VA program compensates the survivors of veterans

A Veterans Administration program is designed to compensate survivors of a veteran who dies while serving or from a service-connected disability.

Dependency and Indemnity Compensation payments may be available for: surviving spouses who have not remarried; surviving spouses who remarry after attaining age 57; unmarried children younger than 18; helpless children; children between 18 and 23 if attending a VA-approved school; and low-income parents of deceased service members who died in the active military, naval or air service.

To receive DIC, an individual must be an eligible survivor of a veteran who:

Died from a disease or injury incurred or aggravated while on active duty or active duty for training, or an injury incurred or aggravated in the line of duty while on inactive duty for training.

Is rated totally disabled for a service-connected disability eligible for compensation by the VA.

The death cannot be a result of a veteran’s willful misconduct.

DIC also may be authorized for survivors of veterans whose service-connected disabilities did not cause their deaths. A survivor may qualify if the veteran was continuously rated totally disabled for a service-connected disability for a period of 10 years or more immediately preceding death or a period of five years or more from the date of military discharge immediately preceding death.

A survivor also may qualify if the veteran was a former prisoner of war who died after Sept. 30, 1999, and was rated totally disabled by the VA for a period of one year immediately preceding death.

Additional benefits are available under this program for each dependant child younger than 18 and to the surviving spouse if she is housebound or requires the aide and attendance of another person in daily activities of life.

Richard Schleeter is the veterans service officer for the La Plata County Veterans Service Office. He can be reached at 759-0117 or