The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit issued an opinion regarding a remarried widow’s eligibility for Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (DIC) benefits. Frederick v. Shinseki, docket no. 2011-7146 (Fed. Cir. July 3, 2012). A veteran’s surviving spouse can be eligible for DIC benefits upon the veteran’s death. Before 2004, a surviving spouse would lose DIC benefits if he/she remarried. On
December 16, 2003, Congress enacted a law that enabled a surviving spouse who remarries after age 57 to remain eligible for DIC benefits. This law went into effect January 1, 2004.
If a surviving spouse (1) had been receiving DIC benefits prior to December 2004; (2) had remarried after age 57; and if (3) VA had stopped the DIC benefits after the remarriage, the surviving spouse would be entitled to reinstatement of those benefits – but only if he/she filed an application for such benefits “not later than the end of the one-year period beginning on the date of enactment,” i.e., December 16, 2004. In this case, the court denied DIC benefits to a surviving spouse who had remarried after age 57 because she failed to file an application for reinstatement of those benefits prior to December 2004.
(posted to hoeferlaw.com July 2012)