Thursday, October 2, 2014

Criteria for VA’s dependency and indemnity compensation program

Veterans Health Administration Update: Agent Orange
If a Vietnam veteran dies of a medical condition considered to have resulted from exposure to Agent Orange during his/her military service, certain surviving family members may be eligible for monthly compensation payments from the Department of Veterans Affairs through the VA’s dependency and indemnity compensation program.
To be eligible for DIC benefits, a surviving family member must show two things:
1. The family member meets one of the following criteria:
  • You were married to the veteran at the time of death, and you had lived with the veteran from the date you were married until the veteran’s death, unless separation occurred because of the veteran’s misconduct without fault on your part; you are not currently married, remarried after age 57; or you are not currently living with another person and claiming to be the spouse of that person. There may be different rules that apply if you either were married to the veteran for less than one year or were in a common-law relationship with the veteran;
  • You are a son or daughter of the veteran younger than 18, are unmarried.
  • And there is no eligible surviving spouse.
  • You are a son or daughter of the veteran, 18 years old or older, and before you reached the age of 18, you became disabled and permanently unable to support yourself.
  • You are a son or daughter of the veteran, unmarried, between the ages of 18 and 23, and are currently attending a VA-approved school.
  • You are the surviving parent or parents of the deceased veteran. The term “parent” includes a biological, adoptive or foster parent. A foster parent is a person who legally stood in the relationship of a parent to the veteran for at least one year before the veteran's last entry into active duty. Note: Eligibility for dependent parents' is need-based. When countable income exceeds the limit set by law, no benefit is payable. Income limits are adjusted annually.
2. You must show that the veteran was exposed to Agent Orange in one of the following places, listed below, where VA presumes herbicides were used:
  • In the Republic of Vietnam, regardless of the length of that service, during the period Jan. 9, 1962 to May 7, 1975: On a ship or boat that operated in Vietnam’s inland waterways or which docked in Vietnam and the veteran went ashore. For a list of naval and Coast Guard vessels currently recognized, go to:
  • In Korea between April 1, 1968, and Aug. 31, 1971; in a unit recognized by the VA and Department of Defense to have operated in an area in or near the Korean DMZ in which herbicides were applied. For a list of recognized units, go to:
  • In certain occupations at certain air bases in Thailand. For a list of recognized bases and occupations, go to:
The amount of the compensation payment depends upon the severity of a veteran’s service-connected disability and, in some cases, the number of qualifying family members the veteran has. The VA uses a percentage basis ranging from zero percent to 100 percent for measuring the severity of the veteran’s service-connected disability; the higher percent the disability and the more qualifying family members the veteran has, the higher the monthly compensation payment. However, a percentage rating of 0-20 percent does not pay extra for dependents.
Note: These eligibility requirements can be met, even if the deceased veteran never applied to the VA for disability compensation before death; or if the veteran had applied for compensation before death, but the claim was denied; or if the claim/appeal was pending at the time of death.
For more information about the VA’s dependency and indemnity compensation program related to Agent Orange, go to: or visit Racine County Veterans Service Officer Ali Nelson at 262-638-6667, and located at 1717 Taylor Ave., Racine.

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