Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (DIC) is a monthly payment to the surviving spouse or child(ren) of a servicemember or veteran who dies:
- While on active duty, OR
- After separation from service and a service connected disability either directly caused or substantially contributed to the death, OR
- From an injury that resulted from improper VA medical treatment, OR
- While on a VA vocational training program.
One unique situation in which DIC may be granted, even though the veteran’s death was not caused by his or her service connected disabilities, is referred to as the 10 year rule. Under this rule, DIC is payable to the surviving spouse or children in the same manner as if the death were service connected, if the deceased veteran was rated 100% service connected disabled for at least:
- Ten years immediately preceding death, OR
- Five years, continuously from the time of separation from active duty, until death.
For VA benefit purposes, a dependent child can be a legitimate child (by birth), legally adopted, or a step child. The child must be unmarried and meet at least one of the following:
- Be under age 18, OR
- Be between the ages of 18 and 23 and pursuing a course of instruction in an approved educational institution, OR
- Be permanently incapable of self-support where the condition occurred before reaching age 18.