There are a number of different types of benefits VA provides to Veterans, as well as to eligible dependents of Veterans that meet specific criteria. The most common VA benefits are disability benefits, which are what most Veterans are seeking and include all service-connected disabilities that a Veteran may have. Further, a Veteran that receives over a 30% overall rating with VA can have eligible dependents added to their monthly benefits. One type of benefit that is not as well known, but is extremely important for surviving dependents is Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (DIC).
DIC benefits are monthly benefits awarded for eligible dependents, typically a surviving spouse and in some cases a surviving child, if a Veteran’s cause of death was service connected. For example, if a Veteran receives benefits for cancer, Parkinson’s disease, or another disease that results in death then the Veteran’s surviving spouse can apply for DIC benefits based on the cause of death being service connected. This is the most common form of DIC, but we recently had a case in which a more uncommon form was granted. It is important to know that if a Veteran was rated at 100% overall or was given individual unemployability benefits with an effective date more than ten years prior to the Veteran’s death then the cause of death is presumed to be service connected regardless of the actual cause of death. In this case a Veteran passed away due to complications from COVID, a non-service-connected disorder, but received a decision granting him individual unemployability benefits for greater than ten years prior to his passing. In this case, the Veteran’s wife is now entitled to DIC benefits based on the individual unemployability grant despite his cause of death not being service connected. This is something all Veterans and their families should be aware of as it could provide them an alternative route to benefits even after the Veteran has passed away.
If you have any questions about VA benefits, the qualified Veterans’ Disability attorneys at Gardberg and Kemmerly want to help in any way possible. Please call our office and speak with one of our qualified Veterans’ Disability attorneys. Gardberg and Kemmerly is committed to helping injured and disabled Veterans obtain the benefits they deserve. If you need help with a disability claim, call our office at 251-343-1111 or 1-800-332-1529 for a free consultation. Gardberg and Kemmerly is proud to serve Veterans across the country from our home office in Mobile, Alabama. We would love an opportunity to discuss your claim.