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Dependency, indemnity compensation

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By Bob Kibler

    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.

Eligibility (Surviving Spouse)
    To qualify for DIC, a surviving spouse must meet the requirements below.
    The surviving spouse was:
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, AND
    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)
    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.
Evidence Required
    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 21-534, “Application for Dependency and Indemnity Compensation, Death Pension and Accrued Benefits by a Surviving Spouse or Child and mail to your regional office, OR
    Work with an accredited representative or agent
    Source for this article is www.benefits.va.gov/compensation.
    For more information contact VA at (800) 827-1000 or the Service Officer for American Legion Post 16 at (434) 401-7335 for assistance. The office, located in American Legion Post 16 home at 1301 Greenview Drive, Lynchburg, is open for walk-ins 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Tuesdays and by appointment (10 a.m. to 3 p.m.) on Thursdays.