Veterans Dependency and Indemnity Compensation for Mesothelioma

Expert Fact Checked

This page was legally reviewed by Jennifer Lucarelli. For information on our content creation and review process read our editorial guidelines. If you notice an error or have comments or questions on our content please contact us.

Jennifer Lucarelli Legal Advisor and Contributor

Veterans Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (DIC) is a benefit available to family members of veterans who died from a service-related injury or illness. Mesothelioma and other asbestos diseases are service-related if the veteran was exposed during their duties. VA DIC offers financial help to spouses, parents and children.

01. What Is VA DIC?

What Is VA Dependency and Indemnity Compensation?

Veterans Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (DIC) is a monetary benefit for veteran families. It is offered to surviving family members of deceased veterans through the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). This form of compensation is for those who have lost a loved one to a service-related injury or illness.

Family members may be eligible for VA DIC if a loved one died from an asbestos illness related to their time serving in the military. Mesothelioma is considered a service-related disease when veterans develop the cancer from exposure during their time in the military.

To seek DIC, loved ones must first file a VA claim. VA claims have different programs for compensation awards, one of which is DIC.

02. VA DIC Eligibility

Who Qualifies for VA DIC?

VA DIC claimants must be a parent, spouse or child of a deceased veteran. The veteran must have either died in the line of duty or died from a service-related injury or illness.

Mesothelioma and lung cancer may be considered service-related diseases. This is the case for asbestos victims exposed during their time in the military.

There are additional conditions family members must meet to be eligible for this form of compensation.

For example, eligible children must be under 18 and unmarried. Children also cannot be receiving support from a surviving spouse’s compensation to be eligible. For spouses, there are restrictions around the time and duration of marriage, among other requirements.

VA DIC for Mesothelioma

Mesothelioma may constitute a service-related illness, allowing families to qualify for VA DIC. Mesothelioma victims must have a diagnosis related to asbestos exposure during their military service. Common exposures across military branches include:

  • Air Force: Asbestos was used on Air Force bases and within mechanical equipment.
  • Army: Asbestos was used at military bases and in military vehicles.
  • Coast Guard: Asbestos was used on ships and Coast Guard equipment.
  • Marine Corps: Asbestos was prevalent aboard ships, aircraft, vehicles and in various mechanical applications.
  • Navy: Asbestos was prevalent on ships and at naval shipyards.

Members of the armed forces were often exposed when asbestos products were disturbed from damage, wear and tear or when undergoing repairs and maintenance.

Other asbestos-related diseases resulting from exposure in the military may include asbestosis and lung cancer. Family members of veterans who developed one of these illnesses may also be eligible for compensation.

Surviving family members of veterans who had an asbestos disease should talk with a mesothelioma attorney. An experienced lawyer can offer legal help to family members of veterans. They can navigate eligibility requirements and the types of compensation available.

03. Benefits of VA DIC

Benefits of Dependency and Indemnity Compensation

VA DIC can help families with outstanding medical bills and loss of income. Mesothelioma treatment can be costly. Filing a VA claim may help families recover compensation to mitigate these fees. VA DIC rates can vary based on several factors, such as who is filing.

VA DIC Benefits Amount

Surviving spouses may receive $1,500 or more a month.

Surviving children may receive $650 or more a month.

Surviving parents’ benefits may vary greatly based on current income and other factors.

Additional amounts can be added for certain circumstances. The VA website provides updated information on benefit rates.

Are VA DIC Benefits Taxable?

VA DIC is a tax-exempt monthly payment.

It is not considered taxable income and claimants will not have to pay taxes on their monthly compensation payments.

For help understanding DIC payments, recipients can seek help from an accredited VA representative.

04. How to Apply for DIC

How to Apply for VA Dependency and Indemnity Compensation

To receive VA DIC, individuals must first file a VA claim. The claim-filing process differs based on the claimant’s relationship to the veteran. The VA’s DIC page provides forms to download, complete and submit the appropriate documentation. A VA-accredited claims agent can also help individuals submit a successful claim.

VA DIC applications can be completed by:

  • Mailing the appropriate form to a state’s Pension Management Center (PMC)
  • Visiting a VA regional office and receiving help from a VA employee
  • Working with an accredited representative

Claimants may need to collect certain documentation to support their claim. This may include medical records proving an asbestos diagnosis, discharge papers, source of asbestos exposure and more. Requirements will differ based on the person filing (spouse, child or parent).

For claims specific to asbestos-related illnesses, a mesothelioma attorney can also offer help. If ineligible for a VA claim, surviving loved ones of a veteran with mesothelioma may be eligible for other types of compensation. An experienced law firm can explain all options and help with the filing process.

05. Other VA Benefits

Other Benefits for Veterans and Their Families

The VA offers several other veterans benefits, including other types of compensation and health care.

Veterans and loved ones may also seek other forms of compensation, including:

  • Claims Based on Special Circumstances: The VA offers specialized disability compensation for veterans through various special compensation programs.
  • Special Monthly Compensation (SMC): Veterans or surviving family members may be eligible for this tax-free monthly benefit. It is often called “aid and attendance.” SMC provides additional support to veterans with special circumstances, such as the loss of an arm or leg.
  • VA Disability Compensation: Veterans with a service-related disability may be eligible for this tax-free benefit. Service members are given a disability rating on a scale of 0% – 100% (mesothelioma is considered 100% disabling) to determine payouts.
  • VA Survivors Pension Benefits: Surviving spouses and unmarried dependent children of veterans may be eligible for VA Survivors Pension. This is a monthly payment for those who meet certain income and net worth limitations.

Asbestos victims can also pursue legal options outside of the VA for financial help. These options include asbestos trust funds and settlements and verdicts from mesothelioma lawsuits. Mesothelioma attorneys can help victims navigate options specific to asbestos victims.

Family members may be eligible for other VA benefits, including help with:

  • Burial benefits and memorial items
  • Educational or career counseling
  • Health care through government programs, like the Civilian Health and Medical Program of the Department of Veterans Affairs (CHAMPVA) and the Veterans Community Care Program
  • Home loan programs or financial counseling
  • Life insurance coverage, claims and beneficiaries
  • Paying for education or training
  • VA national cemetery burials

The VA provides a list of resources for surviving loved ones. VA agents can also help navigate options available to those who have lost a loved one after their time in the military.

06. Common Questions

Common Questions About Veterans Dependency and Indemnity Compensation for Mesothelioma

Is VA Dependency and Indemnity Compensation a lifetime benefit?

VA DIC can be a lifetime benefit, depending on an individual’s case. For surviving spouses, DIC benefits usually last indefinitely, or until the spouse remarries. For dependent children of veterans, DIC benefits last until the child reaches the age of 18, or 23 if they are in school.

Can you get DIC and VA disability at the same time?

Yes – a person can claim multiple benefits from the VA at the same time. These benefits may be through a variety of VA programs. VA disability compensation is for veterans who sustained injuries or illness during their active service.