Dependents Can Claim Past Benefits on Behalf of a Deceased Veteran
Generally, if a veteran has a VA disability compensation claim pending at the time of their death, the veteran’s dependent spouse or children are entitled to any “accrued benefits” from that claim.
That is to say that, even though a veteran’s claim dies with the veteran, in certain circumstances the surviving spouse and/or eligible child may be able to take up the deceased veteran’s claim in their own right.
The VA defines accrued benefits (38 USC 5121 & 38 CFR 3.1000) as a claim for any money the VA owes the veteran but did not pay prior to their death.
There are three basic requirements in order to establish a claim for accrued benefits:
- A claim must be filed within 1 year after the veteran’s death, and
- The veteran must have a “pending claim,” and
- Based on the evidence in the record when the veteran died, the veteran was entitled to monthly disability compensation for a service-connected illness, condition or disease
Veterans’ surviving dependents are routinely denied accrued benefits claims. This is partly because this area of VA benefits can be complex and confusing.
If you are struggling to obtain accrued benefits, contact VA Disability Group online or call 1-844-VETLAWS (1-844-838-5297) for help.