As Americans we owe an enormous debt to our military heroes who have lost their lives serving our country. Although nothing can ever replace a loved one, there is financial compensation to support surviving family members. If you are the survivor of a military service member who died in the line of duty or whose death was caused by a service-related injury or disease, then you may be eligible for tax-free monthly benefits from the VA. Called Dependency and Indemnity Compensation, or D-I-C, this compensation is not based on income and is paid as a tax-free monthly benefit. Both spouses and children may qualify for DIC benefits.

As you can expect the VA has specific criteria you must meet to be eligible. To qualify as a spouse you must have been married to a military service member who died on while on active duty. You must have been married before January 1, 1957 or married the veteran within 15 years of discharge from the period of service during which the service-connected disability or disease occurred or was made worse. You must have been married to the veteran for at least a year or had a child with the veteran and lived with them until their death. In all cases, the spouse must not be remarried, unless they are over the age of 57 and were remarried on or after December 16, 2003.

Surviving children can also be awarded DIC benefits if they are under the age of 18 or under the age of 23 if they are going to school. They must be unmarried and not factored in another spouse or parent’s DIC. Children with a disability who cannot live independently may also qualify for DIC benefits.

Natural, adoptive or foster parents of veterans who died as the result of a service-related injury or disease may be eligible to receive a tax-free monthly benefit if their income is below a certain level.

Like all things concerning the government, there are rules and limitations which apply.  There is specific evidence you must submit and forms you have to complete to win benefits. It can get complicated, but we can help you navigate the path to benefits. Call us to schedule a free appointment to discuss your case. At Cuddigan Law you have a dedicated team of professionals in your corner who understand the system and who will fight for your rights.



Sean D. Cuddigan
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SSA and VA Disability Attorney in Omaha, Nebraska