Adding Dependents to Your VA Account: What Are the Advantages?

Having dependents in your VA account has its merits. The primary benefit you get is an increase in your disability compensation. Since you can get these as non-taxable, not adding them will be a substantial missing out on a lot of money.

Anyone with a least disability rating of 30% can add one or more dependents to their account. The process is also straightforward. So, if you haven’t done so yet, we urge you to go for it. This article will explain the benefits you can get by adding dependents, as well as a brief rundown of how you can add them.

Does VA Disability Increase with Dependents?

Yes, your VA disability compensation will increase the more dependents you add. The added benefit will depend on who you are adding and their number. Below, you can find the extra amount a spouse or child of a veteran can receive based on the veteran’s rating.

Veteran’s Disability RatingSpouse Receiving Aid & Attendance BenefitEach Additional Child Under 18Each Additional Child Over 18 in a School Program

Other Benefits VA Provides for the Dependents, Spouses, and Survivors

There are many other benefits that the dependents and survivors of a veteran can get based on their eligibility. Explore some of them below-

Health Care

The CHAMPVA program is a part of the TRICARE program by the Department of Defense. It includes healthcare benefits for veterans and their dependents, spouses, and survivors. VA may also provide additional similar advantages to them.

Educational and Training Benefits

VA arranged the program named Chapter 35, a payment they offer to the dependent or survivor child of a veteran in a school program. Meanwhile, the Marine Gunnery Sergeant John David Fry Scholarship is there to help them further build their future.

Employment Benefits

The dependents and survivors of a veteran can get employment counseling. They need to be qualified for the education benefit by the VA first. It is open to both the dependent children and the spouse.

Life Insurance

VA can arrange two different benefits related to life insurance for the dependents and survivors. Firstly, the dependents can apply for the Family Servicemembers’ Group Life Insurance (FSGLI) coverage. It comes with different options to choose from. If you are already in policy, they may teach you how to manage it well.

Secondly, they also can help you if you are the beneficiary of a veteran’s policy.

Home Loan Programs

Whether you are struggling to pay mortgage amounts with a loan from the VA or trying to build, repair, or buy a home, the VA can help you. The Certificate of Eligibility (COE) is what you should apply for in order to get these benefits. This benefit is solely for the surviving spouse.

How to Add a Dependent to Your Account?

When you are filing your claim for a new disability, you can add information regarding your dependent in it, too. VA Disability Coach can help you know whether your disabilities will get a least 30% rating, which is the minimum requirement for adding dependents. That way, when the VA evaluates your claim and grants it, they will start paying you the compensation with the extra amount.

But if you already receive compensation for your service-connected conditions, you may need to file an additional dependency claim. However, you should submit it online since the process is much faster there.

You must log in with your VA account before adding any dependent. Then, go here to add a dependent. The additional documents you may need to submit are as follows-

  • The VA Form 21-674. This form is a request for Approval of School Attendance. If the dependent you are adding is your child between 18 and 23 and attending full-time school, this document will be necessary.
  • If any of your children is over 18 but became permanently disabled before 18, you need to submit their up-to-date medical reports when adding them as your dependent.
  • If you are adding one or both parents as your dependent, then fill and submit the VA Form 21P-509.

You can also file these claims by mail or in person. Their mailing address is-

Department of Veterans Affairs

Evidence Intake Center

PO Box 4444

Janesville, WI 53547-4444

What Is the Effective Date for Dependent Compensations?

Like most other claims, the effective date for dependent compensation is the day you’ve filed its claim. But if you can prove that you married your spouse within one year immediately before submitting your claim, you can get the compensation counting from the day of your marriage. It is similar in the case of your child and their birth date.

In both of the above cases, your overall rating must have been at least 30% on your marriage date or your child’s birth date. There is another criterion: you must provide any additional information within one year of VA asking for it.

Meanwhile, the effective date can be dated up to one year before the filing of the claim under specific circumstances. VA usually notifies you of these facts. Once they grant your claim, they will start paying the additional compensation within two weeks.

They will provide the retroactive benefits (back pay) as a lump sum, while future payments for your dependents will be monthly with your usual disability compensation.

Regarding Divorce, Separation, or Death

If you are divorced or separated from your spouse or any of your dependents died, you must go to the VA’s site and remove your dependent from your account. Alternatively, you can send them mail or a letter to report the event and tell them to exclude that dependent.

If you receive any amount for your spouse after your divorce or for any dependent after their death, the VA will get it back from you by working with the Debt Management Center (DMC). They usually withhold a certain amount from your future compensations until the paying back is complete.

Final Note

Having dependents in your VA account is a surefire way to get an increase in your payments. It is non-taxable and comes with other benefits, such as healthcare and life insurance assistance for your dependents. So, head to the VA’s site to add them with the proper evidence required.