Dependency and indemnity compensation (DIC) is a benefit provided by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). When a veteran dies of a service-connected asbestos disease, their dependents can file a VA claim to receive DIC. The basic monthly rate is $1,283.11.
The VA pays the tax-free financial benefit every month. The benefit is increased for surviving spouses eligible for Aid & Attendance or Housebound benefits. Surviving spouses with children under 18 also receive increased benefits.
All U.S. veterans discharged “under conditions other than dishonorable” have a right to survivor benefits for their dependents.
Military asbestos exposure causes many veterans to develop mesothelioma or lung cancer after retirement. The VA considers these cancers 100-percent disabling.
Veterans with asbestos-related cancer are entitled to VA disability benefits if they prove their asbestos exposure happened primarily during their military service. The same standard applies to family members applying for dependency and indemnity compensation.
Filing a DIC claim is relatively straightforward if the veteran was already receiving VA disability compensation for the asbestos disease that killed them. Otherwise, the surviving spouse must include documentation of the diagnosis and evidence linking it primarily to military asbestos exposure.
The DIC claim documents must prove that at least 50 percent of the asbestos exposure occurred during the veteran’s military service. Without evidence of this, the VA will assume the asbestos-related illness was caused by exposure that happened during the veteran’s civilian life.
If the veteran already had an asbestos disability claim approved, it should not be necessary to submit proof of military asbestos exposure again.
VA claim paperwork is complex, and proving military asbestos exposure after a veteran dies can be especially challenging. Working with an accredited claims agent familiar with asbestos-related diseases can make the process of filing a VA claim easier.
Surviving family members can explore other options for receiving compensation as well. The family may be able to file a wrongful death lawsuit against the company that supplied the asbestos-containing products.
Danielle DiPietro is a VA-accredited Claims Agent for The Mesothelioma Center and Asbestos.com and has served as a Patient Advocate since 2012. She understands the medical and financial needs of military veterans because her own grandfathers served in the U.S. Army. Danielle helps veterans diagnosed with mesothelioma and their loved ones file for VA benefits. Read More