA Form 21-534 (Application for Dependency and Indemnity Compensation and Accrued Benefits by a Surviving Spouse or Child) and mailing it to the nearest VA regional office.

How does DIC relate to the Survivor Benefit Plan (SBP)?
If a surviving spouse is eligible for DIC and SBP payments,DIC will offset SBP. If a survivor receives $2,000 from SBP,the DIC payment will be subtracted from it. However, the survivor will receive a cash refund of SBP premiums paid to provide for the amount being deducted from the annuity. In the event the DIC payment is greater than the SBP annuity, no annuity will be payable, and the surviving spouse will receive a refund of all money paid into SBP. The refund is payable in the year of the veteran's death and may be taxable.
A claim for DIC must be made within one year after the veteran's death in order to receive the refund. There is no deduction of the SBP annuity for DIC paid on behalf of dependent children, nor is there an SBP reduction for annuitants who were married to more than one deceased veteran and are entitled to DIC and SBP for two different military service members.
DIC is important whether or not a retiree is enrolled in SBP because it is tax-free compensation to a surviving spouse. DIC is payable regardless of other income.

What happens to DIC upon remarriage?
A surviving spouse loses entitlement to DIC upon remarriage, regardless of age. If this happens after age 55, the SBP annuity can be reinstated to the amount that would have been in effect had the DIC not been awarded. The surviving spouse must repay any cost premiums refunded, either in a lump sum or on a monthly payment basis.
I wish to expand a little on DIC in layman's terms.
If a disabled veteran dies within the first 10 years of his disability, his death must result from his service-connected disability for his surviving spouse to be eligible for DIC. The surviving spouse must have been married to the veteran for at least one year, or for any period of time if a child was born of or before the marriage.

Chapter 38,U.S.Code, Section 110 states that once a condition has been disability rated for 20 or more continuos years by the VA, the rating is protected and may not be changed to a lower rating, except if fraud is proven.

Note; Chapter 38, U.S. Code. Section 359 states that service connection for a disability is protected if in force for 10 or more years.

The foregoing was taken from the Retired Officers Magazine and was retyped for the benefit of the former Members of Echo Company and the current members of 2-3-3 Association Vietnam era.

Any questions may be directed to me and if I can't answer them I will submit your question to MOAA (Military Officers Association of America) formerly TROA.

Jim Cannon

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