VA Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (VA DIC) is a tax-free monthly payment for survivors of deceased veterans. It is available to spouses, children, and parents of veterans who died in service or of a “service related” cause. Mesothelioma due to asbestos exposure may entitle you to VA DIC benefits.
What Is VA Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (VA DIC)?
VA Dependency and Indemnity Compensation, also called VA DIC, is a tax-free monthly payment given to the surviving spouse, child(ren), or parent(s) of a service member who died in the line of duty.
It is also available to the survivors of veterans who died from an injury or illness that was related to their time in the military.
Veterans of the U.S. military have a higher risk of developing mesothelioma than those in the general population. Many veterans were exposed to asbestos in a variety of environments in the military.
All of the military’s branches — the Navy, Marines, Army, Air Force, and Coast Guard — used asbestos products liberally.
If your loved one died of mesothelioma caused by asbestos exposure that occurred while they bravely served our country, you may be entitled to a number of VA benefits, including VA DIC.
However, there are specific criteria you must meet to determine eligibility. There is also certain evidence you must provide to qualify.
Eligibility For VA DIC
Eligibility requirements differ for the veteran, surviving spouse, dependent children, and/or parent(s). The requirements are summarized as follows.
Veteran Requirements for VA DIC
To be eligible for VA DIC, the veteran must have died from a service-related illness or injury. For victims of mesothelioma, this means there must be a link between the diagnosis and the time spent in the military.
Because asbestos use was widespread in the military until the early 1980s, military records can generally establish a link.
VA DIC Requirements for Spouses
If your spouse died of service-related mesothelioma, you may be entitled to VA DIC.
You may be eligible if you are not remarried and any one of the following is true:
- You were married to the veteran before January 1st, 1957.
- You were married to the veteran within 15 years of discharge from their time in the service.
- You were married to the veteran for at least a year.
- You and the veteran had a child and either lived together without a break until their death or, if separated, you were not at fault for the separation.
If you remarried after December 15, 2003, and were at least 57 years old at that time, you may still continue to receive compensation.
To be eligible for VA DIC, you must provide evidence that your mesothelioma was service-related. This is often the case with veterans who died from mesothelioma and can usually be proven through military records.
Requirements for Children
To be eligible for VA Dependency and Indemnity Compensation, surviving children cannot be included on the surviving spouse’s VA DIC. They must also be unmarried and under the age of 18.
Unmarried children aged 18-23 can receive the benefit if they are still in high school or are enrolled in a VA-approved school or university.
VA DIC for Parents
Parents are also eligible to receive a version of VA DIC called Parents’ Dependency and Indemnity Compensation if they meet certain eligibility requirements.
Parents must be either the biological, adoptive, or foster parent of a veteran to be eligible. Foster parents must have stood in as a parent for at least one year before the veteran’s last entry into active service.
Parents of mesothelioma victims must submit evidence that the death was due to service-related mesothelioma.
Necessary Evidence Requirement
There is also an evidence requirement for VA DIC. The surviving spouse, children, or parent(s) can provide military records as evidence. Alternatively, the VA can search for the records relating to the deceased veteran’s time in service.
A veteran who died from mesothelioma must meet one of the following requirements:
- The veteran died from a disease, illness, or injury related to their time in military service.
- The veteran died from an injury or disease that was not related to their service but was receiving or entitled to receive VA compensation for a service-related disability. This service-related disability must be rated as totally disabling for at least 10 years prior to death. Mesothelioma is considered totally disabling by the VA.
VA DIC Compensation
Surviving spouses, child(ren), or parent(s) who are approved for VA DIC will receive a monthly, tax-free payment from VA each month. If the veteran’s death was after January 1st, 1993, the VA DIC pays out a basic monthly rate of $1,319 for enlisted pay grades with additional allowances based on certain conditions.
Those conditions are:
- If at the time of the veteran’s death, they were receiving or entitled to receive compensation for a disability related to their service that was totally disabling for a continuous period of 8 years preceding their death, an additional $280 will be added to the monthly allowance. A spouse must have been married to the veteran for the entirety of those 8 years.
- Each dependent child under the age of 18 adds an additional $327 to the monthly allowance.
- If the surviving spouse is eligible for Aid & Attendance, $327 is added to the monthly allowance.
- If the surviving spouse is eligible for housebound benefits, $153 is added to the monthly allowance.
- If the surviving spouse has one or more children under the age of 18, the 2-year transitional benefit of $282 per month is added.
Spouses of veterans who were already approved for VA Disability Compensation for mesothelioma need only apply for VA DIC and submit a death certificate showing that the veteran passed away from mesothelioma.
Spouses of veterans who never applied for VA Disability Compensation for a mesothelioma diagnosis will need to submit evidence regarding the veteran’s exposure to asbestos while in the military to get approved for VA DIC.
Apply for VA DIC and other VA Benefits
To apply for VA DIC, fill out an application for benefits. Depending upon several factors, the process may vary.
If you are the surviving spouse or child of a veteran, fill out an application for VA DIC, Death Pension, and/or Accrued Benefits. If you are a surviving parent, fill out an application for Parents’ Dependency and Indemnity Compensation.
You may instead wish to work with a VA-accredited claims agent who can help you understand and apply for your benefits.
If your loved one has passed away after battling mesothelioma, contact one of our VA-accredited claim agents today. We can help you file for VA benefits, including VA DIC.