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Survivors Benefits: VA Benefits for Deceased Veterans’ Dependents

1. What is Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (DIC)?

2. Veteran Eligibility: What criteria must a veteran meet for their survivors to be eligible for DIC benefits?

  • What is service connection for cause of death?
  • What if a veteran’s death is not service connected at time of death? Can survivors still receive VA benefits?
  • The importance of the veteran’s death certificate

3. Surviving Spouse Eligibility: What makes a surviving spouse eligible for Disability and Indemnity Compensation (DIC)?

  • Does common law marriage count?
  • What if a surviving spouse remarries, will their DIC benefits be terminated?
  • Is there any additional compensation available for surviving spouses?
  • Do survivors receive the same amount of compensation as the veteran was receiving? What happens to a veterans benefits when they die?

4. Surviving Child Eligibility: What makes a surviving child eligible to receive DIC benefits?

  • Disabled children
  • Nehmer class members (Vietnam Veterans)
  • Can adult children receive Disability and Indemnity Compensation (DIC)

5. Surviving Parent Eligbility: What makes a surviving parent eligible to receive DIC benefits?

6. Survivors Pension, also known as Death Pension

  • What if a surviving dependent receives property or money from the deceased veteran?

7. Applying for Disability and Indemnity Compensation (DIC)

8. Other Considerations

Can sick or elderly veterans do anything in advance to prepare for their survivors to receive benefits? – Can veterans or their survivors submit a medical opinion to support a cause of death claim for DIC? – What if there are multiple survivors (multiple dependents)? Can they all receive DIC benefits?

9. Common mistakes VA makes with DIC claims

Video Transcription.

Brad Hennings: Good morning. Welcome. This is Brad Hennings with Chisholm Chisholm & Kilpatrick. And we’re here today to talk about VA Survivors Benefit. I’m joined by Michelle DeTore and Jenna Zellmer, both of the firm and both Veterans Advocates working on behalf of getting these benefits. Please ask any questions as we’re going along on Facebook, and then we’ll try to answer them as we go along. In addition, please go to our website, cck-law.com, which is a great resource. In addition, if you’re watching this when it’s not live and you have any questions, please feel free to reach out to us. Either give us a ring, contact us by Facebook, the website, any which way you could get in touch with us, and we’d be happy to answer any of your questions. So, we’re talking about VA Survivors Benefits today and so there’s a lot of questions that go along with that. And so, let’s start with what is Dependency and Indemnity Compensation in the VA scheme or DIC as it’s often referred to?

Jenna Zellmer: Yes, Brad. So, there are a lot of different survivors’ benefits, but like Brad said, DIC is the one we’re mostly going to be talking about today. But you can get flags, burial benefits, things like that. And so you can always look at our website or look at VA’s website. But DIC is a tax free, monthly benefit that goes to surviving spouses, surviving children, and in some cases surviving dependent parents of a veteran who has died. The veteran has to be service-connected or have died on active duty, active duty for training, or inactive duty training.

Brad: But how much is that monthly benefit give or take?

Jenna: Michelle?

Michelle DeTore: So it’s currently about $1,200. That’s $1,200 a month. There are some ways to bump it up a little bit which we’ll talk about a little later on. But it’s a monthly benefit of that amount. And it’s set every year. It’s changed occasionally by the cost of living adjustment. But right now, that’s roughly what the amount is.

Brad: Okay. So that’s a continuing monthly benefit that would go to one of the survivors of the veteran or the claimants. So what criteria must a veteran or service member meet for their survivors to be eligible for this benefit– this DIC benefit?

Jenna: Right. So, like I mentioned, veterans have to be service-connected. So, you can either die of a specific service-connected disability. And one way to prove that is to be service-connected for a cause of death, which we can get into it in a little bit. The other ways are, like I mentioned, if you die on active duty. And if you die of a non-service-connected disability but you are service-connected for other disabilities and you’ve been receiving a 100% rating, either for a 10% continuous time period before your death or since your date of discharge and you’ve been rated for at least five years or if you are a former prisoner of war for at least one year prior to your death.

Brad: And so those– for the 10, I think, it was continuous years not percentage. Is that correct?

Jenna: Yes. Sorry, for 10 continuous years preceding your death that you’ve been receiving 100%.

Brad: So, if you’re very seriously disabled no matter what you died from, for at least 10 years, you’re potentially eligible for this DIC benefit?

Jenna: Right.

Brad: Okay. Well, how does VA establish this cause of death? And what is service connection for the cause of the veteran’s death?

Jenna: Right. So, service connection for cause of death basically means that either a service-connected disability was the principal or the contributory cause of the veteran’s death. And so, a really easy way to look at this is if you look at the deceased veteran’s death certificate. The death certificate will list both primary and secondary causes of death. And if a service-connected disability is listed on one of those, that’s a pretty good fact to bring to VA to say that your veteran is service-connected for the cause of death.

There’s also if you’re service-connected for a disability that has affects your vital organs, basically the theory there’s that you have been rendered by your service-connected disability less capable of fighting whatever the disease that ultimately caused your death was. So, you can get service-connected for cause of death for that. And then I think one thing that VA sometimes gets wrong about it is the contributory cause of death. So even though your death certificate lists something, for example heart failure, that you’re not service-connected for, if you have a service-connected disability that ultimately led to that heart failure that would be something that we would consider contributory cause of death. And so, we’ve made arguments that even though it’s not listed on the death certificate, even though it’s not really clear on the face of why the veteran died, you can probably make that link.

Brad: So this is a good time. So, Michelle, would you say that this sounds like a fairly complicated area–

Michelle: Yes.

Brad: –of VA benefits. Would it be advisable for veterans to consult with either a Veteran Service Organization, a VA accredited agent, or a VA accredited attorney prior to filing these claims?

Michelle: Yes, especially when you are the surviving spouse or child. You’re often not familiar with the process at all, or maybe just not as much as the veteran was when they were going through it. So, it’s good to reach out to see what benefits you’re entitled to, because you might not know that you don’t have to file for a service-connection for cause of death because the veteran was at a 100% for 10 years prior to death. And it’s a quick, easy application. And VA will usually award the DIC benefits then. So, if you don’t know about burial benefits, there’s other benefits that we’re not going to talk about today that you might be eligible for. So, it’s a good time to reach out to say, “Do I have a case? Can I file? Am I eligible to file?” Because representatives should be able to give you an idea of what you’re eligible for and what you can file for.

Brad: So, what if a veteran’s death is not service-connected at the time of passing? Can the survivor still receive benefits?

Michelle: Yes, this does happen a lot. We do see cases where a veteran was applying for service-connection for let’s just say it’s prostate cancer. And when they passed away, it was still pending. But unfortunately, service-connection hadn’t been awarded yet. At that point in time, let’s say the veteran has a surviving spouse, the spouse can be substituted in to the pending claims as the new claimant. So, let’s say down the road, service connection gets awarded, they can receive benefits, because the veteran wasn’t getting at the time of death, they will get the veteran should have gotten at the time of their death had service connection been awarded. You can also file a brand new claim for service connection for cause of death if you believe that the veteran’s death was a result of the military service or a service-connected condition.

Brad: So, let’s talk a little bit more about service connection for the cause of the veteran’s death. Can you give me an example, Jenna, of some things that you wouldn’t necessarily immediately think of– some cases perhaps that we’ve taken to court, various theories about how the veteran’s service-connected disabilities ultimately resulted in the veteran’s passing?

Jenna: Yes. So, for example, let’s take a veteran who died in a car crash. So, if that veteran was service-connected for PTSD and he had been drinking and that was kind of the cause of the car crash, we would make the legal argument that even though the car crash was the primary cause of death, we can link it back to the drunk driving which was a manifestation of the service-connected PTSD. And we’ve been successful with things like that. And so, VA really needs to take broad look at the overall picture. They can’t just look at the primary cause of death in a vacuum. If the veteran has PTSD, chances are that he’s self-medicating. Chances are if he had not had PTSD, he wouldn’t have been drunk driving that night. He wouldn’t have gone in a car crash.

Brad: Michelle, can you talk a little about the importance of the death certificate in this process?

Michelle: Yes. So, the importance with it is you always want it and you want to submit it, because you want to show what the veteran passed away from. VA is always going to look for it. And like Jenna had said earlier, sometimes they will look at it in a vacuum and they’ll say, “Well, the veteran passed away from this,” so that’s not service-connected or related to service. So, then the veteran shouldn’t be granted service connection. However, sometimes you’ll see in death certificates, they have the primary cause and they also have contributory causes of death. So, you want to take a very close look at it, because sometimes the primary cause could be pulmonary embolism. But they’ll say that the coronary artery disease of the veteran was service-connected for contributed to the pulmonary embolism. So, you really want to take a close look at them. Sometimes, you can also get addendums to the death certificate. If for some reason you think something was missed, you would have to go back to your doctor or the medical examiner that provided it. But you can get addendums to the death certificate to show that there is maybe a contributory cause of death that just wasn’t listed there.

Brad: Great. So what makes a surviving spouse eligible to receive DIC?

Jenna: You want to take it?

Michelle: I’ll take this one. So this can get a little complicated. And this is a good example as to when Brad was talking about one that can be good to reach out to representative, because I mean some of it is clear cut. If you were married at that time of death, you’re eligible to receive DIC benefits. But it can get a little bit with a gray area. So, you just always want to make sure that you reach out, and you confirm that you are eligible. But if you were married at that time of the veteran’s death, you should be eligible to receive DIC benefits. There is also another part that some people may not be aware of. If your state recognizes common law marriage, then VA will recognize the common law marriage for you and the veteran that passed away. However, it is contingent on the fact that you’re state recognizes it. So that’s just something to be mindful of as well.

Brad: What about if a surviving spouse remarries? Will their DIC benefits be terminated?

Jenna: Yes. So typically, if a surviving spouse remarries before the age of 57 that would terminate their DIC benefits. But if that second marriage ends in an annulment, divorce, anything like that, then the DIC benefits can be restored. And then if you’re over the age of 57 and you’ve been receiving DIC benefits and you remarry, you can continue to receive these benefits.

Brad: Again, this sounds very complicated the various scenarios that you can run through. So, we strongly encourage anyone interested in filing for survivor benefits to again reach out to a Veteran Service Organization, or a VA accredited agent, or VA accredited attorney to discuss the options and your particular factual scenario. So what about– is there any additional compensation available for surviving spouse?

Michelle: Yes. So, this is something I touched upon briefly earlier. And it’s something for surviving spouses to be mindful of is that it isn’t just sometimes the $1,200. Sometimes, you can get additional money. So, one way is that the veteran was rated totally disabled. So you had unemployability benefits for eight years preceding death. You get an additional $200 a month. You also can get about an additional– the amounts that I’m giving are rough ideas. You also get about another $200 a month if you as a surviving spouse need additional aid and attendance. You can also get an additional I think it’s about $400 a month for each child under the age of 18. So these are just benefits that VA may not readily give you that you need to be mindful of that you could get. And this is another time where it’s good to reach out to a representative, because it gets a little complicated as to what additional benefits that can get your amount a little bit higher.

Brad: So we’re talking about the DIC benefit, this Dependency and Indemnity Compensation benefit being worth $1,200. So that would be on a recurring monthly basis, correct?

Jenna: Yes.

Brad: Okay. But don’t survivors receiving the same amount of compensation that the veteran was receiving at the time of their death?

Jenna: No. So that’s a pretty common mistake that survivors make. And it’s understandable because when you are a survivor, you’ve been used to the veteran getting a certain amount of money every month. And so, even though in some situations, you can get DIC benefits when the veteran has been rated at 100% continuously for 10 years. You’ve been used to for at least 10 years getting 100% rating every month. That percent of that amount of benefit every month is going to go down to at minimum 1,200 maybe a little bit more depending on if you meet the criteria that Michelle just mentioned. So it’s definitely something to be aware of. The theory is that you’re no longer being compensated for the disability that the veteran has gotten. You’re now being compensated because you are a dependent. And so it’s tied to how much you are benefiting from the veteran. But it’s not necessarily the same amount that the veteran was receiving every month.

Brad: So those payments will not continue that the veteran was receiving and will not be paid into the veteran’s estate or anything like that–

Jenna: Right.

Brad: –going forward. Okay. So now, let’s move on to surviving children. We were focused on spouses before. But what makes the surviving child eligible to receive these DIC benefits?

Michelle: So a surviving child is a child that was a dependent of the veteran at the time of their death. So the child has to be under the age of 18 or 18 to 23 and currently enrolled in school. The child also needs not being married. The child can be disabled. And then also be eligible for dependency benefits that you would have to show by medical evidence the child is disabled. There’s another way that you could substitute a child and that is an adult. It’s if– I’m going to touch on this briefly because this might get a little more complicated. It’s if the veteran is called a Nehmer class member. And basically at that point in time, when I’m saying Nehmer class member I’m talking about Vietnam Veterans that were affected by Agent Orange. And the condition has to be– or what you’re thoughts trying to get benefits for has been related to the Nehmer class member. So we’re talking about Agent Orange conditions. Or I guess the– yes, Agent Orange that– excuse me, Agent Orange conditions that are going for accrued benefits.

Brad: So again, this is Brad Hennings with Chisholm Chisholm & Kilpatrick. I’m joined by Michelle DeTore and Jenna Zellmer. We’re here talking about VA Survivor Benefits. And one of the things that Michelle just talked about had to do with what they call the Nehmer class or exposure to Agent Orange. Again, this can be very complicated and tricky claims. So I know I keep harping on this. Please, please talk to someone, either a Veteran Service Organization, a VA accredited agent or VA accredited attorney to help walk you through the details of that process. So let’s talk a little—so what if I’m let’s say 43, and my mother has passed away– the veteran’s spouse has passed away. And I file a claim for DIC benefits on behalf of my veteran father?

Jenna: So the test Brad for whether or not you are a qualifying surviving child is if you are a child under the definition that we just ran over under the age of 18, between 18 and 23, attending school, or permanently disabled before 18. If you are a child– if you met any of those requirements at the time of the veteran’s death, and so if the veteran had a pending claim at the time of his death and now you’re an adult but at the time that he died you were a child, then you could be eligible to receive DIC benefits only for that time period in which you were actually a child.

Brad: So as a middle-aged man, I can’t receive these DIC benefits

Jenna: You can’t file a new claim. Yes.

Brad: Okay. And I can’t try to argue that it should be paid out, this amount should be paid out to my father’s estate?

Jenna: No.

Brad: Because that’s an area that a lot of people don’t realize that can get confusing. So what makes– let’s talk about surviving parents because that’s another class of folks who can get survivor benefits from the DIC, what makes a surviving parent eligible to receive these benefits?

Michelle: So, a surviving parent needed to be a dependent also of the veteran. And it’s paid– it’s done differently. It’s actually based on your income, and how much money is in the household. And when I say income, it’s not just what you earn, its properties, possessions, cars, arrays, 401k’s, all that good stuff is all considered part of your income. A rule that actually was recently just passed is there is a– I believe it’s a five-year look back now. So unfortunately, sometimes people were moving money ahead of time of filing to try to hide assets and money from VA. So now VA does a five-year look back when they look back to see where the money has been for the last five years. So they can see if somebody moved money to try to change their income. But it’s income-driven. It’s usually based around the poverty threshold.

Brad: And I don’t want to go into a lot of detail, because it’s beyond the scope of this conversation. But Medicaid has something very similar, they have a look back period. Because Medicaid will cover nursing home care for elderly individuals, but they’re only cover it if you’re impoverished. And so many folks have taken steps to move assets so they can qualify for Medicaid as part of that. So, this is somewhat similar there. They’re now doing it with the VA system with the five-year look back to see if anyone’s tried to move assets around to be eligible for these benefits.

So, let’s talk about Survivors Pension or Death Pension as it’s more commonly known. What is the VA Survivors Pension also known as Death Pension? And who’s eligible?

Jenna: So the difference in eligibility between Survivors Pension and DIC is that the veteran who’s the deceased does not need to be service-connected. Instead, death Pension requires a veteran to serve a certain amount of time. And those different time periods are complicated. They’re listed. I believe it’s– before 1980, you had to serve 90 days. And after 1980, you had to serve about two years. But it’s the– it’s based– it’s a low income– it’s based on the veteran’s survivor’s low income. And so it’s meant to compensate extremely destitute survivors of veterans. And instead of having a set monthly allowance, it’s then based on the survivor’s income. So it’s similar to surviving parents. So, it’s income driven.

Brad: So, what if a surviving dependent receives money or property from the deceased veteran as part of their estate?

Michelle: That would consider a part of your income. And they’ll consider that when they’re figuring out how much money or if you’re eligible to receive Survivors Pension or Death Pension as they call it.

Brad: So this Death Pension or Survivors Pension is truly a need-based or income-based.

Brad: So if the veteran left $3 million to you, chances are–

Jenna: You’re not–

Brad: –you’re not going to qualify? Not that there’s tons of veterans leaving millions of dollars out there but just to illustrate that it is need-based and income-based. So how can a veteran survivor apply for DIC benefits? What are the mechanics involved?

Michelle: Sure. So the first thing you want to do is you want to find the correct forms. And this is another time where I want to say that it’s really good to reach out to a representative, somebody that would know what the correct forms are. So right now, the forms from our understanding are the VA Form 534. And then there’s also a 0847. It’s the application for DIC benefits. And you would submit this. And in there, if you’re filing for cause of death, you would also mark that as well. And you would submit this information to VA. You would also submit this with the death certificate, because you need to demonstrate that the veteran did pass away. It’s good if you are the spouse to submit your marriage certificate with it to show that you are legally married. And I’d also recommend submitting any divorce decrees from prior marriages to show that you are legally married as well. If you’re a dependent child, it’s really good to submit your birth certificate and your college transcripts if you’re 18 to 23 and full-time in school. That way you can demonstrate that you are a dependent child. It just creates the process a little bit faster, because VA is going to require those documents in order to establish the claim.

Brad: So can sick or elderly veterans do anything to prepare in advance that will make it easier for their survivors to continue receiving some kind of VA benefits?

Michelle: I think that the best thing you can do is look into things ahead of time, and find out what benefits are there. Unfortunately, it’s not something you can apply for or prepare to apply for until the veteran does pass away. But knowing what forms you need, knowing what steps you need to take, sitting down and having a conversation about it ahead of time is very helpful. I’ve had clients who called me that are unfortunately terminally ill. And they’ll ask me, “What are the next steps if I do pass away? And would you mind explaining them to my wife?” I think that those are great steps to be taking so that your wife or your child is prepared for when the unfortunate happens.

Brad: Now, would it be advisable to submit something like a medical opinion? Those are often used in the VA claims process with the Compensation and Pension examinations. Would an opinion like that be helpful from a treating doctor either after the veteran has passed or prior to the veteran passing saying this veteran is dying from X due to his service?

Jenna: Definitely. So, especially in those cases that aren’t as clear cut. If you’ve gone the death certificate and it doesn’t list as service-connected disability, having your own treating provider who’s been treating you for a number of years who’s familiar with your case provide that positive evidence is just kind of get a jump on the whole system, it’s not going to– instead of waiting for VA to potentially deny you, because it doesn’t have all the evidence in front of it. You can kind of supplement the evidence ahead of time.

Brad: So, what about when there’s multiple dependents, either multiple spouses that have been involved children from different marriages? How does that work within the VA claims process? How do they determine who gets what?

Jenna: So it’s complicated.

Michelle: It’s very complicated.

Jenna: That’s a mean question, Brad. So, I think the first thing is if there are surviving children who are dependent, those are the children that are going to get the benefit. If there are multiple wives and ex-wives, it’s going to go to the wife or excuse me, the husband, we have veterans who are men and women, the surviving spouse that was actually married to the deceased veteran at the time. And so past wives or past husbands who have been divorced are no longer going to be eligible to receive DIC benefits.

Brad: And so, in my previous time, I worked as a Veterans Law Judge at the Board of Veterans Appeals, and we had many of this what they call them contested claims. There’s a whole series of procedures VA uses to make sure that everybody manages to get a say that everybody gets to participate in a hearing in dealing with these claims. Now, these are very complicated. And I strongly suggest that you receive advice, get representation if you have one of these scenarios, because they can get very messy very quickly. Typically, what we see are spouses who claim that their marriage was never validly dissolved. So they claim, well, the veteran was remarried. However, they never dissolved the first marriage correctly. Therefore, I should receive those benefits. And again, these can be very complicated, messy, and sad at the same time. Please, please get some advice. So that being said, are there any common mistakes VA makes when they’re trying to determine eligibility for these benefits?

Michelle: Yes. I think a common mistake that Jenna was talking about earlier is when you’re going for service connection for cause of death they automatically say death certificate says you died from this. You’re not service-connected for it or going to deny your benefits. They don’t go thinking about the contributory cause. So that’s something you often see is where the contributor cause of death claims. You are thinking a little bit outside of the box with them, because a lot of times, you’re going from saying like Jenna used a psych example a little earlier where you’re saying the veteran service-connection for a psychiatric condition– it wasn’t quite the psychiatric condition that was the cause of his death, but it led to his death. And we use a lot of times like she said with alcohol or drug abuse. Sometimes, the veteran had alcohol or drug abuse because of the psychiatric condition, but they died from cirrhosis which was due to the alcohol or drug abuse. So, you have to kind of link those steps backwards. That’s a very common mistake we see. I’m not sure –

Jenna: Yes. I mean I think a lot of it depends on the death certificates. And it’s just– this is maybe going a little far outfield, but right now, VA’s internal systems basically say that if something is listed on the death certificate, they kind of have to stop if it’s favorable to the veteran. So, if the veteran service-connected disability is listed on the death certificate they have to stop, and just grant the claim. But sometimes VA goes a little further and doesn’t– maybe they’re not sure about the death certificate. Maybe there’s something that’s a little bit off or there’s an addendum. And so they will go out and continue to develop the evidence. There’s actually a case at court that were waiting on a decision for about what the correct steps in that situation are. And so, as always VA is supposed to be pro-claimant and non-adversarial. And so we would hope that VA would kind of give the surviving spouses, surviving child the benefit of the doubt. But denying service connection as cause of death is probably the biggest hurdle that we see surviving classes or children have to cross or the kind of mistakes that VA makes. It’s always about service connection for cause of death.

Michelle: Yes. We see probably one issue with accrued benefits which basically means that you’re coming into claims that were pending at the time of the veteran’s death is when the veteran passes away and they get notification. They close out those claims. So, the next thing is working to a substitution. And once substitution gets granted, sometimes unfortunately the, what they call the end-products or what you call the tracking for those claims that were pending that now should be re-established doesn’t always happen. So, a lot of times, that’s something we find ourselves having to do is reaching back out to VA to say you’ve now substituted this child or this spouse in. So now his accrued benefits that were pending should be pending. And we often are having to reach out to a few people to get them re-established as pending and processed through. So, it’s something to be mindful of is that when you do get substituted in to make sure that those accrued benefits you’re trying to get, VA is tracking and processing.

Jenna: Yes. And then just to clarify. We’ve been talking about DIC benefits this whole time. But Michelle mentioned you can also– if there is a pending claim at the time of the veteran’s death, you can also be eligible for potential accrued benefits if VA eventually awards service connection. And in that case, VA is basically conceding that they should have been paying the veteran while he was alive. And so just because the veteran died doesn’t necessarily mean the VA gets to keep that money. It’s possible that the surviving spouse who substituted in can get that lump sum of retroactive benefits. So that’s something to be aware of too, when you’re applying for DIC. You want to know if you’re deceased veteran had any active claims at the time that he died.

Brad: So, for example, if a veteran had filed a claim for service connection for prostate cancer or service-connection for PTSD, and let’s say that their claim had been pending for five years in the appeals process and he dies during that or she dies during that period of time, the surviving spouse or child, one of these beneficiaries could step into the shoes. And then potentially get that money that was owed and due into the veteran for his PTSD or his prostate cancer for that period of time, let’s say those five years.

Jenna: Right. And that’s separate from service connection because of that. So you don’t have to prove that link at that point.

Brad: Great. Well, this is a Brad Hennings with Chisholm Chisholm & Kilpatrick getting joined my Michelle and Jenna. If anyone has any questions, we’re certainly happy to answer them at the moment. Otherwise, do you have any final thoughts before we sign off?

Jenna: I think we’ve mentioned this before. But it is a complicated area of why and so it’s really helpful to get help either from a Veteran Service Organization or from a law firm. The other thing that I don’t think we mentioned but is just something to be aware of is that the character of your discharge or the deceased veteran’s discharge is definitely important. If you’ve been discharged under dishonorable circumstances unfortunately you can’t get these DIC benefits. And so that’s something to keep in mind.

Michelle: Yes. I would just say always make sure you’re reaching out. Even if the veteran didn’t have anything pending when they unfortunately passed away or even pending at all during their time of full service, it’s still good to reach out and to see if there is something that you might be eligible for whether it’s not DIC benefits but other benefits that are entitled to survivors.

Brad: So just– well, I have to close out with some final words. VA does take their mission to take care of the survivors of veterans very seriously. However, they’re an overgrown agency. It’s full of bureaucracy at times. And things do fall through these cracks. So again we strongly encourage anyone who’s going to file one of these claims to reach out to either a VSO, Veteran Service Organization, an agent, or a VA accredited attorney to help walk you through the claims process, to ensure that your claim and your loved one’s claim does not get lost in those cracks.

With that, again, this is Brad Hennings with Chisholm Chisholm & Kilpatrick. And we will sign off. Please– one final thing. Please feel free to reach out to us on Facebook. Leave us any questions or comments, or at cck-law.com.

 

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