Death Benefits | David W. Magann

Death Benefits

When a veteran becomes deceased, the Veterans Administration will provide death benefits to qualifying family members such as surviving spouses and children.

Known as Dependency and Indemnity Compensation, or DIC for short, these benefits require evidence showing that the veteran’s death was somehow connected to an in-service event.

The Veterans Administration also allows DIC benefits to be paid to family members of a veteran:

  • Whose death resulted from a non-service-related injury or disease, and who 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 much can they pay?

A monthly benefit, a DIC provides a basic rate of $1,154 for an eligible surviving spouse. The rate is increased for each dependent child, and also if the surviving spouse is housebound or in need of aid and attendance.

The VA also adds a transitional benefit of $286 to the surviving spouse’s monthly DIC if there are children under age 18. The amount is based on a family unit, not individual children.

Claimants should complete VA Form 21-534 Application for Dependency and Indemnity Compensation, Death Pension and Accrued Benefits by a Surviving Spouse or Child.