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jvretiredvet

No Svc Connection

Question

My husband passed away 10 months ago and never received any disability benefits. He was in the Gulf War, his death certificate says intra cranial hemorrhage, respiratory failure, and thrombocytopenia. Its also says lymphoma contributed to his death. Do you think I am eligible for DIC benefits?

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The best answer I can give is possibly. You will need to obtain a copy of all the service records. (dd214, medical records, deployment records, etc.) If your deceased husband was treated for things such as concussion, TBI, etc., or the records show exposure to IUD's etc., there is a good chance. Just remember there is a time limit to file. and 10 months has already passed. If I remember correctly, you have just short of two months left to file.

You can file without supporting documents if that's what's needed to make the deadline.

It's likely to be a bit of a fight.

Edited by Chuck75

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I'm sorry for your loss.

The following should give my posse something to talk about .. I'm certain that if I'm incorrect in any fashion, my posse will pick at it.

However long, the following is only a superficial overview of the process of getting survivors benefits. It includes some jargon, VA concepts, medical concepts, etc., in other words, a pretty steep learning curve. In trying to write something more-or-less comprehensive, I may have used not specifically accurate verbiage, not covered all possibilities ... but I hope it's a start.

The only immediate benefits, without a great deal of effort on your part, you might qualify for is Death Pension. Death Pension is payable to a surviving spouse if the veteran dies from a non-service connected reason. However (and there always is a however), the amount of any Death Pension is limited severely by your assets and your other income(s), whether taxable or non-taxable. Unless you are totally unemployed, do not receive SS, do not receive any retirement benefits, do not have a great deal of assets, you would not receive any additional funds. Here is the VA website that briefly describes Survivor Benefits http://www.va.gov/op...fits_chap12.asp .

Another possibility is Dependents Indemnity Compensation (DIC). DIC is payable if the evidence shows that the veteran died from a service connected condition or died from A disease or injury incurred or aggravated in the line of duty while on active duty or active duty for training. However, I see this as a long-shot and will require a great deal of work and effort on your part. The fact that your husband was not receiving any VA disabilities is not a bar to you receiving any benefits, but it certainly does complicate the matter somewhat.

I hope this is not too inappropriate but I'm going to guess that your late husband's lymphoma led to the thrombocytopaenia; the thrombocytopaenia contributed to or exacerbated the intracranial hemorrhage; and, the <presumed> increased intracranial pressure led or contributed to respiratory failure. It's remote, and will require a great deal of work and research on your part, but you might want to pursue DIC on the basis of the lymphoma. Oh yeah, you'll also need a lot of time and patience.

The two main methods of service connection (or qualifying for Survivors Benefits) are presumptive and direct basis.

"Presumptive" means that a burden of proof is essentially lower, in that if a veteran was exposed to certain things and later developed certain diseases, the link between service and the disease is "presumed" and service connection may be granted. However (again with the however), in 2008 and 2010 the Institute of Medicine (IOM) addressed the Gulf War (SW Asia) ; here is the 2008 report http://www.nap.edu/o...=12183&page=193 , and the 2010 report essentially is the same. For lymphoma, the IOM addressed only exposure to depleted uranium but found no connection. So, I see presumptive as not a real player at this moment. While some conditions currently are considered GW presumptive, lymphoma isn't one of them ... but, that doesn't mean it never will become presumptive. .

The other method is what is called "Direct", i.e., something during your husband's service was the direct cause of the lymphoma, however perhaps delayed by years. This will require detailed knowledge and provable evidence of your late husband's provable exposures to chemicals or other environmental factors.

Then, you'll need a physician (preferably someone well-versed in environmental medicine or perhaps an oncologist who deals with lymphomas) to write a well-supported medical opinion that states that this <chemical/environmental factor> exposure was a direct however delayed cause of the lymphoma. You will also need a medical opinion that the lymphoma->thrombocytopaenia->intracranial hemorrhage->increased intracranial pressure->respiratory failure linkage was causative to your husband's passing.

If you can get this information and do file a claim for DIC, it's very likely that the local VA Regional Office will deny the claim. You then can appeal to the Board of Veterans Appeals (BVA) . The BVA has granted service connection for lymphoma on a direct basis, even for GW vets, long after service ... you might want to do some research on the BVA site http://www.index.va....rch/va/bva.html . It's tedious.

As for my esteemed colleague who just opined that there is a time limit to file, that is incorrect ... there is no time limit to file. However, if you file a claim within one year of your husband's passing, the effective date (if the claim is granted) will be the date of his date. If you wait to beyond one year, the effective date would be the date the VA received your claim.

Good luck.

My husband passed away 10 months ago and never received any disability benefits. He was in the Gulf War, his death certificate says intra cranial hemorrhage, respiratory failure, and thrombocytopenia. Its also says lymphoma contributed to his death. Do you think I am eligible for DIC benefits?

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