There are a number of benefits available to surviving spouses, children, and parents of deceased veterans.

Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (DIC):

DIC is a monthly benefit payable to eligible survivors of;

  • a service member who died on active duty, active duty for training, or inactive duty training, or
  • a veteran who died as the result of a service-connected disability, or
  • a veteran who was receiving (or entitled to receive) VA disability compensation at the 100% rate for at least 10 continuous years immediately before death (including 100% evaluations due Individual Unemployability (IU) as well), or since the veteran's discharge from active duty and for at least 5 years immediately preceding death, or for at least one year before death if the veteran was a former POW who died after September 30, 1999.

The surviving spouse is eligible if they validly married the veteran before January 1, 1957, or was married to a service member who died on active duty, active duty for training, or inactive duty for training, or married to the veteran within 15 years of separation from the period of service in which the injury or disease that caused the veteran's death began, or was married to the veteran for a minimum of one year, or had a child with the veteran, AND cohabited with the veteran continuously until the veteran's death, and is not currently remarried (a surviving spouse who remarries on or after December 16, 2003, and attained the age of 57, is entitled to continue to receive DIC).


Surviving children may be eligible for DIC if they were not included on the surviving spouse's DIC, unmarried, and under the age of 18, or between 18 and 23 and attending school.

Currently (2022) the rate for DIC is $1,437.66 monthly for an eligible surviving spouse. The rate increases for every qualifying dependent child and if the spouse is housebound or in the need of aid and attendance. The VA also adds a transitional benefit of $301.00 to the monthly DIC if there are children under the age of 18, which is based on a family unit and not on individual children.


Also if the veteran passed away on or after Janaury 1, 1993, and was in receipt, or entitled to receive, of the 100% evaluation (including 100% IU evaluations) for a continuous period of at least eight years immediately preceding death and the surviving spouse was married to the veteran for those same eight years, then the surviving spouse is also eligible for an additional monthly allowance of $301.00 (2022) as well under 38 U.S.C. § 1311(a)(2).


Note 1: The service-connected disability does not have to be granted before the veteran's passing. Service-connection can also be awarded after the veteran's death as well.


Note 2: A claim for DIC also acts as a claim for Substitution as well!.


Note 3: If the veteran passed away on or after 12/16/2016, the VA will also infer a claim for burial benefits once a claim for DIC is also received. If it is deemed that the veteran passed away of a service-connected disability, then generally VA will also award the one-time "service-connected" burial payment of $2,000.00 as well.


If you believe you have all of the needed evidence up front to attach to the claim, then you should fill out the VAF 21P-534ez rather than the 21P-534.

VAF 21P-534
PDF-Dokument [1.9 MB]
VAF 21P-534ez
PDF-Dokument [2.4 MB]

If DIC is granted, then the Surviving spouse may also be eligible for VA's Civilian Health Care Program known as CHAMPVA as a second payer health insurance.

Parents' Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (DIC):

Parents' DIC is an income based monthly benefit for parents of a service member or veteran who died from a disease or injury incurred while on active duty, active duty for training, or an injury incurred in the line of duty, or certain diseases while on inactive duty training, or a service-connected disability.

VAF 21P-535
PDF-Dokument [2.8 MB]

Survivor's Pension:

The Survivor pension benefit is a needs based benefit payable to a surviving spouse of a deceased veteran who had wartime service. Basic eligibility criteria exists when;

  • the deceased veteran was discharged from military service under other than dishonorable conditions, and
  • they served at least 90 days or more of active duty with at least one day during a period of war, and
  • you are a surviving spouse or unmarried child of the deceased veteran, and
  • Your yearly family income and net worth meet certain limits set by Congress. Your net worth equals the value of everything you own (except your house, your car, and most home furnishings), minus any debt you owe.

To file for the survivor's pension, simply fill out either the above VAF 21-534 or 21-534ez and submit it to VA with all of your supporting documets.

Claim for substitution:

If the veteran had a claim or an appeal pending at the time of his or her passing, an eligible claimant (the surviving spouse of child) can 'substitute' themselves for the deceased veteran and continue the claim or appeal in their place. To do so the claimant must submit the VAF 21P-0847 claim within one year of the death of the veteran.

VAF 21P-0847
PDF-Dokument [1.3 MB]

For additional information regarding accrued benefits and Substitution claims, see the below "fact sheet" from VA;

Fact sheet
PDF-Dokument [213.4 KB]

If you're a surviving spouse, child, or parent of a deceased service member or veteran, you may be eligible for some of these benefits. Either Contact me for more information or you can fillout the appropriate form above and submit it VA.

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U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs claims assistance for veterans worldwide. Accredited VA claims Agent pursuant 38 C.F.R. §14.629