Unfortunately, your spouse cannot receive your VA disability compensation after you die. However, they may get a monthly allowance if they qualify for Dependency and Indemnity Compensation. If you lived in government housing, VA might also allow them to stay in residence for up to a year. The alternative is receiving a basic housing allowance for one year when residing in a private property.
What Does Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (DIC) Mean?
DIC is a tax-free benefit paid to the spouse, parent, or child of a veteran who died due to a service-related disability. This compensation is also available to dependents of service members who pass away during training or active duty.
The DIC amount your spouse qualifies to receive will vary since Congress changes the rates based on cost-of-living adjustments. The 2022 monthly compensation for spouses of deceased veterans is $1,437.66.
Other Benefits Available to Spouses of Deceased Service Members
Apart from the standard monthly allowance, your spouse can receive other funds based on various factors. For instance, they will get a house-bound allowance each month if they have a disability that prevents them from leaving the house. In addition, if their disability requires help with everyday activities like bathing, they may receive additional money to pay for aid and attendance.
Other monthly benefits your spouse may receive include:
- An eight-year provision of $305.27 per month
- A two-year transitional benefit of $306.05 for each child younger than 18 years
- A DIC apportionment rate of $356.16 for each eligible child
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Can Your Spouse Claim Your VA Pension If You Die?
Your spouse might get a VA pension if you die having a disability caused by military service. However, they must meet specific eligibility criteria provided by Congress. These mainly consider your income level and net worth. If your spouse meets the requirements, they could claim the pension if they have not remarried.
When applying for survivors pension benefits, your partner can work with an accredited representative. They may also send their application to VA online or via mail. Once the Department of Veterans Affairs analyzes the documents, it provides feedback indicating if the spouse qualifies. It will also mention when to expect the payment.
Another way your spouse can request your pension is by submitting an intent to file a VA claim. This step will give your spouse enough time to collect the needed evidence. Additionally, it increases the chances of getting retroactive payments.
What Happens to DIC if a Spouse Remarries?
When your spouse remarries, VA will stop sending DIC payments. Still, they could continue receiving this benefit in some situations. For example, VA may restore the benefits if the other marriage ends due to death or divorce. However, your spouse must wait until the court or other authorities dissolve the union.
Another factor allowing spouses to retain VA benefits is remarrying after age 57. In such a case, your partner will get monthly compensation whether they stay in the marriage or divorce.
If your spouse remarries before age 57, VA withdraws the DIC benefits. They will also not get compensation after exceeding this age.
Can Your Spouse Get Compensation if a VA-Related Disability Did Not Cause Death?
If you die due to an injury or condition unrelated to your military service, your spouse could get compensation. However, you must have met various eligibility criteria set by VA before your death.
If your health problems were service-related, but you did not file a claim before passing, your partner could receive compensation. Still, they need to apply for a service connection from VA. This process will involve providing medical records showing your death resulted from the mentioned condition. In addition, the documents must link your health issues to military activity.
Once VA accepts the claim, your spouse will start receiving DIC. However, they will not get retroactive benefits from your disability before death.
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Can My Spouse Get Compensation Based on Presumptive Conditions?
Sometimes, VA can assign a disability rating due to a presumed condition. For example, if you have a health issue triggered by exposure to Agent Orange, VA may accept your claim and provide benefits based on your rating.
If your health condition worsens, leading to death, your spouse can claim compensation from VA. However, you must meet specific requirements, like being in active service when the military used such chemicals.
Contact a Disability Lawyer for More Details About the VA Benefits Your Spouse Can Receive
VA’s eligibility criteria for spouses’ benefits after a veteran’s death can be complicated. A disability attorney will identify if your partner will qualify for compensation after your death. They can also help you pursue a higher disability rating to secure your family’s future. Call today for a free consultation.