There are two survivor benefits:
- Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (DIC)
- Death Pension
Dependency and Indemnity Compensation
DIC is a monthly benefit paid to eligible survivors of:
- A military service member who died while on active duty, active duty for training, or inactive duty training, OR
- A veteran whose death resulted from a service-related injury or disease, OR
- A veteran whose death resulted from a non service-related injury or disease, and who was receiving, or was entitled to receive,
VA Compensation for service-connected disability that was rated as totally disabling for at least 10 years immediately before
death, OR since the veteran’s release from active duty and for at least five years immediately preceding death, OR for at
least one year before death if the veteran was a former prisoner of war who died after September 30, 1999.
Who is eligible?
The surviving spouse if he or she:
- Validly married the veteran before January 1, 1957, OR
- Was married to a service member who died on active duty, active duty for training, or inactive duty training, 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, OR
- Had a child with the veteran, AND
- 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 spouse who remarries on or after December 16, 2003, and on or after attaining age 57, is entitled to continue
to receive DIC.
The surviving child(ren), if he/she is:
- Not included on the surviving spouse’s DIC
- Unmarried AND
- Under age 18, OR between the ages of 18 and 23** and attending school.
**Certain helpless adult children may be entitled to DIC.
Death Pension is a needs-based benefit paid to an unremarried surviving spouse, or an unmarried child of a deceased wartime
Who is eligible?
The surviving spouse or unmarried child of the deceased veteran,
- Whose countable income is below a yearly limit set by law (The yearly limit on income is set by Congress), AND
- The deceased veteran was discharged from service under other than dishonorable conditions, AND
- The deceased veteran served at least 90 days of active military service, 1 day of which was during a war time period. If he or she entered active duty after September 7, 1980, generally he or she must have served at least 24 months or the
full period for which called or ordered to active duty. (There are exceptions to this rule.)