Dependency Indemnity Compensation Appeals

Dependency Indemnity Compensation Appeals

Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (DIC) is a tax-free monthly cash benefit paid to eligible survivors of military servicemembers who died in the line of duty or eligible survivors of Veterans whose death resulted from a service-related injury or disease.

 

The US Code of Law states:

A surviving spouse of a qualifying veteran who died as a result of a service‐connected disability is entitled to receive dependency and indemnity compensation. 38 U.S.C.A. § 1310; 38 C.F.R. § 3.312.

The US Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) further clarifies this law:

A veteran’s death is considered due to a service‐connected disability when the evidence establishes that such disability was either the principal or a contributory cause of death.  The service‐connected disability will be considered as the principal (primary) cause of death when such disability, singly or jointly with some other condition, was the immediate or underlying cause of death or was etiologically related thereto.  38 CFR § 3.312(b).

A contributory cause of death is inherently unrelated to the principal cause.  In determining whether the service‐connected disability contributed to death, a claimant must show that it contributed substantially or materially, that it combined to cause death, and that it aided or lent assistance to the production of death.  It is not sufficient to show that it casually shared in producing death, but rather it must be shown that there was a causal connection.  38 CFR § 3.312(c)(1).

The primary causes of death are so overwhelming that eventual death can be anticipated irrespective of coexisting conditions.  But, even in such cases, there is for consideration whether there may be a reasonable basis for holding that a service-connected condition was of such severity as to have a material influence in accelerating death.  In this situation, however, it would not generally be reasonable to hold that a service‐connected condition accelerated death unless such condition affected a vital organ and was of a progressive or debilitating nature.  38 CFR § 3.312(c)(4).

 
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