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Veterans Law

Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (DIC) Rates for 2023

October 19, 2022
Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (DIC) Rates for 2023

The 2023 Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (DIC) rate is $1,562.73.  However, there are certain circumstances in which your DIC benefits may exceed this amount.  Read on to find out your DIC rate for 2023.

What Is Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (DIC)?

Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (DIC) is a tax-free, monthly benefit paid by VA to surviving dependents of a veteran whose death was related to their military service or a service-connected condition.  Eligible surviving dependents include a veteran’s spouse, children, and/or sometimes parents.  Additionally, it is important to note that DIC has its own exclusive rates and is separate from veterans’ disability benefits.

To qualify for Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) DIC benefits, both the veteran (or servicemember) and the surviving dependent must meet certain criteria.

DIC Criteria for Veterans

One of the following must be true for the veteran or servicemember:

  • The servicemember died while on active duty, active-duty training, or inactive duty training; or
  • The veteran passed away due to a service-connected condition; or
  • The veteran’s death was not service-related, but was entitled to receive VA disability compensation for a 100 percent disabling condition (or TDIU):
    • For a period of at least 10 years prior to death; or
    • Since release from active duty and for a period of at least five years prior to the veteran’s death; or
    • For at least one year before death if the veteran was a former prisoner of war who died after September 30, 1999.

DIC Criteria for Surviving Spouses

VA also lists eligibility criteria for surviving spouses, which require that they:

  • Were married to the veteran for at least one year prior to the veteran’s death; or
  • Had a child with the veteran; lived with the veteran continuously until the time of their death; and were not separated from the veteran or, if separated, were not responsible for the separation.

VA also recognizes common law marriages for DIC benefits depending on the state’s laws.

DIC Criteria for Dependent Children

Additionally, dependent children must be unmarried and meet certain other requirements to receive DIC benefits.  These qualifications are very similar to those for dependent benefits, which require that the dependent child:

  • Is under the age of 18; or
  • Is between the ages of 18 and 23 and attending a VA approved school; or
  • Was considered permanently incapacitated before turning 18.
VA Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (DIC) Explained

What Are the DIC Rates for 2023?

Every year, the Social Security Administration (SSA) determines an updated cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) based on the percentage increase in the Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earnings and Clerical Workers (CPI-W).  Following this, the Senate passes new legislation to allow a COLA increase for veterans’ benefits.  VA then adjusts veterans’ monthly compensation to reflect the updated cost of living.  This typically leads to an increase in VA disability benefits.

Although DIC has its own exclusive rates, DIC benefits also tend to increase annually with the COLA rates.  In 2022, DIC rates increased by 5.9 percent to a monthly $1,437.65.

Based on the 2023 COLA increase of 8.7 percent, the 2023 DIC rate is $1,562.73.  Importantly, dependents may also be eligible for added monthly compensation based on certain factors.

How to Calculate Your 2023 DIC Payment Rate

As mentioned above, if you are the surviving spouse of a veteran, your monthly DIC rate would start at $1,562.73.  However, there are circumstances where DIC benefits may exceed this amount:

  • 8-year provision: VA provides an 8-year provision for surviving spouses of totally disabled veterans (including those eligible for TDIU). If the late veteran had a 100 percent disability rating for at least eight years leading up to their death and the surviving spouse was married to the veteran for those same eight years, they can qualify for an additional $331.84.
  • Aid and Attendance (A&A): Surviving spouses who qualify for A&A can receive an additional $387.15.
  • Housebound allowance: Surviving spouses who are confined to their homes due to a disability can receive an additional $181.37.
  • Dependent children: Surviving spouses with one or more dependent children under age 18 can receive an additional $387.15 for each qualifying child.
  • Transitional Benefit: Surviving spouses with one or more children under age 18 are also eligible for an additional $332.62 for the first two years following the veteran’s death.

For example, say you are a surviving spouse and have two children under the age of 18 and you qualify for Aid and Attendance and the 8-year provision.  You can calculate your DIC monthly payments for 2023 as follows:

$1,562.73 (monthly rate)

+ $387.15 (first child under age 18)

+ $387.15 (second child under age 18)

+ $387.15 (Aid & Attendance)

+ $331.84 (8-year provision)

+ $332.62 (transitional benefit)

= $3,388.64 per month

When the transitional benefit ends after two years, your total DIC benefits would be $3,056.02.

For more information about 2023 VA pay rates, view our 2023 VA disability pay rates blog.

How to Apply for DIC

To file a new claim for DIC benefits, surviving dependents should use VA Form 21P-534EZ, the Application of DIC, Death Pension, and/or Accrued Benefits.

In addition to this form, claimants must also submit certain evidence, including the veteran’s death certificate, marriage certificate (if applicable), and any divorce decrees from prior marriages.  Evidence relating to dependent children must also be submitted, such as birth certificates and school or college transcripts.  VA requires these documents and, therefore, submitting them alongside your application can help expedite the decision process.

Retroactive DIC Benefits: PACT Act

The passage of the Honoring Our Promise to Address Comprehensive Toxics (PACT) Act of 2021 enables the surviving spouses and dependents of veterans who passed away due to Agent Orange or burn pit exposure to receive DIC benefits.  If your veteran spouse passed away due to conditions linked to Agent Orange or burn pit exposure and you have a pending DIC claim, you may be eligible to receive retroactive DIC benefits.  Learn more about the PACT Act on CCK’s website.

Was Your DIC Benefits Claim Denied?

If your claim for Dependency and Indemnity Compensation was denied, Chisholm Chisholm & Kilpatrick LTD may be able to help.  Our team of accredited veterans’ advocates have decades of experience assisting surviving dependents in overturning VA denials.

Call CCK today at 800-544-9144 to schedule a free case review with a member of our team.