This article will explain the DIC Effective Date Loophole. You will learn how to qualify. Then, we’ll present a case study.
Oftentimes a complex interplay is present between SSA benefits and DIC benefits. Even though they are both government disability benefit programs.
For example, eligibility for SSA death benefits does not necessarily mean you are eligible for DIC benefits. As a matter of fact, in a few cases, SSA benefits could hurt your DIC application.
The Effective Date of Benefits is another example. Normally, DIC benefits begin the date of the Veteran’s passing. Assuming you apply for DIC benefits within a year. In some cases, SSA death benefits could move the eligibility date back. So, the Veterans Administration could owe significant back payments.
Qualifying for the Loophole
The Pension Management Center (PMC) is the entity that processes the DIC claims. They often get the effective date of DIC claims wrong. To obtain the correct effective date for your DIC benefits, a diligent San Diego Veterans Administration benefits attorney must bring the loophole to the PMC’s attention. As well as aggressively stand up for your financial rights.
The passage at issue is an obscure part of the Veterans Administration administrative code. A prior application for SSA death benefits could also be considered as an application for DIC benefits. Under 38 CFR 3.153. In other words, many people may have applied for DIC benefits and not even know it.
In these situations, the back pay date is the date of the Veteran’s passing. Instead of the date of the DIC application.
This DIC eligibility loophole only applies if the applicant has never made a separate application for DIC or similar VA benefits. Additionally, the claimant must not have had a prior denial of benefits.
A Case Study
This loophole is especially common in Agent Orange-related applications. The VA is still adding to the list of fatal conditions that are linked to this herbicide. Additionally, the VA is still expanding the eligibility group. That was the situation in a 2016 VA case.
The unnamed Veteran served in the Republic of Vietnam during the Vietnam War era. Therefore, he was presumptively exposed to Agent Orange. In 1985, the Veteran succumbed to pneumonia. This coupled with metastatic bronchogenic carcinoma. At the time, those conditions were not on the Agent Orange presumptive condition list. They were not added until 1994.
The Nehmer settlement took effect four years after the Veteran died. This settlement greatly expanded Agent Orange benefit eligibility. So, if the VA added a condition between the Veteran’s date of death and the date of the DIC application, additional retroactive benefits may be available.
The Veteran’s widow filed an SSA death benefits application prior to April 1986 (one year after her husband’s death). Hence, the review board determined that DIC benefits were retroactive to 1985.
The VA claimed that it did not know about the SSA filing. Since these agencies rarely communicate, that was probably true. But it was also irrelevant. “The fact that the AOJ was unaware of its filing is immaterial, as it is not the appellant’s responsibility to inform the VA of an SSA application,” the court stated. In fact, simply filing an SSA death benefits application imputes constructive knowledge onto the VA, the court added.
Rely on Assertive Attorneys
Call us at 800-861-7262, or fill out the contact box on the right, and mention this article. We can help you win more back pay. We did it for multiple clients last year. For a free consultation with an experienced Veterans disability lawyer, contact Cameron Firm, PC. We are here to represent Veterans nationwide.
This article is for educational and marketing purposes only. It does not create an attorney-client relationship.