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
  • unmarried
  • 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

Limitations on DIC Compensation

If a survivor receives any compensation that the veteran was receiving or entitled to after the date of the veteran’s death, they will be required to pay that money back if they spend it.

If a survivor is eligible for payments under the Survivor Benefit Plan (SBP), those payments will be reduced by the amount of DIC benefits received.

Parents’ Dependency and Indemnity Compensation

Parents of veterans who died as the result of a service-related injury or disease may be eligible to receive a tax-free monthly benefit if their income falls below a certain level.

  • “Parents” for DIC purposes include biological, adoptive, and foster parents.
  • If eligible parents are married, they must report their spouse’s income as well, even if their spouse is not also a parent of the deceased veteran.

Benefits Rates and Applying for DIC Benefits

To apply for DIC benefits, complete VA Form 21-534EZ, “Application for DIC, Death Pension, and/or Accrued Benefits,” available at https://www.vba.va.gov/pubs/forms/VBA-21-534EZ-ARE.pdf.

The current benefits rates for DIC are available at https://benefits.va.gov/Compensation/current_rates_dic.asp.

To apply for Parents’ DIC benefits, complete VA Form 21-535, “Application for Dependency and Indemnity Compensation by Parent(s) (Including Accrued Benefits and Death Compensation when Applicable),” available at https://www.vba.va.gov/pubs/forms/VBA-21-535-ARE.pdf.

The current benefits rates for Parents’ DIC are available at https://benefits.va.gov/Pension/current_rates_Parents_DIC_pen.asp

2017-12-04T19:28:13+00:00 February 27th, 2016|Categories: Survivor Benefits, VA Benefits|Tags: , , , , |6 Comments


  1. Michael Walvatne October 8, 2016 at 1:26 am - Reply

    I have a rare liver disease that I feel was related to Agent Orange and I am looking for compensation for this disease.

  2. Roger Haseltine September 6, 2017 at 6:52 pm - Reply

    How many years must you be vested if you rceive unemployability permanent so your spouse can receive DIC?
    I have read 10 years but was told it changed to 8 years in the last couple of years.

  3. Carolyn J Deal zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz November 6, 2017 at 8:15 pm - Reply

    My husband of 42 years passed on 4 Oct., 2012. He was and had been entitled to 100% service connected disability since 1998, I believe. I have been receiving survivors benefits since 2012. The info’ sheet I get each year says there is $108 taken out of my Medicare for premiums each month, is this correct? I did have BCBS with my husband before he passed–about $400/month, then I was able to keep this insurance at a much reduced rate, $217 until was told that if Medicare will not pay on a claim, neither will BCBs or Tricare, so
    I cancelled my BCBS.
    I just bought a car, which I had not done on my own for 40+ years. When I went to get the tags, I was billed $900+. I asked the woman who helped me, “is this amount the usual fee?’ and was told “you could
    have added that amount into your financing, but you are not able to do that this year,because the dealership
    has already sent the paperwork off. I never remember paying that much on tags. Is there not a reduction
    on tags for 100% disabled veterans [the first paragraph of the summary of benefits page] letter. There has been no employee who could tell me the definitive answer to this query,
    Thank you for any info’ you can give me. I will check with you by phone soon as I might have more questions which have come up by then. Carolyn J. Deal 431 96 5737 Danny Lee Deal 240 66 6958

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