We had a request recently to discuss what happens to Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (DIC) benefits when a surviving spouse remarries.
So, let’s start from the top.
What is DIC?
DIC, also known as Dependency and Indemnity Compensation, is a Veterans Benefit paid to certain eligible survivors of deceased Veterans.
This benefit is also known as “Service-Connection of the Cause of Death”, because it is paid each month to the survivors of Veterans whose death is related to their military service.
How does Remarriage affect DIC?
Here’s what the “regs” say:
1) An un-remarried surviving spouse if the spouse
- validly married the veteran before January 1, 1957, OR
- was married to a service member who died on active duty, OR
- married the veteran within 15 years of discharge from the period of military service in which the disease or injury that caused the veteran’s death began or was aggravated, OR
- was married to the veteran for at least one year, OR
- had a child with the veteran, AND
- cohabited with the veteran continuously until the veteran’s death or, if separated, was not at fault for the separation, AND
- is not currently remarried.
2) The surviving child(ren) if the surviving child(ren) is/are:
- unmarried AND
- under age 18, or between the ages of 18 and 23 and attending school.
- (Note: Certain helpless adult children are entitled to DIC. Call the toll-free number below for the eligibility requirements for those survivors.
3) In some cases, the surviving parents may be eligible for an income-based benefit. Parental DIC is not within the scope of this post.
Can DIC be restored for a surviving spouse who remarried?
Yes a surviving spouse who remarries can be eligible for DIC in the following scenarios:
1) DIC can be restored if the remarriage ended in death, divorce, or annulment
2) A surviving spouse who remarries on or after attaining age 57, and on or after December 16, 2003, can continue to receive DIC.
One word of caution, if you are a surviving spouse who remarried before December 16, 2003, and on or after attaining age 57, the VAs position is that you must have re-applied for DIC between December 16, 2003, but no later than December 15, 2004, in order to have DIC restored.
The VA claims that they must deny applications received after that date; a recent decision by the Federal Circuit Court of Appeals (CAFC) in Frederick v. Shinseki (July 2012), seems to support that viewpoint.