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Is There a Time Limit to Apply for DIC Benefits?

Published on June 16th, 2020

Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (DIC) is a tax free, monthly benefit that you may be eligible for if you are the surviving spouse of a veteran. There is no time limit on when you can apply, but you can maximize the benefits you receive if you apply within one year of the veteran’s death. By applying within one year, you may be entitled to back pay starting from the first day of the month following the veteran’s death.

At Jackson & MacNichol, our goal is to help veterans access their benefits during their lifetimes. When that cannot be done, we can assist their families to access benefits they may be entitled to after the veteran’s passing. If the VA has denied your application, our veterans benefits lawyers can represent you during the appeals process and increase your chances of getting the compensation you deserve. For a free consultation, call us today at 1(800) 524-3339.

You Can Apply for DIC Benefits at Any Time

DIC is available to the survivors of service members who passed away in the line of duty, during training, or as a result of a service connected condition. In these scenarios, eligible survivors include the spouse, parents, or unmarried children of a veteran (if they are under the age of 18, or under the age of 23 and attending school, or are permanently disabled by age 18).

Alternatively, DIC may be available if you are the spouse of a veteran who died from a non-service connected condition, and the veteran was totally disabled by a service connected condition:

  • For ten years preceding their death
  • For five years preceding their death if they were totally disabled at the time of their discharge
  • For one year preceding their death if they were a prisoner of war

Depending on the circumstances of the veteran’s death and the length of their disability, spouses are eligible for DIC benefits only if the marriage meets certain time requirements. You can access the specific time requirements for spouses on the DIC benefits fact sheet.

What Do I Need to Know to Apply?

As a survivor, one of the most important things you should know about DIC is that you can apply for these benefits at any time. But as mentioned earlier, you can be paid the back pay due the veteran only if you apply within one year of the veteran’s death. By applying early, you can secure the possibility of back pay even if your initial application is denied and you hsve to appeal to obtain th benefits.

Another important consideration is the fact that you can apply for DIC benefits even if the veteran applied and was rejected for disability compensation during their lifetime. With the assistance of an experienced veterans benefits lawyer, you may be able to prove that the veteran was actually entitled to disabiity benefits during their life, and access your DIC benefits accordingly.

An earlier denial issued to the veteran cannot be used against you, since the VA is under a legal obligation to consider your DIC application separately from the veteran’s disability compensation application. To start the DIC application process, you need to fill out and file VA Form 21P-534EZ: “Application for Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (DIC), Death Pension, and/or Accrued Benefits.”

Appeal the Denial of Your DIC Application With a Veterans Benefit Lawyer

It’s not uncommon for survivors to be denied on their initial DIC benefits application. This could be the result of a clerical error, a mistake of law, or a lack of evidence. In any case, a veterans benefits lawyer can help you build a strong case on appeal, and help you get access to the compensation you deserve. Call Jackson & MacNichol today at 1(800) 524-3339 for a free consultation about starting a DIC benefits appeal.


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