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VA Survivor Benefit Forum : Answers to your Questions

27 Sep 2021 5:00 PM | Nancy Menagh (Administrator)

1.  Question regarding arranging a headstone and/or at Arlington National Cemetery.  Please go to https://www.arlingtoncemetery.mil/Funerals/Scheduling-a-Funeral  There are certain criteria to be met and the process can be complex and may take time. 

2.  Question regarding whether you qualify for SBP for an active duty death prior to 9/11.  Per Ann: Active duty deaths prior to 9/11 do not qualify for SBP.  SBP is primarily a benefit based upon retirement and a benefit paid into.  However, for post 9/11 active duty deaths, they have been granted the SBP.

3. Question regarding amending the death certificate to reflect the current presumptives for Agent Orange, in particular relating to heart conditions.  Per Ann:  Only certain heart conditions are included in the presumptives.  You would need to have any medical doctor look at the health records and death certificate and make the amendment.  You would then appeal the previous decision.

4. Question as to how ChampVa works as secondary to Medicare.  Per Ann: The concern is finding providers who accept ChampVa.  If the provider accepts Medicare, then they should also accept ChampVA.

5.  I am a remarried widow that has since divorced.  My children took the SBP child option, but have now aged out.   Will I get the SBP option in 2023 and will I be contacted?  Is there somewhere I can register or check that I will be contacted? Per Ann: DFAS will contact you.    You need to make sure address is correct in MYPAY.  https://mypay.dfas.mil/#/

6.  Should I be concerned if I do not receive the marriage questionnaire?  Per Ann:,currently the VA sends it out approximately every 7 years and stops sending it at age 55.

7. My late husband’s first wife has indicated she is going to go after the DIC.  Can she do that?  Per Ann: No, only the surviving spouse that is married to the service member at the time of death may receive the DIC.  However, it is possible that the divorce decree may have had some kind of stipulation regarding the SBP.  There are certain rules concerning this including having to be married to the service member for at least ½ of their time on active duty.

8.  Will ChampVA begin paying for virtual visits?  Per Ann: CHAMPVA will cover telehealth services for a covered medical benefit, but they must have both visual/audio components to be covered per CHAMPVA regulations. Audio only telehealth is not covered.

9.  A number of people have had issues with ChampVA not paying for the shingles shot, even though they had been told before had that it would be covered.  Per Annf: if this happened to you, please pass on your name, date of service, and the shingles shot received.  CHAMPVA will look into it, but Ann expects that you will be reimbursed.

10.  Question regarding whether a spouse who has been divorced though “no fault of her own” (some cases of PTSD, etc) and is now indigent.  Can she receive DIC?  Per Ann: The answer is sometimes this is possible.

11.  Aid and Attendance question.  If you have remarried, but qualify and receive DIC, could you qualify for Aid and Attendance.  Per Ann: Yes, if you meet the usual criteria for Aid and Attendance.  The same question regarding educational benefits.  If you receive DIC and have not timed out for educational benefits, then yes you may still receive if remarried

12.  Question regarding reinstatement for those who remarried after age 55, now that the law has changed.  If you remarried after age 55, would you be reinstated going forward.  A member said she was told nobody would be reinstated, it was only for those who have not yet remarried.  Per Ann:  This is correct – the date of the marriage would have to take place after January 5, 2021.

VII.i.2.E.13.c.  Payment Date for Reinstatement of DIC 

Do not reinstate DIC to a surviving spouse who remarried after age 55 effective earlier than January 5, 2021.  The payment date is subject to PL 116-315.

M21-1, Part VII, Subpart i, Chapter 2, Section E - Remarriage of a Surviving Spouse.


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