Currently, VA regulations recognize amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) as a presumptive service-connected disease and, due to its aggressive nature, veterans diagnosed with ALS are automatically rated at 100 percent once service-connected. Unfortunately, many veterans with ALS are unable to meet the eight-year DIC kicker requirement because the average life expectancy for a person with ALS is three to five years. Rarely do ALS veterans' surviving spouses qualify for the additional DIC benefit given the eight-year requirement.
ALS is an aggressive disease that leaves many veterans totally incapacitated and reliant on family members and caregivers. DIC kicker payments should be provided to the surviving spouses of veterans who die from ALS regardless of how long they were service-connected for ALS prior to death.
Please contact your elected officials and urge them to cosponsor S. 1590/H.R. 3790 , the Justice for ALS Veterans Act of 2023, which would allow the surviving spouses of veterans who died of service-connected ALS to receive the DIC kicker. H.R 3790 would also require a study about the feasibility of including other conditions beyond ALS in the future.