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DIC for spouse if veteran dies by accident


David4287

Question

A veteran who has been TDIU for 8 years  dies in a house fire.  Is his spouse entitled to DIC?  Additionally, if a veteran holds a 100% or TDIU rating for more than 10 years can the veteran die of any cause and the spouse receive DIC?

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Hi David4287, Welcome to Hadit. Unless the veteran dies from the service connected disability, he or she has to have 100% for 10 years. After 10, DIC is available for the surviving spouse if she meets the criteria. see https://www.benefits.gov/benefit/290#:~:text=What is this program%3F,service-related injury or disease.

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I  mostly agree with GB Army, but I also agree its not fair to the Spouse.  But, we cant change the rules. 

Its my "unsubstantiated opinion" (and Im not qualified to render a legal opinion, so you should ask an attorney who is familiar with DIC), that this spouse would not get DIC "unless" the fire could be directly linked to service connected conditions. 

Possible "workaround" example:

   TDIU is SC for PTSD.  PTSD causes sleeping dificulties, as well as rage.  Veteran goes into PTSD RAGE, then falls asleep smoking in bed, causing fire.  (Of course this would need to be documented).  This widow may be able to get DIC.   

    Mostly, tho, No.  If the fire was caused by an electrical short, or lighting, probably not. 

    Its one of those legal issues that will likely need to be solved in court..unless VA voluntarily awards benefits. 

My advice is to seek an attorney who has great experience with DIC and ask him or her for advice. 

    As always, I have not read the file, so cant give a good opinion on your case,that is,  if there is an exception that may help you.   But the stakes are high, so "at least talking" with an attorney is a good idea.  Most charge zero for a consultation.  But, ask them that, too, in advance.  (Whether or not the attorney charges for an initial consultation) 

    In Veterans law, most (if not virtually all) attorneys dont charge upfront for a consultation, but are happy to discuss your case.  If you agree to have the attorney represent you, and he offers his services, then you negotiate a fee agreement.  Mostly, your attorney "is not your attorney" until you and your attorney agree to his/her represtation, and the applicable fees.  Typical fees amount to 20 percent of the retro amount, but can vary up to 35 percent, in some cases.  

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Since the OP asked two seperate questions, I will assume that they are asking hypothetical questions, and a Veteran has not burned up in a house fire.

The simple answer is file a claim for DIC, and supply all the evidence you have, i.e., the death certificate and the Veterans information.

You don't need a lawyer until it gets denied.

Remember, a VA grant that dose not make sense is better than a denial that makes sense.  

Carl

 

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  • HadIt.com Elder

I would do as Bronco has suggested.  How many years was the vet 100% before he died?  If not 10 years or direct service connected death it may be decided on technical aspects of law.  This is why you probably need a lawyer.

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  • HadIt.com Elder

If the Vet has PTSD he might have committed suicide as a result.  That would be service connected would it not?

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Yes John it would but expect the va to fight it

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Dot09

 

          Of course, the VA fights if it means money.  VA is just a machine that grinds the bones of vets and spouses.  They should be our advocates instead of foes.  I have delt with those mothers for 50 years.  They will choke on a gnat and swallow a whale.

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Posted (edited)

The answer to the first question is No. A veteran must be rated TDIU or 100% for Ten years prior to death for any reason before the spouse is eligible for DIC.

To answer the 2nd questiion - look back at my last sentence of the first question.

 

Edited by Richard1954
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