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Compensation for Survivors and Dependents

If you’re the survivor or parent of a Servicemember who died in the line of duty, or the survivor or parent of a Veteran who died from a service-related injury or illness, you may be able to get a tax-free monetary benefit called Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (DIC). Find out if you can get compensation.

Am I eligible?

  • You can get compensation as a surviving spouse if you meet the requirements listed below and if one of the descriptions below is true of the deceased Servicemember or Veteran.

    One of these must describe you. You:

    • Married the Veteran before January 1, 1957, or within 15 years of their leaving the military, or
    • Were married to the Veteran for at least 1 year, or
    • Had a child with the Veteran, aren’t currently remarried, and either lived with the Veteran without a break until the Veteran’s death or, if separated, weren’t at fault for the separation

    And one of these must describe the deceased:

    • The Servicemember died while on active duty, active duty for training, or inactive-duty training.
    • The Veteran died from a service-connected illness or injury.
    • The Veteran didn’t die from a service-connected illness or injury, but was eligible to get VA compensation for a service-connected disability that VA rated as totally disabling:
      • For at least 10 years before their death, or
      • Since the Veteran’s release from active duty and for at least 5 years immediately before their death, or
      • For at least 1 year before their death if the Veteran was a former Prisoner of War who died after September 30, 1999

    Note: “Totally disabling” means the Veteran’s injuries make it impossible for them to work.

  • You can get compensation as a surviving child if you meet the requirements listed below and if one of the descriptions below is true of the deceased Servicemember or Veteran.

    Both of these must be true. You:

    • Aren’t married, and
    • Aren’t included on the surviving spouse’s compensation

    And one of these must also be true. You:

    • Are under the age of 18 (or under the age of 23 if attending school), or
    • Were adopted out of the Veteran’s family, but meet all other eligibility criteria

    One of these must describe the deceased:

    • The Servicemember died while on active duty, active duty for training, or inactive-duty training.
    • The Veteran died from a service-connected illness or injury.
    • The Veteran didn’t die from a service-connected illness or injury, but was eligible to get VA compensation for a service-connected disability that VA rated as totally disabling:
      • For at least 10 years before their death, or
      • Since the Veteran’s release from active duty and for at least 5 years immediately before their death, or
      • For at least 1 year before their death if the Veteran was a former Prisoner of War who died after September 30, 1999

    Note: “Totally disabling” means the Veteran’s injuries make it impossible for them to work.

  • You may be able to get compensation as a surviving parent if both of these are true:

    • The Servicemember died in the line of duty or the Veteran died from a service-connected illness or injury, and

    • Your income is below a certain amount.
      View the parents DIC rate table.

What kind of benefits can I get?

Tax-free monetary benefits


How do I apply for compensation?

First you’ll need to fill out an application for benefits. The application you fill out will depend on your survivor status.

If you’re a surviving spouse or child, fill out an Application for DIC, Death Pension, and/or Accrued Benefits (VA Form 21P-534EZ).
Download VA Form 21P-534EZ.

If you’re a surviving parent, fill out an Application for Dependency and Indemnity Compensation by Parent(s) (VA Form 21P-535).
Download VA Form 21P-535.

You can apply for this benefit in any of these ways: