If you pass away while receiving VA disability benefits, your spouse may continue to collect benefits on your behalf under certain circumstances. The VA offers a number of benefits for spouses of disabled veterans, including monthly compensation, employment services, housing assistance, memorial benefits, and money for education and training.
If you passed away in the line of duty or from an injury or illness sustained during your service, your spouse can continue to receive many of these benefits after you die.
A VA disability lawyer can work with you and your spouse to help prepare for what happens in the event that you pass away. An attorney can help your spouse receive every benefit for which they are eligible. To receive a free, no-risk VA disability consultation with a lawyer from the Law Offices of Ogle, Elrod & Baril, PLLC, call 866-628-8179.
Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (DIC)
Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (DIC) is a VA program providing benefits to surviving spouses and dependent children of military veterans. Under this program, your wife and children can continue to receive VA disability compensation even after you pass away. If you have elderly parents who are dependent on you financially, they may also be eligible for DIC benefits.
For your spouse to qualify for DIC, they must have cohabitated with you continuously until your death. If you were legally separated, they must be able to show that the separation was not their fault. They also must not be remarried.
In addition, at least one of the following must be true:
- You died during active duty, active duty training, or inactive duty training.
- You and your spouse got married before January 1, 1957.
- You and your spouse got married within 15 years of your discharge date from the period of military service in which you suffered the illness or injury that led to your death.
- You and your spouse were married for at least one year;
- You and your spouse had a child together.
Even if your spouse meets the eligibility requirements for DIC, they can receive it only if you passed away under certain circumstances:
- During active duty, active duty training, or inactive duty training, OR
- From an injury or illness that arose from a specific event during your military service, OR
- From a non-service-connected injury or illness, but you were receiving or eligible to receive permanent and total disability at an impairment rating of 100% for at least 10 years before your death, since your release from active duty and for at least five years before your death, or for at least one year before your death if you were a former prisoner of war and died after September 30, 1999.
Your VA disability attorney can go over your military service records with you and let you know if your spouse can expect to receive DIC benefits after you pass away.
Other Benefits Available to Surviving Spouses of Disabled Veterans
On top of compensation from DIC, your spouse may be eligible for several other benefits available to survivors.
Your surviving spouse may qualify for a number of VA healthcare programs, including the Civilian Health and Medical Program, Children of Women Vietnam Veterans, Foreign Medical Program, and Caregivers.
These programs can reduce or eliminate what your spouse pays for many healthcare services, including doctor visits and prescription drugs. Your attorney can let you know which of these programs your spouse may qualify for.
Education and Training Benefits
The VA provides education and training benefits to spouses of disabled veterans and military members who lost their lives from injuries sustained during their service.
These benefits can go toward the cost of tuition, books, supplies, housing, and other educational expenses, and can be used toward a college degree or non-traditional degree. Your attorney can help you and your spouse identify educational benefits for which they may qualify.
Your spouse may be eligible to receive a final resting place in a VA cemetery, along with their name and date of birth and death inscribed on their headstone. In some cases, surviving spouses may receive this benefit even if the service member is not buried in a VA cemetery.
If you are concerned or have questions about the VA benefits your spouse may receive if you pass away, it is worth your time to sit down with a VA disability lawyer to review your situation.
Call 866-628-8179 Today for a Free VA Disability Consultation With the Law Offices of Ogle, Elrod & Baril, PLLC
The VA disability attorneys at the Law Offices of Ogle, Elrod & Baril, PLLC, help veterans and their families collect the benefits they deserve. If you have questions or concerns about your benefits, we want to hear from you. For a free consultation, call us at 866-628-8179.