Parents can get VA benefits, too

Benefits for parents are often overlooked by many surviving family members of a veteran who died from service-connected disability or died while on active duty.

This is called Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (DIC).

Parents whose child died in service or from a service-connected disability may be entitled to DIC if they are in financial need. Parents may be biological, step, adopted, or “in loco parentis.”

The amount of DIC payment from the VA is solely determined by the reported income of the surviving parent. Factors such as medical bills can offset income. All income from all sources must be counted, including Social Security, etc.

For instance a sole surviving parent un-remarried or remarried living with spouse with a total income of $1,000 a month could be eligible for a VA DIC payment of $521 per month. (2007 figures). The amount of DIC payment would go down as the reported income went up.

The VA may require, as a condition of granting or continuing DIC to a parent that such parent, other than one who has attained 72 years of age, and has been paid DIC during two consecutive calendar years, file for a calendar year with the VA, a report showing the total income which such parent expects to receive in that year, and the total income which such parent received in the preceding year. The parent or parents shall notify the VA whenever there is a material change in annual income.

There is a considerable list of income sources that are not included in the above income report and this office has that information.

If you are the parent of a deceased son or daughter who died from service-connected disabilities or died while in active military service, and you are on limited income, I urge you to stop by and see me for a possible DIC parental benefit.

DAV vans

The Disabled American Veterans (DAV) organization is running a VAHC Vvan from Durango on Tuesdays and Thursdays — call Mike Dunaway, 247-2198 — and from the Farmington area on Mondays and Wednesdays — call Harriet Mulnix, (505) 793-1782.

Durango VA Clinic

The Durango VA Outpatient Clinic is located at 400 South Camino Del Rio, Suite G, next to Big 5 Sports. Phone number is 247-2214.

Further information

For information on these and other veterans’ benefits, call or stop by the Archuleta County Veterans Service Office located at the Senior Center in the Pagosa Springs Community Center on Hot Springs Boulevard. The office number is 731-3837, the fax number is 264-4014, cell number is 946-6648, and e-mail is afautheree@archuletacounty.org. The office is open from 8 to 4, Monday through Friday. Bring your DD Form 214 (Discharge) for application for VA programs, and for filing in the VSO office.

Merry Christmas to all veterans and families.

The Archuleta County Veterans Service Office will be close from noon Dec. 24 through Dec. 28 in observance of this holiday. I will return to work on Dec. 29.