If the VARO (Veteran Affairs Regional Office) determines that you are not eligible for Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (DIC), you may be eligible to apply for a nonservice-connected death pension, also referred to as VA Death Pension for Widows/Widowers and Dependent Children.
Surviving spouses and unmarried children under age 18, age 23 if attending a Veterans Administration (VA) approved school, of deceased members with wartime service may be eligible for this pension if they meet income limitations prescribed by law. Qualifying children who become incapable of self-support because of a disability before age 18 may be eligible for a pension as long as the condition exists, unless the child marries or the child’s income exceeds the income limit.
The rate of pension depends on the amount of income the surviving spouse or child receives from other sources. A pension is not payable to those whose estates are so large that it is reasonable to assume the estate will maintain them financially. Eligible survivors should make application through the local VA office. The VA will determine your eligibility.
Denial of Claim for DIC. If the VA denies your claim for DIC benefits you may file an appeal with the Board of Veterans’ Appeals. The appeal must be filed within one year from the date of the notification of a VA decision to file an appeal. The first step in the appeal process is for you to file a written notice of disagreement with the VA regional office that made the decision. This is a written statement that you disagree with the VA’s decision. Following receipt of the written notice, the VA will furnish you a "Statement of the Case" describing what facts, laws and regulations were used in deciding the case. To complete the request for appeal, you must file a "Substantive Appeal" within 60 days of the mailing of the Statement of Case, or within one year from the date the VA mailed its decision, whichever period ends later. Your Casualty Asisstance Calls Officer (CACO) or the nearest VA office will help you file a written notice of disagreement with the VARO (Veteran Affairs Regional Office) that made the decision.