Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (DIC) is a tax-free monetary benefit paid to eligible survivors of military Service members who died in the line of duty or eligible survivors of Veterans whose death resulted from a service-related injury or disease.
(This information was obtained and modified from the VA.gov DIC page.)
Eligibility (Surviving Spouse)
To qualify for DIC, a surviving spouse must meet the requirements below.
- The surviving spouse was one of the following:
- Married to a Service member who died on active duty, active duty for training, or inactive duty training, OR
- Validly married the Veteran before January 1, 1957, OR
- Married the Veteran within 15 years of discharge from the period of military service in which the disease or injury that caused the Veteran’s death began or was aggravated, OR
- Was married to the Veteran for at least one year, OR
- Had a child with the Veteran.
- The surviving spouse also must meet both of the following:
- Cohabited with the Veteran continuously until the Veteran’s death or, if separated, was not at fault for the separation, AND
- Is not currently remarried*
*Note: A surviving spouse who remarries on or after December 16, 2003, and on or after attaining age 57, is entitled to continue to receive DIC.
Eligibility (Surviving Child)
To qualify for DIC, a surviving child must meet all of the following criteria:
- Not included on the surviving spouse’s DIC, AND
- Unmarried, AND
- Under age 18, or between the ages of 18 and 23 and attending school.
Note: A child adopted out of the Veteran’s family may be eligible for DIC if all other eligibility criteria are met.
Listed below are the evidence requirements for this benefit:
- The Service member died while on active duty, active duty for training, or inactive duty training, OR
- The Veteran died from an injury or disease deemed to be related to military service, OR
- The Veteran died from a non-service-related injury or disease, but was receiving, OR was entitled to receive, VA Compensation for service-connected disability that was rated as totally disabling:
- For at least 10 years immediately before death, OR
- Since the Veteran’s release from active duty and for at least five years immediately preceding death, OR
- For at least one year before death if the Veteran was a former prisoner of war who died after September 30, 1999
How to Apply
- Complete VA Form 21P-534ez, “Application for Dependency and Indemnity Compensation, Death Pension and/or Accrued Benefits by a Surviving Spouse or Child and mail to the Pension Management Center that serves your state, OR
- Work with an accredited representative or agent. (In Massachusetts, this includes your local Veterans Service Officer find yours here.) OR
- Go to a VA regional office and have a VA employee assist you. You can find your regional office on our Facility Locator page OR
- If the death was in service, your Military Casualty Assistance Officer will assist you in completing VA Form 21P-534a, ” Application for Dependency and Indemnity Compensation, Death Pension and/or Accrued Benefits by a Surviving Spouse or Child” and mail to the Philadelphia Regional Office
For more information on how to apply and for tips on making sure your claim is ready to be processed by VA, visit the How to Apply page on the VA.gov site.