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Getting A Dic Claim Status


Berta

Question

I used to use IRIS for a status of any pending claims.

However, some of my IRISes went unanswered.

Still it is often a good way to get a status of a DIC claim.

Unfortunately widows.widowers cannot use ebenefits but if you call 1-800-827-1000 and click on the #1 first when prompted and then click on # 7 for ebenefits, -if you actually get a person, tell them you are a widow and cannot use ebenefits and they can give you a status on your claim.

The 800# is often very busy to include the # 7 access to ebenefits but -if you call 'after hours' as the VA 800# robot says, at the # 7 ebenefits thing, you can acquire an appointment time in which hopefully VA will call you back during their regular working hours.

I cannot comprehend why widows or widowers cannot use the ebenefits feature but that is the way it is.

Last year every time VA said they would call me back, they did.

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  • HadIt.com Elder

To me spouses are just like veterans and should be treated as such. Spouses should not be second class claimants. I think of the situation my wife will face if she lives longer than I do. It does not fill me with confidence. Her income from SSA, civil service and the VA will be more than cut in half. I was main breadwinner. She quit her job to stay home with me and take me to appointments when I was too stoned to make it, not to mention cooking and cleaning. Her job paid few benefits anyway with no decent pension or retirement medical benefits. Life in a "Right to Work" state.

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I had no idea as to find out about how my DIC was going, if it was even going. I filed the end of October 2012 and it was received on 11/02/12. They received the application two months after Rockman passed away. The state veterans guy keeps calling me saying that he is returning my call- even though I have not called him. I went thru my county VSO to file the claim and I am so glad that I did. The only thing that the state people have was the form I filled out letting them be able to check on the status of my DIC. I will use the 800# when I want to check on things. It will be easier than leaving a call and getting it returned 3-4 weeks later.

The state guy kept insisting that since the claim was not received until the November 2nd, I would miss out on November completely and the effective date would not begin until December. He would not even listen that since I filed within one year from death ( and actually it was two months), that it would go back to the date of death. He said that in his 5 years, he has never seen it paid like this. Maybe he has been hiding under some type of "rock". I was also told not to even expect any money to maybe May. What do widows do in the meantime?? Now you can see why I went with my local VSO and he is also a dear friend.

Yes, spouses should be able to check the status of things just like the veteran could!!

If I am confused about the DIC and the correct effective date, just jump in and tell me.

Celia

Mrs. Rockman

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I hope MANY vets out there take the time to read posts in this forum and make sure their spouses get up to speed on the internet and know how to use this site ,as they might need it in time for -regarding DIC.

Although I am sure many VSOs and vet reps understand DIC , there are obviously plenty out there who still don't.

The state rep gave this widow completely ridiculous information that in no way complies with basic VA 101 and the DIC regs.

“The state guy kept insisting that since the claim was not received until the November 2nd, I would miss out on November completely and the effective date would not begin until December. He would not even listen that since I filed within one year from death ( and actually it was two months), that it would go back to the date of death. He said that in his 5 years, he has never seen it paid like this. “

My representation from a state veteran's organization was so poor years ago that I reported them to the General Counsel.

You are correct.

The 'state guy '(I had to edit what I first called him here) seems to have DIC completely confused with regular SC compensation claims.

"If the death of a veteran after separation from service occurred before October 1, 1982, then the effective date for original awards of death compensation, pension, and Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (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.

  • Source: M21-1MR, Part IV, Subpart iii, Chapter 3, Section B 3-B-5 ."

The Nehmer regulations on EED for Agent Orange deaths under the 2010 AO regulations are diferent but I a assuming this is not a Nehmer death claim.

Once a survivor establishes the earliest effective date for DIC (by filing the 21-534 within the first year after death, that EED is preserved forever.

What I mean is I filed for DIC within one year of my husband's death under both direct SC and 1151 DIC.

The 1151 DIC was awarded about 3 years later.

The direct SC death was awarded 15 years later under AO DMII.

Then my 2012 AO Nehmer award again reestablished that my EED for DIC was the month my husband had died, 18 years ago, due not only to DMII, but also due to IHD from AO as direct cause of death.

Accrued benefits as well (except for Nehmer claims) depend on the 21-534 being filed within one year after death.

This significant fact garnered me a retro accrued SMC award ,under my CUE claim,18 years posthumously ,based on medical evidence in VA's possession at time of my husband's death that VA misapplied SMC regs to, thus the CUE, because my accrued benefits claim was filed within the original 21-534 application and part of the accrued ( 3 years PTSD at 100% ) was resolved about 2 years after filing the 21-534 and prior to the DIC award.

DIC regulations are often complex ,depending on the circumstances, and none of my former vet reps understood them at all and never showed the slightest bit of support or any of my claims.

The BVA is full of years of DIC claims- denied at a regional level, that,in my opinion, in many cases ,were messed up by incompetent vet reps as well as by the VA itself.

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Mrs Rockman, I seemed to imply that the “after hour” telephone request works smoothly but I haven't called the VA 800# in about a year and spoke too soon.

I made the 'after hours' call to 800# on Saturday and the VA robot gave me a call back time from 12:15 to 12: 30 today.

At 12:29 today the call came from the VA and I had to wait only about 1 or 2 minutes before a live VA person came on the line.

She asked me for my C file number, the veterans full name, branch of service, etc and then told me the VA computers had been down all day and I would have to call back to make another phone appointment.

I said, cant you call me back when the PCs are up again and she said no, you need to call us back at the 800# when the computers are running again. ( like I know when that would be )

I think I might use Iris instead.But I guess IRIS PCS are down too. I filed the claim in question in October so there is probably no status at all but NVLSP told me to file it with both the Phila RO as well as Buffalo VARO so I just wanted to determine if jurisdiction has been determined yet for any future submissions of evidence, if needed.

I also wanted to see if they lost my September 1151 claim yet as well as they had lost my original AO IHD claim in 2010 and only by using IRIS did I know that and I sent it all in again. I dont expect VCAA letters on my claims but you will surely get a VCAA letter that must contain information regarding the Hupp V Principi decision on your DIC claim.

These VCAA letters are our duty to Assist rights and they are extremely important.I have seen many widows claims denied at the RO and then set for the long BVA wait only to be remanded by the BVA back to the RO because the lack of the Hupp criteria ,in the VCAA letter ,which in many cases, prejudiced the surviving spouses rights.

What gets me is VA intends to go entirely paperless but if their claims computers go down a lot what good is a paperless VA? And who knows how many medical records will get screwed up via their computers?

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Berta, I also tried to call the 800 # idiots and all I got was that they were busy and to call back later on.

"The 'state guy '(I had to edit what I first called him here) seems to have DIC completely confused with regular SC compensation claims."

I also called him by a few "choice" words myself, but I will not use any of them in my posting, but each and every one of them suited him very well!!!

My county VSO said that I should have received a packet in the mail stating what benefits that I was eligible for. Since Rockman was not awarded the 100 P&T until March of 2012 ( and was retroactive from 09/29/11), he said that maybe Milwaukee was not aware that he was 100 P&T at the time of death. He likes to send in as much info that he can and then some.This way if they need something in particular, then they have it and do not have to ask for it. If they do not need something, then oh well, they have it anyway.

When we mailed in the DIC, we included the award letter for the 100%, so that there would not be any questions.

"The Nehmer regulations on EED for Agent Orange deaths under the 2010 AO regulations are diferent but I a assuming this is not a Nehmer death claim."

Rockman did die from cardiac arrest and he was 100% service connected for his Agent Orange IHD at the time of death. It is also well documented on the death certificate. I waited to file for my DIC, because I wanted to have the death certificate sent in at the same time. I know you do not want to give the VA any reason to try and "stall" the process, but they can always find reasons to stall and deny a claim.

I know it may be a long while before I get any payments, but still it is hard. You waited a long time yourself!

"What gets me is VA intends to go entirely paperless but if their claims computers go down a lot what good is a paperless VA? And who knows how many medical records will get screwed up via their computers?"

And the benefactor is;oh! let me guess, aye the VA itself! What a shame that they would not have any medical records to support your claim. Hey, they sorta do that right now.

Sorry this is so long. Today has been such a horrible day that I just thought to myself- this is what it will be like for the rest of my life! It is not easy and I know that this will be the hardest thing that I will ever have to do. You just have to take each day one day at a time and sometimes it is hour by hour.

On a similar note- Berta have you ever heard of the book "Widow to Widow"

  • by
  • Genevieve Davis Ginsburg?
  • Our daughter knows someone who is also a widow who said that this book really helped her and it was a must read.
  • If you have any suggestions for other books that may be helpful, just let me know if you do not mind.
  • God Bless!
  • Celia, Mrs. Rockman

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Celia, the IRIS System is found if you click on "Contact Us" at http://www.va.gov/

I always wrote my question in my officeorg program and then copied and pasted it into the Inquiry area at the IRIS link so that

I could make it as easy for them to understand as possible.

It used to be IRIS would send you a email with a link to the IRIS response and I guess that is still the way it works.

I was widowed twice and both husbands had 2 Honorable Discharges. When the Army husband I had died, I was working so many hours everyday with a trip to the hospital daily, I had no time to get any counselling or read any books on grief.

He had been hospitalized for 2 years so his death was not an unforeseen possibility but I still have grief over it as he was so young.

When Rod died it was a total shock to me because although he was severely disabled, VA had given him a clean bill of health to go into the PTSD In house program and he had only been home for 3 weeks from that. Within 36 hours after his death I found evidence of a medication error caused by the Bath VA pharmacy and within a few weeks ( VA was different then-no big backlog,)

I had received a copy of his medical records and after deciphering them (almost all hand written except for blood chem stuff etc.)I knew the VA had caused his death.

My grief was compounded by overwhelming anger .

The only people I found who seemed to be dealing with a similiar type of grief were families of murder victims ....

They had all experienced a death of a loved one that was senseless and very sudden , and a feeling of utter helplessness,loss and extreme anger.

The televised interviews with the Goldman and Brown family over the Brentwood murders , that caused the 1995 OJ Simpson trial, helped me to shape my grief better and then somehow deal with it.

Also Rod made me make 2 promises hours before he died.

Fulfilling those promises helped me get through it all too.

I dont recall reading any books on widowhood. I had read something in college that made a huge impact on me.

Someone said when you are grief stricken and feel empty, you must give away what you do not have,to become full again.

I think Mohatma Gandhi said that.And I think I figured out what he meant.

I started to volunteer at the VA again ( I was a former Vet Center volunteer) and I joined the local volunteer fire department

about a year after Rod died. I also began to help local veterans with their VA claims.

This doesn't work for everyone,of course, but I found by doing something for someone else , I didn't dwell on my grief as much. It didnt control me anymore. It is always there of course, but our loved ones don't want us to endlessly suffer when they are gone.

Just by being here and sharing your situation, I feel you are helping others out there. And that help is very valuable.

50% of all married people,to include our beloved nation's veterans , will certainly know someday exactly how you feel.

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  • HadIt.com Elder

I am encouraging Berta to write a short book on DIC and I will be first to buy it for my wife. Berta is an expert on my VA areas, but DIC and 1151 are special areas of expertise.

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John, that is a good idea but I think in a way I sort of wrote a book about DIC in this forum over the last 10 years.

I used the annual VBM since 1991 for my original DIC claim in 1994 as well as for my husband's 1151 claim that I continued when he died and the VBMs always contained the main DIC regs with any changes over the years.

All of the DIC regulations are pretty cut and dried and available here and within 38 USC,38 CFR and M21-1MR.

The problems occur when the cause of death involves a complex issue and the DIC claim doesn't fall under any other criteria in the regulations and the survivor must prove then that death was caused or contributed to by a service connected condition,or what should have been a SC condition.

That type of DIC claim ,in most cases, requires a very strong IMO.

If it is a Section 1151 DIC claim, it definitely needs an IMO,unless the 1151 issue has already been granted to the veteran in his or her lifetime and it has contributed to the veteran's death as noted on the death certificate and within any autopsy done.

It outrages me when I still see claims at the BVA from survivors, that are remanded for violations of the VCAA.I passed on a suggestion on that , to the TVC with 2 other ideas I had that could impact on the backlog.

The backlog started at the regional offices. ( and the backlog was perpetrated ,in my opinion ,by vet reps and VSOs who don't have the goonyats to question erroneous decisions right from the git go -or are so incompetent they dont even know to challenge a denial decision) That is another point I made to the TVC, in a little more diplomatic way.

The backlog must end at the regional office level. That is where it all began. It is not the fault of the BVA or of the CAVC and those entities are plagued by it's consequences.

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  1. Berta, your posting was so heartfelt and you do know what I am going through now. If you have never been in our place,you can empathize with a person and be very sincere about it, but you cannot know what that person is actually going through. When you are going through the grieving process, your feelings are all over the place and you never know what will spark a memory and you just end up stopping where you are and just start crying. Your emotions are everywhere.
  2. Berta, when I see what you yourself have gone through in your life, it gives me inspiration that I can also persevere and make it through all of the rough times.
  3. David knew he did not have much time and told me over and over all day that he loved me. He would say that he wanted me to know he loved me, no matter what. He wanted to make sure that when he left his world, I would know he loved me. When I think of this, that was such a beautiful thing to do. He also wanted me to be able to carry on long after and not to give up. I know that it seems impossible right now, but I will make it through this dark time for Rockman and for myself.

I do hope with all sincerity that my postings are not in any way bringing up painful memories for you, for this is not my intention. Posting has some sort of therapeutic effect and maybe it is just that you are putting it down in print how you are feeling at the time. It kind of helps release some of your pinned up feelings and frustrations too.

"My grief was compounded by overwhelming anger ."

I had also forgotten how very angry I was with the VA and how much I wanted to go after them with every bit of energy I had and even more!! When we found out in 2010 that VA knew Rockman had Interstitial lung disease at least as of 04/29/05 at his Agent Orange Registry Exam , we were both furious!! We also had very good private insurance at the time and could have gotten plenty of care. Va only sent him page 1 & page 2 for the summary of the AO Exam. Page 3 contained the interstitial lung disease diagnosis and was discovered when we began printing up his progress notes etc.

LESSON #1- You need to routinely go to the ROI Office and have them print up your medical notes etc. If you do print them about every other exam or about every 3 times, you should be able to sit and wait on them in the ROI Office. They may make you come back in an hour or so. If you wait until you have too much to print, then they have to mail them to you. This can take sometimes several several weeks. IT IS TRULY AMAZING WHAT USEFUL INFORMATION YOU FIND OUT READING YOUR OWN RECORDS!! GET COPIES ! GET COPIES! GET COPIES! PROTECT YOURSELF!

"Someone said when you are grief stricken and feel empty, you must give away what you do not have,to become full again."

This is such good advice and thank you for sharing it. It may be awhile before I can get to that point, but I will one day. I still attend the family support group with the Vet Center weekly and it is such a blessing! I am determined to learn as much as I can concerning PTSD. The guys there have been terrific and always checking on me and are truly concerned about my well being.

BERTA-GUESS WHAT... I forgot to mention this at the top of my posting!

I decided to call the 800 idiots this morning and was only on hold about 5 minutes and did talk to a "LIVE PERSON"!!

She said that it would be about 4 months from Nov, 2nd(when they received the DIC packet) before I may get anything. She said that Milwaukee knew he was 100% P&T at the time of death. My county VSO was worried that they may not have been aware of this and it could hold things up. Just in case, we sent in a copy of the P&T award letter with all of the other DIC info.

Also I went on to eBenefits and looked up the A&A claim that they denied on 08/13/12 and it shows what they did not receive. This was never there before and now it suddenly appears. I guess more research, but will address it later.

Once again, I ended up posting more than I thought that I would .

Thank you for listening.

God Bless!

Celia, Mrs. Rockman (for I will always be Mrs. Rockman!).

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