A Department of Veterans Affairs benefit for surviving family members of some deceased veterans will see a 2.8 percent bump for 2019 starting in January.
That increase for the tax-free Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (DIC) pay is the largest bump in seven years.
What Is DIC?
The surviving spouse DIC is a set monthly benefit adjusted annually, while parent DIC is based on the parent's income. Typically, only those parents whose income is below a certain level are eligible.
Under most circumstances, a surviving spouse under 57 years old who remarries cannot receive DIC. Spouses, however, are eligible for increased benefits if they have children under 18, or if they have a disability themselves that requires living assistance.
How Much Is DIC?
The basic monthly tax-free DIC benefit will increase from $1,283.11 to $1,319.04 for 2019, with additional amounts also seeing the 2.8 percent increase.
If the surviving spouse also gets a Survivor Benefit Plan (SBP) payment from the deceased veteran's military service, they may see their SBP payment decrease by the amount of the DIC benefit they get thanks to federal offset rules. However, there is partial reimbursement of this offset, known as the Special Survivor Indemnity Allowance (SSIA).
The Special Survivor Indemnity Allowance (SSIA)
The SSIA will be paid to surviving spouses who have their SBP payments decreased by the amount of their DIC payments.
The SBP and SSIA are taxable income, while the DIC is not. The SSIA amount for 2019 is $328. Like DIC, it increases each year based on the annual cost-of-living adjustment.
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