A new law has passed that expands the eligibility for a VA administered benefit called “Dependency and Indemnity Compensation,” commonly known as VA DIC. The benefit is offered to qualifying survivors of a service member who died in the line of duty or of a Veteran who died from a service-related injury or illness.
The PACT Act is new legislation that has expanded the access for VA services, health care and benefits to Veterans exposed to toxic substances, such as burn pits, Agent Orange and other hazards while serving. Due to the passing of this law, there are now more periods of service and over 20 additional presumptive conditions that qualify for benefits, making it easier for many survivors of deceased service members to receive VA DIC.
As a survivor, if you previously filed a claim for VA DIC and it was denied based upon a condition that now qualifies under the new legislation, you can re-apply to collect benefits as far back as the date of your original application. If after your claim is re-evaluated and it is found that the VA owed benefits to the service member or Veteran that died, you may be eligible for a one-time accrued benefits payment.
The VA encourages all survivors who believe they may be eligible for VA DIC or believes their loved one passed away from a PACT Act related condition to apply now for benefits. You can file a claim online or by mail. As a surviving spouse or child you’ll use VA Form 21P-534EZ to file a claim, and if you’re a surviving parent you’ll fill out VA Form 21P-535 when submitting your application.
For more information or to inquire about applying for benefits, call the Summit County VSC at (330) 643-2830 or visit our office at 1060 E. Waterloo Rd. in Akron. We are your bridge to the VA and here to help you navigate and maximize your benefits.
To learn more about the PACT Act and what it means for your VA DIC benefits, read more from VA News here or check out our previous EyesRight articles for information on The PACT Act, health services and VA benefits.