Separating Myth from Fact in the Dependency and Indemnity Compensation Improvement Act

Separating Myth from Fact in the Dependency and Indemnity Compensation Improvement Act
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The Dependency and Indemnity Compensation Improvement Act of 2019 (S. 1047) is making the rounds on social media sites, and the message is rather positive ... but sometimes misunderstood. To help clear some of the confusion and provide a status report, here is a review of the proposed law.


Myth: The proposal increases the amount of DIC.


Fact: It would increase only the DIC amount for survivors whose veteran died with a 100% VA rating. All other survivors stay at their current amount. The bill does not address active duty deaths (active duty members don’t have VA ratings), so benefits for their survivors will have to be defined.


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Myth: The proposal increases the amount for everyone receiving DIC.


Fact: First off, only the survivors noted above are affected. However, another factor that could be an issue is, when did your DIC start? The proposal does not state criteria for an eligibility window. Based on our experience, often a new law applies only to survivors after the law passes, or an arbitrary past date will be established as the cutoff. Eligibility criteria help restrict the overall spending if the law is passed, and the projected costs will probably drive the ultimate decision.


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Myth: This is a currently working proposal.


Fact: Kind of. It’s likely the bill will be discussed later this year when military and veterans service organizations get a chance to testify before the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee. MOAA usually receives an invitation to testify before the committee, and we hope to do so again. MOAA hopes our ability to highlight this bill, along with other important pieces of legislation, will garner support for it in the Senate.


Myth: Approval is probable.


Fact: It’s possible. The proposal, if the committee takes up the bill later this year, will have a difficult time passing in the Senate. In light of recently passed legislation to eliminate the widows tax – the dollar-for-dollar reduction of military survivor benefits from DIC – many lawmakers feel relatively satisfied with the current state of VA survivor benefits. A similar bill, H.R. 3221, was introduced in June by Rep. Jahana Mayes (D-Conn.).


MOAA is advocating for passage of this bill along our partners in the Military Coalition. Follow our MOAA news sources to stay up on new developments as they surface.

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About the Author

Lt. Col. Shane Ostrom, USAF (Ret), CFP®
Lt. Col. Shane Ostrom, USAF (Ret), CFP®

Ostrom retired from the Air Force in 2000 and joined the MOAA team in 2006. His responsibilities include researching and answering member inquiries regarding military benefits, health care, survivor issues, and financial concerns.