Published on: February 13, 2023
If you are a service member, you may be wondering if your spouse will receive your VA disability benefits in the unfortunate circumstance of being killed in action or passing away due to a service-related injury. If a service member passes away in such an eventuality, their spouse may be eligible for Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (DIC). One of these benefits is VA disability compensation. However, a veteran may be receiving VA disability benefits at the time of his death. Therefore, one may ponder if the veteran's wife will continue to receive VA Disability benefits after the veteran's death.
The answer to this question depends on the status of the veteran and his surviving wife. VA disability benefits will accrue to the surviving wife only if she is designated as the primary caregiver. In any other case, benefit payments under the program will stop after the death of the veteran. Therefore, you should talk to a VA representative to clearly understand your situation.
VA Disability Explained.
The program provides for monthly payments, healthcare services, and other such benefits to disabled service veterans. Eligibility for VA disability benefits is based on any injury or illness suffered during military service.
You must suffer from a qualifying disability to fulfill the eligibility criteria for VA disability benefits. The program describes disability as an injury or illness that causes the loss of one or more of your limbs or leaves you unable to work. Moreover, it is also necessary that the military had not discharged you because of dishonorable causes.
If you want to apply for VA disability benefits, experienced VA disability benefits advocate at the Disability Experts of Florida may help you understand the application process and other technicalities.
What is DIC?
Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (DIC) is a monthly benefit payment program. It covers the surviving spouse and children of a serviceman who died in course of their military duties. This program is administered by the Department of Veteran Affairs (VA) and the monthly payments vary as per the veteran's age and the number of dependents.
Qualifying for Dependency and Indemnity Compensation requires you to meet specific eligibility requirements, including being the lawful spouse of a serviceman who died in service, being unmarried and under 18 years of age, or attending a full-time school in the age group of 18 to 23 years. Additionally, the claimant must establish that he or she was dependent on the veteran at the time of his death.
How Is “Veteran’s Surviving Spouse” Defined?
For the DIC program, a surviving spouse is defined as someone who was lawfully married to the deceased veteran at the time of his death. Their marriage must also last at least one year to meet the given definition.
The term is given a narrow connotation. Yet, in some cases, a person may be considered a surviving spouse despite not being lawfully married to the deceased veteran. To give an example, if a veteran has a child with a person not being his living spouse, then such a person may be considered an eligible surviving spouse.
VA Benefits For Couples Of The Same Gender
VA disability benefits are provided to a veteran's surviving spouse and children. However, there may be a situation where the deceased veteran gets married to a person belonging to the same gender. In such a situation, the question may arise whether a couple of the same gender can be categorized as a "surviving spouse".
The VA has not laid down any specific regulations as far as survivor benefits to married couples of the same gender are concerned. However, there is a catena of federal court rulings stating that VA must provide VA disability benefits to a survivor of the same gender.
The VA is yet to formally clarify the issue of benefits to a surviving spouse of the same gender. However, it is likely that such benefits would soon be doled out to such couples.
What Are the Eligibility Criteria For DIC?
To avail of Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (DIC) benefit payments from the VA, it must be established that at the time of the veteran's death, he suffered from an injury or illness related to his service. Additionally, the factum of marriage between the veteran and the claimant must also be established by the claimant.
Contact An Experienced VA Disability Benefits Advocate At The Disability Experts Of Florida
At Disability Experts of Florida, we are committed to helping military servicemen, veterans, and their families. If you have unfortunately lost a loved one due to a service-related illness or injury, you must speak with experienced VA disability benefits at our office. Contact Disability Experts of Florida today for a free consultation and claim review.