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M21-1, Part III, Subpart ii, Chapter 2, Section A – Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Benefit Programs

Overview


In This Section

This section contains the following topics:
Topic Topic Name

1

Overview of VA Veterans Benefits

2

Overview of VA Survivors Benefits

3

Additional Allowance for Dependents

4

Ancillary Benefits

5

Aid and Attendance (A&A) or Housebound Allowance

1.  Overview of VA Veterans Benefits


Introduction

This topic contains definitions of VA Veterans benefits, including


Change Date

September 30, 2010

III.ii.2.A.1.a.  Definition:  SC Disability Compensation

Service-connected (SC) disability compensation is a monthly payment made because of disability

  • resulting from an injury or disease incurred or aggravated in
    • active service, and
    • the line of duty (which includes disabilities that are not the result of alcohol or drug abuse)
  • presumed by law to be related to military service, or
  • resulting from other limited circumstances, such as disability that is the result of Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) hospitalization or medical treatment, per 38 U.S.C. 1151.

Reference:  For more information about disability compensation, see


III.ii.2.A.1.b.  Definition:  Veterans Pension

Veterans Pension is a benefit paid to a Veteran who

  • is permanently and totally disabled as determined by
    • VA, or
    • the Social Security Administration
  • is in a nursing home for long-term care, as a presumption of disability, or
  • has reached the age of 65 years.
Eligibility requires meeting certain service requirements pertaining to length of service and service during a period of war, and certain income and net worth limitations.
Reference:  For more information about Veterans Pension, see

2.  Overview of VA Survivors Benefits


Introduction

This topic contains definitions of VA survivors benefits, including


Change Date

June 21, 2015

III.ii.2.A.2.a.  Definition: DIC

Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (DIC) is a monthly payment made

  • to a surviving spouse, child, or parent because of an SC death that occurred after December 31, 1956
  • to a surviving spouse or child because the Veteran had been rated as totally disabled due to an SC disability prior to his/her death, typically for at least ten years, per 38 U.S.C. 1318
  • to a surviving spouse, child, or parent because of death due to VA medical treatment, per 38 U.S.C. 1151, or
  • because a surviving spouse, child, or parent elects DIC in the case of an SC death that occurred before January 1, 1957.

Reference:  For more information about DIC, see


III.ii.2.A.2.b.  Definition: Survivors Pension

Survivors Pension is a benefit paid to a surviving spouse or child because of a Veteran’s non-service-connected death.
Basic eligibility requires meeting certain service requirements pertaining to length of service and service during a period of war, and certain income and net worth limitations.
Reference:  For more information about Survivors Pension, see 38 CFR 3.3(b).

III.ii.2.A.2.c.  Definition:  Death Compensation

Death compensation is a monthly payment made because of an SC death occurring before January 1, 1957.
Note:  Generally, new entitlement to this benefit can no longer be established since the Veteran must have died prior to 1957.
Reference:  For more information about death compensation, see 38 CFR 3.4(c).

III.ii.2.A.2.d.  Definition: Accrued Benefits

Accrued benefits are benefits that are due to the beneficiary based on an existing decision on a claim for benefits or evidence in the Veteran’s claims folder at the date of death, but not paid prior to death.
Reference:  For more information about accrued benefits, see 38 CFR 3.1000.

3.  Additional Allowance for Dependents


Introduction

This topic contains information about an additional allowance for dependents, including


Change Date

June 21, 2015

III.ii.2.A.3.a.  General Policy Regarding Additional Allowance for Dependents

An additional allowance for a spouse and children may be paid to Veterans who are receiving payments for compensation evaluated at 30 percent or more or for pension.
Payments for an unmarried child can continue
  • until the child reaches age
    • 18, or
    • 23, if the child continues in an approved school, or
  • indefinitely if the child becomes incapable of self-support prior to age 18.
Reference:  For more information  on dependents, see

III.ii.2.A.3.b.  Entitlement of Surviving Spouses to Additional DIC or Survivors Pension for Children

Surviving spouses are entitled to additional DIC or Survivors Pension for the Veteran’s children.
Payments for an unmarried child can continue
  • until the child reaches age
    • 18, or
    • 23, if the child continues in an approved school, or
  • indefinitely if the child becomes incapable of self-support prior to age 18.
Reference:  For more information on payments for children, see

III.ii.2.A.3.c.  Payments to Children Over Age 18

The table below explains how benefits are paid for children over age 18.
For …
Payments …
DIC
are always made directly to the child, unless he/she is incompetent.
Survivors Pension
can be made directly to the child (or his/her fiduciary) ifthere is no surviving spouse.

III.ii.2.A.3.d.  Allowance for Dependent Parents

Veterans in receipt of compensation evaluated at 30 percent or more may also receive an additional allowance for dependent parents.
Reference:  For more information on an additional allowance for dependent parents, see 38 CFR 3.4(b)(2).

4.  Ancillary Benefits


Introduction

This topic contains definitions of ancillary benefits that are related to, or derived from the entitlement of SC benefits, including


Change Date

June 21, 2015

III.ii.2.A.4.a.  Definition:  Clothing Allowance

Clothing allowance is an annual lump-sum payment made when

  • a Veteran’s SC disability causes the use of certain prosthetic or orthopedic appliances (including a wheelchair) that tend to wear or tear clothing, or
  • the use of physician-prescribed medication for an SC skin condition causes irreparable damage to outer garments.

Reference:  For more information about clothing allowance, see


III.ii.2.A.4.b.  Definition: Automobile or Other Conveyance Allowance

Automobile or other conveyance allowance is a one-time benefit of financial assistance toward the purchase price of a vehicle when a Veteran has one of the following SC disabilities:
  • loss or permanent loss of use of one or both
    • feet, or
    • hands
  • permanent impairment of vision of both eyes to a prescribed degree
  • a severe burn injury, or
  • amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS).
Note:  Necessary adaptive equipment may be certified for the initial vehicle and for subsequent vehicles.
Reference:  For more information about automobile or other conveyance allowance and adaptive equipment, see

III.ii.2.A.4.c.  Definition:  SAH and SHA Grants

Specially adapted housing (SAH) and special home adaptation (SHA) grantsassist Veterans with certain SC disabilities severely affecting vision or locomotion in

  • adapting a presently owned home, or
  • acquiring or building a residence adapted with special features.

Reference:  For more information about SAH and SHA grants, see


III.ii.2.A.4.d.  Definition:  Vocational Rehabilitation Under 38 U.S.C. 31

Vocational rehabilitation under 38 U.S.C. 31 provides subsistence allowance as well as other services and assistance necessary for an eligible Veteran with compensable SC disabilities to

  • achieve maximum independence in daily living, and
  • obtain and maintain suitable employment.

Reference:  For more information about vocational rehabilitation under 38 U.S.C. 31, see 38 CFR Part 21, Subpart A.


III.ii.2.A.4.e.  Definition:  DEA Under 38 U.S.C. 35

Dependents’ educational assistance (DEA) under 38 U.S.C. 35 provides payment of a monthly education or training allowance to the spouse and children of a Veteran who

  • has a total SC disability that is permanent in nature, or
  • died
    • of an SC disability, or
    • while an SC disability was evaluated as total and permanent in nature.

Reference:  For more information about DEA, see


III.ii.2.A.4.f.  Definition:  Special Allowance Payable Under Section 156 of Public Law 97-377

The special allowance payable under Section 156 of Public Law (PL) 97-377 is called the Restored Entitlement Program for Survivors (REPS).  The REPS allowance is a payment to certain surviving spouses and children of individuals who died

  • on active duty prior to August 13, 1981, or
  • as a result of an SC disability that was incurred or aggravated prior to August 13, 1981.
Reference:  For more information about the special allowance payable under Section 156 of PL 97-377, see

5.  A&A or Housebound Allowance


Introduction

This topic contains information on A&A or housebound allowance, including


Change Date

September 30, 2010

III.ii.2.A.5.a.  A&A Benefit and Entitlement

The aid and attendance (A&A) allowance is

  • part of special monthly compensation (SMC) or special monthly pension (SMP), and
  • paid because a person, due to mental or physical disability, requires the regular A&A of another person in conducting the basic activities of daily living, such as
    • bathing
    • dressing, and
    • going to the bathroom.
Entitlement:
Entitlement to the A&A allowance extends to the Veteran, spouse, surviving parent(s), or surviving spouse.
References:  For more information on

III.ii.2.A.5.b.  Housebound Benefit and Entitlement

The housebound allowance is

  • part of SMC or SMP, and
  • paid because a person, due to a mental or physical disability, is very limited in his/her ability to leave home.
Entitlement to the housebound benefit extends to the Veteran and surviving spouseonly.

III.ii.2.A.5.c.  Veterans Hospitalized at Government Expense

A Veteran who is entitled to A&A and who is hospitalized at government expense can only receive the Housebound rate until released from the hospital.
Exceptions:  This policy is subject to the exceptions in 38 CFR 3.552(a)(2)
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