I am a Surviving Spouse

We all know that the VA neglects benefits claims from Veterans.

But it is the Surviving Spouses and dependents that get the worst deal.    

Because the VA lied to my grandmother - the surviving spouse of a WWII Combat Veteran - about the life-changing benefits she was entitled to, the claims of Surviving Spouses have a special place in my heart.

  The Attig Law Firm is one of the very few law firms in the US that regularly represent Surviving Spouses of Deceased US Veterans before the VA.

Here are the 4 benefits that I have found most Surviving Spouses would like information about:

Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (DIC).

When a Veteran's death is caused by a service-connected condition,  the VA may award DIC compensation.  This benefit is a monthly "annuity" paid by the VA to the surviving spouse, and in some cases, to dependents (most commonly, to the "helpless adult children" of certain disabled Veterans).

The bascic monthly rate  (as of 2013) is approximately $1215 per month. There are deadlines that apply to a DIC claim, so please contact an accredited VA attorney to be sure that you know what deadlines you are up against, and what information you will be required to provide.

Additionally, please visit my blog and search "DIC" to understand more about these claims.   Here are a couple blog posts that many Veteran Surviving Spouses have found helpful:

A Primer on DIC for Survivor Benefits.

 Who is eligible for DIC? 

Do you Know Both Types of DIC?

When Should a Survivor Apply for DIC?

How does Remarriage affect your DIC?

When you are ready, please contact the Attig Law Firm for a consultation on your surviving spouse DIC claim with the VA.  

Accrued Benefits (AB)

It is a common myth that the Veteran's claim dies with the Veteran.  If a Veteran dies with a claim "pending" at the VA, or when their claim has been granted, then the surviving spouse of that Veteran may be able to substitute into the claim, and/or recover past-due benefits that were "due or owing" to the Veteran while he or she was living.

I know of cases where the Surviving Spouses have recovered more than $200,000 in past due accrued benefits from the VA - even while the VA claimed that the Surviving Spouse wasn't entitled to any VA Benefits.

Accrued Benefits can be very tricky.  There are a lot of traps for the unwary, and so it is always best to consult with an accredited VA Benefits Attorney to determine whether or not you may be eligible to receive "Accrued Benefits".

Here is a bit more information about Accrued Benefits Claims:

The Big Myth: A Veterans Claim does NOT die with the Veteran.

The Benefit The VA Won't Tell Survivors About: Accrued Benefits.

When you are ready, please contact the Attig Law Firm for a consultation on your surviving spouse DIC claim with the VA.

Survivor Pensions.

The VA provides tax-free monetary benefits payable to a low-income, un-remarried surviving spouse and/or unmarried child(ren) of a deceased Veteran with wartime service.

In addition to the above requirements, the Survivor Pension is income-based, meaning that the survivors' income must be at or below certain levels to qualify.

Often, the question of whether a surviving spouse of a deceased Veteran is eligible for a Survivor Pension can be very complicated.

It is always best to consult with an accredited VA Benefits Attorney if you have questions about whether or not you are eligible for a Survivor Pension.

Aid & Attendance (A&A).

Aid & Attendance means many things to many people.

Often mistaken for a separate benefit, Aid & Attendance (A&A) is an  increased monthly pension amount may be added to a survivor's monthly pension or DIC if the survivor meets one of the following conditions:

  • Requires the aid of another person in order to perform personal functions required in everyday living, such as bathing, feeding, dressing, attending to the wants of nature, adjusting prosthetic devices, or protection from the hazards of the  daily environment;
  • Surviving Spouse is bedridden, in that his/her disability or disabilities requires that he/she remain in bed apart from any prescribed course of convalescence or treatment;
  • Surviving Spouse is a patient in a nursing home due to mental or physical incapacity;
  • Surviving Spouse's eyesight is limited to a corrected 5/200 visual acuity or less in both eyes; or concentric contraction of the visual field to 5 degrees or less

There are other criteria and eligibility requirements, and deadlines, that may apply, so it is always best to consult with an Accredited VA Benefits Attorney if you have questions about your eligibility for Aid & Attendance benefits from the VA.

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By Chris Attig