Dependency and Indemnity Compensation

Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (DIC)
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.
Related benefits for DIC recipients
Dependents Educational Assistance – Chapter 35: The Survivor’s and Dependent’s Educational Assistance Program provides for up to 45 months of education and/or training benefits to the spouse, surviving spouse, and/or dependent children of a veteran or servicemember who:

  • Died while on active duty, OR
  • Died of a service connected disability, OR
  • Is permanently and totally (P&T) disabled from a service connected disability, OR
  • Died while rated as P&T disabled from a service connected disability, OR
  • Is listed as missing in action (MIA) or as a prisoner of war (POW) for at least 90 days

The eligibility period for a spouse or surviving spouse and for a child(ren) is determined by different criteria.

  1. Spouse: Generally, a spouse or surviving spouse has 10 years from the date the veteran died or, was rated permanently and totally disabled to use Chapter 35 benefits. Under certain situations the spouses’ eligibility period can be extended, for example: if the spouse had a mental or physical disability which prevented him or her from attending school.
  2. Child(ren). There is no limit to the number of children in each family eligible for training benefits.

Generally a child can use Chapter 35 benefits anytime during the 18 to 26 age span. However, under certain circumstances, it is possible for the child to receive benefits prior to age 18 and beyond age 26.

Some recipients of DIC may also be entitled to:

  • Loan Guaranty benefits
  • Commissary and exchange privileges
  • Civil Service preference letters
Parents DIC
Parent’s DIC is a monthly benefit payable to certain parents of deceased veterans or servicemembers. For VA purposes, a dependent parent is one who depends on the veteran for financial support and may be the veteran’s birth mother or father, stepmother or stepfather. The term “dependent parent” does not necessarily mean that the parent is not self supporting but rather, that the parents’ income is minimal or that the parent has high un-reimbursed medical expenses, i.e., a nursing home patient.

For Parent’s DIC the veteran’s or servicemembers death must have occurred on or after January 1, 1957 from one of the following conditions:

  • In the line of duty while on active duty, OR
  • After discharge as a result of disease or injury incurred in or aggravated by military service or an injury sustained while on active duty in the Selected Reserve.

Click here for more information on this benefit.
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