VA disability pay for surviving spouses is also known as Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (DIC). DIC is a benefit the VA pays to surviving spouses and some dependents. Sometimes, a dependent parent will be eligible for DIC. This article will explain the different qualifications that the VA recognizes for DIC.
Who Qualifies for DIC?
The VA has eligibility criteria it uses to determine if the claim qualifies for DIC. The following list outlines the guidelines created by the VA.
The military service member dies in the line of duty while:
- On active duty, OR
- On active-duty training or inactive duty training, OR
- Due to a service-connected injury or illness, OR
- While receiving VA disability pay for at least:
- 10 or more years until death
- From the time of discharge for at least 5 years until death
- For at least 1 year, if a former prisoner of war
Besides military service requirements, the spouse needs to be a ‘surviving spouse’ by the VA’s definition.
How the VA Defines “Surviving Spouse”
The VA will consider the spouse of an eligible military member (as outlined above) a ‘surviving spouse’ if he or she meets at least one of the following:
- Was married to the military member for at least a year.
- Was married for any length of time if the eligible military member passes while on active duty or training, as stated above.
- Was married within 15 years of the military member’s date of discharge from service if the member passes away from a service-connected disability or condition made worse by serving.
- Married before January 1st, 1957.
- When a child exists
- Spouse lives with servicemember until he or she passes
- Spouse and military member separated, without spouse initiation or fault
What If the Spouse Remarries?
Remarriage does not automatically disqualify a surviving spouse. The VA outlines the following situations regarding remarriage:
- If the spouse remarries after turning 57, the VA will still consider him or her a surviving spouse.
- If the spouse remarries before reaching age 57, the VA will not consider him or her a surviving spouse, even if the spouse meets all other requirements.
How Much Money Does the Surviving Spouse Receive?
Current DIC pay is $1,154 a month – If a surviving spouse is housebound or needs help with daily living, the amount could be more.
For children under the age of 18 – Add another $286 per child.
Note about Children for DIC spouses:
- The increase per child generally stops after two years.
- It will stop earlier if the child reaches 18 before the two-year mark unless disabled.
- Disabled dependents remain eligible for DIC after two years have passed, and even after age 18.
Losing a spouse is never easy. It’s nice to know that the VA provides Dependency and Indemnity Compensation under the above circumstances and conditions.
We also know that not everything is black and white. If you have questions and you want real answers from real Veterans who have been through the same, please reach out to us. Strategic Veteran is a free resource for all Veterans – give us a call today at 800-761-9004.