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Widow Filing Claim



Hello All, I am posting this for a dear friend of mine her husband was a Viet Nam vet also. He passed away a couple of months ago due to CHF and coronary artery disease. They had never filed a claim for this, ( they didn't know they could) but did have a 10% award for diabetes. Now that he is deceased, can she file a claim for his heart disease? Also how does she go about recieving widow benefits.?

Thank you so much for your service.


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  • HadIt.com Elder

She can file a DIC claim because he died of a presumptive condition, There are time limits so you need to get it done. I am sure Berta will chime in here to assist you,

She is one amazing lady and this is her specialty,


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She needs to file the formal 21-534 DIC application, available here under Forms ,with the VARO who holds jurisdiction over the claim (this would almost always be the VARO her husband dealt with.)

A few months after filing the claim she will receive a VCAA letter telling her what additional evidence that VA will need. Thy will probably need a copy of the marriage license (even if they have it already), and the death certificate.

I feel she should try to find a vet rep too because they will keep a record of copies of any VA correspondence and copies of whatever they know she has submitted to the VARO.

If he was an incountry Vietnam veteran and had ischemic heart disease ( CAD) that the death certificate stated had contributed to or caused his death, the VA should award her DIC.

If the Diabetes was service connected due to his incountry Vietnam service, there is certainly medical potential that the DMII lent to his heart disease, as well .But this would take a medical opinion to determine ,so I hope that the death certificate alone would warrant the DIC award.

Since there does not appear to be any claim that was pending at his death,I foresee no accrued benefits due her. They will rate the IHD in the award but it will garner no additional monetary accrued payment

We have a wealth of info in our DIC forum here if she can join us.

It sounds to m that this claim should have no problems at all but it will take time for VA to adjudicate it.

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Vets wife

I recommend a thorough review of the C file, hopefully with someone very knowledgeable. The VA has a habit of just not processing claims, so it is possible that the deceased Veteran (or his representative) did file a claim and you would be entitled to accrued benefits. Since he is already SC, it will be unnecessary for him to have filed a "formal" 21-526 claim for IHD, but instead an informal claim would suffice. Any communication to the VA expressing a belief in entitlement to the benefit of IHD or CHF should suffice. To qualify as a "claim" the document need only meet the 3 Caluza elements, and it need not be on a particualar form. They are:

1. It needs to be in writing..verbal wont cut it.

2. It needs to "show intent" to apply for one or more VA benefits.

3. It needs to "specify the benefit sought." The Veteran need not make a diagnosis here. "Heart trouble", for example, should suffice.

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Thanks everyone for your help and knowledge so that I can steer her through this. I will pass along all the advise given here.

You guys are wonderful to take your time to post information to help others!


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If your husband died of a Service Connected Disability or a Presumptive Illness, you should file for DIC. You will need a copy of his WD 53-55 or DD 214 or Statement of Service (if you don't have one, go on line to Google and type in DD214. Go to Archives and fax in a SF 180 requesting a copy). You will need a copy of the Marriage certificate, Death Certificate and if either one of you has been divorced, copy of your divorce decrees for each spouse each time they/you have been married.

If your husband did not die of a service connected disability or a presumptive illness but you believe what he died of was service connected or should have been, then you will need a NEXUS letter. Email me at robert.white@dvs.virginia.gov and I will send you one. If you also have problems getting out of your house (you only go out for church, buying food, doctors visits with a few odds and ends) then you should file for House Bound Status. You will need to complete a 21-2680 (you can go to www.va.gov, go to the right hand side click on forms and down load this form. Have your doctor fill it out.

If it is going to take a while to gather all this information together, you should file an INFORMAL Claim. You can do this with the following information:

Your Name

Your Husbands Name

Your SSN

Your Husbands SSN

Your mailing address



Write the following:

I wish to file a INFORMAL CLAIM for DIC.

Fax this to 540-597-1792. This is the Roanoke Va RO. It doesn't matter where you fax it to so long as it gets in the system. This will give you one year to send in your claim and they will pay you from 10/1/2012. There is NO time limit on when you can file for a DIC or Pension claim. Anyone who tells you that is giving you bad information.

I hope this helps you out. If you have further questions email me with your phone number and I'll call you and we can talk.

Robert F. White

Veteran Claims Agent

Virginia Department of Veteran Services

5520 Cherokee Ave, Ste 100

Alexandria, Va 22312

Office: 703-813-1544





Nexus Letter.doc

Edited by etihwr (see edit history)
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“ There is NO time limit on when you can file for a DIC or Pension claim. Anyone who tells you that is giving you bad information. “

I need to clarify that information. True no time limit, however the EED depends on the receipt date of the DIC application.(Unless a Nehmer claim)

Also Most accrued benefits depend on the DIC claim and accrued benefits form being filed within one year after death. Not mentioned in this excerpt from M21-1MR is, of course, Nehmer claims.

I have posted info on DIC and accrued under the Nehmer Court order in our DIC and Agent Orange forums here, to include email from Rick Spataro, head Nehmer lawyer from NVLSP, in response to my

questions after the August 2010 addition of 3 new AO presumptives.

I am not questioning what you posted Bob, I am making the point that the most favorable monetary awards regarding DIC claims depend on the claim being filed within the first year after the veteran's death.

Nehmer changes all that, and if this veteran had possibly filed a claim in the past (Broncovet is right-check the C file) and IHD or CAD appeared as NSC in any past rating sheet, and the VAROs did not check that when they did a review to identify Nehmer claimants whose had previously been denied for one of the new presumptives, and pull the file and send to the Nehmer sattelite Ros, then there is possibily ion this case that the veteran's death would have to be considered under the provivions of Nehmer for DIC, accrued etc.

As a widow of 2 vets myself I now how difficult it is to even think abut a DIC application when one is grief stricken and dealing with the many other concerns they have.

Still I dont feel any widow should put off filing for DIC, as the EED and accrued for most survivors depends on the filing date (except for Nehmer claims)

M21-1MR, Part IV, Subpart iii, Chapter 3, Section B

If …

Then …

accrued benefits are payable other than

  • to hospitalized veterans under 38 CFR 3.1001, or

  • as returned checks under 38 CFR 3.1003

    the application must be filed within one year of the veteran’s death.
    an accrued lump sum is payable under 38 CFR 3.1001
    the application must be filed within five years of the veteran’s death.
    only proceeds of returned and canceled checks are payable under 38 CFR 3.1003
    there is no time limit for filing a claim.

    10. Determining the Effective Date When the Veteran Dies After Separation From Service, Continued

    b. Determining the Effective Date When Death Occurs on or After October 1, 1982

    If the death of a veteran after separation from service occurred on or after October 1, 1982, then the effective date for original awards of death compensation, pension, and DIC is the

    • first day of the month in which the veteran died for claims that are filed within one year after the date of death, or

    • date the claim was received for claims that are not filed within one year after the date of death.

    For children or parents, the effective date is the first day of the calendar month following the death of the veteran.

    For surviving spouses, the effective date is determined under 38 CFR 3.20(b) by the


    rate of benefits payable, and


    date of the claim.


    M21-1MR, Part IV, Subpart iii, Chapter 3, Section B

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