01. What Is VA DIC?
What Is VA Dependency and Indemnity Compensation?
Veterans Dependency and Indemnity Compensation is a monetary benefit for veteran families. It is offered to survivors of veterans through the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). This form of compensation is for those who have lost a loved one from a service-related injury or illness.
Family members may be eligible for VA DIC if a loved one died from an asbestos illness related to their time serving our country. Mesothelioma is considered a service-related disease when veterans develop the cancer from exposure in the military.
To seek DIC, loved ones must first file a VA claim. VA claims have different venues for compensation awards, one of which is DIC.
02. VA DIC Eligibility
Who Qualifies for VA DIC?
VA DIC claimants must be a parent, spouse or child of a deceased veteran. The veteran must have also either died in the line of duty or died from a service-related injury/illness.
Mesothelioma, asbestosis and lung cancer may be considered service-related diseases. This is the case for asbestos victims exposed during their time in the military.
There are additional conditions family members must meet to be eligible for this form of compensation.
For example, eligible children must be under 18 and unmarried. Children must also not be receiving support from a surviving spouse’s compensation to be eligible. There are also restrictions around the time and duration of marriage, and parental relationship with the military veteran.
VA DIC for Mesothelioma
Mesothelioma may constitute a service-related illness, allowing families to qualify for VA DIC. Mesothelioma victims must have a diagnosis related to asbestos exposure during their military service. Common exposures across military branches include:
- Navy: Asbestos was prevalent on ships and at naval shipyards.
- Army: Asbestos was used at military bases and in military vehicles.
- Air Force: Asbestos was used on Air Force bases and within mechanical equipment.
- Marine Corps: Asbestos was prevalent aboard ships, aircraft, vehicles and in various mechanical applications.
- Coast Guard: Asbestos was used on ships and coast guard equipment.
Members of the armed forces were often exposed when asbestos products were disturbed from damage, wear and tear or when undergoing repairs and maintenance.
Other asbestos-related diseases resulting from exposure in the military may include asbestosis and lung cancer. Family members of veterans who developed one of these illnesses may also be eligible for compensation.
Surviving family members of veterans who had an asbestos disease should talk with a mesothelioma attorney. An experienced lawyer can offer legal help to family members of veterans. They can navigate eligibility requirements and the types of compensation available.
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03. Benefits of VA DIC
Benefits of Dependency and Indemnity Compensation
VA DIC can help families with outstanding medical bills and loss of income. Mesothelioma treatment can be costly. Filing a VA claim may help families recover compensation to mitigate these fees. VA DIC rates can vary based on several factors, such as who is filing.
VA DIC Benefits Amount
Surviving spouses may receive $1,357.56 a month.
Surviving children may receive $573.20 a month.
Surviving parents’ benefits may vary greatly based on current income and other factors.
Additional amounts can be added for certain circumstances. The VA website provides updated information on benefit rates.
Are VA DIC Benefits Taxable?
VA DIC is a tax-exempt monthly payment.
It is not considered taxable income and claimants will not have to pay taxes on their monthly compensation payments.
For help understanding DIC payments, recipients can seek help from an accredited VA representative.
04. How to Apply for DIC
How to Apply for VA Dependency and Indemnity Compensation
To apply for VA DIC, individuals must first file a VA claim. The claim-filing process differs based on the claimant’s relationship to the veteran. The VA’s DIC page provides forms to download, complete and submit the appropriate documentation. A VA-accredited claims agent can also help individuals submit a successful claim.
VA DIC applications can be completed by:
- Mailing the appropriate form to your state’s Pension Management Center (PMC)
- Working with an accredited representative
- Visiting a VA regional office and receiving help from a VA employee
Claimants may need to collect certain documentation to support their claim. This may include medical records proving an asbestos diagnosis, discharge papers, source of asbestos exposure and more. Requirements will differ based on the person filing (spouse, child, parent).
For claims specific to asbestos-related illnesses, a mesothelioma attorney can also offer help. If ineligible for a VA claim, surviving loved ones of a veteran with mesothelioma may be eligible for other types of compensation. An experienced law firm can explain all options and help with the filing process.
05. Other VA Benefits
Other Benefits for Veterans and Their Families
The VA offers several other veterans benefits, including other types of compensation and health care.
Veterans and loved ones may also seek other forms of compensation, including:
- VA Disability Compensation: Veterans with a service-related disability may be eligible for this tax-free benefit. Service members are given a disability rating on a scale of 0 – 100% (mesothelioma is considered 100% disabling) to determine payouts.
- Special Monthly Compensation (SMC): Veterans or surviving family members may be eligible for this tax-free monthly benefit. It is often called “aid and attendance.” SMC provides additional support to veterans with special circumstances (such as the loss of an arm or leg).
- Claims Based on Special Circumstances: The VA offers other types of disability compensation for veterans through various special compensation programs.
- VA Survivors Pension Benefits: Surviving spouses and unmarried dependent children of veterans may be eligible for VA Survivors Pension. This is a monthly payment for those who meet certain income and net worth limitations.
Asbestos victims can also pursue legal options outside of the VA for financial help. This includes asbestos trust funds, settlements and mesothelioma lawsuits. Mesothelioma attorneys can help victims navigate options specific to asbestos victims.
In addition to compensation, family members may also be eligible for other VA benefits, including help with:
- Health care through government programs (such as through CHAMPVA and the Veterans Community Care Program)
- Paying for education or training
- Educational or career counseling
- Home loan programs or financial counseling
- Life insurance coverage, claims and beneficiaries
- VA national cemetery burials
- Burial benefits and memorial items
The VA provides a list of resources for surviving loved ones. VA agents can also help navigate options available to those who have lost a loved one after their time in the military.