Matt Hill: Hello and welcome to another Hill & Ponton video blog. I’m Matthew Hill, here with Carol Ponton. Today we want to answer a question we received recently from one of our veterans and one we get often and that’s regarding survivor’s benefits. The question we get is, what will happen when I die? Will my wife still get benefits? What happens to my claim when I died? Is she eligible for those benefits?
It’s a pretty complicated question, but it’s one where the short answer would be, yes, she could…
Carol Ponton: If.
Matt Hill: Well yes “if”, right. There’s two sets of benefits at issue here. The first set is what are called accrued benefits, meaning the benefits that you have accrued by being in the system. If you’ve watched any of our videos on time frames, you appreciate, and if you’ve been in the system, that it can take anywhere from a year to seven years to get your benefits. If you were to die at some point in that process, your wife could substitute in.
I recently had a wife substitute in on a case where the veteran had been appealing for six years and he actually finally won and then died. She substituted in to take the case back from the Board of Veterans’ Appeals to the regional office to get that case implemented.
The other real quick area is what’s called DIC benefits. It’s a survivor’s plan, basically a monthly payment to where, if a veteran died due to a service-connected disability, then that survivor would get those benefits.
Carol Ponton: The two things that would qualify a widow or widower for that is if the veteran had been totally disabled, 100% disabled for 10 years or more, or if the cause of death was a service-connected problem or if that service-connected problem contributed to the cause of death.
Matt Hill: The short answer is, and we tell all our veterans that we’re not leaving until they or their spouses or even their young children, get the benefits they deserve. Yes, there are opportunities both to get the benefits that the veteran himself was fighting for during that claim and then a continuation of that through the DIC benefits if that disability caused the veteran to pass away. Thank you for joining us.