It is important for all involved to understand the effect of suicide on Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) survivor benefits. VA provides Dependency and Indemnity (DIC) to surviving spouses and/or minor children of a veteran who dies on active duty or of a service-connected disability. In most cases, dependents are eligible even if the veteran never filed for the service-connected condition, with the exception of suicide. However, to be awarded DIC for a mental health-related suicide, the veteran must have filed a claim and been granted service-connected disability compensation. If no claim was ever filed, survivors will not qualify for DIC. Even if a veteran is service-connected for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), for example, and commits suicide, DIC is not necessarily automatic. Always consult with an experienced veterans service officer if you have any questions about VA benefits.
For more on veteran benefits, visit the Military.com Benefits Center.