Several types of VA benefits are available to veterans’ dependents, including children, spouses, and dependent parents. Each type of benefit has its own qualifications that must be met in order to be eligible for and receive benefits.
Survivors Pension is a tax-free monetary benefit payable to low-income un-remarried surviving spouses or unmarried children of deceased veterans with wartime service.
To qualify, the deceased veterans who served before September 7, 1980 must have served for at least 90 days, with at least one day of service during a wartime period. For veterans who served after September 7, 1980, generally they must have served for 24 months or the full period for which they were ordered to active duty, with at least one day of service during a wartime period. The veteran cannot have been discharged under dishonorable conditions.
The surviving child must be either under age 18, under age 23 and enrolled at a VA-approved school, or permanently incapable of self-support due to a disability that occurred before age 18. Surviving spouses have no age requirements.
The Survivors Pension is calculated as the difference between your countable income and the maximum annual pension limit. Countable income includes income from most sources, with deductions for certain expenses.
Dependency and Indemnity Compensation
Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (DIC) is another type of benefit paid to surviving spouses of deceased veterans. It is also a tax-free monetary benefit.. Unlike the Survivors Pension, there is no requirement that the service member served during a wartime period. However, the Veteran’s death must have been either in the line of duty or caused by a service-related injury or disease.
The requirements for a surviving spouse are complicated. The surviving spouse must meet one of the following requirements:
• Married to a Service member who died on active duty, active duty for training, or inactive duty training, or
• Validly married the Veteran before January 1, 1957, or
• Married the Veteran within 15 years of discharge from the period of military service in which the disease or injury that caused the Veteran’s death began or was aggravated, or
• Was married to the Veteran for at least one year
If the surviving spouse was not legally married to the veteran, he or she may still be eligible if they had a child with the Veteran and lived with them continuously until the Veteran’s death; or, were separated, but not at fault for the separation, and are not currently remarried.
Surviving children must not be included in a surviving spouse’s DIC to receive their own benefits. They must also be unmarried and either under age 18 or under age 23 and attending school.
If you are the surviving spouse or dependent of a veteran, you may be entitled to VA benefits. Contact the experienced veterans lawyers at Chisholm Chisholm & Kilpatrick for a free case evaluation. Call us at 401-331-6300 to discuss your claim.