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Take Action: Improve Benefits for Survivors of ALS Veterans
The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) provides Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (DIC) to qualified survivors of service members and veterans. Eligible survivors can also receive an additional $305.28 per month in DIC when a veteran who, at the time of death, was in receipt of or was entitled to receive compensation for a service-connected disability that was rated totally disabling for a continuous period of at least eight years. This extra payment is commonly referred to as the “DIC kicker.”

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 two to five years. Rarely do survivors of deceased veterans with ALS qualify for the additional DIC benefit given the eight-year requirement.

PVA Position

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 survivors 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 pass H.R. 5607/S. 3483, the Justice for ALS Veterans Act, which would allow the survivors of veterans who died of service-connected ALS to receive the DIC kicker.
 

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