Veterans’ Corner: Compensation benefits for dependents

When a veteran has a disability or disabilities that are rated by the VA at 30% or greater, disability compensation can be increased based on dependents.  A claim for this increased benefit needs to be filed with the VA, if there is any change in the status of the veteran’s spouse and/or children.

Every year veterans with dependents continue to lose compensation benefits because of the failure to file or re-file a claim for dependency status.  Normally, increased compensation is paid for a child until age 18.  The VA will recognize and pay veterans for their dependent children until age 23, as long as they are attending an accredited high school or college program.

On a child’s 18th birthday the VA will automatically drop the child, if the appropriate school attendance form is not completed and returned to the local VA Regional Office.

If a child is attending school and drops out for any reason, the veteran must also notify VA or an over-payment status will result.

It is just as important to advise the VA or the Kings County Veterans Service Office of a new spouse or child, as it is to advise them if the child is no longer attending school. Benefits may also be available, if the veteran is providing direct care to their parents and the parent’s income and net-worth meets certain limits. If you need any help in keeping your dependency status current, please feel free to stop by our office anytime and we can assist you with the appropriate forms.

The Kings County Veterans Service Office can complete the DMV Veteran Status Verification Form for the new California Veteran Designation on your driver’s license and also issues Veteran I.D. cards to honorably discharged veterans. Contact Scott Holwell if you would like to receive periodic veteran’s information by email.    There are many state and federal benefits and programs available to veterans and their dependents.  To determine if you are eligible for any of these benefits, call or visit our office.  We can and will assist you in completing all required application forms.  You can get information on the Web from the Kings County Veterans Service Office webpage at www.countyofkings.com/vets.

Scott Holwell, retired Navy Master Chief Petty Officer, is the Veterans Service Officer for Kings County. Send your questions to the Veterans Service Office, 1400 W. Lacey Blvd, Hanford, CA 93230; call (559)852-2669; or e-mail [email protected]

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