2017 DIC COLA Announced

2017 DIC COLA Announced

The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has announced the cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) for the Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (DIC) Program – but recipients of the benefit might not notice much change with the 2017 DIC COLA.

In a Federal Register posting on January 24, 2017, the VA announced the 2017 DIC COLA payment increase. Public Law 114-197 requires the VA to increase the benefit payable under the DIC program by the same percentage, and effective the same date, as the increases in the benefit payable under Social Security. Effective December 1, 2016, the COLA increase was 0.3%.

The Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (DIC) Program Criteria

DIC is a monthly payment made to a surviving spouse, dependent child, or in some cases, a parent. The legal authority under which DIC is payable determines the eligibility criteria and recipients; here are several examples:

  • 38 USC 1318 – Payment to a surviving spouse or child because the Veteran had been rated as totally disabled due to a service-connected disability prior to his/her death, typically for at least 10 years
  • 38 USC 1151 – Payment to a surviving spouse, child, or parent because of death due to VA medical treatment
  • 38 USC 1310 – Payment to a surviving spouse or child when the principal or contributory cause of death shown on the death certificate matches one or more of the deceased Veteran’s service-connected disabilities
  • 38 USC 1310 – Payment to a surviving spouse or child when the cause of death is a presumptive disability and the evidence shows the veterans meets the particular presumptive criteria

Rates

Effective December 1, 2016, the basic monthly rate payable to a surviving spouse increased to $1,257.95. The new rate is $3.76 greater than the rate in effect since December 2014.

The total amount of the DIC monthly payment can vary, depending on the circumstances of the case. Here are some common additions to the basic monthly rate:

  • If veteran was totally disabled for a continuous 8 years prior to death and the surviving spouse was married to the veteran for the same eight years – add $267.12
  • For each dependent child under the age of 18 – add $311.64
  • If the surviving spouse is entitled to aid and attendance benefits – add $311.64
  • If the surviving spouse is entitled to housebound benefits – add $145.99
  • If the surviving spouse has one or more children under the age of 18 – add $270.00

References:

  • VA Adjudication Procedures Manual, M21-1, Part IV, Subpart iii, Chapter 1, Section A, Topic 2
  • VA Adjudication Procedures Manual, M21-1, Part IV, Subpart iii, Chapter 2, Section A
  • Public Law 114-197 – Veterans’ Compensation COLA Act of 2016
  • 38 USC 1318 Benefits for survivors of certain veterans totally disabled at time of death
  • 38 USC 1310 Deaths entitling survivors to dependency and indemnity compensation
  • 38 USC 1151 Benefits for persons disabled by treatment or vocational rehabilitation
  • 38 CFR 3.5 Dependency and indemnity compensation [General]
  • 38 CFR 3.22 DIC benefits for survivors of certain veterans rated totally disabled at time of death
  • 38 CFR 3.358 Compensation for disability or death from hospitalization, medical or surgical treatment, examinations or vocational rehabilitation training
  • 38 CFR 3.702 Dependency and indemnity compensation [Concurrent benefits and elections]

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