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CAS3
06-25-04, 10:38 AM
Some Survivors Face Deadline for Restored Benefit

WASHINGTON (June 25, 2004) - The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) wants
to ensure that surviving spouses of deceased veterans are aware of an
approaching deadline that may affect entitlement to Dependency and Indemnity
Compensation (DIC) benefits.

Last year, President Bush signed Public Law 108-183, the "Veterans Benefits
Act of 2003," which restores entitlement to DIC and related home loan and
education benefits for surviving spouses who remarry on or after their 57th
birthdays.

VA officials are concerned that surviving spouses may not be aware of this
change in law, or may overlook this benefit if their subsequent marriages
have not ended.

Generally, VA pays DIC to the surviving spouses of military servicemembers
who die while on active duty, and to surviving spouses of veterans whose
death resulted from service-related causes.

The basic monthly rate is $967 and is increased if the surviving spouse has
dependents, is housebound, or meets criteria common to those who need a home
aide. There are additional payments for dependent children. Parents who
were dependent upon the servicemember's income also may qualify for DIC.

Under previous law, surviving spouses who remarried were not eligible for
DIC unless their marriages ended. At that time they could apply for
reinstatement of benefits.

Under the new law, surviving spouses who remarried after age 57 and before
Dec. 16, 2003, have a limited time to apply for restoration of DIC.

They have one year from the date the new law was enacted (Dec. 16, 2003) to
apply for restoration of benefits. If VA receives the application later
than Dec. 15, 2004, restoration of DIC must be denied.

The one-year application period does not apply to other surviving spouses
whose remarriage on or after attaining age 57 followed enactment of the law.

For more information on restoration of DIC, call VA's toll free number at
1-800-827-1000 or visit the nearest VA regional office. Office locations
can be found in the blue pages of local telephone directories.

People who are hearing impaired should call VA at 1-800-829-4833 by use of a
telecommunications device for the deaf (TDD).

More information on benefits and services is available at VA's Internet Web
site www.va.gov <http://www.va.gov> .