Dependency and Indemnity Compensation, or “DIC,” is available to eligible survivors and dependents of veterans who had service-connected disabilities or diseases. The amount of DIC compensation is not based on income and is paid as a tax-free monthly benefit.
To be considered a qualifying veteran for DIC purposes, the deceased veteran must meet either of the following criteria:
- Died from a service-related injury or disease
- Died from a non-service-related injury or disease but was eligible for or receiving VA compensation for a totally disabling service-connected disability:
- For at least 10 years before death, or
- For at least 1 year if the veteran was a former POW who died after 9/30/1999, or
- For at least 5 years and immediately following discharge from active duty
To be eligible for DIC, a surviving spouse must meet any of the following criteria:
- married to the veteran before 1/1/1957
- married the veteran within 15 years of discharge from the period of service during which the service-connected disability or disease occurred or was made worse
- married to the veteran for at least a year OR had a child with the veteran AND lived with them until their death
In all cases, the spouse must not be remarried, unless they are over the age of 57 and were remarried on or after 12/16/2003.
To be eligible for DIC, a surviving child must meet all of the following criteria:
- under the age of 18, or under the age of 23 if attending school
- not factored into a surviving spouse/parent’s DIC
Children who cannot live independently due to a disability may also be eligible for DIC benefits.
Several factors will increase a surviving spouse’s DIC benefits amount, including:
- if the veteran had been receiving disability compensation for a totally disabling service-connected disability or disease for at least 8 continuous years during which the surviving spouse was married to them
- Any dependent children under the age of 18
- If the surviving spouse is entitled to aid and attendance (A&A)
- If the surviving spouse is entitled to housebound financial assistance