One of the hardest parts of your golden years is the unexpected.
The loss of a spouse is something we never want to think about and is difficult to plan for and to move on from.
Now, of course nothing can make up for the loss of a loved one, but it turns out if your spouse served in the military, you may be entitled to compensation as a surviving spouse.
Depending on your relationship with a veteran, there could be a check for $1,154 with your name on it each month.
Though it may not be the happiest of payments to claim, it can help you stay on your feet in the time ahead, and I want to make sure you have all the support possible moving forward.
Our government has a stipulation for the surviving spouses of veterans called Dependency and Indemnity Compensation, or DIC. It is labeled as disability compensation for the surviving spouses of military veterans, and is available to the widow or widower and any independent children.
If you alone are receiving the compensation, it amounts to $1,154 a month. If you have dependents under the age of 18, you are also entitled to an additional $286 per child per month for two years or until the children reach age 18.
Again, this could never make up for the loss of your spouse, but it can help ensure that you are able to maintain your lifestyle and comfort, especially if you are nearing or already in retirement.
If your military spouse passed recently, it is likely that the VA reached out to you and filed the appropriate paperwork for you to receive compensation already.
However, there are many cases where people are unaware that they are entitled to monthly payments due to the number of years that has passed since the death of the veteran or due to the specific situation of the relationship.
This is in part because the terms of the Dependency and Indemnity Compensation are quite diverse and specific.
According to the DIC website, you are eligible for DIC if you are a surviving spouse and your military spouse died in any of the following circumstances:
1. While on active duty
2. While on active duty for training or inactive duty training
3. As a result of a service-connected injury or illness
4. While receiving VA disability compensation
a. For 10 years or more leading to death
b. From time of discharge for at least 5 years up until death
c. For one year if veteran was a prisoner of war
If any of these circumstances apply to your military spouse, the government owes YOU aid every month.
In addition to this, the DIC requirements clearly define how it identifies someone as a surviving spouse. You are considered a surviving spouse if:
1. You were married to a veteran for at least a year before his or her death
2. You were married for any length of time and your spouse died while on active duty, active duty training, or inactive duty training while you were married
3. You married a veteran within 15 years of his or her discharge from service, and the injury or illness that led to death was caused or worsened by military service
4. You were married to a veteran before January 1, 1957
5. You had a child with a veteran
6. You lived with a veteran until his or her death
7. You were separated and the separation was not your fault
If any of these scenarios apply to you and you are not receiving compensation, you are owed that aid!
To claim the help you deserve, all you have to do is fill out the DIC application online. It’s available at www.va.gov/vaforms.
Unfortunately, many people, particularly those who qualify for the “married before January 1, 1957” are not aware of the aid that is available to them.
If you are a senior citizen, you likely experienced the events that qualify you for your $1,154 a month prior to the time when this application was handled by the VA for the effected parties.
Some of the policies that qualify surviving spouses for aid are fairly recent additions and none are widely broadcast, so many people—especially senior citizens—are passed over.
Don’t let yourself be forgotten. You are entitled to help. You are entitled to this compensation, which can ensure that you live a comfortable and financially secure retirement.