Presented by: Bradford & Holliman, Estate Planning
This month we recognize and thank veterans for their service, but let’s also recognize the sacrifice of deceased veterans’ families. There are whole families behind the ones in uniform who continue to “serve” through their loss of a family member.
An often-overlooked VA benefit is called “D.I.C” or “Dependency and Indemnity Compensation.” D.I.C. claims may be awarded to widows, parents, unmarried children under the age of 18, disabled children, and certain school-aged children between 18 and 23 for servicemembers who:
- Died from an injury or illness while on active duty or in the line of duty while on active duty for training; or
- Died from an injury or certain illnesses in the line of duty while on inactive training; or
- Died from a service-connected illness or injury.
A surviving spouse is eligible for a basic monthly benefit of $1,319.04 during 2019.The monthly benefit may be increased depending on factors such as:
- The number of dependent children
- If any children are disabled
- The rank of the servicemember
- The number of years the servicemember was disabled
- Whether the surviving spouse is entitled to other benefits, such as Aid & Attendance.
Surviving parents of a servicemember may be entitled to benefits if:
- The parent is the biological, adoptive, or foster parent of the servicemember; and
- The parent’s income is below a certain threshold (see the DIC Table)
These benefits may be applied for with the VA without the need for any representation. Forms are available here. Attorneys assisting with VA benefits must be accredited with the VA in order to represent a client before the VA. In our experience as VA accredited attorneys, individuals needing assistance are likely surviving spouses or parents who are trying to prove the servicemember died from a service-connected injury or illness. We look at the big picture of benefits and estates to make our recommendations. The whole team at Bradford & Holliman offer our sympathies for the losses of veterans’ families and our gratitude for your family member’s service and sacrifice in protecting America.
-Melanie B. Holliman, JD
Partner, Bradford & Holliman Estate Planning,
Trusts & Special Needs
No representation is made that the quality of the legal service to be performed is greater than the quality of service performed by other lawyers.