VA Dependency and Indemnity Compensation Rates in 2021
Memorial Day, originally known as Decoration Day, honors our fellow Americans who died while serving in the United States military. Every year this holiday brings with it a bittersweet tone marked by the loss and celebration of lives that demonstrated great valor. Often when this holiday comes around, it's focused on those who served, but what about the sacrifices of the spouses and children of those who served as well?
- Although the minimum monthly rate of VA DIC 2021 benefits is $1,357.56 for surviving spouses as of December 2020, compensation may be higher if the Veteran was totally disabled for eight years or more while married, if the surviving spouse is disabled, and/or if the children are under age 18.
- For the surviving spouse or child of a Veteran who died before January 1, 1993, monthly VA DIC benefits are based on the Veteran’s pay grade category and the matching monthly payment (the minimum rate is also $1,357.56).
- When the Veteran doesn’t have a surviving spouse who’s eligible for VA DIC, surviving children will be eligible if they are under age 18, between 18 and 23 and in a VA-approved school program, or were disabled prior to 18 (i.e. helpless children).
- VA survivor benefits are tax-exempt which means that spouses and children will not have to pay any taxes on their compensation payments.
For our data, which comes from the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs, VA Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (VA DIC) was defined as a tax-free monetary benefit provided to the eligible surviving spouse or child of a service member who died in the line of duty, or the survivor of a Veteran who died from a service-related injury or illness. It is important to note compensation may vary for spouses or children with disabilities, if the children are under the age of 18, or if they are between 18 and 23 in a VA-approved program. As a result, monthly VA DIC benefits for 2021 may be higher for these special populations.
|Pay Grade||Monthly Payment ($)|
|Enlisted veteran’s pay grade|
|E-1, E-2, E-3, E-4, E-5, E-6||1,357.56|
|E-9 special capacity||1,669.31|
|Warrant officer pay grade|
|Officer pay grade|
|O-10 special capacity||3,110.67|
As of 2021, VA DIC rates vary across surviving spouses and children, associated disabilities, dependent ages, and military pay grades. Favorably, the minimum monthly rate of VA DIC 2021 benefits loom around $1,357.56 for surviving spouses whether Veterans died before or after January 1, 1993. However, VA DIC compensation may increase if the Veteran was totally disabled for eight years or more while married; if the spouse is disabled; the family has more than nine children; or if the children are under age 18, between 18 and 23 in an approved school, or were disabled before 18.
|Number of Veteran’s Eligible Children||Monthly Rate per Child ($)||Total Monthly Payment ($)|
Fortunately, U.S. recognition of military service spans the life and death of a Veteran. While this article primarily focused on VA DIC benefits, other survival benefits exist as well to help Veterans and their families. These include pensions; health care benefits for spouses, dependents, and family caregivers; and education benefits. As a result, VA DIC may affect compensations related to the VA Survivors Pension or Survivor Benefit Plans. In the event that surviving spouses or children are eligible for both DIC and Survivors Pension benefits, they will be paid whichever benefit is the most and will not receive both.
Furthermore, programs such as the VA loan program provide $0-down mortgages issued by private lenders and guaranteed by Veteran Affairs. These loans, which vary in volume and amount across the nation, are available to service members, veterans, and military spouses.
We are now aware that VA DIC compensation rates vary between surviving spouses and children of Veterans, especially if the children are over the age of 18. Considering the stipulations around children over the age of 18, mainly those not in a VA-approved program, should there be some additional benefits considered to offer more assistance? Why or why not? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.