What Are the DIC Rates and Eligibility?
The VA increases DIC rates every December to ensure they provide adequate compensation to surviving dependents of veterans. The current rate was updated on Dec. 1, 2020, and the rate will remain in effect for a full year.
The VA pays the tax-free financial benefit every month. The benefit is increased for surviving spouses eligible for VA Aid and Attendance or Housebound benefits. Surviving spouses with children under age 18 also receive increased benefits.
Current DIC rates include $1,357.56 a month for surviving spouses, with additional monthly compensation available for certain circumstances:
- $336.32 for each child under 18
- $289 a month as a transitional benefit for the first two years if you have dependent children
- $288.27 a month if the veteran had a totally disabling rating for eight years leading up to their death
- $336.32 a month if you have a disability and need help with daily activities (Aid and Attendance)
- $157.55 a month if you can’t leave your house because of a disability (Housebound)
To get the full DIC benefits, reach out to an accredited VA claims agent who can help ensure access to the full amount of compensation you are entitled to receive.
All U.S. veterans discharged “under conditions other than dishonorable” have a right to survivor benefits for their dependents.
Who Can File a Mesothelioma DIC Claim?
- Surviving spouses
- Unmarried children under 18
- Unmarried children under 23 and attending school
- Children with disabilities
Military asbestos exposure causes many veterans to develop mesothelioma or lung cancer after retirement. The VA considers these cancers 100% 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.
How to File an Asbestos DIC Claim
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.
- Document the Diagnosis
The DIC claim must include medical records of the veteran’s diagnosis and treatment. The VA will also need to see a medical nexus letter from a doctor. This letter explains how the veteran’s illness was caused by asbestos exposure.
- Document the Asbestos Exposure
The DIC claim must include the veteran’s discharge paperwork to verify their military service. The claimant must also submit an asbestos exposure summary. This letter explains how the veteran was exposed to asbestos while they were on active duty.
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.
Help with Dependency and Indemnity Compensation Claims
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.
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