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ARLINGTON, Va. — Surviving spouses of veterans have until year’s end to apply for Dependency and Indemnity Compensation benefits that were ended because they had remarried.

Under the Veterans Benefits Act of 2003, veterans’ surviving spouses can continue to collect DIC even if they remarry, provided they are 57 years or older at the time they remarry.

Because of the law, widows and widowers who stopped getting the monthly benefit because they remarried have until Dec. 15 to apply to have it restarted, said Terry Jemison, a spokesman for the Department of Veterans Affairs.

The law’s grandfather clause applies to those who remarried after age 57, and before Dec. 16, 2003.

“We are very concerned about getting the word out to them. Because they have not been on our rolls since remarriage and we are not in touch with them, we don’t always have a good address to reach them in our direct mail attempts to alert them to their possible new eligibility,” Jemison said.

“We’ve tried the conventional ‘women’s magazines’ that might appeal to older women and haven’t gotten much interest from those periodicals. [They are a] [h]ard demographic to reach in generalized outreach.”

Widows and widowers who remarry before their 57th birthday are barred from getting the DIC benefit, unless the subsequent marriage ends, and they remain barred while remarried even when they reach 57, Jemison said.

The DIC benefit is paid to survivors of military personnel who die in the line of duty while on active duty or active duty for training. If the member dies during inactive duty for training, benefits are payable in some cases, and payment is sometimes authorized if a member dies after service, if the death is due to a service-connected disability.

Because there are so many variables, Jemison suggests surviving spouses contact a benefit claims worker by calling (800) 827-1000.

The basic monthly rate for surviving spouses is $967, and $241 per child. There are several other allowances provided, and details of those can be found at: www.vba.va.gov/bln/21/Rates/comp03.htm#BM01


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