United States Code

USC most recently checked for updates: Jan 23, 2021

§ 1311.
Dependency and indemnity compensation to a surviving spouse
(a)
(1)
Dependency and indemnity compensation shall be paid to a surviving spouse at the monthly rate of $1,154.
(2)
The rate under paragraph (1) shall be increased by $246 in the case of the death of a veteran who at the time of death was in receipt of or was entitled to receive (or but for the receipt of retired pay or retirement pay was entitled to receive) compensation for a service-connected disability that was rated totally disabling for a continuous period of at least eight years immediately preceding death. In determining the period of a veteran’s disability for purposes of the preceding sentence, only periods in which the veteran was married to the surviving spouse shall be considered.
(3)
In the case of dependency and indemnity compensation paid to a surviving spouse that is predicated on the death of a veteran before January 1, 1993, the monthly rate of such compensation shall be the amount based on the pay grade of such veteran, as set forth in the following table, if the amount is greater than the total amount determined with respect to that veteran under paragraphs (1) and (2):

Pay grade

Monthly rate

Pay grade

Monthly rate

1 If the veteran served as sergeant major of the Army, senior enlisted advisor of the Navy, chief master sergeant of the Air Force, sergeant major of the Marine Corps, or master chief petty officer of the Coast Guard, at the applicable time designated by section 1302 of this title, the surviving spouse’s rate shall be $1,419.

2 If the veteran served as Chairman or Vice-Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Chief of Staff of the Army, Chief of Naval Operations, Chief of Staff of the Air Force, Commandant of the Marine Corps, or Commandant of the Coast Guard, at the applicable time designated by section 1302 of this title, the surviving spouse’s rate shall be $2,643.

E–1

$1,154

W–4

$1,380

E–2

$1,154

O–1

$1,219

E–3

$1,154

O–2

$1,260

E–4

$1,154

O–3

$1,347

E–5

$1,154

O–4

$1,427

E–6

$1,154

O–5

$1,571

E–7

$1,194

O–6

$1,771

E–8

$1,260

O–7

$1,912

E–9

$1,3141

O–8

$2,100

W–1

$1,219

O–9

$2,246

W–2

$1,267

O–10

$2,463 2

W–3

$1,305

 

............

(b)
If there is a surviving spouse with one or more children below the age of eighteen of a deceased veteran, the dependency and indemnity compensation paid monthly to the surviving spouse shall be increased by $286 for each such child.
(c)
The monthly rate of dependency and indemnity compensation payable to a surviving spouse shall be increased by $286 if the spouse is (1) a patient in a nursing home or (2) blind, or so nearly blind or significantly disabled as to need or require the regular aid and attendance of another person.
(d)
The monthly rate of dependency and indemnity compensation payable to a surviving spouse shall be increased by $135 if the surviving spouse is, by reason of disability, permanently housebound but does not qualify for the aid and attendance allowance under subsection (c) of this section. For the purposes of this subsection, the requirement of “permanently housebound” will be considered to have been met when the surviving spouse is substantially confined to such surviving spouse’s home (ward or clinical areas, if institutionalized) or immediate premises by reason of a disability or disabilities which it is reasonably certain will remain throughout such surviving spouse’s lifetime.
(e)
In the case of an individual who is eligible for dependency and indemnity compensation under this section by reason of section 103(d)(2)(B) of this title who is also eligible for benefits under another provision of law by reason of such individual’s status as the surviving spouse of a veteran, then, notwithstanding any other provision of law (other than section 5304(b)(3) of this title), no reduction in benefits under such other provision of law shall be made by reason of such individual’s eligibility for benefits under this section.
(f)
(1)
Subject to paragraphs (2) and (3), if there is a surviving spouse with one or more children below the age of 18, the dependency and indemnity compensation paid monthly to the surviving spouse shall be increased by $250 (as increased from time to time under paragraph (4)), regardless of the number of such children.
(2)
Dependency and indemnity compensation shall be increased under this subsection only for months occurring during the two-year period beginning on the date on which entitlement to dependency and indemnity compensation commenced.
(3)
The increase in dependency and indemnity compensation of a surviving spouse under this subsection shall cease beginning with the first month commencing after the month in which all children of the surviving spouse have attained the age of 18.
(4)
Whenever there is an increase in benefit amounts payable under title II of the Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. 401 et seq.) as a result of a determination made under section 215(i) of such Act (42 U.S.C. 415(i)), the Secretary shall, effective on the date of such increase in benefit amounts, increase the amount payable under paragraph (1), as such amount was in effect immediately prior to the date of such increase in benefit amounts, by the same percentage as the percentage by which such benefit amounts are increased. Any increase in a dollar amount under this paragraph shall be rounded down to the next lower whole dollar amount.
(5)
Dependency and indemnity compensation under this subsection is in addition to any other dependency and indemnity compensation payable under this chapter.
(Pub. L. 85–857, Sept. 2, 1958, 72 Stat. 1127, § 411; Pub. L. 87–268, § 1(b), Sept. 21, 1961, 75 Stat. 566; Pub. L. 88–21, § 1, May 15, 1963, 77 Stat. 17; Pub. L. 88–134, § 1, Oct. 5, 1963, 77 Stat. 223; Pub. L. 91–24, § 4(b), June 11, 1969, 83 Stat. 33; Pub. L. 91–96, § 3, Oct. 27, 1969, 83 Stat. 144; Pub. L. 91–588, § 3(a), Dec. 24, 1970, 84 Stat. 1583; Pub. L. 92–197, § 1, Dec. 15, 1971, 85 Stat. 660; Pub. L. 92–455, § 4, Oct. 2, 1972, 86 Stat. 761; Pub. L. 93–295, title II, § 201, May 31, 1974, 88 Stat. 182; Pub. L. 94–71, title II, § 201, Aug. 5, 1975, 89 Stat. 396; Pub. L. 94–433, title II, § 201, Sept. 30, 1976, 90 Stat. 1375; Pub. L. 95–117, title II, § 201, Oct. 3, 1977, 91 Stat. 1064; Pub. L. 95–479, title II, § 201, Oct. 18, 1978, 92 Stat. 1562; Pub. L. 96–128, title II, § 201, Nov. 28, 1979, 93 Stat. 984; Pub. L. 96–385, title II, § 201, Oct. 7, 1980, 94 Stat. 1529; Pub. L. 97–66, title II, § 201, Oct. 17, 1981, 95 Stat. 1028; Pub. L. 97–253, title IV, § 405(e), Sept. 8, 1982, 96 Stat. 804; Pub. L. 97–306, title I, §§ 104, 107, Oct. 14, 1982, 96 Stat. 1430, 1431; Pub. L. 98–223, title I, § 104, Mar. 2, 1984, 98 Stat. 38; Pub. L. 98–543, title I, § 104
cite as: 38 USC 1311