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VA Dependency and Indemnity Compensation for Mesothelioma

The loss of a spouse or parent to mesothelioma is tragic, and it can create unexpected challenges for the family members left behind. If your loved one died or was fully disabled from service-related mesothelioma, you may qualify for tax-free VA Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (VA DIC). Learn more about who qualifies for VA DIC, monthly compensation rates for 2024, and how we can help you file a VA DIC claim.

Legally reviewed by: Brian J. Cooke

Last updated:

What Is VA Dependency and Indemnity Compensation?

VA Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (DIC) is a type of financial benefit paid out by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to surviving loved ones of veterans who passed away from a service-connected disability.

Veterans with service-related mesothelioma almost always receive a 100% disability rating from the VA.

If your spouse or parent was a veteran and died from mesothelioma cancer, you may be entitled to VA DIC benefits.

VA DIC can be used to help pay for:

  • Food
  • Funeral and burial expenses
  • Housing
  • Medical care
  • Transportation
  • And more

Learn how our team can help you or a loved one file for VA benefits by downloading our Free Veterans Compensation Guide.

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Who Qualifies for Mesothelioma VA DIC?

Surviving spouses and dependent children of veterans who passed away from service-related mesothelioma may qualify for VA DIC.

To receive VA DIC, you must be able to prove at least one of the following is true:

  • The service member passed away while on active duty, active duty for training, or inactive-duty training.
    OR
  • The service member died due to a service-related injury or illness.
    OR
  • If the service member did not die because of a service-related injury or illness, they were eligible for VA compensation due to a service-related disability that was rated “totally disabling.”

A “totally disabling” injury is defined as one that prevents the veteran from being able to work.

If the service member was eligible for VA compensation because of a “totally disabling” service-related injury or illness, they must have had this rating:

  • For at least 10 years before their death
    OR
  • For at least 5 years before their death and after their release from active duty
    OR
  • For at least 1 year before their death (if they were a former prisoner of war who died after September 30, 1999)

Surviving spouses and children must also meet some unique VA requirements to receive DIC.

Mesothelioma VA Survivor Benefits Video Thumbnail

Survivor benefits might be available to family members of veterans who passed away from mesothelioma. Call us at (866) 608-8933 to learn how VA-accredited attorney Eric Hall can help you file for benefits. View Transcript.

Duration: 00 min 47 sec

There are several types of survivor benefits that are available to surviving spouses and dependent children of veterans who have passed away as a result of an injury that they sustained while they were in the military, to include mesothelioma and other asbestos-related diseases.

Some of the benefits available to survivors include a monthly income, health care benefits, and a burial benefit. Family members of veterans who receive VA benefits may be entitled to other types of compensation as well.

We encourage them to call Mesothelioma Hope so that we can work together to help them file for VA benefits.

 

Eligibility Requirements for Spouses

If you are the husband or wife of a veteran who died of service-related mesothelioma, you may be eligible for VA DIC payments.

You may qualify for VA DIC if:

  • You lived with the service member without break until the time of their death.
    OR
  • You were separated, but you were not at fault for the separation.

Additionally, at least one of the following must apply:

  • You married the service member within 15 years of their discharge (from the period of service in which the service member’s injury or illness began or got worse).
    OR
  • You were married to the service member for one year or longer.
    OR
  • You had a child with the service member.

If you have remarried after being married to a veteran who died from mesothelioma, you may qualify for VA DIC if:

  • You remarried on or after December 16, 2003, and were at least 57 years of age at the time of remarriage.
    OR
  • You remarried on or after January 5, 2021, and were at least 55 years of age at the time of remarriage.

The loss of a loved one is immensely difficult, but the team at Mesothelioma Hope can help you and your family members access the VA benefits you may be entitled to. Learn more from a Patient Advocate.

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Eligibility Requirements for Children

Dependent children of veterans who died from mesothelioma have their own set of VA DIC eligibility requirements.

You may be entitled to separate VA DIC benefits if all of the following are true:

  • You are not already included in a surviving spouse’s compensation.
  • You are not married.
  • You are under the age of 18 (or 23 if you are attending school).

Our veteran support staff can help you determine if you qualify for VA benefits like DIC. Call us today at (866) 608-8933 to get started.

VA Dependency and Indemnity Compensation Rates for 2024

A military veteran and his spouse

Benefits like VA DIC can go a long way in helping families who have lost a source of income. The exact monthly payment received from VA DIC depends on several factors.

VA DIC Rates for Surviving Spouses

VA DIC rates for eligible surviving spouses are calculated in two different ways depending on when the veteran passed away.

  • If the veteran died on or after January 1, 1993, the starting compensation rate is $1,612.75 per month. However, you may qualify for a higher payout if you have additional disabilities and dependent children.
  • If the veteran died before January 1, 1993, your monthly compensation rate will depend on the veteran’s pay grade. Base rates range from $1,612.75 to $3,695.39 per month, but these are also subject to increase based on additional disabilities and dependent children.

VA DIC Rates for Surviving Children

If you are under the age of 18, one of your parents died of service-related mesothelioma, and your surviving parent is eligible for VA DIC as a result, your compensation may be built into your parent’s payments.

If you are an unmarried adult child of a veteran who died of mesothelioma, however, you may be eligible for separate monthly payments. That means if you both qualify, you and your surviving parent can each receive your own monthly compensation.

If the late veteran has a surviving spouse who is eligible for DIC, the monthly rate for unmarried adult children will depend on the recipient’s age, education, and disability status.

As of 2024, VA DIC rates for surviving children are as follows:

  • Children between the ages of 18 and 23 who are enrolled in a qualifying school program get $338.49 per month.
  • Helpless children over the age of 18 receive $680.94 per month. This status is granted to children who have a permanent physical or mental disability that was diagnosed before they turned 18.

If there is no surviving spouse who is eligible for VA DIC, payments for eligible surviving children are based on the amount of children the veteran has. Rates start at $659.83 per month for a single eligible child. Full values can be found on the VA website.

No matter the situation, all VA DIC payments are tax-exempt for survivors of veterans.

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How to File for VA Dependency and Indemnity Compensation

To start receiving VA DIC benefits, you must first file an application based on your survivor status, which is your relationship with the veteran and the circumstances of the veteran’s death.

If you are the surviving child or spouse of a veteran who passed away from mesothelioma, you’ll need to fill out VA Form 21P-534EZ. You can do this in person at a VA regional office, by mail, or online. However you choose to apply, it’s best to do so with the help of a mesothelioma lawyer.

A mesothelioma lawyer can help you file a claim and submit evidence at the same time. In addition to proving your relationship with the veteran, you will need evidence that they died from a service-related injury or illness.

Before filing a claim, it’s a good idea to gather the following (if you have them):

  • Birth or marriage certificates
  • Death certificates
  • Discharge papers
  • Medical records
  • Source(s) of asbestos exposure (if known)

Mesothelioma Hope partners with VA-accredited mesothelioma attorneys who can help you file for VA DIC benefits, making the process as stress-free as possible. Give us a call at (866) 608-8933 to get started.

Other Mesothelioma Survivors Benefits

VA DIC payments can be extremely helpful for eligible survivors, but they’re not the only type of VA benefits available to veterans and their families.

Qualifying families of veterans with mesothelioma can also benefit from the following VA services:

  • Aid & attendance (A&A): Surviving spouses can apply for monthly payments if they need help with daily activities such as eating, bathing, and dressing. The A&A program can also cover the costs of home care, adult day care, and assisted living stays.
  • Burial reimbursement: Memorial services can be expensive, but the VA provides survivors with a $2,000 burial allowance for deaths connected to military service. Memorial items such as headstones and burial flags can also be provided at no cost to families.
  • Survivors Pension: Families of deceased veterans who were active during recognized wartime periods may be eligible for a VA Survivors Pension. This monthly benefit is subject to specific income and net-worth limits set by Congress.
  • Survivors’ and Dependents’ Educational Assistance (DEA): Children and spouses of deceased veterans may be able to get financial assistance for education or job training for up to 36 months through the DEA program, also known as Chapter 35.

Start Your Mesothelioma VA DIC Claim Now

Although the VA DIC application process may seem confusing, an experienced mesothelioma lawyer can make it as simple as possible.

At Mesothelioma Hope, we have accredited claims representatives working in-house. They can help you gather evidence and file VA claims to ensure you get the maximum monthly benefits you may be due.

The sooner you start your VA DIC claim, the sooner you can get financial relief, so don’t wait to take action.

Contact us today to get started.

VA Dependency and Indemnity Compensation FAQs

Is VA Dependency and Indemnity Compensation taxable?

No. VA DIC is a tax-free monetary benefit, so you are not required to pay taxes on this money.

What is the income limit for VA DIC?

At this time, there is not an income limit for VA DIC. However, a veteran must have died from a service-related illness or injury for their family members to receive VA DIC.

Many cases of mesothelioma, a deadly cancer, in veterans are linked back to asbestos exposure during military service. Thus, family may qualify for VA DIC if a veteran they love passed away from mesothelioma.

What is the VA 10-year rule for DIC?

The 10-year rule for VA DIC is one of several ways that families can qualify for this benefit.

Under this rule, the veteran in question must have had a “totally disabling” health condition for at least 10 years before their death if they didn’t die from a service-related health problem.

This 10-year rule may not apply if a veteran died from mesothelioma that stemmed from military asbestos exposure.

Is VA Dependency and Indemnity Compensation a lifetime benefit?

Depending on the case, VA DIC can be a lifetime benefit.

For non-disabled children receiving VA DIC, their benefits will expire when they turn 18 (or 23 if they are in school).

However, surviving spouses will continue to receive VA DIC benefits unless they become ineligible due to remarriage.

How long does it take to get VA DIC?

VA DIC claims generally take about 110 days to process. However, a VA-accredited mesothelioma attorney may be able to reduce your wait time to one month.

Call us today at (866) 608-8933 to learn how our in-house veterans advocates can help.

Can you get DIC and Survivors Pension?

No, you can’t collect VA DIC and pension benefits at the same time. However, if you qualify for both VA DIC and a Survivors Pension, the VA will automatically pay out whichever benefit gives you the most money.

Attorney Brian CookeReviewed by:Brian J. Cooke

Partner at Simmons Hanly Conroy & U.S. Marine Corps Veteran

  • Fact-Checked
  • Legal Editor

Attorney Brian Cooke is a partner at Simmons Hanly Conroy and a proud U.S. Marine Corps veteran. With over 20 years of experience fighting for justice on behalf of his clients, Brian has successfully secured millions in compensation for mesothelioma patients and their families.

  • Practicing Attorney Since 2000
  • Handled Hundreds of Asbestos Cases
  • Veteran of the U.S. Marine Corps
Jenna TozziWritten by:

Director of Patient Advocacy

Jenna Tozzi, RN, is the Director of Patient Advocacy at Mesothelioma Hope. With more than 15 years of experience as an adult and pediatric oncology nurse navigator, Jenna provides exceptional guidance and support to mesothelioma patients and their loved ones. Jenna has been featured in Oncology Nursing News and is a member of the Academy of Oncology Nurse & Patient Navigators & the American Nurses Association.

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References
  1. U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. (n.d.). 2024 VA DIC rates for spouses and dependents.  Retrieved February 13, 2024, from https://www.va.gov/disability/survivor-dic-rates/
  2. U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. (n.d.). About VA DIC for spouses, dependents, and parents. Retrieved February 13, 2024, from https://www.va.gov/disability/dependency-indemnity-compensation/
  3. U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. (n.d.). About VA Form 21P-534EZ. Retrieved February 13, 2024, from https://www.va.gov/find-forms/about-form-21p-534ez/
  4. U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. (n.d.). How to file a VA disability claim.  Retrieved February 13, 2024, from https://www.va.gov/disability/how-to-file-claim/
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