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Survivor Benefit Plan and Dependency and Indemnity Compensation

Benefit overview

The Survivor Benefit Plan provides financial support to military spouses and/or children when a military member dies while on duty or after retirement. SBP provides eligible beneficiaries with a monthly payment known as an annuity. The recipient of an SBP annuity is referred to as the annuitant.

Dependency and Indemnity Compensation is a monetary benefit offered by the Veterans Affairs to survivors of service members and retirees whose death results from a service-related injury or disease. Prior to 2023, spouse SBP annuitants, except for those who remarried after age 55 (or in other specific circumstances), could not receive full SBP and DIC payments at the same time. Their SBP payment was reduced by all or part of their DIC payment. Beginning on Feb. 1, 2023, surviving spouses receive their full SBP payment from the Defense Finance and Accounting Service and their full DIC payment from the VA.

Prior to 2023, when a spouse was eligible to receive SBP and DIC, and the SBP payment was subject to the SBP-DIC Offset, the spouse also received the Special Survivor Indemnity Allowance. As the SBPO-DIC no longer exists, SSIA will no longer be paid after the Jan. 3, 2023.

How this benefit helps

These benefits help families by providing monthly financial payments to survivors.

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Ensure you get the benefits you deserve

Surviving spouses, children and parents may be eligible for either or both the SBP and DIC as a monthly financial benefit.

How to access this benefit

To receive SBP benefits, a beneficiary needs to contact DFAS to report the death. For retirees, beneficiaries can report the death using DFAS’ AskDFAS Report a Retiree’s Death online or call the DFAS Customer Care Center at 800-321-1080.

For the DIC benefit, you will need to fill out an application for benefits. The application you fill out will depend on your survivor status. If you’re the surviving spouse or child of a service member who died while on active duty, your military casualty assistance officer will help you to complete VA Form 21P-534a, “Application for Dependency and Indemnity Compensation by a Surviving Spouse or Child – In-Service Death Only.” The officer will help you mail the form to the correct VA regional office.

If you’re the surviving spouse or child of a veteran, fill out VA Form 21P-534EZ, “Application for DIC, Survivor’s Pension and/or Accrued Benefits.” If you’re a surviving parent, fill out VA Form 21P-535, “Application for Dependency and Indemnity Compensation by Parent(s).”

You can apply for this benefit by working with an accredited representative, using the QuickSubmit tool through AccessVA to upload your form online, mailing your form or visiting a VA regional office to apply in person.

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