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When a service member dies on active duty or a veteran dies of a service-connected medical condition, or a service-connected medical condition was a major factor in the death, the surviving spouse is eligible for Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (DIC). The two major exceptions to this rule are if the veteran is rated 100 percent disabled for at least 10 years or an ex-POW was rated 100 percent for one year, then the surviving spouse is also eligible for DIC regardless of the cause of the veteran's death.

Service-connected means the disability happened while in the service or something that was made worse because of that military service. Surviving spouse means married to the service member or veteran at the time of death. If the surviving spouse remarries prior to age 57, DIC is stopped.

The current, basic DIC payment rate is $1,283.11 per month, which is tax-free. Medical care will continue for surviving spouses of retired veterans. Other benefits, including education and a property tax break, may be available depending on each situation. For each dependent child, an additional $317.87 per month is available. There is no time limit to apply for this benefit. Our office can assist you in applying for this benefit.

The Kings County Veterans Service Office can complete the DMV Veteran Status Verification Form for the California Veteran Designation on your driver’s license and also issues Veteran I.D. cards to honorably discharged veterans. Contact Scott Holwell at the email address provided below, 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, visit or call 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.

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Scott Holwell, retired Navy Master Chief Petty Officer, is the Deputy Veterans Service Officer for Kings County. Send your questions to the Veterans Service Office, 1400 W. Lacey Blvd, Hanford, CA 93230; call 852-2669; or e-mail scott.holwell@co.kings.ca.us. Want to know more? Visit www.countyofkings.com/vets.

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