Military Benefits for Parents

By Drew Lichtenstein

Active soldiers and veterans of the U.S. Military have access to a wide array of individual benefits. However, while many of these benefits may apply to their spouses or children (such as TRICARE, which is the military's health insurance), few of them continue on to parents, even dependent parents. The primary form of benefit for parents of Military veterans is the Parents' Dependency and Indemnity Compensation.


The Parents' Dependency and Indemnity Compensation is a benefit paid out to the parents of deceased veterans. Application for DIC is handled through the Office of Veterans Affairs, and is specifically filed through VA Form 21-535 (Application for Dependency and Indemnity Compensation by Parents). Additionally, the VA will help file claims and can be reached at their toll free number 1-800-827-1000.

Types of Deaths

Parents of deceased veterans may file for DIC assuming their child died under conditions that were related to their military service, but it does not apply to deaths of veterans after their service, unless the death came from a service-related injury. According to the VA, these include "a disease or injury incurred or aggravated while on active duty or active duty for training," an injury sustained in the line of duty, or a death resulting from a service-related disability.

Eligible Parents

DIC may be paid out to biological, adoptive or foster parents. Single parents may apply for DIC. Biological parents must show a birth certificate when applying for DIC; adoptive parents must show adoption forms. Foster parents, in addition to providing proof of guardianship, must have been in the relationship of parent to the deceased veteran for at least one full year prior to their last year of active service.

Pay Rate

DIC is an income-based benefit, meaning that the pay rate that payment is based on the needs of the surviving parents. As of December 2008, the maximum amount that two parents living together could annually receive was $10,334, and they could not already have a previous income exceeding $18,087. For single parents, the maximum amount they could receive was $11,546, and their income could not exceed $13,456.