Veterans Dependency and Indemnity Compensation for Service-Connected Death

To compensate surviving spouses, children and parents for the death of any veteran who died because of a service-connected disability, or while in the active military, naval or air service.

Agency - Department of Veterans Affairs

The Department of Veterans Affairs strives for excellence in patient care and veteran's benefits for its constituents through high quality, prompt and seamless service to United States veterans.

Office - See Appendix IV of the Catalog for Veterans Benefits Administration field offices.
Website Address

Program Accomplishments

In fiscal year 2007, 332,837 cases of survivors were receiving benefits. Estimates for subsequent periods are: fiscal year 2008, 336,824 and fiscal year 2009, 341,502.

Uses and Use Restrictions

No restrictions.

Eligibility Requirements

Applicant Eligibility

Death Compensation is payable to an unmarried surviving spouse, unmarried children and dependent parent or parents of the deceased veteran who must have died before January 1, 1957, because of a service-connected disability.

For deaths on or after January 1, 1957, Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (DIC) is payable.

Effective January 2005, surviving spouses who receive DIC and have one or more children under age 18 will receive $250 a month in addition to their current rate.

This increased rate applies only to months "occurring" during the two-year period beginning on the date entitlement to DIC began.

It ceases on the first month beginning after the expiration of the two-year period or the month in which all of the surviving spouse's children have attained the age of 18, or are removed from the award, whichever is earlier.

Beneficiary Eligibility

Surviving spouses, children and parents of deceased veterans.


Death certificate, marriage certificate, birth certificate(s), and military discharge certificate.

Aplication and Award Process

Preapplication Coordination


This program is excluded from coverage under E.O.


Application Procedures

An application (VA Form 21-534 for surviving spouses, and or children; 21-535 for parents) may be obtained from any VA office or regional office (see Appendix IV of the Catalog) and submitted to the regional office. Applications are also available on-line at

Award Procedures

Awards are authorized at the regional office.


None, but entitlement is established from the first day of the month in which the veteran's death occurred if the claim is received within 1 year after the date of death; otherwise, entitlement is established from the date of receipt of the claim.


38 U.S.C. 1121, 1141, 1310, 1311, 1312, 1313, 1314, 1315, 1316, 1318.

Range of Approval/Disapproval Time

Approximately 77 percent completed in 180 days or less.


Available through special board. In the event of a denial, claimants are advised of appeal rights and procedures at the time of notification.


Not applicable.

Assistance Considerations

Formula and Matching Requirements

Not applicable.

Length and Time Phasing of Assistance

Not applicable.

Post Assistance Requirements


Any change in the marital status of a surviving spouse, child, or parent must be reported promptly.

Also, a change in school attendance of children over 18 must be reported.

Parents must report changes in income promptly.

Parents are sent an eligibility verification report to review continued eligibility and changes of rates based on changes of income.





Financial Information

Account Identification



(Direct Payments) FY 07 $4,547,883,000; FY 08 est 4,751,938,000; and FY 09 est $4,974,508,000.

Range and Average of Financial Assistance

Monthly rates of DIC range from $462 for one child when no spouse is entitled; from $1,091 to $2,328 for a surviving spouse, with $271 additional if the surviving spouse is in need of aid and attendance, or $128 if housebound. A surviving spouse is also entitled to an additional $271 monthly for each child under age 18. Monthly rates for parents range from $5 to $537 depending upon income and whether single or married. An additional $291 is payable if the parent is in need of aid and attendance. Monthly Death Compensation ranges from $87 for a surviving spouse to $121 for a widow or widower with one child; plus $29 for each additional child. An additional allowance or $79 if widow, widower or dependent parent is in need of aid and attendance. Assistance for a dependent parent is $75 for one alone and $80 for two.

Regulations, Guidelines, and Literature

38 CFR 3.4(C) and 3.5; "Federal Benefits for Veterans and Dependents," VA Pamphlet 80-0-01, $5.00, available from Superintendent of Documents, P.O. Box 371954 Pittsburgh, PA 15250-7954. The stock number is: 051-000-00233-4.

Information Contacts

Regional or Local Office

See Appendix IV of the Catalog for Veterans Benefits Administration field offices.

Headquarters Office

Department of Veterans Affairs, Washington, DC 20420. Telephone: (202) 461-9700.

Criteria for Selecting Proposals

Not applicable.

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