Jump to content
  • Latest Donations

  • Advertisemnt

  • 14 Questions about VA Disability Compensation Benefits Claims


    When a Veteran starts considering whether or not to file a VA Disability Claim, there are a lot of questions that he or she tends to ask. Over the last 10 years, the following are the 14 most common basic questions I am asked about ...
    Continue Reading
  • Ads

  • Most Common VA Disabilities Claimed for Compensation:   


  • Advertisemnt

  • Advertisemnt

  • Ads

  • Can a 100 percent Disabled Veteran Work and Earn an Income?

    employment 2.jpeg

    You’ve just been rated 100% disabled by the Veterans Affairs. After the excitement of finally having the rating you deserve wears off, you start asking questions. One of the first questions that you might ask is this: It’s a legitimate question – rare is the Veteran that finds themselves sitting on the couch eating bon-bons … Continue reading

Sponsored Ads

  • Available Subscriptions

  • Donation Box

    Please donate to support the community.
    We appreciate all donations!
  • Searches Community Forums, Blog and more

  • 0

Common Law And Deemed Valid Marriages And


In some cases VA will recognize a common law surviving spouse for DIC purposes.

"The laws dictate that to be recognized as the veteran's

surviving spouse for the purpose of establishing entitlement

to VA benefits, the appellant must be a person of the

opposite sex who was the spouse of a veteran at the time of

the veteran's death, and who lived with the veteran

continuously from the date of marriage to the date of the

veteran's death (except where there was a separation which

was due to the misconduct of, or procured by, the veteran

without the fault of the spouse) and has not remarried." 38

U.S.C.A. § 101(3); 38 C.F.R. § 3.50(b)(1).

"Additionally, for a surviving spouse to qualify for benefits,

additional factors must be established by the evidence. DIC

may be paid to a surviving spouse of a veteran who died on or

after January 1, 1957, and who was married to the veteran:

(1) before the expiration of 15 years after the termination

of the period of service in which the injury or disease

causing death was incurred, or aggravated; (2) for one year

or more prior to the veteran's death; (3) for any period of

time if a child was born of the marriage or was born to them

before the marriage." 38 C.F.R. § 3.54.

"A recognized marriage for VA purposes is defined as one which

is valid under the law of the place where the parties resided

at the time of marriage, or the law of the place where the

parties resided when the right to benefits accrued." 38

U.S.C.A. § 103©; 38 C.F.R. § 3.102.

In this BVA decision Common law is further defined as to what evidence is required:


“For VA benefits purposes, a marriage means a marriage valid under

the law of the place where the parties resided at the time of

marriage, or the law of the place where the parties resided when

the right to benefits accrued. 38 C.F.R. § 3.1(j)."

"A marriage can be established by several types of evidence,

including a copy or abstract of the public record of marriage, a

copy of the church record of marriage containing sufficient data,

an official report from service department as to marriage which

occurred while the Veteran was in service, the affidavit of the

clergyman or magistrate who officiated, the original certificate

of marriage, and affidavits or certified statements of two or

more eyewitnesses to the ceremony. 38 C.F.R. § 3.205(a)(1).”

What VA means as to “law of the place where the parties resided ...etc.”

means if the state law recognizes Common Law.

For example I was approached regarding a DIC claim for a local widow.

But she was never married to the veteran and NY is not a common law state.She is not the veteran's surviving spouse per VA regulations,not even under any of the other conditions that could have deemed her relationship as a valid marriage.

These other conditions, if met, however would cause the VA to deem this type of relationship as a “valid” marriage as within:


In this BVA decision, the spouse, as common law wife of the veteran, was granted

recognized status as surviving spouse of the veteran:


She got over that hurdle at the BVA but this case does not reflect whether her DIC claim was successful as it only involved her legal status as a survivor, for VA purposes, that had to be established before any determination on DIC could be made.

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

2 answers to this question

Recommended Posts




No "common law' in California.

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites


None in Florida. If you are living with someone for more than a year or two, or have kids by them it is wise to get married if you care about them and if it is possible.

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

  • Ads

  • Ad

  • Latest News
  • Our picks

    • SHOW YOUR SUPPORT: Ad Free Subscriptions to the Forum available
      Ad free subscriptions are available for the forum. Subscriptions give you the forums ad free and help support the forum and site. Monthly $5 Annually $50 https://community.hadit.com/subscriptions/

      Every bit helps - Thank you.

      • 0 replies
    • Choosing a VA Disability Attorney Means Learning What Questions to Ask
      Choosing a VA Disability Attorney Means Learning What Questions to Ask. Chris Attig - Veterans Law Blog 

      <br style="color:#000000; text-align:start">How to Hire an Attorney For Your VA Claim or Appeal Free Guidebook available on the Veterans Law Blog

      I got an email the other day from a Veteran.  It had 2 or 3 sentences about his claim, and then closed at the end: “Please call me. So-and-so told me you were the best and I want your help.”

      While I appreciate the compliments, I shudder a little at emails like this.  For 2 reasons.

      First, I get a lot of emails like this.  And while I diligently represent my clients – I often tell them we will pursue their claim until we have no more appeals or until we win – I am most assuredly not the best.

      There are a LOT of damn good VA Disability attorneys out there.  (Most, if not all, of the best are members of the National Organization of Veterans Advocates…read about one of them, here)

      Second, I don’t want Veterans to choose their attorney based on who their friend thought was the best.  I want Veterans to choose the VA Disability attorney who is BEST for their case.

      In some situations, that may be the Attig Law Firm.

      But it may also be be Hill and Ponton, or Chisholm-Kilpatrick, or Bergman Moore.  Or any one of the dozens of other attorneys who have made the representation of Veterans their professional life’s work.

      There are hundreds of attorneys that are out there representing Veterans, and I’m here to tell you that who is best for your friend’s case may not be the best for your case.

      How do you Find the Best VA Disability Attorney for your Claim?

      First, you have to answer the question: do you NEED an attorney?

      Some of you don’t...
      • 1 reply
    • VA Emergency Medical Care
      VA Emergency Medical Care
      • 3 replies
    • Veterans Appeals Improvement and Modernization Act
      Veterans Appeals Improvement and Modernization Act
      • 1 reply
    • Thanks Berta for your help. I did receive my 100% today for my IU claim on 6/20/2018. It only took 64 days to complete and it is p&t. Thanks for your words of wisdom. 

Important Information

{terms] and Guidelines