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Court Wins

CCK Helps Veteran Win Dependency Benefits for Child Over 18

April Donahower

January 13, 2022

Updated: February 16, 2024


CCK recently helped a Veteran fight to receive dependency benefits for his dependent child, as the child did not have the capacity to support themselves.  Through a series of appeals supported by evidence, CCK was able to win these benefits.

Summary of the Case

The Veteran served in the United States’ Air Force from 1965 to 1971.  CCK took the case in May of 2017 and filed a claim for service connection for Diabetes Mellitus Type II and Coronary Artery Disease.  In April of 2018, a Rating Decision denied service connection.  CCK then got to work on the appeal.

CCK Secures Benefits for the Veteran’s Disabilities

By May, CCK had submitted a Notice of Disagreement appeal.  CCK opted the case into the RAMP program in September and, finally, VA issued another Rating Decision in May 2019 which denied the claim once again.

In April 2019, CCK filed an AMA Notice of Disagreement with the Board of Veterans’ Affairs.  The Board issued a decision granting service connection for Diabetes Mellitus Type II, Coronary Artery Disease and Erectile Dysfunction.  A November 2019 decision then established that the Veteran was entitled to an effective date of November 15, 2017 for the diabetes, heart disease, erectile dysfunction, and dependency education benefits and special monthly compensation for the loss of use of an organ due to the erectile dysfunction.

CCK Fights for Veteran’s Dependent Child

Though the Veteran’s child was over the age of 18, which is generally when VA ceases dependency payments, the Veteran’s child suffered from autism, and thereby had a permanent incapacity to care for themselves.  This meant that the Veteran was eligible to continue receiving dependency payments.

A December 2020 Rating Decision issued by VA stated that the Veteran’s child could not be added.  VA stated in this decision that permanent incapacity for self-support could not be established, with the reasoning being that the nature of the Veteran’s child’s disability was not sufficient to prove an inability to self-support.

In February 2021, CCK filed an appeal in the Supplemental Claim Lane.  In the appeal, CCK noted that there was a significant basis of evidence indicating that the Veteran’s child could not self-support.  Such evidence included letters from the Veteran’s child’s psychiatrist and other medical records that indicated the Veteran’s child demonstrated the inability to support themselves since childhood.  As the Veteran’s child’s disability presented before they turned 18, they should be eligible for dependency status after turning on 18, based on diminished capacity to self-support.

CCK Gets the Grant of Dependency Benefits

Finally, in March of 2021, VA issued a Rating Decision adding the child to the Veteran’s dependency benefits.  With a Higher-Level Review, CCK was also able to secure an earlier effective date for the dependency benefits dating all the way back to when the first claim was filed in November 2017.

About the Author

Bio photo of April Donahower

April joined Chisholm Chisholm & Kilpatrick in August of 2016 as an Associate Attorney. She currently serves as the Appellate Supervisor in our Veterans Law practice. April’s practice focuses on representing disabled veterans before the Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims.

See more about April