Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (DIC)
Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (DIC) is a tax-free monetary benefit paid to eligible survivors of military service members who died in the line of duty or to eligible survivors of veterans whose death resulted from a service-related injury or disease.
To qualify for DIC, a surviving spouse must meet certain requirements. The surviving spouse must have:
- Been married to a service member who died on active duty, active duty for training, or inactive duty training.
- Validly married the veteran before Jan. 1, 1957 or married the veteran within 15 years of discharge from the period of military service during which the disease or injury that caused the veteran’s death began or was aggravated.
- Been married to the veteran for at least one year or had a child with the veteran.
The surviving spouse must also have cohabited with the veteran continuously until the veteran’s death or, if separated, was not at fault for the separation and is not currently remarried.
A surviving child may also be eligible for DIC if they are not included on the surviving spouse’s DIC, are unmarried, and are under age 18, or between the ages of 18 and 23 and attending school. A child adopted out of the veteran’s family may be eligible for DIC if all other eligibility criteria are met.
The Survivor’s Pension is a tax-free benefit payable to low-income, unremarried surviving spouses of deceased veterans with wartime military service. The Survivor’s Pension is a needs-based VA benefit program for surviving spouses who are age 65 or older, or who have a permanent and total disability, and who have limited income and net worth. This program is designed to assist the surviving spouse with non-reimbursed medical expenses like assisted living facility (ALF) costs and/or in-home care costs.
To be eligible for a VA Survivor’s Pension as a surviving spouse, you must not have remarried after the veteran’s death, and the deceased veteran must not have received a dishonorable discharge. Additionally, the veteran’s service must had been during wartime and it must meet at least one of the following requirements:
- The veteran entered active duty on or before Sept. 7, 1980 and served at least 90 days of active military service, with at least one day during a covered wartime period.
- The veteran entered active duty after Sept. 7, 1980 and served at least 24 months or the full period for which they were called or ordered to active duty (with some exceptions), with at least one day during a covered wartime period.
- The Veteran was an officer and started active duty after Oct. 16, 1981 and had not previously served on active duty for at least 24 months.
Additionally, your annual family income and net worth must meet certain limits set by Congress.
To be eligible for a Survivor’s Pension as the child of a deceased wartime veteran, you must be unmarried and meet at least one of the following requirements:
- You are under age 18.
- You are under age 23 and attending a VA-approved school.
- You are unable to care for yourself due to a disability that happened before age 18.
The amount of Survivor’s Pension benefit is based on the difference between your countable income and a limit that Congress sets (called the Maximum Annual Pension Rate, or MAPR). Your countable income is how much you earn, including your salary, investment and retirement payments, and any income you may have from your dependents. Some expenses, like non-reimbursable medical expenses (paid medical expenses not covered by your insurance provider), may reduce your countable income. Your MAPR amount is the maximum amount of pension payable to a veteran, surviving spouse or child. Your MAPR is based on how many dependents you have and whether you qualify for housebound benefits, aid benefits or attendance benefits. MAPRs are adjusted each year for cost-of-living increases.
Burial benefits can help service members, veterans and family members plan and pay for a burial or memorial service in a national cemetery. Family members can also order memorial items to honor a veteran’s service.
Some of the benefits available at no cost include:
- A gravesite in any of the national cemeteries with available space.
- Opening and closing of the grave.
- Perpetual care.
- A government headstone, marker or medallion.
- A burial flag.
- A Presidential Memorial Certificate.
Some Veterans may also be eligible for burial allowances.
The VA honors many spouses, dependents and survivors of eligible veterans with a final resting place in one of the 155 national cemeteries it maintains. Benefits may include burial with the veteran, the inscription of the name and date of birth and death on the headstone, and perpetual care of the gravesite.