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Title 38

Displaying title 38, up to date as of 9/14/2021. Title 38 was last amended 9/14/2021.
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Title 38

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PART 3 - ADJUDICATION
Subpart A - Pension, Compensation, and Dependency and Indemnity Compensation
Authority:

38 U.S.C. 501(a), unless otherwise noted.

General
§ 3.1 Definitions.

(a) Armed Forces means the United States Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Air Force, and Coast Guard, including their Reserve components.

(b) Reserve component means the Army, Naval, Marine Corps, Air Force, and Coast Guard Reserves and the National and Air National Guard of the United States.

(c) Reserves means members of a Reserve component of one of the Armed Forces.

(d) Veteran means a person who served in the active military, naval, or air service and who was discharged or released under conditions other than dishonorable.

(1) For compensation and dependency and indemnity compensation the term veteran includes a person who died in active service and whose death was not due to willful misconduct.

(2) For death pension the term veteran includes a person who died in active service under conditions which preclude payment of service-connected death benefits, provided such person had completed at least 2 years honorable military, naval or air service, as certified by the Secretary concerned. (See §§ 3.3(b)(3)(i) and 3.3(b)(4)(i))

(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 501)

(e) Veteran of any war means any veteran who served in the active military, naval or air service during a period of war as set forth in § 3.2.

(f) Period of war means the periods described in § 3.2.

(g) Secretary concerned means:

(1) The Secretary of the Army, with respect to matters concerning the Army;

(2) The Secretary of the Navy, with respect to matters concerning the Navy or the Marine Corps;

(3) The Secretary of the Air Force, with respect to matters concerning the Air Force;

(4) The Secretary of Homeland Security, with respect to matters concerning the Coast Guard;

(5) The Secretary of Health and Human Services, with respect to matters concerning the Public Health Service; and

(6) The Secretary of Commerce, with respect to matters concerning the Coast and Geodetic Survey, the Environmental Science Services Administration, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

(h) Discharge or release includes retirement from the active military, naval, or air service.

(i) State means each of the several States, Territories and possessions of the United States, the District of Columbia, and Commonwealth of Puerto Rico.

(j) Marriage means a marriage valid under the law of the place where the parties resided at the time of marriage, or the law of the place where the parties resided when the right to benefits accrued.

(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 103(c))

(k) Service-connected means, with respect to disability or death, that such disability was incurred or aggravated, or that the death resulted from a disability incurred or aggravated, in line of duty in the active military, naval, or air service.

(l) Nonservice-connected means, with respect to disability or death, that such disability was not incurred or aggravated, or that the death did not result from a disability incurred or aggravated, in line of duty in the active military, naval, or air service.

(m) In line of duty means an injury or disease incurred or aggravated during a period of active military, naval, or air service unless such injury or disease was the result of the veteran's own willful misconduct or, for claims filed after October 31, 1990, was a result of his or her abuse of alcohol or drugs. A service department finding that injury, disease or death occurred in line of duty will be binding on the Department of Veterans Affairs unless it is patently inconsistent with the requirements of laws administered by the Department of Veterans Affairs. Requirements as to line of duty are not met if at the time the injury was suffered or disease contracted the veteran was:

(1) Avoiding duty by desertion, or was absent without leave which materially interfered with the performance of military duty.

(2) Confined under a sentence of court-martial involving an unremitted dishonorable discharge.

(3) Confined under sentence of a civil court for a felony as determined under the laws of the jurisdiction where the person was convicted by such court.

(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 105)

Note:

See § 3.1(y)(2)(iii) for applicability of in line of duty in determining former prisoner of war status.

(n) Willful misconduct means an act involving conscious wrongdoing or known prohibited action. A service department finding that injury, disease or death was not due to misconduct will be binding on the Department of Veterans Affairs unless it is patently inconsistent with the facts and the requirements of laws administered by the Department of Veterans Affairs.

(1) It involves deliberate or intentional wrongdoing with knowledge of or wanton and reckless disregard of its probable consequences.

(2) Mere technical violation of police regulations or ordinances will not per se constitute willful misconduct.

(3) Willful misconduct will not be determinative unless it is the proximate cause of injury, disease or death. (See §§ 3.301, 3.302.)

(o) Political subdivision of the United States includes the jurisdiction defined as a State in paragraph (i) of this section, and the counties, cities or municipalities of each.

(p) Claim means a written or electronic communication requesting a determination of entitlement or evidencing a belief in entitlement, to a specific benefit under the laws administered by the Department of Veterans Affairs submitted on an application form prescribed by the Secretary. (See scope of claim, § 3.155(d)(2); complete claim, § 3.160(a); issues within a claim, § 3.151(c)).

(1) Initial claim. An initial claim is any complete claim, other than a supplemental claim, for a benefit on a form prescribed by the Secretary. The first initial claim for one or more benefits received by VA is further defined as an original claim. (See original claim, § 3.160(b)). Initial claims include:

(i) A new claim requesting service connection for a disability or grant of a new benefit, and

(ii) A claim for increase in a disability evaluation rating or rate of a benefit paid based on a change or worsening in condition or circumstance since the last decision issued by VA for the benefit.

(2) Supplemental claim. A supplemental claim is any complete claim for a VA benefit on an application form prescribed by the Secretary where an initial or supplemental claim for the same or similar benefit on the same or similar basis was previously decided. (See supplemental claim; § 3.2501.)

(q) Notice means written notice sent to a claimant or payee at his or her latest address of record.

(r) Date of receipt means the date on which a claim, information or evidence was received in the Department of Veterans Affairs, except as to specific provisions for claims or evidence received in the State Department (§ 3.108), or in the Social Security Administration (§§ 3.153, 3.201), or Department of Defense as to initial claims filed at or prior to separation. However, the Under Secretary for Benefits may establish, by notice published in the Federal Register, exceptions to this rule, using factors such as postmark or the date the claimant signed the correspondence, when he or she determines that a natural or man-made interference with the normal channels through which the Veterans Benefits Administration ordinarily receives correspondence has resulted in one or more Veterans Benefits Administration offices experiencing extended delays in receipt of claims, information, or evidence from claimants served by the affected office or offices to an extent that, if not addressed, would adversely affect such claimants through no fault of their own.

(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 501(a), 512(a), 5110)

(s) On the borders thereof means, with regard to service during the Mexican border period, the States of Arizona, California, New Mexico, and Texas, and the nations of Guatemala and British Honduras.

(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 101(30))

(t) In the waters adjacent thereto means, with regard to service during the Mexican border period, the waters (including the islands therein) which are within 750 nautical miles (863 statute miles) of the coast of the mainland of Mexico.

(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 101(30)

(u) Section 306 pension means those disability and death pension programs in effect on December 31, 1978, which arose out of Pub. L. 86-211; 73 Stat. 432.

(v) Old-Law pension means the disability and death pension programs that were in effect on June 30, 1960. Also known as protected pension, i.e., protected under section 9(b) of the Veteran's Pension Act of 1959 (Pub. L. 86-211; 73 Stat. 432).

(w) Improved pension means the disability and death pension programs becoming effective January 1, 1979, under authority of Pub. L. 95-588; 92 Stat. 2497.

(x) Service pension is the name given to Spanish-American War pension. It is referred to as a service pension because entitlement is based solely on service without regard to nonservice-connected disability, income and net worth.

(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 1512, 1536)

(y) Former prisoner of war. The term former prisoner of war means a person who, while serving in the active military, naval or air service, was forcibly detained or interned in the line of duty by an enemy or foreign government, the agents of either, or a hostile force.

(1) Decisions based on service department findings. The Department of Veterans Affairs shall accept the findings of the appropriate service department that a person was a prisoner of war during a period of war unless a reasonable basis exists for questioning it. Such findings shall be accepted only when detention or internment is by an enemy government or its agents.

(2) Other decisions. In all other situations, including those in which the Department of Veterans Affairs cannot accept the service department findings, the following factors shall be used to determine prisoner of war status:

(i) Circumstances of detention or internment. To be considered a former prisoner of war, a serviceperson must have been forcibly detained or interned under circumstances comparable to those under which persons generally have been forcibly detained or interned by enemy governments during periods of war. Such circumstances include, but are not limited to, physical hardships or abuse, psychological hardships or abuse, malnutrition, and unsanitary conditions. Each individual member of a particular group of detainees or internees shall, in the absence of evidence to the contrary, be considered to have experienced the same circumstances as those experienced by the group.

(ii) Reason for detainment or internment. The reason for which a serviceperson was detained or interned is immaterial in determining POW status, except that a serviceperson who is detained or interned by a foreign government for an alleged violation of its laws is not entitled to be considered a former POW on the basis of that period of detention or internment, unless the charges are a sham intended to legitimize the period of detention or internment.

(3) Central Office approval. The Director of the Compensation Service, VA Central Office, shall approve all VA regional office determinations establishing or denying POW status, with the exception of those service department determinations accepted under paragraph (y)(1) of this section.

(4) In line of duty. The Department of Veterans Affairs shall consider that a serviceperson was forcibly detained or interned in line of duty unless the evidence of record discloses that forcible detainment or internment was the proximate result of the serviceperson's own willful misconduct.

(5) Hostile force. The term hostile force means any entity other than an enemy or foreign government or the agents of either whose actions are taken to further or enhance anti-American military, political or economic objectives or views, or to attempt to embarrass the United States.

(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 101(32))

(z) Nursing home means

(1) Any extended care facility which is licensed by a State to provide skilled or intermediate-level nursing care,

(2) A nursing home care unit in a State veterans' home which is approved for payment under 38 U.S.C. 1742, or

(3) A Department of Veterans Affairs Nursing Home Care Unit.

(aa) Fraud:

(1) As used in 38 U.S.C. 103 and implementing regulations, fraud means an intentional misrepresentation of fact, or the intentional failure to disclose pertinent facts, for the purpose of obtaining, or assisting an individual to obtain an annulment or divorce, with knowledge that the misrepresentation or failure to disclose may result in the erroneous granting of an annulment or divorce; and

(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 501)

(2) As used in 38 U.S.C. 110 and 1159 and implementing regulations, fraud means an intentional misrepresentation of fact, or the intentional failure to disclose pertinent facts, for the purpose of obtaining or retaining, or assisting an individual to obtain or retain, eligibility for Department of Veterans Affairs benefits, with knowledge that the misrepresentation or failure to disclose may result in the erroneous award or retention of such benefits.

Cross References:

Pension. See § 3.3. Compensation. See § 3.4. Dependency and indemnity compensation. See § 3.5. Preservation of disability ratings. See § 3.951. Service-connection. See § 3.957.

[26 FR 1563, Feb. 24, 1961]

§ 3.2 Periods of war.

This section sets forth the beginning and ending dates of each war period beginning with the Indian wars. Note that the term period of war in reference to pension entitlement under 38 U.S.C. 1521, 1541 and 1542 means all of the war periods listed in this section except the Indian wars and the Spanish-American War. See § 3.3(a)(3) and (b)(4)(i).

(a) Indian wars. January 1, 1817, through December 31, 1898, inclusive. Service must have been rendered with the United States military forces against Indian tribes or nations.

(b) Spanish-American War. April 21, 1898, through July 4, 1902, inclusive. If the veteran served with the United States military forces engaged in hostilities in the Moro Province, the ending date is July 15, 1903. The Philippine Insurrection and the Boxer Rebellion are included.

(c) World War I. April 6, 1917, through November 11, 1918, inclusive. If the veteran served with the United States military forces in Russia, the ending date is April 1, 1920. Service after November 11, 1918 and before July 2, 1921 is considered World War I service if the veteran served in the active military, naval, or air service after April 5, 1917 and before November 12, 1918.

(d) World War II. December 7, 1941, through December 31, 1946, inclusive. If the veteran was in service on December 31, 1946, continuous service before July 26, 1947, is considered World War II service.

(e) Korean conflict. June 27, 1950, through January 31, 1955, inclusive.

(f) Vietnam era. The period beginning on February 28, 1961, and ending on May 7, 1975, inclusive, in the case of a veteran who served in the Republic of Vietnam during that period. The period beginning on August 5, 1964, and ending on May 7, 1975, inclusive, in all other cases.

(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 101(29))

(g) Future dates. The period beginning on the date of any future declaration of war by the Congress and ending on a date prescribed by Presidential proclamation or concurrent resolution of the Congress.

(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 101)

(h) Mexican border period. May 9, 1916, through April 5, 1917, in the case of a veteran who during such period served in Mexico, on the borders thereof, or in the waters adjacent thereto.

(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 101(30))

(i) Persian Gulf War. August 2, 1990, through date to be prescribed by Presidential proclamation or law.

[26 FR 1563, Feb. 24, 1961, as amended at 32 FR 13223, Sept. 19, 1967; 36 FR 8445, May 6, 1971; 37 FR 6676, Apr. 1, 1972; 40 FR 27030, June 26, 1975; 44 FR 45931, Aug. 6, 1979; 56 FR 57986, Nov. 15, 1991; 62 FR 35422, July 1, 1997]

§ 3.3 Pension.

(a) Pension for veterans -

(1) Service pension; Spanish-American War. A benefit payable monthly by the Department of Veterans Affairs because of service in the Spanish-American War. Basic entitlement exists if a veteran:

(i) Had 70 (or 90) days or more active service during the Spanish-American War; or

(ii) Was discharged or released from such service for a disability adjudged service connected without benefit of presumptive provisions of law, or at the time of discharge had such a service-connected disability, shown by official service records, which in medical judgment would have justified a discharge for disability.

(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 1512)

(2) Section 306 pension. A benefit payable monthly by the Department of Veterans Affairs because of nonservice-connected disability or age. Basic entitlement exists if a veteran:

(i) Served 90 days or more in either the Mexican border period, World War I, World War II, the Korean conflict, or the Vietnam era, or served an aggregate of 90 days or more in separate periods of service during the same or during different war periods, including service during the Spanish-American War (Pub. L. 87-101, 75 Stat. 218; Pub. L. 90-77, 81 Stat. 178; Pub. L. 92-198, 85 Stat. 663); or

(ii) Served continuously for a period of 90 consecutive days or more and such period ended during the Mexican border period or World War I, or began or ended during World War II, the Korean conflict or the Vietnam era (Pub. L. 87-101, 75 Stat. 218; Pub. L. 88-664, 78 Stat. 1094; Pub. L. 90-77, 81 Stat. 178; Pub. L. 91-588, 84 Stat. 1580; Pub. L. 92-198, 85 Stat. 663; Pub. L. 94-169, 89 Stat. 1013; Pub. L. 95-204, 91 Stat. 1455); or

(iii) Was discharged or released from such wartime service, before having served 90 days, for a disability adjudged service connected without the benefit of presumptive provisions of law, or at the time of discharge had such a service-connected disability, shown by official service records, which in medical judgment would have justified a discharge for disability; and

(iv) Is permanently and totally disabled (a) from nonservice-connected disability not due to the veteran's own willful misconduct or vicious habits, or (b) by reason of having attained the age of 65 years or by reason of having become unemployable after age 65; and

(v)(a) Is in receipt of section 306 pension or (b) has an application for pension pending on December 31, 1978, or (c) meets the age or disability requirements for such pension on December 31, 1978, and files a claim within 1 year of that date and also within 1 year after meeting the age or disability requirements.

(vi) Meets the income and net worth requirements of 38 U.S.C. 1521 and 1522 as in effect on December 31, 1978, and all other provisions of title 38, United States Code, in effect on December 31, 1978, applicable to section 306 pension.

Note:

The pension provisions of title 38 U.S.C., as in effect on December 31, 1978, are available in any VA regional office.

(3) Improved pension; Pub. L. 95-588 (92 Stat. 2497). A benefit payable by the Department of Veterans Affairs to veterans of a period or periods of war because of nonservice-connected disability or age. The qualifying periods of war for this benefit are the Mexican border period, World War I, World War II, the Korean conflict, the Vietnam era and the Persian Gulf War. Payments are made monthly unless the amount of the annual benefit is less than 4 percent of the maximum annual rate payable to a veteran under 38 U.S.C. 1521(b), in which case payments may be made less frequently than monthly. Basic entitlement exists if a veteran:

(i) Served in the active military, naval or air service for 90 days or more during a period of war (38 U.S.C. 1521(j)); or

(ii) Served in the active military, naval or air service during a period of war and was discharged or released from such service for a disability adjudged service-connected without presumptive provisions of law, or at time of discharge had such a service-connected disability, shown by official service records, which in medical judgment would have justified a discharge for disability (38 U.S.C. 1521(j)); or

(iii) Served in the active military, naval or air service for a period of 90 consecutive days or more and such period began or ended during a period of war (38 U.S.C. 1521(j)); or

(iv) Served in the active military, naval or air service for an aggregate of 90 days or more in two or more separate periods of service during more than one period of war (38 U.S.C. 1521(j)); and

(v) Meets the net worth requirements under § 3.274 and does not have an annual income in excess of the applicable maximum annual pension rate specified in § 3.23; and

(vi)

(A) Is age 65 or older; or

(B) Is permanently and totally disabled from nonservice-connected disability not due to the veteran's own willfull misconduct. For purposes of this paragraph, a veteran is considered permanently and totally disabled if the veteran is any of the following:

(1) A patient in a nursing home for long-term care because of disability; or

(2) Disabled, as determined by the Commissioner of Social Security for purposes of any benefits administered by the Commissioner; or

(3) Unemployable as a result of disability reasonably certain to continue throughout the life of the person; or

(4) Suffering from:

(i) Any disability which is sufficient to render it impossible for the average person to follow a substantially gainful occupation, but only if it is reasonably certain that such disability will continue throughout the life of the person; or

(ii) Any disease or disorder determined by VA to be of such a nature or extent as to justify a determination that persons suffering from that disease or disorder are permanently and totally disabled.

(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 1502(a), 1513, 1521, 1522)

(b) Pension for survivors -

(1) Indian war death pension. A monthly benefit payable by the Department of Veterans Affairs to the surviving spouse or child of a deceased veteran of an Indian war. Basic entitlement exists if a veteran had qualifying service as specified in 38 U.S.C. 1511. Indian war death pension rates are set forth in 38 U.S.C. 1534 and 1535.

(2) Spanish-American War death pension. A monthly benefit payable by the Department of Veterans Affairs to the surviving spouse or child of a deceased veteran of the Spanish-American War, if the veteran:

(i) Had 90 days or more active service during the Spanish-American War; or

(ii) Was discharged or released from such service for a disability service-connected without benefit of presumptive provisions of law, or at time of discharge had such a service-connected disability, as shown by official service records, which in medical judgment would have justified a discharge for disability.

(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 1536, 1537)

(3) Section 306 death pension. A monthly benefit payable by the Department of Veterans Affairs to a surviving spouse or child because of a veteran's nonservice-connected death. Basic entitlement exists if:

(i) The veteran (as defined in § 3.1(d) and (d)(2)) had qualifying service as specified in paragraph (a)(2)(i), (ii), or (iii) of this section; or

(ii) The veteran was, at time of death, receiving or entitled to receive compensation or retired pay for service-connected disability based on wartime service; and

(iii) The surviving spouse or child

(A) was in receipt of section 306 pension on December 31, 1978, or

(B) had a claim for pension pending on that date, or

(C) filed a claim for pension after that date but within 1 year after the veteran's death, if the veteran died before January 1, 1979; and

(iv) The surviving spouse or child meets the income and net worth requirements of 38 U.S.C. 1541, 1542 or 1543 as in effect on December 31, 1978, and all other provisions of title 38, United States Code in effect on December 31, 1978, applicable to section 306 pension.

Note:

The pension provisions of title 38, United States Code, as in effect on December 31, 1978, are available in any VA regional office.)

(4) Improved death pension, Public Law 95-588. A benefit payable by the Department of Veterans Affairs to a veteran's surviving spouse or child because of the veteran's nonservice-connected death. Payments are made monthly unless the amount of the annual benefit is less than 4 percent of the maximum annual rate payable to a veteran under 38 U.S.C. 1521(b), in which case payments may be made less frequently than monthly. Basic entitlement exists if:

(i) The veteran (as defined in § 3.1(d) and (d)(2)) had qualifying service as specified in paragraph (a)(3)(i), (ii), (iii), or (iv) of this section (38 U.S.C. 1541(a)); or

(ii) The veteran was, at time of death, receiving or entitled to receive compensation or retired pay for a service-connected disability based on service during a period of war. (The qualifying periods of war are specified in paragraph (a)(3) of this section.) (38 U.S.C. 1541(a)); and

(iii) The surviving spouse or child meets the net worth requirements of § 3.274 and has an annual income not in excess of the applicable maximum annual pension rate specified in §§ 3.23 and 3.24.

Cross References:

Section 306 pension. See § 3.1(u). Improved pension. See § 3.1(w). Improved pension rates. See § 3.23. Improved pension rates; surviving children. See § 3.24. Frequency of payment of improved pension. See § 3.30. Relationship of net worth to pension entitlement. See § 3.274.

[44 FR 45931, Aug. 6, 1979, as amended at 56 FR 19579, Apr. 29, 1991; 56 FR 22910, May 17, 1991; 56 FR 25044, June 3, 1991; 56 FR 57986, Nov. 15, 1991; 68 FR 34541, June 10, 2003]

§ 3.4 Compensation.

(a) Compensation. This term means a monthly payment made by the Department of Veterans Affairs to a veteran because of service-connected disability, or to a surviving spouse, child, or parent of a veteran because of the service-connected death of the veteran occurring before January 1, 1957, or under the circumstances outlined in paragraph (c)(2) of this section. If the veteran was discharged or released from service, the discharge or release must have been under conditions other than dishonorable.

(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 101(2), (13))

(b) Disability compensation.

(1) Basic entitlement for a veteran exists if the veteran is disabled as the result of a personal injury or disease (including aggravation of a condition existing prior to service) while in active service if the injury or the disease was incurred or aggravated in line of duty.

(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 1110, 1131)

(2) An additional amount of compensation may be payable for a spouse, child, and/or dependent parent where a veteran is entitled to compensation based on disability evaluated as 30 per centum or more disabling.

(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 1115)

(c) Death compensation. Basic entitlement exists for a surviving spouse, child or children, and dependent parent or parents if:

(1) The veteran died before January 1, 1957; or

(2) The veteran died on or after May 1, 1957, and before January 1, 1972, if at the time of death a policy of United States Government Life Insurance or National Service Life Insurance was in effect under waiver of premiums under 38 U.S.C. 1924 unless the waiver was granted under the first proviso of section 622(a) of the National Service Life Insurance Act of 1940, and the veteran died before return to military jurisdiction or within 120 days thereafter. (See § 3.5(d) as to Public Health Service.)

[26 FR 1564, Feb. 24, 1961, as amended at 38 FR 21923, Aug. 14, 1973; 39 FR 34529, Sept. 26, 1974; 44 FR 22717, Apr. 17, 1979]

§ 3.5 Dependency and indemnity compensation.

(a) Dependency and indemnity compensation. This term means a monthly payment made by the Department of Veterans Affairs to a surviving spouse, child, or parent:

(1) Because of a service-connected death occurring after December 31, 1956, or

(2) Pursuant to the election of a surviving spouse, child, or parent, in the case of such a death occurring before January 1, 1957.

(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 101 (14))

(b) Entitlement. Basic entitlement for a surviving spouse, child or children, and parent or parents of a veteran exists, if:

(1) Death occurred on or after January 1, 1957, except in the situation specified in § 3.4(c)(2); or

(2) Death occurred prior to January 1, 1957, and the claimant was receiving or eligible to receive death compensation on December 31, 1956 (or, as to a parent, would have been eligible except for income), under laws in effect on that date or who subsequently becomes eligible by reason of a death which occurred prior to January 1, 1957; or

(3) Death occurred on or after May 1, 1957, and before January 1, 1972, and the claimant had been ineligible to receive dependency and indemnity compensation because of the exception in subparagraph (1) of this paragraph. In such case dependency and indemnity compensation is payable upon election.

(38 U.S.C. 1310, 1316, 1317, Public Law 92-197, 85 Stat. 660)

(c) Exclusiveness of remedy. No person eligible for dependency and indemnity compensation by reason of a death occurring on or after January 1, 1957, shall be eligible by reason of such death for death pension or compensation under any other law administered by the Department of Veterans Affairs, except that, effective November 2, 1994, a surviving spouse who is receiving dependency and indemnity compensation may elect to receive death pension instead of such compensation.

(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 1317)

(d) Group life insurance. No dependency and indemnity compensation or death compensation shall be paid to any surviving spouse, child or parent based on the death of a commissioned officer of the Public Health Service, the Coast and Geodetic Survey, the Environmental Science Services Administration, or the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration occuring on or after May 1, 1957, if any amounts are payable under the Federal Employees' Group Life Insurance Act of 1954 (Pub. L. 598, 83d Cong., as amended) based on the same death.

(Authority: Sec. 501(c)(2), Pub. L. 881, 84th Cong. (70 Stat. 857), as amended by Sec. 13(u), Pub. L. 85-857; (72 Stat. 1266); Sec. 5, Pub. L. 91-621 (84 Stat. 1863))

[29 FR 10396, July 25, 1964, as amended at 35 FR 18661, Dec. 9, 1970; 37 FR 6676, Apr. 1, 1972; 39 FR 34529, Sept. 26, 1974; 44 FR 22717, Apr. 17, 1979; 58 FR 25561, Apr. 27, 1993; 58 FR 27622, May 10, 1993; 60 FR 18355, Apr. 11, 1995; 70 FR 72220, Dec. 2, 2005; 73 FR 23356, Apr. 30, 2008]

§ 3.6 Duty periods.

(a) Active military, naval, and air service. This includes active duty, any period of active duty for training during which the individual concerned was disabled or died from a disease or injury incurred or aggravated in line of duty, and any period of inactive duty training during which the individual concerned was disabled or died from an injury incurred or aggravated in line of duty or from an acute myocardial infarction, a cardiac arrest, or a cerebrovascular accident which occurred during such training.

(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 101(24))

(b) Active duty. This means:

(1) Full-time duty in the Armed Forces, other than active duty for training;

(2) Full-time duty (other than for training purposes) as a commissioned officer of the Regular or Reserve Corps of the Public Health Service:

(i) On or after July 29, 1945, or

(ii) Before that date under circumstances affording entitlement to full military benefits, or

(iii) At any time, for the purposes of dependency and indemnity compensation.

(3) Full-time duty as a commissioned officer of the Coast and Geodetic Survey or of its successor agencies, the Environmental Science Services Administration and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration:

(i) On or after July 29, 1945, or

(ii) Before that date:

(a) While on transfer to one of the Armed Forces, or

(b) While, in time of war or national emergency declared by the President, assigned to duty on a project for one of the Armed Forces in an area determined by the Secretary of Defense to be of immediate military hazard, or

(c) In the Philippine Islands on December 7, 1941, and continuously in such islands thereafter, or

(iii) At any time, for the purposes of dependency and indemnity compensation.

(4) Service at any time as a cadet at the United States Military, Air Force, or Coast Guard Academy, or as a midshipman at the United States Naval Academy;

(5) Attendance at the preparatory schools of the United States Air Force Academy, the United States Military Academy, or the United States Naval Academy for enlisted active-duty members who are reassigned to a preparatory school without a release from active duty, and for other individuals who have a commitment to active duty in the Armed Forces that would be binding upon disenrollment from the preparatory school;

(6) Authorized travel to or from such duty or service; and

(7) A person discharged or released from a period of active duty, shall be deemed to have continued on active duty during the period of time immediately following the date of such discharge or release from such duty determined by the Secretary concerned to have been required for him or her to proceed to his or her home by the most direct route, and, in all instances, until midnight of the date of such discharge or release.

(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 106(c))

(c) Active duty for training.

(1) Full-time duty in the Armed Forces performed by Reserves for training purposes;

(2) Full-time duty for training purposes performed as a commissioned officer of the Reserve Corps of the Public Health Service:

(i) On or after July 29, 1945, or

(ii) Before that date under circumstances affording entitlement to full military benefits, or

(iii) At any time, for the purposes of dependency and indemnity compensation:

(3) Full-time duty performed by members of the National Guard of any State, under 32 U.S.C. 316, 502, 503, 504, or 505, or the prior corresponding provisions of law or full-time duty by such members while participating in the reenactment of the Battle of First Manassas in July 1961;

(4) Duty performed by a member of a Senior Reserve Officers' Training Corps program when ordered to such duty for the purpose of training or a practice cruise under chapter 103 of title 10 U.S.C.

(i) The requirements of this paragraph are effective -

(A) On or after October 1, 1982, with respect to deaths and disabilities resulting from diseases or injuries incurred or aggravated after September 30, 1982, and

(B) October 1, 1983, with respect to deaths and disabilities resulting from diseases or injuries incurred or aggravated before October 1, 1982.

(ii) Effective on or after October 1, 1988, such duty must be prerequisite to the member being commissioned and must be for a period of at least four continuous weeks.

(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 101(22)(D) as amended by Pub. L. 100-456)

(5) Attendance at the preparatory schools of the United States Air Force Academy, the United States Military Academy, or the United States Naval Academy by an individual who enters the preparatory school directly from the Reserves, National Guard or civilian life, unless the individual has a commitment to service on active duty which would be binding upon disenrollment from the preparatory school.

(6) Authorized travel to or from such duty.

(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 101(22))

The term does not include duty performed as a temporary member of the Coast Guard Reserve.

(d) Inactive duty training. This means:

(1) Duty (other than full-time duty) prescribed for Reserves (including commissioned officers of the Reserve Corps of the Public Health Service) by the Secretary concerned under 37 U.S.C. 206 or any other provision of law;

(2) Special additional duties authorized for Reserves (including commissioned officers of the Reserve Corps of the Public Health Service) by an authority designated by the Secretary concerned and performed by them on a voluntary basis in connection with the prescribed training or maintenance activities of the units to which they are assigned; and

(3) Training (other than active duty for training) by a member of, or applicant for membership (as defined in 5 U.S.C. 8140(g)) in, the Senior Reserve Officers' Training Corps prescribed under chapter 103 of title 10 U.S.C.

(4) Duty (other than full-time duty) performed by a member of the National Guard of any State, under 32 U.S.C. 316, 502, 503, 504, or 505, or the prior corresponding provisions of law. The term inactive duty training does not include:

(i) Work or study performed in connection with correspondence courses,

(ii) Attendance at an educational institution in an inactive status, or

(iii) Duty performed as a temporary member of the Coast Guard Reserve.

(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 101(23))

(e) Travel status - training duty (disability or death from injury or covered disease). Any individual:

(1) Who, when authorized or required by competent authority, assumes an obligation to perform active duty for training or inactive duty training; and

(2) Who is disabled or dies from an injury or covered disease incurred while proceeding directly to or returning directly from such active duty for training or inactive duty training shall be deemed to have been on active duty for training or inactive duty training, as the case may be. The Department of Veterans Affairs will determine whether such individual was so authorized or required to perform such duty, and whether the individual was disabled or died from an injury or covered disease so incurred. In making such determinations, there shall be taken into consideration the hour on which the individual began to proceed or return; the hour on which the individual was scheduled to arrive for, or on which the individual ceased to perform, such duty; the method of travel performed; the itinerary; the manner in which the travel was performed; and the immediate cause of disability or death. Whenever any claim is filed alleging that the claimant is entitled to benefits by reason of this paragraph, the burden of proof shall be on the claimant.

(3) For purposes of this section, the term covered disease means any of the following:

(i) An acute myocardial infarction.

(ii) A cardiac arrest.

(iii) A cerebrovascular accident.

[26 FR 1564, Feb. 24, 1961, as amended at 26 FR 6767, July 28, 1961; 27 FR 4023, Apr. 27, 1962; 29 FR 14171, Oct. 15, 1964; 36 FR 5341, Mar. 20, 1971; 41 FR 26881, June 29, 1976; 49 FR 47003, Nov. 30, 1984; 54 FR 51200, Dec. 13, 1989; 55 FR 23931, June 13, 1990; 60 FR 57179, Nov. 14, 1995; 61 FR 11731, Mar. 22, 1996; 66 FR 48560, Sept. 21, 2001; 67 FR 49585, July 31, 2002]

§ 3.7 Individuals and groups considered to have performed active military, naval, or air service.

The following individuals and groups are considered to have performed active military, naval, or air service:

(a) Aerial transportation of mail (Pub. L. 140, 73d Congress). Persons who were injured or died while serving under conditions set forth in Pub. L. 140, 73d Congress.

(b) Aliens. Effective July 28, 1959, a veteran discharged for alienage during a period of hostilities unless evidence affirmatively shows he or she was discharged at his or her own request. A veteran who was discharged for alienage after a period of hostilities and whose service was honest and faithful is not barred from benefits if he or she is otherwise entitled. A discharge changed prior to January 7, 1957, to honorable by a board established under authority of section 301, Pub. L. 346, 78th Congress, as amended, or section 207, Pub. L. 601, 79th Congress, as amended (now 10 U.S.C. 1552 and 1553), will be considered as evidence that the discharge was not at the alien's request. (See § 3.12.)

(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 5303(c))

(c) Army field clerks. Included as enlisted men.

(d) Army Nurse Corps, Navy Nurse Corps, and female dietetic and physical therapy personnel.

(1) Army and Navy nurses (female) on active service under order of the service department.

(2) Dietetic and physical therapy (female) personnel, excluding students and apprentices, appointed with relative rank on or after December 22, 1942, or commissioned on or after June 22, 1944.

(e) Aviation camps. Students who were enlisted men during World War I.

(f) Cadets and midshipmen. See § 3.6(b)(4).

(g) Coast and Geodetic Survey, and its successor agencies, the Environmental Science Services Administration and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. See § 3.6(b)(3).

(h) Coast Guard. Active service in Coast Guard on or after January 29, 1915, while under jurisdiction of the Treasury Department, Navy Department, or the Department of Transportation. (See § 3.6 (c) and (d) as to temporary members of the Coast Guard Reserves.)

(i) Contract surgeons. For compensation and dependency and indemnity compensation, if the disability or death was the result of disease or injury contracted in line of duty during a war period while actually performing the duties of assistant surgeon or acting assistant surgeon with any military force in the field, or in transit or in hospital.

(j) Field clerks, Quartermaster Corps. Included as enlisted men.

(k) Lighthouse service personnel. Transferred to the service and jurisdiction of War or Navy Departments by Executive order under the Act of August 29, 1916. Effective July 1, 1939, service was consolidated with the Coast Guard.

(l) Male nurses. Persons who were enlisted men of Medical Corps.

(m) National Guard. Members of the National Guard of the United States and Air National Guard of the United States are included as Reserves. See § 3.6 (c) and (d) as to training duty performed by members of a State National Guard and paragraph (o) of this section as to disability suffered after being called into Federal service and before enrollment.

(n) Persons heretofore having a pensionable or compensable status.

(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 1152, 1504)

(o) Persons ordered to service.

(1) Any person who has:

(i) Applied for enlistment or enrollment in the active military, naval, or air service and who is provisionally accepted and directed, or ordered, to report to a place for final acceptance into the service, or

(ii) Been selected or drafted for such service, and has reported according to a call from the person's local draft board and before final rejection, or

(iii) Been called into Federal service as a member of the National Guard, but has not been enrolled for Federal service, and

(iv) Suffered injury or disease in line of duty while going to, or coming from, or at such place for final acceptance or entry upon active duty,

is considered to have been on active duty and therefore to have incurred such disability in active service.

(2) The injury or disease must be due to some factor relating to compliance with proper orders. Draftees and selectees are included when reporting for preinduction examination or for final induction on active duty. Such persons are not included for injury or disease suffered during the period of inactive duty, or period of waiting, after a final physical examination and prior to beginning the trip to report for induction. Members of the National Guard are included when reporting to a designated rendezvous.

(p) Philippine Scouts and others. See § 3.40.

(q) Public Health Service. See § 3.6 (a) and (b).

(r) Reserves. See § 3.6 (a), (b), and (c).

(s) Revenue Cutter Service. While serving under direction of Secretary of the Navy in cooperation with the Navy.

(t) Training camps. Members of training camps authorized by section 54 of the National Defense Act, except members of Student Army Training Corps Camps at the Presidio of San Francisco, Plattsburg, New York, Fort Sheridan, Illinois, Howard University, Washington, D.C., Camp Perry, Ohio, and Camp Hancock, Georgia, from July 18, 1918, to September 16, 1918.

(u) Women's Army Corps (WAC). Service on or after July 1, 1943.

(v) Women's Reserve of Navy, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard. Same benefits as members of the Officers Reserve Corps or enlisted men of the United States Navy, Marine Corps or Coast Guard.

(w) Russian Railway Service Corps. Service during World War I as certified by the Secretary of the Army.

(x) Active military service certified as such under section 401 of Pub. L. 95-202. Such service if certified by the Secretary of Defense as active military service and if a discharge under honorable conditions is issued by the Secretary. The effective dates for an award based upon such service shall be as provided by § 3.400(z) and 38 U.S.C. 5110, except that in no event shall such an award be made effective earlier than November 23, 1977. Service in the following groups has been certified as active military service.

(1) Women's Air Forces Service Pilots (WASP).

(2) Signal Corps Female Telephone Operators Unit of World War I.

(3) Engineer Field Clerks (WWI).

(4) Women's Army Auxiliary Corps (WAAC).

(5) Quartermaster Corps Female Clerical Employees serving with the AEF (American Expeditionary Forces) in World War I.

(6) Civilian Employees of Pacific Naval Air Bases Who Actively Participated in Defense of Wake Island During World War II.

(7) Reconstruction Aides and Dietitians in World War I.

(8) Male Civilian Ferry Pilots.

(9) Wake Island Defenders from Guam.

(10) Civilian Personnel Assigned to the Secret Intelligence Element of the OSS.

(11) Guam Combat Patrol.

(12) Quartermaster Corps Keswick Crew on Corregidor (WWII).

(13) U.S. Civilian Volunteers Who Actively Participated in the Defense of Bataan.

(14) United States Merchant Seamen Who Served on Blockships in Support of Operation Mulberry.

(15) American Merchant Marine in Oceangoing Service during the Period of Armed Conflict, December 7, 1941, to August 15, 1945.

(16) Civilian Navy IFF Technicians Who Served in the Combat Areas of the Pacific during World War II (December 7, 1941 to August 15, 1945). As used in the official name of this group, the acronym IFF stands for Identification Friend or Foe.

(17) U.S. Civilians of the American Field Service (AFS) Who Served Overseas Operationally in World War I during the Period August 31, 1917 to January 1, 1918.

(18) U.S. Civilians of the American Field Service (AFS) Who Served Overseas Under U.S. Armies and U.S. Army Groups in World War II during the Period December 7, 1941 through May 8, 1945.

(19) U.S. Civilian Employees of American Airlines Who Served Overseas as a Result of American Airlines' Contract with the Air Transport Command During the Period December 14, 1941 through August 14, 1945.

(20) Civilian Crewmen of United States Coast and Geodetic Survey (USCGS) Vessels Who Performed Their Service in Areas of Immediate Military Hazard While Conducting Cooperative Operations with and for the United States Armed Forces Within a Time Frame of December 7, 1941, to August 15, 1945 on a qualifying USCGS vessel. Qualifying USCGS vessels are the Derickson, Explorer, Gilbert, Hilgard, E. Lester Jones, Lydonia, Patton, Surveyor, Wainwright, Westdahl, Oceanographer, Hydrographer, and Pathfinder.

(21) Honorably Discharged Members of the American Volunteer Group (Flying Tigers) Who Served During the Period December 7, 1941 to July 18, 1942.

(22) U.S. Civilian Flight Crew and Aviation Ground Support Employees of United Air Lines (UAL), Who Served Overseas as a Result of UAL's Contract With the Air Transport Command During the Period December 14, 1941, through August 14, 1945.

(23) U.S. Civilian Flight Crew and Aviation Ground Support Employees of Transcontinental and Western Air (TWA), Inc., Who Served Overseas as a Result of TWA's Contract with the Air Transport Command During the Period December 14, 1941, through August 14, 1945. The “Flight Crew” includes pursers.

(24) U.S. Civilian Flight Crew and Aviation Ground Support Employees of Consolidated Vultree Aircraft Corporation (Consairway Division) Who Served Overseas as a Result of a Contract With the Air Transport Command During the Period December 14, 1941, through August 14, 1945.

(25) U.S. Civilian Flight Crew and Aviation Ground Support Employees of Pan American World Airways and Its Subsidiaries and Affiliates, Who Served Overseas as a Result of Pan American's Contract With the Air Transport Command and Naval Air Transport Service During the Period December 14, 1941 through August 14, 1945.

(26) Honorably Discharged Members of the American Volunteer Guard, Eritrea Service Command During the Period June 21, 1942 to March 31, 1943.

(27) U.S. Civilian Flight Crew and Aviation Ground Support Employees of Northwest Airlines, Who Served Overseas as a Result of Northwest Airline's Contract with the Air Transport Command during the Period December 14, 1941 through August 14, 1945.

(28) U.S. Civilian Female Employees of the U.S. Army Nurse Corps While Serving in the Defense of Bataan and Corregidor During the Period January 2, 1942 to February 3, 1945.

(29) U.S. Flight Crew and Aviation Ground Support Employees of Northeast Airlines Atlantic Division, Who Served Overseas as a Result of Northeast Airlines' Contract With the Air Transport Command During the Period December 7, 1941, Through August 14, 1945.

(30) U.S. Civilian Flight Crew and Aviation Ground Support Employees of Braniff Airways, Who Served Overseas in the North Atlantic or Under the Jurisdiction of the North Atlantic Wing, Air Transport Command (ATC), as a Result of a Contract With the ATC During the Period February 26, 1942, Through August 14, 1945.

(31) The approximately 50 Chamorro and Carolinian former native policemen who received military training in the Donnal area of central Saipan and were placed under the command of Lt. Casino of the 6th Provisional Military Police Battalion to accompany United States Marines on active, combat-patrol activity from August 19, 1945, to September 2, 1945.

(32) Three scouts/guides, Miguel Tenorio, Penedicto Taisacan, and Cristino Dela Cruz, who assisted the United States Marines in the offensive operations against the Japanese on the Northern Mariana Islands from June 19, 1944, through September 2, 1945.

(33) The Operational Analysis Group of the Office of Scientific Research and Development, Office of Emergency Management, which served overseas with the U.S. Army Air Corps from December 7, 1941, through August 15, 1945.

(Authority: Sec. 401, Pub. L. 95-202, 91 Stat. 1449)

(y) Alaska Territorial Guard: Members of the Alaska Territorial Guard during World War II who were honorably discharged from such service as determined by the Secretary of Defense.

Cross Reference:

Office of Workers' Compensation Programs. See § 3.708.

[26 FR 1565, Feb. 24, 1961]

§ 3.10 Dependency and indemnity compensation rate for a surviving spouse.

(a) General determination of rate. When VA grants a surviving spouse entitlement to DIC, VA will determine the rate of the benefit it will award. The rate of the benefit will be the total of the basic monthly rate specified in paragraph (b) or (d) of this section and any applicable increases specified in paragraph (c) or (e) of this section.

(b) Basic monthly rate. Except as provided in paragraph (d) of this section, the basic monthly rate of DIC for a surviving spouse will be the amount set forth in 38 U.S.C. 1311(a)(1).

(c) Section 1311(a)(2) increase. The basic monthly rate under paragraph (b) of this section shall be increased by the amount specified in 38 U.S.C. 1311(a)(2) if the veteran, at the time of death, was receiving, or was entitled to receive, compensation for service-connected disability that was rated by VA as totally disabling for a continuous period of at least eight years immediately preceding death. Determinations of entitlement to this increase shall be made in accordance with paragraph (f) of this section.

(d) Alternative basic monthly rate for death occurring prior to January 1, 1993. The basic monthly rate of DIC for a surviving spouse when the death of the veteran occurred prior to January 1, 1993, will be the amount specified in 38 U.S.C. 1311(a)(3) corresponding to the veteran's pay grade in service, but only if such rate is greater than the total of the basic monthly rate and the section 1311(a)(2) increase (if applicable) the surviving spouse is entitled to receive under paragraphs (b) and (c) of this section. The Secretary of the concerned service department will certify the veteran's pay grade and the certification will be binding on VA. DIC paid pursuant to this paragraph may not be increased by the section 1311(a)(2) increase under paragraph (c) of this section.

(e) Additional increases. One or more of the following increases may be paid in addition to the basic monthly rate and the section 1311(a)(2) increase.

(1) Increase for children. If the surviving spouse has one or more children under the age of 18 of the deceased veteran (including a child not in the surviving spouse's actual or constructive custody, or a child who is in active military service), the monthly DIC rate will be increased by the amount set forth in 38 U.S.C. 1311(b) for each child.

(2) Increase for regular aid and attendance. If the surviving spouse is determined to be in need of regular aid and attendance under the criteria in § 3.352 or is a patient in a nursing home, the monthly DIC rate will be increased by the amount set forth in 38 U.S.C. 1311(c).

(3) Increase for housebound status. If the surviving spouse does not qualify for the regular aid and attendance allowance but is housebound under the criteria in § 3.351(e), the monthly DIC rate will be increased by the amount set forth in 38 U.S.C. 1311(d).

(4) For a two-year period beginning on the date entitlement to dependency and indemnity compensation commenced, the dependency and indemnity compensation paid monthly to a surviving spouse with one or more children below the age of 18 shall be increased by the amount set forth in 38 U.S.C. 1311(f), regardless of the number of such children. The dependency and indemnity compensation payable under this paragraph is in addition to any other dependency and indemnity compensation payable. The increase in dependency and indemnity compensation of a surviving spouse under this paragraph 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.

(f) Criteria governing section 1311(a)(2) increase. In determining whether a surviving spouse qualifies for the section 1311(a)(2) increase under paragraph (c) of this section, the following standards shall apply.

(1) Marriage requirement. The surviving spouse must have been married to the veteran for the entire eight-year period referenced in paragraph (c) of this section in order to qualify for the section 1311(a)(2) increase.

(2) Determination of total disability. As used in paragraph (c) of this section, the phrase “rated by VA as totally disabling” includes total disability ratings based on unemployability (§ 4.16 of this chapter).

(3) Definition of “entitled to receive”. As used in paragraph (c) of this section, the phrase “entitled to receive” means that the veteran filed a claim for disability compensation during his or her lifetime and one of the following circumstances is satisfied:

(i) The veteran would have received total disability compensation for the period specified in paragraph (c) of this section but for clear and unmistakable error committed by VA in a decision on a claim filed during the veteran's lifetime; or

(ii) Additional evidence submitted to VA before or after the veteran's death, consisting solely of service department records that existed at the time of a prior VA decision but were not previously considered by VA, provides a basis for reopening a claim finally decided during the veteran's lifetime and for awarding a total service-connected disability rating retroactively in accordance with §§ 3.156(c) and 3.400(q)(2) of this part for the period specified in paragraph (c) of this section; or

(iii) At the time of death, the veteran had a service-connected disability that was continuously rated totally disabling by VA for the period specified in paragraph (c) of this section, but was not receiving compensation because:

(A) VA was paying the compensation to the veteran's dependents;

(B) VA was withholding the compensation under the authority of 38 U.S.C. 5314 to offset an indebtedness of the veteran;

(C) The veteran had not waived retired or retirement pay in order to receive compensation;

(D) VA was withholding payments under the provisions of 10 U.S.C. 1174(h)(2);

(E) VA was withholding payments because the veteran's whereabouts were unknown, but the veteran was otherwise entitled to continued payments based on a total service-connected disability rating; or

(F) VA was withholding payments under 38 U.S.C. 5308 but determines that benefits were payable under 38 U.S.C. 5309.

[70 FR 72220, Dec. 2, 2005, as amended at 71 FR 44918, Aug. 8, 2006; 77 FR 40525, July 10, 2012; 80 FR 18117, Apr. 3, 2015]

§ 3.11 Homicide.

Any person who has intentionally and wrongfully caused the death of another person is not entitled to pension, compensation, or dependency and indemnity compensation or increased pension, compensation, or dependency and indemnity compensation by reason of such death. For the purpose of this section the term dependency and indemnity compensation includes benefits at dependency and indemnity compensation rates paid under 38 U.S.C. 1318.

[44 FR 22718, Apr. 17, 1979, as amended at 54 FR 31829, Aug. 2, 1989]

§ 3.12 Character of discharge.

(a) If the former service member did not die in service, pension, compensation, or dependency and indemnity compensation is not payable unless the period of service on which the claim is based was terminated by discharge or release under conditions other than dishonorable. (38 U.S.C. 101(2)). A discharge under honorable conditions is binding on the Department of Veterans Affairs as to character of discharge.

(b) A discharge or release from service under one of the conditions specified in this section is a bar to the payment of benefits unless it is found that the person was insane at the time of committing the offense causing such discharge or release or unless otherwise specifically provided (38 U.S.C. 5303(b)).

(c) Benefits are not payable where the former service member was discharged or released under one of the following conditions:

(1) As a conscientious objector who refused to perform military duty, wear the uniform, or comply with lawful order of competent military authorities.

(2) By reason of the sentence of a general court-martial.

(3) Resignation by an officer for the good of the service.

(4) As a deserter.

(5) As an alien during a period of hostilities, where it is affirmatively shown that the former service member requested his or her release. See § 3.7(b).

(6) By reason of a discharge under other than honorable conditions issued as a result of an absence without official leave (AWOL) for a continuous period of at least 180 days. This bar to benefit entitlement does not apply if there are compelling circumstances to warrant the prolonged unauthorized absence. This bar applies to any person awarded an honorable or general discharge prior to October 8, 1977, under one of the programs listed in paragraph (h) of this section, and to any person who prior to October 8, 1977, had not otherwise established basic eligibility to receive Department of Veterans Affairs benefits. The term established basic eligibility to receive Department of Veterans Affairs benefits means either a Department of Veterans Affairs determination that an other than honorable discharge was issued under conditions other than dishonorable, or an upgraded honorable or general discharge issued prior to October 8, 1977, under criteria other than those prescribed by one of the programs listed in paragraph (h) of this section. However, if a person was discharged or released by reason of the sentence of a general court-martial, only a finding of insanity (paragraph (b) of this section) or a decision of a board of correction of records established under 10 U.S.C. 1552 can estalish basic eligibility to receive Department of Veterans Affairs benefits. The following factors will be considered in determining whether there are compelling circumstances to warrant the prolonged unauthorized absence.

(i) Length and character of service exclusive of the period of prolonged AWOL. Service exclusive of the period of prolonged AWOL should generally be of such quality and length that it can be characterized as honest, faithful and meritorious and of benefit to the Nation.

(ii) Reasons for going AWOL. Reasons which are entitled to be given consideration when offered by the claimant include family emergencies or obligations, or similar types of obligations or duties owed to third parties. The reasons for going AWOL should be evaluated in terms of the person's age, cultural background, educational level and judgmental maturity. Consideration should be given to how the situation appeared to the person himself or herself, and not how the adjudicator might have reacted. Hardship or suffering incurred during overseas service, or as a result of combat wounds of other service-incurred or aggravated disability, is to be carefully and sympathetically considered in evaluating the person's state of mind at the time the prolonged AWOL period began.

(iii) A valid legal defense exists for the absence which would have precluded a conviction for AWOL. Compelling circumstances could occur as a matter of law if the absence could not validly be charged as, or lead to a conviction of, an offense under the Uniform Code of Military Justice. For purposes of this paragraph the defense must go directly to the substantive issue of absence rather than to procedures, technicalities or formalities.

(d) A discharge or release because of one of the offenses specified in this paragraph is considered to have been issued under dishonorable conditions.

(1) Acceptance of an undesirable discharge to escape trial by general court-martial.

(2) Mutiny or spying.

(3) An offense involving moral turpitude. This includes, generally, conviction of a felony.

(4) Willful and persistent misconduct. This includes a discharge under other than honorable conditions, if it is determined that it was issued because of willful and persistent misconduct. A discharge because of a minor offense will not, however, be considered willful and persistent misconduct if service was otherwise honest, faithful and meritorious.

(5) Homosexual acts involving aggravating circumstances or other factors affecting the performance of duty. Examples of homosexual acts involving aggravating circumstances or other factors affecting the performance of duty include child molestation, homosexual prostitution, homosexual acts or conduct accompanied by assault or coercion, and homosexual acts or conduct taking place between service members of disparate rank, grade, or status when a service member has taken advantage of his or her superior rank, grade, or status.

(e) An honorable discharge or discharge under honorable conditions issued through a board for correction of records established under authority of 10 U.S.C. 1552 is final and conclusive on the Department of Veterans Affairs. The action of the board sets aside any prior bar to benefits imposed under paragraph (c) or (d) of this section.

(f) An honorable or general discharge issued prior to October 8, 1977, under authority other than that listed in paragraphs (h) (1), (2) and (3) of this section by a discharge review board established under 10 U.S.C. 1553 set aside any bar to benefits imposed under paragraph (c) or (d) of this section except the bar contained in paragraph (c)(2) of this section.

(g) An honorable or general discharge issued on or after October 8, 1977, by a discharge review board established under 10 U.S.C. 1553, sets aside a bar to benefits imposed under paragraph (d), but not paragraph (c), of this section provided that:

(1) The discharge is upgraded as a result of an individual case review;

(2) The discharge is upgraded under uniform published standards and procedures that generally apply to all persons administratively discharged or released from active military, naval or air service under conditions other than honorable; and

(3) Such standards are consistent with historical standards for determining honorable service and do not contain any provision for automatically granting or denying an upgraded discharge.

(h) Unless a discharge review board established under 10 U.S.C. 1553 determines on an individual case basis that the discharge would be upgraded under uniform standards meeting the requirements set forth in paragraph (g) of this section, an honorable or general discharge awarded under one of the following programs does not remove any bar to benefits imposed under this section:

(1) The President's directive of January 19, 1977, implementing Presidential Proclamation 4313 of September 16, 1974; or

(2) The Department of Defense's special discharge review program effective April 5, 1977; or

(3) Any discharge review program implemented after April 5, 1977, that does not apply to all persons administratively discharged or released from active military service under other than honorable conditions.

(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 5303 (e))

(i) No overpayments shall be created as a result of payments made after October 8, 1977, based on an upgraded honorable or general discharge issued under one of the programs listed in paragraph (h) of this section which would not be awarded under the standards set forth in paragraph (g) of this section. Accounts in payment status on or after October 8, 1977, shall be terminated the end of the month in which it is determined that the original other than honorable discharge was not issued under conditions other than dishonorable following notice from the appropriate discharge review board that the discharge would not have been upgraded under the standards set forth in paragraph (g) of this section, or April 7, 1978, whichever is the earliest. Accounts in suspense (either before or after October 8, 1977) shall be terminated on the date of last payment or April 7, 1978, whichever is the earliest.

(j) No overpayment shall be created as a result of payments made after October 8, 1977, in cases in which the bar contained in paragraph (c)(6) of this section is for application. Accounts in payment status on or after October 8, 1977, shall be terminated at the end of the month in which it is determined that compelling circumstances do not exist, or April 7, 1978, whichever is the earliest. Accounts in suspense (either before or after October 8, 1977) shall be terminated on the date of last payment, or April 7, 1978, whichever is the earliest.

(k) Uncharacterized separations. Where enlisted personnel are administratively separated from service on the basis of proceedings initiated on or after October 1, 1982, the separation may be classified as one of the three categories of administrative separation that do not require characterization of service by the military department concerned. In such cases conditions of discharge will be determined by the VA as follows:

(1) Entry level separation. Uncharacterized administrative separations of this type shall be considered under conditions other than dishonorable.

(2) Void enlistment or induction. Uncharacterized administrative separations of this type shall be reviewed based on facts and circumstances surrounding separation, with reference to the provisions of § 3.14 of this part, to determine whether separation was under conditions other than dishonorable.

(3) Dropped from the rolls. Uncharacterized administrative separations of this type shall be reviewed based on facts and circumstances surrounding separation to determine whether separation was under conditions other than dishonorable.

Cross References:

Validity of enlistments. See § 3.14. Revision of decisions. See § 3.105. Effective dates. See § 3.400(g). Minimum active-duty service requirement. See § 3.12a.

[28 FR 123, Jan. 4, 1963, as amended at 41 FR 12656, Mar. 26, 1976; 43 FR 15153, Apr. 11, 1978; 45 FR 2318, Jan. 11, 1980; 49 FR 44099, Nov. 2, 1984; 62 FR 14823, Mar. 28, 1997]

§ 3.12a Minimum active-duty service requirement.

(a) Definitions.

(1) The term minimum period of active duty means, for the purposes of this section, the shorter of the following periods.

(i) Twenty-four months of continuous active duty. Non-duty periods that are excludable in determining the Department of Veterans Affairs benefit entitlement (e.g., see § 3.15) are not considered as a break in service for continuity purposes but are to be subtracted from total time served.

(ii) The full period for which a person was called or ordered to active duty.

(2) The term benefit includes a right or privilege but does not include a refund of a participant's contributions under 38 U.S.C. Ch. 32.

(b) Effect on Department of Veterans Affairs benefits. Except as provided in paragraph (d) of this section, a person listed in paragraph (c) of this section who does not complete a minimum period of active duty is not eligible for any benefit under title 38, United States Code or under any law administered by the Department of Veterans Affairs based on that period of active service.

(c) Persons included. Except as provided in paragraph (d) of this section, the provisions of paragraph (b) of this section apply to the following persons:

(1) A person who originally enlists (enlisted person only) in a regular component of the Armed Forces after September 7, 1980 (a person who signed a delayed-entry contract with one of the service branches prior to September 8, 1980, and under that contract was assigned to a reserve component until entering on active duty after September 7, 1980, shall be considered to have enlisted on the date the person entered on active duty); and

(2) Any other person (officer as well as enlisted) who enters on active duty after October 16, 1981 and who has not previously completed a continuous period of active duty of at least 24 months or been discharged or released from active duty under 10 U.S.C. 1171 (early out).

(d) Exclusions. The provisions of paragraph (b) of this section are not applicable to the following cases:

(1) To a person who is discharged or released under 10 U.S.C. 1171 or 1173 (early out or hardship discharge).

(2) To a person who is discharged or released from active duty for a disability adjudged service connected without presumptive provisions of law, or who at time of discharge had such a service-connected disability, shown by official service records, which in medical judgment would have justified a discharge for disability.

(3) To a person with a compensable service-connected disability.

(4) To the provision of a benefit for or in connection with a service-connected disability, condition, or death.

(e) Dependent or survivor benefits -

(1) General. If a person is, by reason of this section, barred from receiving any benefits under title 38, United States Code (or under any other law administered by the Department of Veterans Affairs based on a period of active duty, the person's dependents or survivors are also barred from receiving benefits based on the same period of active duty.

(2) Exceptions. Paragraph (e)(1) of this section does not apply to benefits under chapters 19 and 37 of title 38, United States Code. (38 U.S.C. 5303A)

[47 FR 24549, June 7, 1982]

§ 3.13 Discharge to change status.

(a) A discharge to accept appointment as a commissioned or warrant officer, or to change from a Reserve or Regular commission to accept a commission in the other component, or to reenlist is a conditional discharge if it was issued during one of the following periods:

(1) World War I; prior to November 11, 1918. As to reenlistments, this subparagraph applies only to Army and National Guard. No involuntary extension or other restrictions existed on Navy enlistments.

(2) World War II, the Korean conflict or the Vietnam era; prior to the date the person was eligible for discharge under the point or length of service system, or under any other criteria in effect.

(3) Peacetime service; prior to the date the person was eligible for an unconditional discharge.

(b) Except as provided in paragraph (c) of this section, the entire period of service under the circumstances stated in paragraph (a) of this section constitutes one period of service and entitlement will be determined by the character of the final termination of such period of active service except that, for death pension purposes, § 3.3(b)(3) and (4) is controlling as to basic entitlement when the conditions prescribed therein are met.

(c) Despite the fact that no unconditional discharge may have been issued, a person shall be considered to have been unconditionally discharged or released from active military, naval or air service when the following conditions are met:

(1) The person served in the active military, naval or air service for the period of time the person was obligated to serve at the time of entry into service;

(2) The person was not discharged or released from such service at the time of completing that period of obligation due to an intervening enlistment or reenlistment; and

(3) The person would have been eligible for a discharge or release under conditions other than dishonorable at that time except for the intervening enlistment or reenlistment.

[26 FR 1566, Feb. 24, 1961, as amended at 27 FR 4024, Apr. 27, 1962; 32 FR 13224, Sept. 19, 1967; 43 FR 15154, Apr. 11, 1978; 46 FR 23926, Apr. 29, 1981]

§ 3.14 Validity of enlistments.

Service is valid unless the enlistment is voided by the service department.

(a) Enlistment not prohibited by statute. Where an enlistment is voided by the service department for reasons other than those stated in paragraph (b) of this section, service is valid from the date of entry upon active duty to the date of voidance by the service department. Benefits may not be paid, however, unless the discharge is held to have been under conditions other than dishonorable. Generally discharge for concealment of a physical or mental defect except incompetency or insanity which would have prevented enlistment will be held to be under dishonorable conditions.

(b) Statutory prohibition. Where an enlistment is voided by the service department because the person did not have legal capacity to contract for a reason other than minority (as in the case of an insane person) or because the enlistment was prohibited by statute (a deserter or person convicted of a felony), benefits may not be paid based on that service even though a disability was incurred during such service. An undesirable discharge by reason of the fraudulent enlistment voids the enlistment from the beginning.

(c) Misrepresentation of age. Active service which was terminated because of concealment of minority or misrepresentation of age is honorable if the veteran was released from service under conditions other than dishonorable. Service is valid from the date of entry upon active duty to the date of discharge.

(d) Honorable discharges. Determinations as to honorable service will be made by the service departments and the finding shall be binding on the Department of Veterans Affairs, but, in the case of an alien, the effect of the discharge will be governed by § 3.7(b).

[26 FR 1567, Feb. 24, 1961, as amended at 27 FR 4024, Apr. 27, 1962]

§ 3.15 Computation of service.

For nonservice-connected or service-connected benefits, active service is countable exclusive of time spent on an industrial, agricultural, or indefinite furlough, time lost on absence without leave (without pay), under arrest (without acquittal), in desertion, while undergoing sentence of court-martial or a period following release from active duty under the circumstances outlined in § 3.41. In claims based on Spanish-American War service, leave authorized under General Order No. 130, War Department, is included.

Cross Reference:

Duty periods. See § 3.6(b)(6).

[40 FR 16064, Apr. 9, 1975]

§ 3.16 Service pension.

In computing the 70 or 90 days required under § 3.3(a) active service which began before or extended beyond the war period will be included if such service was continuous. Broken periods of service during a war period may be added together to meet the requirement for length of service.

[41 FR 18299, May 3, 1976, as amended at 44 FR 45932, Aug. 6, 1979]

§ 3.17 Disability and death pension; Mexican border period and later war periods.

In computing the 90 days' service required for pension entitlement (see § 3.3), there will be included active service which began before and extended into the Mexican border period or ended during World War I, or began or ended during World War II, the Korean conflict, the Vietnam era or the Persian Gulf War, if such service was continuous. Service during different war periods may be combined with service during any other war period to meet the 90 days' service requirement.

[37 FR 6676, Apr. 1, 1972, as amended at 44 FR 45932, Aug. 6, 1979; 56 FR 57986, Nov. 15, 1991]

§§ 3.18-3.19 [Reserved]
§ 3.20 Surviving spouse's benefit for month of veteran's death.

(a) Where the veteran died on or after December 1, 1962, and before October 1, 1982, the rate of death pension or dependency and indemnity compensation otherwise payable for the surviving spouse for the month in which the death occurred shall be not less than the amount of pension or compensation which would have been payable to or for the veteran for that month but for his or her death.

(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 5310)

(b) Where the veteran dies on or after October 1, 1982, the surviving spouse may be paid death pension or dependency and indemnity compensation for the month in which the veteran died at a rate equal to the amount of compensation or pension which would have been payable to the veteran for that month had death not occurred, but only if such rate is equal to or greater than the monthly rate of death pension or dependency and indemnity compensation to which the surviving spouse is entitled. Otherwise, no payment of death pension or dependency and indemnity compensation may be made for the month in which the veteran died.

(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 5111(c))

(c)

(1) Where a veteran receiving compensation or pension dies after December 31, 1996, the surviving spouse, if not entitled to death compensation, dependency and indemnity compensation, or death pension for the month of death, shall be entitled to a benefit for that month in an amount equal to the amount of compensation or pension the veteran would have received for that month but for his or her death.

(2) A payment issued to a deceased veteran as compensation or pension for the month in which death occurred shall be treated as payable to that veteran's surviving spouse, if the surviving spouse is not entitled to death compensation, dependency and indemnity compensation or death pension for that month and, if negotiated or deposited, shall be considered to be the benefit to which the surviving spouse is entitled under paragraph (c)(1) of this section. However, if such payment is in an amount less than the amount of the benefit under paragraph (c)(1) of this section, the unpaid difference shall be treated in the same manner as an accrued benefit under § 3.1000 of this part.

[48 FR 34471, July 29, 1983, as amended at 62 FR 35422, July 1, 1997; 64 FR 30392, June 8, 1999]

§ 3.21 Monetary rates.

The rates of compensation, dependency and indemnity compensation for surviving spouses and children, and section 306 and old-law disability and death pension, are published in tabular form in appendix B of the Veterans Benefits Administration Manual M21-1 and are to be given the same force and effect as if published in the regulations (title 38, Code of Federal Regulations). The maximum annual rates of improved pension payable under Pub. L. 95-588 (92 Stat. 2497) are set forth in §§ 3.23 and 3.24. The monthly rates and annual income limitations applicable to parents' dependency and indemnity compensation are set forth in § 3.25.

Cross References:

Section 306 pension. See § 3.1(u). Old-law pension. See § 3.1(v). Improved pension. See § 3.1(w).

[44 FR 45932, Aug. 6, 1979]

§ 3.22 DIC benefits for survivors of certain veterans rated totally disabled at time of death.

(a) Even though a veteran died of non-service-connected causes, VA will pay death benefits to the surviving spouse or children in the same manner as if the veteran's death were service-connected, if:

(1) The veteran's death was not the result of his or her own willful misconduct, and

(2) At the time of death, the veteran was receiving, or was entitled to receive, compensation for service-connected disability that was:

(i) Rated by VA as totally disabling for a continuous period of at least 10 years immediately preceding death;

(ii) Rated by VA as totally disabling continuously since the veteran's release from active duty and for at least 5 years immediately preceding death; or

(iii) Rated by VA as totally disabling for a continuous period of not less than one year immediately preceding death, if the veteran was a former prisoner of war.

(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 1318(b))

(b) For purposes of this section, “entitled to receive” means that the veteran filed a claim for disability compensation during his or her lifetime and one of the following circumstances is satisfied:

(1) The veteran would have received total disability compensation at the time of death for a service-connected disability rated totally disabling for the period specified in paragraph (a)(2) of this section but for clear and unmistakable error committed by VA in a decision on a claim filed during the veteran's lifetime; or

(2) Additional evidence submitted to VA before or after the veteran's death, consisting solely of service department records that existed at the time of a prior VA decision but were not previously considered by VA, provides a basis for reopening a claim finally decided during the veteran's lifetime and for awarding a total service-connected disability rating retroactively in accordance with §§ 3.156(c) and 3.400(q)(2) of this part for the relevant period specified in paragraph (a)(2) of this section; or

(3) At the time of death, the veteran had a service-connected disability that was continuously rated totally disabling by VA for the period specified in paragraph (a)(2), but was not receiving compensation because:

(i) VA was paying the compensation to the veteran's dependents;

(ii) VA was withholding the compensation under authority of 38 U.S.C. 5314 to offset an indebtedness of the veteran;

(iii) The veteran had not waived retired or retirement pay in order to receive compensation;

(iv) VA was withholding payments under the provisions of 10 U.S.C. 1174(h)(2);

(v) VA was withholding payments because the veteran's whereabouts were unknown, but the veteran was otherwise entitled to continued payments based on a total service-connected disability rating; or

(vi) VA was withholding payments under 38 U.S.C. 5308 but determines that benefits were payable under 38 U.S.C. 5309.

(c) For purposes of this section, “rated by VA as totally disabling” includes total disability ratings based on unemployability (§ 4.16 of this chapter).

(d) To be entitled to benefits under this section, a surviving spouse must have been married to the veteran -

(1) For at least 1 year immediately preceding the date of the veteran's death; or

(2) For any period of time if a child was born of the marriage, or was born to them before the marriage.

(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 1318)

(e) Effect of judgment or settlement. If a surviving spouse or child eligible for benefits under paragraph (a) of this section receives any money or property pursuant to a judicial proceeding based upon, or a settlement or compromise of, any cause of action or other right of recovery for damages for the death of the veteran, benefits payable under paragraph (a) of this section shall not be paid for any month following the month in which such money or property is received until the amount of benefits that would otherwise have been payable under paragraph (a) of this section equals the total of the amount of money received and the fair market value of the property received. The provisions of this paragraph do not apply, however, to any portion of such benefits payable for any period preceding the end of the month in which such money or property of value is received.

(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 501)

(f) Social security and worker's compensation. Benefits received under social security or worker's compensation are not subject to recoupment under paragraph (e) of this section even though such benefits may have been awarded pursuant to a judicial proceeding.

(g) Beneficiary's duty to report. Any person entitled to benefits under paragraph (a) of this section shall promptly report to the Department of Veterans Affairs the receipt of any money or property received pursuant to a judicial proceeding based upon, or a settlement or compromise of, any cause of action or other right of recovery for damages for the death of the veteran. The amount to be reported is the total of the amount of money received and the fair market value of property received. Expenses incident to recovery, such as attorney's fees, may not be deducted from the amount to be reported.

(h) Relationship to survivor benefit plan. For the purpose of 10 U.S.C. 1448(d) and 1450(c) eligibility for benefits under paragraph (a) of this section shall be deemed eligibility for dependency and indemnity compensation under 38 U.S.C. 1311(a).

Cross References:

Marriage dates. See § 3.54. Homicide. See § 3.11.

[44 FR 22718, Apr. 17, 1979, as amended at 48 FR 41161, Sept. 14, 1983; 53 FR 23235, June 21, 1988; 54 FR 31829, Aug. 2, 1989; 65 FR 3391, Jan. 21, 2000; 65 FR 43699, July 14, 2000; 70 FR 72220, Dec. 2, 2005; 77 FR 40526, July 10, 2012]

§ 3.23 Improved pension rates - Veterans and surviving spouses.

(a) Maximum annual rates of improved pension. The maximum annual rates of improved pension for the following categories of beneficiaries shall be the amounts specified in 38 U.S.C. 1521 and 1542, as increased from time to time under 38 U.S.C. 5312. Each time there is an increase under 38 U.S.C. 5312, the actual rates will be published in the “Notices” section of the Federal Register.

(1) Veterans who are permanently and totally disabled.

(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 1521(b) or (c))

(2) Veterans in need of aid and attendance.

(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 1521(d))

(3) Veterans who are housebound.

(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 1521(e))

(4) Two veterans married to one another; combined rates.

(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 1521(f))

(5) Surviving spouse alone or with a child or children of the deceased veteran in custody of the surviving spouse.

(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 1541(b) or (c))

(6) Surviving spouses in need of aid and attendance.

(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 1541(d))

(7) Surviving spouses who are housebound.

(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 1541(e))

(b) Reduction for income. The maximum rates of improved pension in paragraph (a) of this section shall be reduced by the amount of the countable annual income of the veteran or surviving spouse.

(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 1521, 1541)

(c) Mexican border period and World War I veterans. The applicable maximum annual rate payable to a Mexican border period or World War I veteran under this section shall be increased by the amount specified in 38 U.S.C. 1521(g), as increased from time to time under 38 U.S.C 5312. Each time there is an increase under 38 U.S.C. 5312, the actual rate will be published in the “Notices” section of the Federal Register.

(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 1521(g))

(d) Definitions of terms used in this section -

(1) Dependent. A veteran's spouse or child. A veteran's spouse who resides apart from the veteran and is estranged from the veteran may not be considered the veteran's dependent unless the spouse receives reasonable support contributions from the veteran. (Note that under § 3.60 a veteran and spouse who reside apart are considered to be living together unless they are estranged.) A child of a veteran not in custody of the veteran and to whose support the veteran is not reasonably contributing, may not be considered the veteran's dependent.

(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 1521(b))

(2) In need of aid and attendance. As defined in § 3.351(b).

(3) Housebound. As defined in § 3.351(d)(2), (f). This term also includes a veteran who has a disability or disabilities evaluated as 60 percent or more disabling in addition to a permanent and totally disabling condition. See § 3.351(d)(1).

(4) Veteran's annual income. This term includes the veteran's annual income, the annual income of the veteran's dependent spouse, and the annual income of each child of the veteran (other than a child for whom increased pension is not payable under 38 U.S.C. 1522(b)) in the veteran's custody or to whose support the veteran is reasonably contributing (to the extent such child's income is reasonably available to or for the veteran, unless in the judgment of the Department of Veterans Affairs to do so would work a hardship on the veteran.) There is a rebuttable presumption that all of such a child's income is reasonably available to or for the veteran.

(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 1521 (c), (h))

(5) Surviving spouse's annual income. This term includes the surviving spouse's annual income and the annual income of each child of the veteran (other than a child for whom increased pension is not payable under 38 U.S.C. 1543(a)(2)) in the custody of the surviving spouse to the extent that such child's income is reasonably available to or for the surviving spouse, unless in the judgment of the Department of Veterans Affairs to do so would work a hardship on the surviving spouse. There is a rebuttable presumption that all of such a child's income is available to or for the surviving spouse.

(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 1541(c), (g))

(6) Reasonable availability and hardship. For the purposes of paragraphs (d)(4) and (d)(5) of this section, a child's income shall be considered “reasonably available” when it can be readily applied to meet the veteran's or surviving spouse's expenses necessary for reasonable family maintenance, and “hardship” shall be held to exist when annual expenses necessary for reasonable family maintenance exceed the sum of countable annual income plus VA pension entitlement. Expenses necessary for reasonable family maintenance include expenses for basic necessities (such as food, clothing, shelter, etc.) and other expenses, determined on a case-by-case basis, which are necessary to support a reasonable quality of life.

Cross References:

Improved pension. See § 3.1(w). Child. See § 3.57(d). Definition of living with. See § 3.60. Exclusions from income. See § 3.272.

[44 FR 45933, Aug. 6, 1979, as amended at 52 FR 34907, Sept. 14, 1987; 53 FR 23235, June 21, 1988]

§ 3.24 Improved pension rates - Surviving children.

(a) General. The provisions of this section apply to children of a deceased veteran not in the custody of a surviving spouse who has basic eligibility to receive improved pension. Children in custody of a surviving spouse who has basic eligibility to receive improved pension do not have separate entitlement. Basic eligibility to receive improved pension means that the surviving spouse is in receipt of improved pension or could become entitled to receive improved pension except for the amount of the surviving spouse's countable annual income or the size of the surviving spouse's estate (See § 3.274(c)). Under § 3.23(d)(5) the countable annual income of a surviving spouse includes the countable annual income of each child of the veteran in custody of the surviving spouse to the extent the child's income is reasonably available to or for the surviving spouse, unless in the judgment of the Department of Veterans Affairs to do so would work a hardship on the surviving spouse.

(b) Child with no personal custodian or in the custody of an institution. In cases in which there is no personal custodian, i.e., there is no person who has the legal right to exercise parental control and responsibility for the child's welfare (See § 3.57(d)), or the child is in the custody of an institution, pension shall be paid to the child at the annual rate specified in 38 U.S.C. 1542, as increased from time to time under 38 U.S.C. 5312, reduced by the amount of the child's countable annual income. Each time there is an increase under 38 U.S.C. 5312, the actual rate will be published in the “Notices” section of the Federal Register.

(c) Child in the custody of person legally responsible for support -

(1) Single child. Pension shall be paid to a child in the custody of a person legally responsible for the child's support at an annual rate equal to the difference between the rate for a surviving spouse and one child under § 3.23(a)(5), and the sum of the annual income of such child and the annual income of such person or, the maximum annual pension rate under paragraph (b) of this section, whichever is less.

(2) More than one child. Pension shall be paid to children in custody of a person legally responsible for the children's support at an annual rate equal to the difference between the rate for a surviving spouse and an equivalent number of children (but not including any child who has countable annual income equal to or greater than the maximum annual pension rate under paragraph (b) of this section) and the sum of the countable annual income of the person legally responsible for support and the combined countable annual income of the children (but not including the income of any child whose countable annual income is equal to or greater than the maximum annual pension rate under paragraph (b) of this section, or the maximum annual pension rate under paragraph (b) of this section times the number of eligible children, whichever is less).

Cross References:

Child. See § 3.57(d). Exclusions from income. See § 3.272.

[44 FR 45933, Aug. 6, 1979, as amended at 52 FR 34907, Sept. 14, 1987; 61 FR 20727, May 8, 1996]

§ 3.25 Parent's dependency and indemnity compensation (DIC) - Method of payment computation.

Monthly payments of parents' DIC shall be computed in accordance with the following formulas:

(a) One parent. Except as provided in paragraph (b) of this section, if there is only one parent, the monthly rate specified in 38 U.S.C 1315(b)(1), as increased from time to time under 38 U.S.C. 5312, reduced by $.08 for each dollar of such parent's countable annual income in excess of $800. No payments of DIC may be made under this paragraph, however, if such parent's countable annual income exceeds the amount specified in 38 U.S.C. 1315(b)(3), as increased from time to time under 38 U.S.C. 5312, and no payment of DIC to a parent under this paragraph may be less than $5 a month.

(b) One parent who has remarried. If there is only one parent and the parent has remarried and is living with the parent's spouse, DIC shall be paid under paragraph (a) or paragraph (d) of this section, whichever shall result in the greater benefit being paid to the veteran's parent. In the case of remarriage, the total combined annual income of the parent and the parent's spouse shall be counted in determining the monthly rate of DIC.

(c) Two parents not living together. The rate computation method in this paragraph applies to:

(1) Two parents who are not living together, or

(2) An unremarried parent when both parents are living and the other parent has remarried.

The monthly rate of DIC paid to such parent shall be the rate sepcified in 38 U.S.C. 1315(c)(1), as increased from time to time under 38 U.S.C. 5312, reduced by an amount no greater than $.08 for each dollar of such parent's countable annual income in excess of $800, except that no payments of DIC may be made under this paragraph if such parent's countable annual income exceeds the amount specified in 38 U.S.C. 1315(c)(3), as increased from time to time under 38 U.S.C. 5312, and no payment of DIC to a parent under this paragraph may be less than $5 monthly. Each time there is a rate increase under 38 U.S.C. 5312, the amount of the reduction under this paragraph shall be recomputed to provide, as nearly as possible, for an equitable distribution of the rate increase. The results of this computation method shall be published in schedular format in the “Notices” section of the Federal Register as provided in paragraph (f) of this section.

(d) Two parents living together or remarried parents living with spouse. The rate computation method in this paragraph applies to each parent living with another parent and to each remarried parent when both parents are alive. The monthly rate of DIC paid to such parents shall be the rate specified in 38 U.S.C. 1315(d)(1), as increased from time to time under 38 U.S.C. 5312, reduced to an amount no greater than $.08 for each dollar of such parent's and spouse's combined countable annual income in excess of $1,000 except that no payments of DIC to a parent under this paragraph may be less than $5 monthly. Each time there is a rate increase under 38 U.S.C. 5312, the amount of the reduction under this paragraph shall be recomputed to provide, as nearly as possible, for an equitable distribution of the rate increase. The results of this computation method shall be published in schedular format in the “Notices” section of the Federal Register as provided in paragraph (f) of this section.

(e) Aid and attendance. The monthly rate of DIC payable to a parent under this section shall be increased by the amount specified in 38 U.S.C. 1315(g), as increased from time to time under 38 U.S.C. 5312, if such parent is:

(1) A patient in a nursing home, or

(2) Helpless or blind, or so nearly helpless or blind as to need or require the regular aid and attendance of another person.

(f) Rate publication. Each time there is an increase under 38 U.S.C. 5312, the actual rates will be published in the “Notices” section of the Federal Register.

[52 FR 34907, Sept. 14, 1987, as amended at 61 FR 20727, May 8, 1996]

§ 3.26 Section 306 and old-law pension annual income limitations.

(a) The annual income limitations for section 306 pension shall be the amounts specified in section 306(a)(2)(A) of Pub. L. 95-588, as increased from time to time under section 306(a)(3) of Pub. L. 95-588.

(b) If a beneficiary under section 306 pension is in need of aid and attendance, the annual income limitation under paragraph (a) of this section shall be increased in accordance with 38 U.S.C. 1521(d), as in effect on December 31, 1978.

(c) The annual income limitations for old-law pension shall be the amounts specified in section 306(b)(3) of Pub. L. 95-588, as increased from time to time under section 306(b)(4) of Pub. L. 95-588.

(d) Each time there is an increase under section 306 (a)(3) or (b)(4) of Pub. L. 95-588, the actual income limitations will be published in the “Notices” section of the Federal Register.

[52 FR 34908, Sept. 14, 1987]

§ 3.27 Automatic adjustment of benefit rates.

(a) Improved pension. Whenever there is a cost-of-living increase in benefit amounts payable under section 215(i) of title II of the Social Security Act, VA shall, effective on the dates such increases become effective, increase by the same percentage each maximum annual rate of pension.

(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 5312(a))

(b) Parents' dependency and indemnity compensation - maximum annual income limitation and maximum monthly rates. Whenever there is a cost-of-living increase in benefit amounts payable under section 215(i) of title II of the Social Security Act, VA shall, effective on the dates such increases become effective, increase by the same percentage the annual income limitations and the maximum monthly rates of dependency indemnity compensation for parents.

(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 5312(b)(1))

(c) Monetary allowance under 38 U.S.C. chapter 18 for certain individuals who are children of Vietnam veterans or children of veterans with covered service in Korea. Whenever there is a cost-of-living increase in benefit amounts payable under section 215(i) of Title II of the Social Security Act, VA shall, effective on the dates such increases become effective, increase by the same percentage the monthly allowance rates under 38 U.S.C. chapter 18.

(d) Medal of Honor pension. Beginning in the year 2004, VA shall, effective December 1 of each year, increase the monthly Medal of Honor pension by the same percentage as the percentage by which benefit amounts payable under section 215(i) of Title II of the Social Security Act are increased effective December 1 of such year.

(e) Publishing requirements. Increases in pension rates, parents' dependency and indemnity compensation rates and income limitation, the monthly allowance rates under 38 U.S.C. chapter 18 and the Medal of Honor pension made under this section shall be published in the Federal Register.

[44 FR 45934, Aug. 6, 1979, as amended at 52 FR 34908, Sept. 14, 1987; 62 FR 51278, Sept. 30, 1997; 67 FR 49586, July 31, 2002; 68 FR 55467, Sept. 26, 2003; 76 FR 4247, Jan. 25, 2011]

§ 3.28 Automatic adjustment of section 306 and old-law pension income limitations.

Whenever the maximum annual rates of improved pension are increased by reason of the provisions of 38 U.S.C. 5312, the following will be increased by the same percentage effective the same date:

(a) The maximum annual income limitations applicable to continued receipt of section 306 and old-law pension; and

(b) The dollar amount of a veteran's spouse's income that is excludable in determining the income of a veteran for section 306 pension purposes. (See § 3.262(b)(2))

These increases shall be published in the Federal Register at the same time that increases under § 3.27 are published.

[52 FR 34908, Sept. 14, 1987]

Cross References:

Section 306 and old-law pension annual income limitations. See § 3.26.

§ 3.29 Rounding.

(a) Annual rates. Where the computation of an increase in improved pension rates under §§ 3.23 and 3.24 would otherwise result in a figure which includes a fraction of a dollar, the benefit rate will be adjusted to the next higher dollar amount. This method of computation will also apply to increases in old-law and section 306 pension annual income limitations under § 3.26, including the income of a spouse which is excluded from a veteran's countable income, and parents' dependency and indemnity compensation benefit rates and annual income limitations under § 3.25.

(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 5312(c)(2))

(b) Monthly or other periodic pension rates. After determining the monthly or other periodic rate of improved pension under §§ 3.273 and 3.30 or the rate payable under section 306(a) of Pub. L. 95-588 (92 Stat. 2508), the resulting rate, if not a multiple of one dollar, will be rounded down to the nearest whole dollar amount. The provisions of this paragraph apply with respect to amounts of pension payable for periods beginning on or after June 1, 1983, under the provisions of 38 U.S.C. 1521, 1541 or 1542, or under section 306(a) of Pub. L. 95-588.

(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 5123)

(c) Monthly rates under 38 U.S.C. chapter 18. When increasing the monthly monetary allowance rates under 38 U.S.C. chapter 18 for certain individuals who are children of Vietnam veterans or children of veterans with covered service in Korea, VA will round any resulting rate that is not an even dollar amount to the next higher dollar.

[48 FR 34471, July 29, 1983, as amended at 65 FR 35282, June 2, 2000; 67 FR 49586, July 31, 2002; 75 FR 4247, Jan. 25, 2011]

§ 3.30 Frequency of payment of improved pension and parents' dependency and indemnity compensation (DIC).

Payment shall be made as shown in paragraphs (a), (b), (c), (d), (e), and (f) of this section; however, beneficiaries receiving payment less frequently than monthly may elect to receive payment monthly in cases in which other Federal benefits would otherwise be denied.

(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 501)

(a) Improved pension - Monthly. Payment shall be made monthly if the annual rate payable is $228 or more.

(b) Improved pension - Quarterly. Payment shall be made every 3 months on or about March 1, June 1, September l, and December 1, if the annual rate payable is at least $144 but less than $228.

(c) Improved pension - Semiannually. Payment shall be made every 6 months on or about June 1, and December 1, if the annual rate payable is at least $72 but less than $144.

(d) Improved pension - Annually. Payment shall be made annually on or about June 1, if the annual rate payable is less than $72.

(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 1508)

(e) Parents' DIC - Semiannually. Benefits shall be paid every 6 months on or about June 1, and December 1, if the amount of the annual benefit is less than 4 percent of the maximum annual rate payable under 38 U.S.C. 1315.

(f) Payment of less than one dollar. Payments of less than $1 shall not be made.

Cross Reference:

Pension. See § 3.3(a)(3), (b)(4).

[44 FR 45935, Aug. 6, 1979, as amended at 51 FR 1790, Jan. 15, 1986; 53 FR 7903, Mar. 11, 1988; 57 FR 10425, Mar. 26, 1992; 71 FR 52290, Sept. 5, 2006]

§ 3.31 Commencement of the period of payment.

Regardless of VA regulations concerning effective dates of awards, and except as provided in paragraph (c) of this section, payment of monetary benefits based on original, supplemental, or increased awards of compensation, pension, dependency and indemnity compensation, or a monetary allowance under 38 U.S.C. chapter 18 for an individual who is a child of a Vietnam veteran or a child of a veteran with covered service in Korea may not be made for any period prior to the first day of the calendar month following the month in which the award became effective. However, beneficiaries will be deemed to be in receipt of monetary benefits during the period between the effective date of the award and the date payment commences for the purpose of all laws administered by the Department of Veterans Affairs except that nothing in this section will be construed as preventing the receipt of retired or retirement pay prior to the effective date of waiver of such pay in accordance with 38 U.S.C. 5305.

(a) Increased award defined. For the purposes of this section the term increased award means an award which is increased because of an added dependent, increase in disability or disability rating, or reduction in income. The term also includes elections of improved pension under section 306 of Pub. L. 95-588 and awards pursuant to paragraphs 29 and 30 of the Schedule for Rating Disabilities except as provided in paragraph (c) of this section.

(b) General rule of applicability. The provisions of this section apply to all original, supplemental, or increased awards unless such awards provide only for continuity of entitlement with no increase in rate of payment.

(c) Specific exclusions. The provisions of this section do not apply to the following types of awards.

(1) Surviving spouse's rate for the month of a veteran's death (for exception see § 3.20(b))

(2) In cases where military retired or retirement pay is greater than the amount of compensation payable, compensation will be paid as of the effective date of waiver of such pay. However, in cases where the amount of compensation payable is greater than military retired or retirement pay, payment of the available difference for any period prior to the effective date of total waiver of such pay is subject to the general provisions of this section.

(3) Adjustments of awards - such as in the case of original or increased apportionments or the termination of any withholding, reduction, or suspension by reason of:

(i) Recoupment,

(ii) An offset to collect indebtedness,

(iii) Institutionalization (hospitalization),

(iv) Incompetency,

(v) Incarceration,

(vi) An estate that exceeds the limitation for certain hospitalized incompetent veterans, or

(vii) Discontinuance of apportionments.

(4) Increases resulting solely from the enactment of legislation - such as

(i) Cost-of-living increases in compensation or dependency and indemnity compensation,

(ii) Increases in Improved Pension, parents' dependency and indemnity compensation, or a monetary allowance under 38 U.S.C. chapter 18 pursuant to § 3.27, or

(iii) Changes in the criteria for statutory award designations.

(5) Temporary total ratings pursuant to paragraph 29 of the Schedule for Rating Disabilities when the entire period of hospitalization or treatment, including any period of post-hospitalization convalescence, commences and terminates within the same calendar month. In such cases the period of payment shall commence on the first day of the month in which the hospitalization or treatment began.

[48 FR 34472, July 29, 1983; 48 FR 37031, Aug. 16, 1983, as amended at 49 FR 47003, Nov. 30, 1984; 65 FR 35282, June 2, 2000; 67 FR 49586, July 31, 2002; 76 FR 4247, Jan. 25, 2011; 84 FR 166, Jan. 18, 2019]

§ 3.32 Exchange rates for foreign currencies.

When determining the rates of pension or parents' DIC or the amounts of burial, plot or headstone allowances or accrued benefits to which a claimant or beneficiary may be entitled, income received or expenses paid in a foreign currency shall be converted into U.S. dollar equivalents employing quarterly exchange rates established by the Department of the Treasury.

(a) Pension and parents' DIC.

(1) Because exchange rates for foreign currencies cannot be determined in advance, rates of pension and parents' DIC shall be projected using the most recent quarterly exchange rate and shall be adjusted retroactively based upon actual exchange rates when an annual eligibility verification report is filed.

(2) Retroactive adjustments due to fluctuations in exchange rates shall be calculated using the average of the four most recent quarterly exchange rates. If the claimant reports income and expenses for a prior reporting period, the retroactive adjustment shall be calculated using the average of the four quarterly rates which were the most recent available on the closing date of the twelve-month period for which income and expenses are reported.

(b) Burial, plot or headstone allowances and accrued benefits. Payment amounts for burial, plot or headstone allowances and claims for accrued benefits as reimbursement from the person who bore the expenses of a deceased beneficiary's last illness or burial shall be determined using the quarterly exchange rate for the quarter in which the expenses forming the basis of the claim were paid. If the claim is filed by an unpaid creditor, however, the quarterly rate for the quarter in which the veteran died shall apply. When entitlement originates during a quarter for which the Department of the Treasury has not yet published a quarterly rate, amounts due shall be calculated using the most recent quarterly exchange rate.

Cross References:

Accrued benefits. See § 3.1000. Accrued benefits payable to foreign beneficiaries. See § 3.1008.

[55 FR 8140, Mar. 7, 1990; 55 FR 10867, Mar. 23, 1990]

General
§ 3.40 Philippine and Insular Forces.

(a) Regular Philippine Scouts. Service in the Philippine Scouts (except that described in paragraph (b) of this section), the Insular Force of the Navy, Samoan Native Guard, and Samoan Native Band of the Navy is included for pension, compensation, dependency and indemnity compensation, and burial allowance. Benefits are payable in dollars at the full-dollar rate.

(b) Other Philippine Scouts. Service of persons enlisted under section 14, Pub. L. 190, 79th Congress (Act of October 6, 1945), is included for compensation and dependency and indemnity compensation. Except as provided in §§ 3.42 and 3.43, benefits based on service described in this paragraph are payable at a rate of $0.50 for each dollar authorized under the law. All enlistments and reenlistments of Philippine Scouts in the Regular Army between October 6, 1945, and June 30, 1947, inclusive, were made under the provisions of Pub. L. 190 as it constituted the sole authority for such enlistments during that period. This paragraph does not apply to officers who were commissioned in connection with the administration of Pub. L. 190.

(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 107)

(c) Commonwealth Army of the Philippines.

(1) Service is included, for compensation, dependency and indemnity compensation, and burial allowance, from and after the dates and hours, respectively, when they were called into service of the Armed Forces of the United States by orders issued from time to time by the General Officer, U.S. Army, pursuant to the Military Order of the President of the United States dated July 26, 1941. Service as a guerrilla under the circumstances outlined in paragraph (d) of this section is also included. Except as provided in §§ 3.42 and 3.43, benefits based on service described in this paragraph are payable at a rate of $0.50 for each dollar authorized under the law.

(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 107)

(2) Unless the record shows examination at time of entrance into the Armed Forces of the United States, such persons are not entitled to the presumption of soundness. This also applies upon reentering the Armed Forces after a period of inactive service.

(d) Guerrilla service.

(1) Persons who served as guerrillas under a commissioned officer of the United States Army, Navy or Marine Corps, or under a commissioned officer of the Commonwealth Army recognized by and cooperating with the United States Forces are included. (See paragraph (c) of this section.) Service as a guerrilla by a member of the Philippine Scouts or the Armed Forces of the United States is considered as service in his or her regular status. (See paragraph (a) of this section.)

(2) The following certifications by the service departments will be accepted as establishing guerrilla service:

(i) Recognized guerrilla service;

(ii) Unrecognized guerrilla service under a recognized commissioned officer only if the person was a former member of the United States Armed Forces (including the Philippine Scouts), or the Commonwealth Army. This excludes civilians.

A certification of Anti-Japanese Activity will not be accepted as establishing guerrilla service.

(e) Combined service. Where a veteran who had Commonwealth Army or guerrilla service and also had other service, wartime or peacetime, in the Armed Forces of the United States, has disabilities which are compensable separately on a dollar and a $0.50 for each dollar authorized basis, and the disabilities are combined under the authority contained in 38 U.S.C. 1157, the evaluation for which dollars are payable will be first considered and the difference between this evaluation and the combined evaluation will be the basis for computing the amount payable at the rate of $0.50 for each dollar authorized.

Cross Reference:

Computation of service. See § 3.15.

[26 FR 1565, Feb. 24, 1961, as amended at 31 FR 14454, Nov. 10, 1966; 60 FR 18355, Apr. 11, 1995. Redesignated and amended at 66 FR 66767, Dec. 27, 2001; 71 FR 8220, Feb. 16, 2006]

§ 3.41 Philippine service.

(a) For a Regular Philippine Scout or a member of one of the regular components of the Philippine Commonwealth Army while serving with Armed Forces of United States, the period of active service will be from the date certified by the Armed Forces as the date of enlistment or date of report for active duty whichever is later to date of release from active duty, discharge, death, or in the case of a member of the Philippine Commonwealth Army June 30, 1946, whichever was earlier. Release from active duty includes:

(1) Leaving one's organization in anticipation of or due to the capitulation.

(2) Escape from prisoner-of-war status.

(3) Parole by the Japanese.

(4) Beginning of missing-in-action status, except where factually shown at that time he was with his or her unit or death is presumed to have occurred while carried in such status: Provided, however, That where there is credible evidence that he was alive after commencement of his or her missing-in-action status, the presumption of death will not apply for Department of Veterans Affairs purposes.

(5) Capitulation on May 6, 1942, except that periods of recognized guerrilla service or unrecognized guerrilla service under a recognized commissioned officer or periods of service in units which continued organized resistance against Japanese prior to formal capitulation will be considered return to active duty for period of such service.

(b) Active service of a Regular Philippine Scout or a member of the Philippine Commonwealth Army serving with the Armed Forces of the United States will include a prisoner-of-war status immediately following a period of active duty, or a period of recognized guerrilla service or unrecognized guerrilla service under a recognized commissioned officer. In those cases where following release from active duty as set forth in paragraph (a) of this section, the veteran is factually found by the Department of Veterans Affairs to have been injured or killed by the Japanese because of anti-Japanese activities or his or her former service in the Armed Forces of the United States, such injury or death may be held to have been incurred in active service for Department of Veterans Affairs purposes. Determination shall be based on all available evidence, including service department reports, and consideration shall be given to the character and length of the veteran's former active service in the Armed Forces of the United States.

(c) A prisoner-of-war status based upon arrest during general zonification will not be sufficient of itself to bring a case within the definition of return to military control.

(d) The active service of members of the irregular forces guerrilla will be the period certified by the service department.

[26 FR 1566, Feb. 24, 1961, as amended at 26 FR 4612, May 26, 1961Redesignated at 66 FR 66767, Dec. 27, 2001]

§ 3.42 Compensation at the full-dollar rate for certain Filipino veterans residing in the United States.

(a) Definitions. For purposes of this section:

(1) United States (U.S.) means the states, territories and possessions of the United States; the District of Columbia, and the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico.

(2) Residing in the U.S. means that an individual's principal, actual dwelling place is in the U.S. and that the individual meets the residency requirements of paragraph (c)(4) of this section.

(3) Citizen of the U.S. means any individual who acquires U.S. citizenship through birth in the territorial U.S., birth abroad as provided under title 8, United States Code, or through naturalization, and has not renounced his or her U.S. citizenship, or had such citizenship cancelled, revoked, or otherwise terminated.

(4) Lawfully admitted for permanent residence means that an individual has been lawfully accorded the privilege of residing permanently in the U.S. as an immigrant by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services under title 8, United States Code, and still has this status.

(b) Eligibility requirements. Compensation and dependency and indemnity compensation is payable at the full-dollar rate, based on service described in § 3.40(b), (c), or (d), to a veteran or a veteran's survivor who is residing in the U.S. and is either:

(1) A citizen of the U.S., or

(2) An alien lawfully admitted for permanent residence in the U.S.

(c) Evidence of eligibility.

(1) A valid original or copy of one of the following documents is required to prove that the veteran or the veteran's survivor is a natural born citizen of the U.S.:

(i) A valid U.S. passport;

(ii) A birth certificate showing that he or she was born in the U.S.; or

(iii) A Report of Birth Abroad of a Citizen of the U.S. issued by a U.S. consulate abroad.

(2) Only verification by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services to VA that a veteran or a veteran's survivor is a naturalized citizen of the U.S., or a valid U.S. passport, will be sufficient proof of such status.

(3) Only verification by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services to VA that a veteran or a veteran's survivor is an alien lawfully admitted for permanent residence in the U.S. will be sufficient proof of such status.

(4) VA will not pay benefits at the full-dollar rate under this section unless the evidence establishes that the veteran or survivor is lawfully residing in the U.S.

(i) Such evidence should identify the veteran's or survivor's name and relevant dates, and may include:

(A) A valid driver's license issued by the state of residence;

(B) Employment records, which may consist of pay stubs, W-2 forms, and certification of the filing of Federal, State, or local income tax returns;

(C) Residential leases, rent receipts, utility bills and receipts, or other relevant documents showing dates of utility service at a leased residence;

(D) Hospital or medical records showing medical treatment or hospitalization, and showing the name of the medical facility or treating physician;

(E) Property tax bills and receipts; and

(F) School records.

(ii) A Post Office box mailing address in the veteran's name or the name of the veteran's survivor does not constitute evidence showing that the veteran or veteran's survivor is lawfully residing in the United States.

(d) Continued eligibility.

(1) In order to continue receiving benefits at the full-dollar rate under this section, a veteran or a veteran's survivor must be physically present in the U.S. for at least 183 days of each calendar year in which he or she receives payments at the full-dollar rate, and may not be absent from the U.S. for more than 60 consecutive days at a time unless good cause is shown. However, if a veteran or a veteran's survivor becomes eligible for full-dollar rate benefits for the first time on or after July 1 of any calendar year, the 183-day rule will not apply during that calendar year. VA will not consider a veteran or a veteran's survivor to have been absent from the U.S. if he or she left and returned to the U.S. on the same date.

(2) A veteran or a veteran's survivor receiving benefits at the full-dollar rate under this section must notify VA within 30 days of leaving the U.S., or within 30 days of losing either his or her U.S. citizenship or lawful permanent resident alien status. When a veteran or a veteran's survivor no longer meets the eligibility requirements of paragraph (b) of this section, VA will reduce his or her payment to the rate of $0.50 for each dollar authorized under the law, effective on the date determined under § 3.505. If such veteran or survivor regains his or her U.S. citizenship or lawful permanent resident alien status, VA will restore full-dollar rate benefits, effective the date the veteran or survivor meets the eligibility requirements in paragraph (b) of this section.

(3) When requested to do so by VA, a veteran or survivor receiving benefits at the full-dollar rate under this section must verify that he or she continues to meet the residency and citizenship or permanent resident alien status requirements of paragraph (b) of this section. VA will advise the veteran or survivor at the time of the request that the verification must be furnished within 60 days and that failure to do so will result in the reduction of benefits. If the veteran or survivor fails to furnish the evidence within 60 days, VA will reduce his or her payment to the rate of $0.50 for each dollar authorized, as provided in § 3.652.

(4) A veteran or survivor receiving benefits at the full-dollar rate under this section must promptly notify VA of any change in his or her address. If mail from VA to the veteran or survivor is returned to VA by the U.S. Postal Service, VA will make reasonable efforts to determine the correct mailing address. If VA is unable to determine the correct mailing address through reasonable efforts, VA will reduce benefit payments to the rate of $0.50 for each dollar authorized under law, effective on the date determined under § 3.505.

(e) Effective date for restored eligibility. In the case of a veteran or survivor receiving benefits at the full-dollar rate, if VA reduces his or her payment to the rate of $0.50 for each dollar authorized under the law, VA will resume payments at the full-dollar rate, if otherwise in order, effective the first day of the month following the date on which he or she again meets the requirements. However, such increased payments will be retroactive no more than one year prior to the date on which VA receives evidence that he or she again meets the requirements.

(The Office of Management and Budget has approved the information collection requirements in this section under control number 2900-0655)

[66 FR 66767, Dec. 27, 2001, as amended at 71 FR 8220, Feb. 16, 2006; 72 FR 9, Jan. 3, 2007]

§ 3.43 Burial benefits at the full-dollar rate for certain Filipino veterans residing in the United States on the date of death.

(a) Definitions. For purposes of this section:

(1) United States (U.S.) means the states, territories and possessions of the United States, the District of Columbia, and the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico.

(2) Residing in the U.S. means an individual's principal, actual dwelling place was in the U.S. When death occurs outside the U.S., VA will consider the deceased individual to have been residing in the U.S. on the date of death if the individual maintained his or her principal actual dwelling place in the U.S. until his or her most recent departure from the U.S., and he or she had been physically absent from the U.S. less than 61 consecutive days when he or she died.

(3) Citizen of the U.S. means any individual who acquires U.S. citizenship through birth in the territorial U.S., birth abroad as provided under title 8, United States Code, or through naturalization, and has not renounced his or her U.S. citizenship, or had such citizenship cancelled, revoked, or otherwise terminated.

(4) Lawfully admitted for permanent residence means that the individual was lawfully accorded the privilege of residing permanently in the U.S. as an immigrant by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services under title 8, United States Code, and on the date of death, still had this status.

(b) Eligibility requirements. VA will pay burial benefits under chapter 23 of title 38, United States Code, at the full-dollar rate, based on service described in § 3.40(c) or (d), when an individual who performed such service dies after November 1, 2000, or based on service described in § 3.40(b) when an individual who performed such service dies after December 15, 2003, and was on the date of death:

(1) Residing in the U.S.; and

(2) Either -

(i) A citizen of the U.S., or

(ii) An alien lawfully admitted for permanent residence in the U.S.; and

(3) Either -

(i) Receiving compensation under chapter 11 of title 38, United States Code; or

(ii) Would have satisfied the disability, income and net worth requirements of § 3.3(a)(3) of this part and would have been eligible for pension if the veteran's service had been deemed to be active military, naval, or air service.

(c) Evidence of eligibility.

(1) In a claim for full-dollar rate burial payments based on the deceased veteran having been a natural born citizen of the U.S., a valid original or copy of one of the following documents is required:

(i) A valid U.S. passport;

(ii) A birth certificate showing that he or she was born in the U.S.; or

(iii) A Report of Birth Abroad of a Citizen of the U.S. issued by a U.S. consulate abroad.

(2) In a claim based on the deceased veteran having been a naturalized citizen of the U.S., only verification of that status by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services to VA, or a valid U.S. passport, will be sufficient proof for purposes of eligibility for full-dollar rate benefits.

(3) In a claim based on the deceased veteran having been an alien lawfully admitted for permanent residence in the U.S., only verification of that status by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services to VA will be sufficient proof for purposes of eligibility for full-dollar rate benefits.

(4) VA will not pay benefits at the full-dollar rate under this section unless the evidence establishes that the veteran was lawfully residing in the U.S. on the date of death.

(i) Such evidence should identify the veteran's name and relevant dates, and may include:

(A) A valid driver's license issued by the state of residence;

(B) Employment records, which may consist of pay stubs, W-2 forms, and certification of the filing of Federal, State, or local income tax returns;

(C) Residential leases, rent receipts, utility bills and receipts, or other relevant documents showing dates of utility service at a leased residence;

(D) Hospital or medical records showing medical treatment or hospitalization of the veteran or survivor, and showing the name of the medical facility or treating physician;

(E) Property tax bills and receipts; and

(F) School records.

(ii) A Post Office box mailing address in the veteran's name does not constitute evidence showing that the veteran was lawfully residing in the United States on the date of death.

(The Office of Management and Budget has approved the information collection requirements in this section under control number 2900-0655)

[66 FR 66767, Dec. 27, 2001, as amended at 71 FR 8221, Feb. 16, 2006; 72 FR 9, Jan. 3, 2007]

Relationship
§ 3.50 Spouse and surviving spouse.

(a) Spouse. “Spouse” means a person of the opposite sex whose marriage to the veteran meets the requirements of § 3.1(j).

(b) Surviving spouse. Except as provided in § 3.52, “surviving spouse” means a person of the opposite sex whose marriage to the veteran meets the requirements of § 3.1(j) and who was the spouse of the veteran at the time of the veteran's death and:

(1) Who lived with the veteran continuously from the date of marriage to the date of the veteran's death except where there was a separation which was due to the misconduct of, or procured by, the veteran without the fault of the spouse; and

(2) Except as provided in § 3.55, has not remarried or has not since the death of the veteran and after September 19, 1962, lived with another person of the opposite sex and held himself or herself out openly to the public to be the spouse of such other person.

[62 FR 5529, Feb. 6, 1997]

§ 3.52 Marriages deemed valid.

Where an attempted marriage of a claimant to the veteran was invalid by reason of a legal impediment, the marriage will nevertheless be deemed valid if:

(a) The marriage occurred 1 year or more before the veteran died or existed for any period of time if a child was born of the purported marriage or was born to them before such marriage (see § 3.54(d)), and

(b) The claimant entered into the marriage without knowledge of the impediment, and

(c) The claimant cohabited with the veteran continuously from the date of marriage to the date of his or her death as outlined in § 3.53, and

(d) No claim has been filed by a legal surviving spouse who has been found entitled to gratuitous death benefits other than accrued monthly benefits covering a period prior to the veteran's death.

Cross Reference:

Definition, marriage. See § 3.205(c).

[26 FR 1567, Feb. 24, 1961, as amended at 27 FR 1215, Feb. 9, 1962; 32 FR 13224, Sept. 19, 1967; 41 FR 18299, May 3, 1976]

§ 3.53 Continuous cohabitation.

(a) General. The requirement that there must be continuous cohabitation from the date of marriage to the date of death of the veteran will be considered as having been met when the evidence shows that any separation was due to the misconduct of, or procured by, the veteran without the fault of the surviving spouse. Temporary separations which ordinarily occur, including those caused for the time being through fault of either party, will not break the continuity of the cohabitation.

(b) Findings of fact. The statement of the surviving spouse as to the reason for the separation will be accepted in the absence of contradictory information. If the evidence establishes that the separation was by mutual consent and that the parties lived apart for purposes of convenience, health, business, or any other reason which did not show an intent on the part of the surviving spouse to desert the veteran, the continuity of the cohabitation will not be considered as having been broken. State laws will not control in determining questions of desertion; however, due weight will be given to findings of fact in court decisions made during the life of the veteran on issues subsequently involved in the application of this section.

[41 FR 18300, May 3, 1976, as amended at 59 FR 32659, June 24, 1994]

§ 3.54 Marriage dates.

A surviving spouse may qualify for pension, compensation, or dependency and indemnity compensation if the marriage to the veteran occurred before or during his or her service or, if married to him or her after his or her separation from service, before the applicable date stated in his section.

(a) Pension. Death pension may be paid to a surviving spouse who was married to the veteran:

(1) One year or more prior to the veteran's death, or

(2) For any period of time if a child was born of the marriage, or was born to them before the marriage, or

(3) Prior to the applicable delimiting dates, as follows:

(i) Civil War - June 27, 1905.

(ii) Indian wars - March 4, 1917.

(iii) Spanish-American War - January 1, 1938.

(iv) Mexican border period and World War I - December 14, 1944.

(v) World War II - January 1, 1957.

(vi) Korean conflict - February 1, 1965.

(vii) Vietnam era - May 8, 1985.

(viii) Persian Gulf War - January 1, 2001.

(b) Compensation. Death compensation may be paid to a surviving spouse who, with respect to date of marriage, could have qualified as a surviving spouse for death compensation under any law administered by the Department of Veterans Affairs in effect on December 31, 1957, or who was married to the veteran:

(1) Before the expiration of 15 years after termination of the period of service in which the injury or disease which caused the veteran's death was incurred or aggravated, or

(2) One year or more, or

(3) For any period of time if a child was born of the marriage, or was born to them before the marriage.

(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 1102)

(c) Dependency and indemnity compensation. Dependency and indemnity compensation payable under 38 U.S.C. 1310(a) may be paid to the surviving spouse of a veteran who died on or after January 1, 1957, who was married to the veteran:

(1) Before the expiration of 15 years after the termination of the period of service in which the injury or disease causing the death of the veteran was incurred or aggravated, or

(2) For 1 year or more, or

(3) For any period of time if a child was born of the marriage, or was born to them before the marriage.

(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 1304)

(d) Child born. The term child born of the marriage means a birth on or after the date of the marriage on which the surviving spouse's entitlement is predicated. The term born to them before the marriage means a birth prior to the date of such marriage. Either term includes a fetus advanced to the point of gestation required to constitute a birth under the law of the jurisdiction in which the fetus was delivered.

(e) More than one marriage to veteran. For periods commencing on or after January 1, 1958, where a surviving spouse has been married legally to a veteran more than once, the date of the original marriage will be used in determining whether the statutory requirement as to date of marriage has been met.

[26 FR 1567, Feb. 24, 1961, as amended at 27 FR 6498, July 10, 1962; 32 FR 13224, Sept. 19, 1967; 40 FR 16064, Apr. 9, 1975; 40 FR 48680, Oct. 17, 1975; 41 FR 18300, May 3, 1976; 44 FR 22718, Apr. 17, 1979; 54 FR 31829, Aug. 2, 1989; 56 FR 5756, Feb. 13, 1991; 56 FR 57986, Nov. 15, 1991; 65 FR 3392, Jan. 21, 2000]

§ 3.55 Reinstatement of benefits eligibility based upon terminated marital relationships.

(a) Surviving spouse.

(1) Remarriage of a surviving spouse shall not bar the furnishing of benefits to such surviving spouse if the marriage:

(i) Was void, or

(ii) Has been annulled by a court having basic authority to render annulment decrees, unless it is determined by the Department of Veterans Affairs that the annulment was obtained through fraud by either party or by collusion.

(2) On or after January 1, 1971, remarriage of a surviving spouse terminated prior to November 1, 1990, or terminated by legal proceedings commenced prior to November 1, 1990, by an individual who, but for the remarriage, would be considered the surviving spouse, shall not bar the furnishing of benefits to such surviving spouse provided that the marriage:

(i) Has been terminated by death, or

(ii) Has been dissolved by a court with basic authority to render divorce decrees unless the Department of Veterans Affairs determines that the divorce was secured through fraud by the surviving spouse or by collusion.

(3) On or after October 1, 1998, remarriage of a surviving spouse terminated by death, divorce, or annulment, will not bar the furnishing of dependency and indemnity compensation, unless the Secretary determines that the divorce or annulment was secured through fraud or collusion.

(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 1311(e))

(4) On or after December 1, 1999, remarriage of a surviving spouse terminated by death, divorce, or annulment, will not bar the furnishing of benefits relating to medical care for survivors and dependents under 38 U.S.C. 1781, educational assistance under 38 U.S.C. chapter 35, or housing loans under 38 U.S.C. chapter 37, unless the Secretary determines that the divorce or annulment was secured through fraud or collusion.

(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 103(d))

(5) On or after January 1, 1971, the fact that a surviving spouse has lived with another person and has held himself or herself out openly to the public as the spouse of such other person shall not bar the furnishing of benefits to him or her after he or she terminates the relationship, if the relationship terminated prior to November 1, 1990.

(6) On or after October 1, 1998, the fact that a surviving spouse has lived with another person and has held himself or herself out openly to the public as the spouse of such other person will not bar the furnishing of dependency and indemnity compensation to the surviving spouse if he or she ceases living with such other person and holding himself or herself out openly to the public as such other person's spouse.

(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 1311(e))

(7) On or after December 1, 1999, the fact that a surviving spouse has lived with another person and has held himself or herself out openly to the public as the spouse of such other person will not bar the furnishing of benefits relating to medical care for survivors and dependents under 38 U.S.C. 1781, educational assistance under 38 U.S.C. chapter 35, or housing loans under 38 U.S.C. chapter 37 to the surviving spouse if he or she ceases living with such other person and holding himself or herself out openly to the public as such other person's spouse.

(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 103(d))

(8) On or after January 1, 1971, the fact that benefits to a surviving spouse may previously have been barred because his or her conduct or a relationship into which he or she had entered had raised an inference or presumption that he or she had remarried or had been determined to be open and notorious adulterous cohabitation, or similar conduct, shall not bar the furnishing of benefits to such surviving spouse after he or she terminates the conduct or relationship, if the relationship terminated prior to November 1, 1990.

(9) Benefits under 38 U.S.C. 1781 for a surviving spouse who remarries after age 55.

(i) On or after February 4, 2003, the remarriage of a surviving spouse after age 55 shall not bar the furnishing of benefits relating to medical care for survivors and dependents under 38 U.S.C. 1781, subject to the limitation in paragraph (a)(9)(ii) of this section.

(ii) A surviving spouse who remarried after the age of 55, but before December 6, 2002, may be eligible for benefits relating to medical care for survivors and dependents under 38 U.S.C. 1781 pursuant to paragraph (a)(9)(i) only if the application for such benefits was received by VA before December 16, 2004.

(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 103).

(10) Benefits for a surviving spouse who remarries after age 57.

(i) On or after January 1, 2004, the remarriage of a surviving spouse after the age of 57 shall not bar the furnishing of benefits relating to dependency and indemnity compensation under 38 U.S.C. 1311, medical care for survivors and dependents under 38 U.S.C. 1781, educational assistance under 38 U.S.C. chapter 35, or housing loans under 38 U.S.C. chapter 37, subject to the limitation in paragraph (a)(10)(ii) of this section.

(ii) A surviving spouse who remarried after the age of 57, but before December 16, 2003, may be eligible for dependency and indemnity compensation under 38 U.S.C. 1311, medical care for survivors and dependents under 38 U.S.C. 1781, educational assistance under 38 U.S.C. chapter 35, or housing loans under 38 U.S.C. chapter 37 pursuant to paragraph (a)(10)(i) only if the application for such benefits was received by VA before December 16, 2004.

(b) Child.

(1) Marriage of a child shall not bar the furnishing of benefits to or on account of such child, if the marriage:

(i) Was void, or

(ii) Has been annulled by a court having basic authority to render annulment decrees, unless it is determined by the Department of Veterans Affairs that the annulment was obtained through fraud by either party or by collusion.

(2) On or after January 1, 1975, marriage of a child terminated prior to November 1, 1990, shall not bar the furnishing of benefits to or for such child provided that the marriage:

(i) Has been terminated by death, or

(ii) Has been dissolved by a court with basic authority to render divorce decrees unless the Department of Veterans Affairs determines that the divorce was secured through fraud by either party or by collusion.

Cross References:

Evidence. See §§ 3.206 and 3.207. Termination of marital relationship or conduct. See § 3.215.

[58 FR 32444, June 10, 1993, as amended at 60 FR 52863, Oct. 11, 1995; 64 FR 30245, June 7, 1999; 65 FR 43700, July 14, 2000; 71 FR 29084, May 19, 2006]

§ 3.56 [Reserved]
§ 3.57 Child.

(a) General.

(1) Except as provided in paragraphs (a)(2) through (4) of this section, the term child of the veteran means an unmarried person who is a legitimate child, a child legally adopted before the age of 18 years, a stepchild who acquired that status before the age of 18 years and who is a member of the veteran's household or was a member of the veteran's household at the time of the veteran's death, or an illegitimate child; and

(i) Who is under the age of 18 years; or

(ii) Who, before reaching the age of 18 years, became permanently incapable of self-support; or

(iii) Who, after reaching the age of 18 years and until completion of education or training (but not after reaching the age of 23 years) is pursuing a course of instruction at an educational institution approved by the Department of Veterans Affairs. For the purposes of this section and § 3.667, the term “educational institution” means a permanent organization that offers courses of instruction to a group of students who meet its enrollment criteria, including schools, colleges, academies, seminaries, technical institutes, and universities. The term also includes home schools that operate in compliance with the compulsory attendance laws of the States in which they are located, whether treated as private schools or home schools under State law. The term “home schools” is limited to courses of instruction for grades kindergarten through 12.

(2) For the purposes of determining entitlement of benefits based on a child's school attendance, the term child of the veteran also includes the following unmarried persons:

(i) A person who was adopted by the veteran between the ages of 18 and 23 years.

(ii) A person who became a stepchild of the veteran between the ages of 18 and 23 years and who is a member of the veteran's household or was a member of the veteran's household at the time of the veteran's death.

(3) Subject to the provisions of paragraphs (c) and (e) of this section, the term child also includes a person who became permanently incapable of self-support before reaching the age of 18 years, who was a member of the veteran's household at the time he or she became 18 years of age, and who was adopted by the veteran, regardless of the age of such person at the time of adoption.

(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 101(4)(A))

(4) For purposes of any benefits provided under 38 U.S.C. 1115, Additional compensation for dependents, the term child does not include a child of a veteran who is adopted out of the family of the veteran. This limitation does not apply to any benefit administered by the Secretary that is payable directly to a child in the child's own right, such as dependency and indemnity compensation under 38 CFR 3.5.

(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 101(4), 501, 1115).

(b) Stepchild. The term means a legitimate or an illegitimate child of the veteran's spouse. A child of a surviving spouse whose marriage to the veteran is deemed valid under the provisions of § 3.52, and who otherwise meets the requirements of this section is included.

(c) Adopted child. Except as provided in paragraph (e) of this section, the term means a child adopted pursuant to a final decree of adoption, a child adopted pursuant to an unrescinded interlocutory decree of adoption while remaining in the custody of the adopting parent (or parents) during the interlocutory period, and a child who has been placed for adoption under an agreement entered into by the adopting parent (or parents) with any agency authorized under law to so act, unless and until such agreement is terminated, while the child remains in the custody of the adopting parent (or parents) during the period of placement for adoption under such agreement. The term includes, as of the date of death of a veteran, such a child who:

(1) Was living in the veteran's household at the time of the veteran's death, and

(2) Was adopted by the veteran's spouse under a decree issued within 2 years after August 25, 1959, or the veteran's death whichever is later, and

(3) Was not receiving from an individual other than the veteran or the veteran's spouse, or from a welfare organization which furnishes services or assistance for children, recurring contributions of sufficient size to constitute the major portion of the child's support.

(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 101(4))

(d) Definition of child custody. The provisions of this paragraph are for the purpose of determining entitlement to improved pension under §§ 3.23 and 3.24.

(1) Custody of a child shall be considered to rest with a veteran, surviving spouse of a veteran or person legally responsible for the child's support if that person has the legal right to exercise parental control and responsibility for the welfare and care of the child. A child of the veteran residing with the veteran, surviving spouse of the veteran who is the child's natural or adoptive parent, or person legally responsible for the child's support shall be presumed to be in the custody of that individual. Where the veteran, surviving spouse, or person legally responsible for the child's support has not been divested of legal custody, but the child is not residing with that individual, the child shall be considered in the custody of the individual for purposes of Department of Veterans Affairs benefits.

(2) The term person legally responsible for the child's support means a person who is under a legally imposed obligation (e.g., by statute or court order) to provide for the child's support, as well as a natural or adoptive parent who has not been divested of legal custody. If the child's natural or adoptive parent has remarried, the stepparent may also be considered a person legally responsible for the child's support. A child shall be considered in the joint custody of his or her stepparent and natural or adoptive parent so long as the natural or adoptive parent and the stepparent are not estranged and residing apart, and the natural or adoptive parent has not been divested of legal custody. When a child is in such joint custody the combined income of the natural or adoptive parent and the stepparent shall be included as income of the person legally responsible for support under § 3.24(c).

(3) A person having custody of a child prior to the time the child attains age 18 shall be considered to retain custody of the child for periods on and after the child's 18th birthday, unless the person is divested of legal custody. This applies without regard to when a child reaches the age of majority under applicable State law. This also applies without regard to whether the child was entitled to pension prior to age 18, or whether increased pension was payable to a veteran or surviving spouse on behalf of the child prior to the child's 18th birthday. If the child's custodian dies after the child has attained age 18, the child shall be considered to be in custody of a successor custodian provided the successor custodian has the right to exercise parental control and responsibility for the welfare and care of the child.

(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 501, 1521(c), 1541(c))

(e) Child adopted under foreign law -

(1) General. The provisions of this paragraph are applicable to a person adopted under the laws of any jurisdiction other than a State. The term State is defined in 38 U.S.C. 101(20) and also includes the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands. The term veteran includes, for the purposes of this paragraph, a Commonwealth Army veteran or new Philippine Scout as defined in 38 U.S.C. 3566.

(2) Adopted child of living veteran. A person residing outside any of the States shall not be considered to be a legally adopted child of a veteran during the lifetime of the veteran unless all of the following conditions are met.

(i) The person was less than 18 years of age at the time of adoption.

(ii) The person is receiving one-half or more of the person's support from the veteran.

(iii) The person is not in the custody of the person's natural parent unless the natural parent is the veteran's spouse.

(iv) The person is residing with the veteran (or in the case of divorce following adoption, with the divorced spouse who is also a natural or adoptive parent) except for periods during which the person is residing apart from the veteran for purposes of full-time attendance at an educational institution or during which the person or the veteran is confined in a hospital, nursing home, other health-care facility, or other institution.

(3) Adopted child of deceased veteran. A person shall not be considered to have been a legally adopted child of a veteran as of the date of the veteran's death and thereafter unless one of the following conditions is met.

(i) The veteran was entitled to and was receiving for the person a dependent's allowance or similar monetary benefit payable under title 38, United States Code at any time within the 1-year period immediately preceding the veteran's death; or

(ii) The person met the requirements of paragraph (e)(2) of this section for a period of at least 1 year prior to the veteran's death.

(4) Verification. In the case of an adopted child of a living veteran, the requirements of paragraphs (e)(2)(ii), (iii) and (iv) of this section are for prospective application. That is, in addition to meeting all of the requirements of paragraph (e)(2) of this section at the time of initial adjudication, benefits are not payable thereafter for or to a child adopted under the laws of any jurisdiction other than a State unless the requirements of paragraphs (e)(2)(ii), (iii) and (iv) of this section continue to be met. Consequently, whenever Department of Veterans Affairs benefits are payable to or for a child adopted under the laws of any jurisdiction other than a State, and the veteran who adopted the child is living, the beneficiary shall submit, upon Department of Veterans Affairs request, a report, or other evidence, to determine if the requirements of paragraph (e)(2)(ii), (iii), and (iv) of this section were met for any period for which payment was made for or to the child and whether such requirements will continue to be met for future entitlement periods. Failure to submit the requested report or evidence within a reasonable time from date of request may result in termination of benefits payable for or to the child.

Cross References:

Improved pension rates. See § 3.23. Improved pension rates; surviving children. See § 3.24. Child adopted out of family. See § 3.58. Child's relationship. See § 3.210. Helplessness. See § 3.403(a)(1). Helplessness. See § 3.503(a)(3). Veteran's benefits not apportionable. See § 3.458. School attendance. See § 3.667. Helpless children - Spanish-American and prior wars. See § 3.950.

[44 FR 45935, Aug. 6, 1979 and 45 FR 1878, Jan. 9, 1980, as amended at 45 FR 25391, Apr. 15, 1980; 49 FR 47003, Nov. 30, 1984; 65 FR 12116, Mar. 8, 2000; 72 FR 6959, Feb. 14, 2007; 80 FR 48451, Aug. 13, 2015]

§ 3.58 Child adopted out of family.

(a) Except as provided in paragraph (b) of this section, a child of a veteran adopted out of the family of the veteran either prior or subsequent to the veteran's death is nevertheless a child within the meaning of that term as defined by § 3.57 and is eligible for benefits payable under all laws administered by the Department of Veterans Affairs.

(b) A child of a veteran adopted out of the family of the veteran is not a child within the meaning of § 3.57 for purposes of any benefits provided under 38 U.S.C. 1115, Additional compensation for dependents.

Cross References:

Child. See § 3.57. Veteran's benefits not apportionable. See § 3.458.

[80 FR 48451, Aug. 13, 2015]

§ 3.59 Parent.

(a) The term parent means a natural mother or father (including the mother of an illegitimate child or the father of an illegitimate child if the usual family relationship existed), mother or father through adoption, or a person who for a period of not less than 1 year stood in the relationship of a parent to a veteran at any time before his or her entry into active service.

(b) Foster relationship must have begun prior to the veteran's 21st birthday. Not more than one father and one mother, as defined, will be recognized in any case. If two persons stood in the relationship of father or mother for 1 year or more, the person who last stood in such relationship before the veteran's last entry into active service will be recognized as the parent.

[26 FR 1568, Feb. 24, 1961, as amended at 44 FR 45935, Aug. 6, 1979]

§ 3.60 Definition of “living with”.

For the purposes of determining entitlement to pension under 38 U.S.C. 1521, a person shall be considered as living with his or her spouse even though they reside apart unless they are estranged.

[44 FR 45935, Aug. 6, 1979]

Administrative
§ 3.100 Delegations of authority.

(a) Authority is delegated to the Under Secretary for Benefits and to supervisory or adjudicative personnel within the jurisdiction of the Veterans Benefits Administration designated by the Under Secretary to make findings and decisions under the applicable laws, regulations, precedents, and instructions, as to entitlement of claimants to benefits under all laws administered by the Department of Veterans Affairs governing the payment of monetary benefits to veterans and their dependents, within the jurisdiction of the Compensation Service or the Pension and Fiduciary Service.

(b) Authority is delegated to the Director, Compensation Service, and the Director, Pension and Fiduciary Service, and to personnel of each service designated by its Director to determine whether a claimant or payee has forfeited the right to gratuitious benefits or to remit a prior forfeiture pursuant to the provisions of 38 U.S.C. 6103 or 6104. See § 3.905.

[29 FR 7547, June 12, 1964, as amended at 31 FR 14455, Nov. 10, 1966; 37 FR 10442, May 23, 1972; 53 FR 3207, Feb. 4, 1988; 60 FR 18355, Apr. 11, 1995; 61 FR 20727, May 8, 1996; 78 FR 2100, Jan. 13, 2014]

§ 3.102 Reasonable doubt.

It is the defined and consistently applied policy of the Department of Veterans Affairs to administer the law under a broad interpretation, consistent, however, with the facts shown in every case. When, after careful consideration of all procurable and assembled data, a reasonable doubt arises regarding service origin, the degree of disability, or any other point, such doubt will be resolved in favor of the claimant. By reasonable doubt is meant one which exists because of an approximate balance of positive and negative evidence which does not satisfactorily prove or disprove the claim. It is a substantial doubt and one within the range of probability as distinguished from pure speculation or remote possibility. It is not a means of reconciling actual conflict or a contradiction in the evidence. Mere suspicion or doubt as to the truth of any statements submitted, as distinguished from impeachment or contradiction by evidence or known facts, is not justifiable basis for denying the application of the reasonable doubt doctrine if the entire, complete record otherwise warrants invoking this doctrine. The reasonable doubt doctrine is also applicable even in the absence of official records, particularly if the basic incident allegedly arose under combat, or similarly strenuous conditions, and is consistent with the probable results of such known hardships.

[50 FR 34458, Aug. 26, 1985, as amended at 66 FR 45630, Aug. 29, 2001]

§ 3.103 Procedural due process and other rights.

(a) Statement of policy. Every claimant has the right to written notice of the decision made on his or her claim, the right to a hearing, and the right of representation. Proceedings before VA are ex parte in nature, and it is the obligation of VA to assist a claimant in developing the facts pertinent to the claim and to render a decision which grants every benefit that can be supported in law while protecting the interests of the Government. The provisions of this section apply to all claims for benefits and relief, and decisions thereon, within the purview of this part 3.

(b) The right to notice -

(1) General. Claimants and their representatives are entitled to notice of any decision made by VA affecting the payment of benefits or the granting of relief. Such notice will clearly set forth the elements described under paragraph (f) of this section, the right to a hearing on any issue involved in the claim as provided in paragraph (d) of this section, the right of representation, and the right, as well as the necessary procedures and time limits to initiate a higher-level review, supplemental claim, or appeal to the Board of Veterans' Appeals.

(2) Advance notice and opportunity for hearing. Except as otherwise provided in paragraph (b)(3) of this section, no award of compensation, pension or dependency and indemnity compensation shall be terminated, reduced or otherwise adversely affected unless the beneficiary has been notified of such adverse action and has been provided a period of 60 days in which to submit evidence for the purpose of showing that the adverse action should not be taken.

(3) Exceptions. In lieu of advance notice and opportunity for a hearing, VA will send a written notice to the beneficiary or his or her fiduciary at the same time it takes an adverse action under the following circumstances:

(i) An adverse action based solely on factual and unambiguous information or statements as to income, net worth, or dependency or marital status that the beneficiary or his or her fiduciary provided to VA in writing or orally (under the procedures set forth in § 3.217(b)), with knowledge or notice that such information would be used to calculate benefit amounts.

(ii) An adverse action based upon the beneficiary's or fiduciary's failure to return a required eligibility verification report.

(iii) Evidence reasonably indicates that a beneficiary is deceased. However, in the event that VA has received a death certificate, a terminal hospital report verifying the death of a beneficiary or a claim for VA burial benefits, no notice of termination (contemporaneous or otherwise) will be required.

(iv) An adverse action based upon a written and signed statement provided by the beneficiary to VA renouncing VA benefits (see § 3.106 on renouncement).

(v) An adverse action based upon a written statement provided to VA by a veteran indicating that he or she has returned to active service, the nature of that service, and the date of reentry into service, with the knowledge or notice that receipt of active service pay precludes concurrent receipt of VA compensation or pension (see § 3.654 regarding active service pay).

(vi) An adverse action based upon a garnishment order issued under 42 U.S.C. 659(a).

(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 501(a))

(4) Restoration of benefits. VA will restore retroactively benefits that were reduced, terminated, or otherwise adversely affected based on oral information or statements if within 30 days of the date on which VA issues the notification of adverse action the beneficiary or his or her fiduciary asserts that the adverse action was based upon information or statements that were inaccurate or upon information that was not provided by the beneficiary or his or her fiduciary. This will not preclude VA from taking subsequent action that adversely affects benefits.

(c) Submission of evidence -

(1) General rule. VA will include in the record, any evidence whether documentary, testimonial, or in other form, submitted by the claimant in support of a pending claim and any issue, contention, or argument a claimant may offer with respect to a claim, except as prescribed in paragraph (c)(2) of this section and § 3.2601(f).

(2) Treatment of evidence received after notice of a decision. The evidentiary record for a claim before the agency of original jurisdiction closes when VA issues notice of a decision on the claim. The agency of original jurisdiction will not consider, or take any other action on evidence that is submitted by a claimant, associated with the claims file, or constructively received by VA as described in paragraph (c)(2)(iii) of this section, after notice of decision on a claim, and such evidence will not be considered part of the record at the time of any decision by the agency of original jurisdiction, except as described in § 3.156(c) and under the following circumstances:

(i) Receipt of a complete claim. The agency of original jurisdiction subsequently receives a complete application for a supplemental claim or initial claim; or

(ii) Board and higher-level review returns. A claim is pending readjudication after identification of a duty to assist error (which includes an error resulting from constructive receipt of evidence prior to the notice of decision), during a higher-level review or appeal to the Board of Veterans' Appeals. Those events reopen the record and any evidence previously submitted to the agency of original jurisdiction or associated with the claims file while the record was closed will become part of the evidentiary record to be considered upon readjudication.

(iii) Constructive receipt of VA treatment records. Records within the actual custody of the Veterans Health Administration are deemed constructively received by the Veterans Benefits Administration at the time when the Veterans Benefits Administration had knowledge of the existence of said records through information furnished by the claimant sufficient to locate those records (see 38 U.S.C. 5103A(c)).

(d) The right to a hearing.

(1) Upon request, a claimant is entitled to a hearing on any issue involved in a claim within the purview of part 3 of this chapter before VA issues notice of a decision on an initial or supplemental claim. A hearing is not available in connection with a request for higher-level review under § 3.2601. VA will provide the place of hearing in the VA field office having original jurisdiction over the claim, or at the VA office nearest the claimant's home having adjudicative functions, or videoconference capabilities, or, subject to available resources and solely at the option of VA, at any other VA facility or federal building at which suitable hearing facilities are available. VA will provide one or more employees who have original determinative authority of such issues to conduct the hearing and be responsible for establishment and preservation of the hearing record. Upon request, a claimant is entitled to a hearing in connection with proposed adverse actions before one or more VA employees having original determinative authority who did not participate in the proposed action. All expenses incurred by the claimant in connection with the hearing are the responsibility of the claimant.

(2) The purpose of a hearing is to permit the claimant to introduce into the record, in person, any available evidence which he or she considers relevant and any arguments or contentions with respect to the facts and applicable law which he or she may consider pertinent. All testimony will be under oath or affirmation. The claimant is entitled to produce witnesses, but the claimant and witnesses must be present. The agency of original jurisdiction will not normally schedule a hearing for the sole purpose of receiving argument from a representative. It is the responsibility of the VA employees conducting the hearings to explain fully the issues and suggest the submission of evidence which the claimant may have overlooked and which would be of advantage to the claimant's position. To assure clarity and completeness of the hearing record, questions which are directed to the claimant and to witnesses are to be framed to explore fully the basis for claimed entitlement rather than with an intent to refute evidence or to discredit testimony.

(e) The right to representation. Subject to the provisions of §§ 14.626 through 14.637 of this title, claimants are entitled to representation of their choice at every stage in the prosecution of a claim.

(f) Notification of decisions. The claimant or beneficiary and his or her representative will be notified in writing of decisions affecting the payment of benefits or granting of relief. Written notification must include in the notice letter or enclosures or a combination thereof, all of the following elements:

(1) Identification of the issues adjudicated;

(2) A summary of the evidence considered;

(3) A summary of the laws and regulations applicable to the claim;

(4) A listing of any findings made by the adjudicator that are favorable to the claimant under § 3.104(c);

(5) For denied claims, identification of the element(s) required to grant the claim(s) that were not met;

(6) If applicable, identification of the criteria required to grant service connection or the next higher-level of compensation;

(7) An explanation of how to obtain or access evidence used in making the decision; and

(8) A summary of the applicable review options under § 3.2500 available for the claimant to seek further review of the decision.

[55 FR 13527, Apr. 11, 1990; 55 FR 17530, Apr. 25, 1990, as amended at 55 FR 20148, May 15, 1990; 55 FR 25308, June 21, 1990; 57 FR 56993, Dec. 2, 1992; 58 FR 16360, Mar. 26, 1993; 58 FR 59366, Nov. 9, 1993; 59 FR 6218, Feb. 10, 1994; 59 FR 6901, Feb. 14, 1994; 66 FR 56613, Nov. 9, 2001; 76 FR 52574, Aug. 23, 2011; 77 FR 23129, Apr. 18, 2012; 84 FR 166, Jan. 18, 2019]

§ 3.104 Binding nature of decisions.

(a) Binding decisions. A decision of a VA rating agency is binding on all VA field offices as to conclusions based on the evidence on file at the time VA issues written notification in accordance with 38 U.S.C. 5104. A binding agency decision is not subject to revision except by the Board of Veterans' Appeals, by Federal court order, or as provided in §§ 3.105, 3.2500, and 3.2600.

(b) Binding administrative determinations. Current determinations of line of duty, character of discharge, relationship, dependency, domestic relations questions, homicide, and findings of fact of death or presumptions of death made in accordance with existing instructions, and by application of the same criteria and based on the same facts, by either an Adjudication activity or an Insurance activity are binding one upon the other in the absence of clear and unmistakable error.

(c) Favorable findings. Any finding favorable to the claimant made by either a VA adjudicator, as described in § 3.103(f)(4), or by the Board of Veterans' Appeals, as described in § 20.801(a) of this chapter, is binding on all subsequent agency of original jurisdiction and Board of Veterans' Appeals adjudicators, unless rebutted by evidence that identifies a clear and unmistakable error in the favorable finding. For purposes of this section, a finding means a conclusion either on a question of fact or on an application of law to facts made by an adjudicator concerning the issue(s) under review.

[29 FR 1462, Jan. 29, 1964, as amended at 29 FR 7547, June 12, 1964; 56 FR 65846, Dec. 19, 1991; 66 FR 21874, May 2, 2001; 84 FR 167, Jan. 18, 2019]

§ 3.105 Revision of decisions.

The provisions of this section apply except where an award was based on an act of commission or omission by the payee, or with his or her knowledge (§ 3.500(b)); there is a change in law or a Department of Veterans Affairs issue, or a change in interpretation of law or a Department of Veterans Affairs issue (§ 3.114); or the evidence establishes that service connection was clearly illegal. The provisions with respect to the date of discontinuance of benefits are applicable to running awards. Where the award has been suspended, and it is determined that no additional payments are in order, the award will be discontinued effective date of last payment.

(a)

(1) Error in final decisions. Decisions are final when the underlying claim is finally adjudicated as provided in § 3.160(d). Final decisions will be accepted by VA as correct with respect to the evidentiary record and the law that existed at the time of the decision, in the absence of clear and unmistakable error. At any time after a decision is final, the claimant may request, or VA may initiate, review of the decision to determine if there was a clear and unmistakable error in the decision. Where evidence establishes such error, the prior decision will be reversed or amended.

(i) Definition of clear and unmistakable error. A clear and unmistakable error is a very specific and rare kind of error. It is the kind of error, of fact or of law, that when called to the attention of later reviewers compels the conclusion, to which reasonable minds could not differ, that the result would have been manifestly different but for the error. If it is not absolutely clear that a different result would have ensued, the error complained of cannot be clear and unmistakable. Generally, either the correct facts, as they were known at the time, were not before VA, or the statutory and regulatory provisions extant at the time were incorrectly applied.

(ii) Effective date of reversed or revised decisions. For the purpose of authorizing benefits, the rating or other adjudicative decision which constitutes a reversal or revision of a prior decision on the grounds of clear and unmistakable error has the same effect as if the corrected decision had been made on the date of the reversed decision. Except as provided in paragraphs (d) and (e) of this section, where an award is reduced or discontinued because of administrative error or error in judgment, the provisions of § 3.500(b)(2) will apply.

(iii) Record to be reviewed. Review for clear and unmistakable error in a prior final decision of an agency of original jurisdiction must be based on the evidentiary record and the law that existed when that decision was made. The duty to assist in § 3.159 does not apply to requests for revision based on clear and unmistakable error.

(iv) Change in interpretation. Clear and unmistakable error does not include the otherwise correct application of a statute or regulation where, subsequent to the decision being challenged, there has been a change in the interpretation of the statute or regulation.

(v) Limitation on Applicability. Decisions of an agency of original jurisdiction on issues that have been decided on appeal by the Board or a court of competent jurisdiction are not subject to revision under this subsection.

(vi) Duty to assist not applicable. For examples of situations that are not clear and unmistakable error see 38 CFR 20.1403(d).

(vii) Filing Requirements -

(A) General. A request for revision of a decision based on clear and unmistakable error must be in writing, and must be signed by the requesting party or that party's authorized representative. The request must include the name of the claimant; the name of the requesting party if other than the claimant; the applicable Department of Veterans Affairs file number; and the date of the decision to which the request relates. If the applicable decision involved more than one issue, the request must identify the specific issue, or issues, to which the request pertains.

(B) Specific allegations required. The request must set forth clearly and specifically the alleged clear and unmistakable error, or errors, of fact or law in the prior decision, the legal or factual basis for such allegations, and why the result would have been manifestly different but for the alleged error. Non-specific allegations of failure to follow regulations or failure to give due process, or any other general, non-specific allegations of error, are insufficient to satisfy the requirement of the previous sentence.

(2) Error in binding decisions prior to final adjudication. Prior to the time that a claim is finally adjudicated, previous decisions which are binding will be accepted as correct by the agency of original jurisdiction, with respect to the evidentiary record and law existing at the time of the decision, unless the decision is clearly erroneous, after considering whether any favorable findings may be reversed as provided in § 3.104(c).

(b) Difference of opinion. Whenever an adjudicative agency is of the opinion that a revision or an amendment of a previous decision is warranted on the basis of the evidentiary record and law that existed at the time of the decision, a difference of opinion being involved rather than a clear and unmistakable error, the proposed revision will be recommended to Central Office. However, a decision may be revised under § 3.2600 or § 3.2601 without being recommended to Central Office.

(c) Character of discharge. A determination as to character of discharge or line of duty which would result in discontinued entitlement is subject to the provisions of paragraph (d) of this section.

(d) Severance of service connection. Subject to the limitations contained in §§ 3.114 and 3.957, service connection will be severed only where evidence establishes that it is clearly and unmistakably erroneous (the burden of proof being upon the Government). (Where service connection is severed because of a change in or interpretation of a law or Department of Veterans Affairs issue, the provisions of § 3.114 are for application.) A change in diagnosis may be accepted as a basis for severance action if the examining physician or physicians or other proper medical authority certifies that, in the light of all accumulated evidence, the diagnosis on which service connection was predicated is clearly erroneous. This certification must be accompanied by a summary of the facts, findings, and reasons supporting the conclusion. When severance of service connection is considered warranted, a rating proposing severance will be prepared setting forth all material facts and reasons. The claimant will be notified at his or her latest address of record of the contemplated action and furnished detailed reasons therefor and will be given 60 days for the presentation of additional evidence to show that service connection should be maintained. Unless otherwise provided in paragraph (i) of this section, if additional evidence is not received within that period, final rating action will be taken and the award will be reduced or discontinued, if in order, effective the last day of the month in which a 60-day period from the date of notice to the beneficiary of the final rating action expires.

(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 5112(b)(6))

(e) Reduction in evaluation - compensation. Where the reduction in evaluation of a service-connected disability or employability status is considered warranted and the lower evaluation would result in a reduction or discontinuance of compensation payments currently being made, a rating proposing the reduction or discontinuance will be prepared setting forth all material facts and reasons. The beneficiary will be notified at his or her latest address of record of the contemplated action and furnished detailed reasons therefor, and will be given 60 days for the presentation of additional evidence to show that compensation payments should be continued at their present level. Unless otherwise provided in paragraph (i) of this section, if additional evidence is not received within that period, final rating action will be taken and the award will be reduced or discontinued effective the last day of the month in which a 60-day period from the date of notice to the beneficiary of the final rating action expires.

(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 5112(b)(6))

(f) Reduction in evaluation - pension. Where a change in disability or employability warrants a reduction or discontinuance of pension payments currently being made, a rating proposing the reduction or discontinuance will be prepared setting forth all material facts and reasons. The beneficiary will be notified at his or her latest address of record of the contemplated action and furnished detailed reasons therefor, and will be given 60 days for the presentation of additional evidence to show that pension benefits should be continued at their present level. Unless otherwise provided in paragraph (i) of this section, if additional evidence is not received within that period, final rating action will be taken and the award will be reduced or discontinued effective the last day of the month in which the final rating action is approved.

(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 5112(b)(5))

(g) Reduction in evaluation - monetary allowance under 38 U.S.C. chapter 18 for certain individuals who are children of Vietnam veterans or children of veterans with covered service in Korea. Where a reduction or discontinuance of a monetary allowance currently being paid under 38 U.S.C. chapter 18 is considered warranted, VA will notify the beneficiary at his or her latest address of record of the proposed reduction, furnish detailed reasons therefor, and allow the beneficiary 60 days to present additional evidence to show that the monetary allowance should be continued at the present level. Unless otherwise provided in paragraph (i) of this section, if VA does not receive additional evidence within that period, it will take final rating action and reduce the award effective the last day of the month following 60 days from the date of notice to the beneficiary of the proposed reduction.

(h) Other reductions/discontinuances. Except as otherwise specified at § 3.103(b)(3) of this part, where a reduction or discontinuance of benefits is warranted by reason of information received concerning income, net worth, dependency, or marital or other status, a proposal for the reduction or discontinuance will be prepared setting forth all material facts and reasons. The beneficiary will be notified at his or her latest address of record of the contemplated action and furnished detailed reasons therefor, and will be given 60 days for the presentation of additional evidence to show that the benefits should be continued at their present level. Unless otherwise provided in paragraph (i) of this section, if additional evidence is not received within that period, final adverse action will be taken and the award will be reduced or discontinued effective as specified under the provisions of §§ 3.500 through 3.503 of this part.

(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 5112)

(i) Predetermination hearings.

(1) In the advance written notice concerning proposed actions under paragraphs (d) through (h) of this section, the beneficiary will be informed that he or she will have an opportunity for a predetermination hearing, provided that a request for such a hearing is received by VA within 30 days from the date of the notice. If a timely request is received, VA will notify the beneficiary in writing of the time and place of the hearing at least 10 days in advance of the scheduled hearing date. The 10 day advance notice may be waived by agreement between VA and the beneficiary or representative. The hearing will be conducted by VA personnel who did not participate in the proposed adverse action and who will bear the decision-making responsibility. If a predetermination hearing is timely requested, benefit payments shall be continued at the previously established level pending a final determination concerning the proposed action.

(2) Following the predetermination procedures specified in this paragraph and paragraph (d), (e), (f), (g) or (h) of this section, whichever is applicable, final action will be taken. If a predetermination hearing was not requested or if the beneficiary failed without good cause to report for a scheduled predetermination hearing, the final action will be based solely upon the evidence of record. Examples of good cause include, but are not limited to, the illness or hospitalization of the claimant or beneficiary, death of an immediate family member, etc. If a predetermination hearing was conducted, the final action will be based on evidence and testimony adduced at the hearing as well as the other evidence of record including any additional evidence obtained following the hearing pursuant to necessary development. Whether or not a predetermination hearing was conducted, a written notice of the final action shall be issued to the beneficiary and his or her representative, setting forth the reasons therefor and the evidence upon which it is based. Where a reduction or discontinuance of benefits is found warranted following consideration of any additional evidence submitted, the effective date of such reduction or discontinuance shall be as follows:

(i) Where reduction or discontinuance was proposed under the provisions of paragraph (d) or (e) of this section, the effective date of final action shall be the last day of the month in which a 60-day period from the date of notice to the beneficiary of the final action expires.

(ii) Where reduction or discontinuance was proposed under the provisions of paragraphs (f) and (g) of this section, the effective date of final action shall be the last day of the month in which such action is approved.

(iii) Where reduction or discontinuance was proposed under the provisions of paragraph (h) of this section, the effective date of final action shall be as specified under the provisions of §§ 3.500 through 3.503 of this part.

(j) Supplemental claims and higher-level review. VA may revise an earlier decision denying benefits, if warranted, upon resolution of a supplemental claim under § 3.160(c) or higher-level review under § 3.2601.

Cross References:

Effective dates. See § 3.400. Reductions and discontinuances. See § 3.500. Protection; service connection. See § 3.957.

[26 FR 1569, Feb. 24, 1961, as amended at 27 FR 11886, Dec. 1, 1962; 39 FR 17222, May 14, 1974; 55 FR 13528, Apr. 11, 1990; 56 FR 65846, Dec. 19, 1991; 57 FR 56993, Dec. 2, 1992; 62 FR 51278, Sept. 30, 1997; 66 FR 21874, May 2, 2001; 67 FR 49586, July 31, 2002; 76 FR 4247, Jan. 25, 2011; 84 FR 167, Jan. 18, 2019]

§ 3.106 Renouncement.

(a) Any person entitled to pension, compensation, or dependency and indemnity compensation under any of the laws administered by the Department of Veterans Affairs may renounce his or her right to that benefit but may not renounce less than all of the component items which together comprise the total amount of the benefit to which the person is entitled nor any fixed monetary amounts less than the full amount of entitlement. The renouncement will be in writing over the person's signature. Upon receipt of such renouncement in the Department of Veterans Affairs, payment of such benefits and the right thereto will be terminated, and such person will be denied any and all rights thereto from such filing.

(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 5306(a))

(b) The renouncement will not preclude the person from filing a new application for pension, compensation, or dependency and indemnity compensation at any future date. Such new application will be treated as an original application, and no payments will be made thereon for any period before the date such new application is received in the Department of Veterans Affairs.

(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 5306(b))

(c) Notwithstanding the provisions of paragraph (b) of this section, if a new application for pension or parents' dependency and indemnity compensation is filed within one year after the date that the Department of Veterans Affairs receives a renouncement of that benefit, such application shall not be treated as an original application and benefits will be payable as if the renouncement had not occurred.

(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 5306(c))

(d) The renouncement of dependency and indemnity compensation by one beneficiary will not serve to increase the rate payable to any other beneficiary in the same class.

(e) The renouncement of dependency and indemnity compensation by a surviving spouse will not serve to vest title to this benefit in children under the age of 18 years or to increase the rate payable to a child or children over the age of 18 years.

[26 FR 1569, Feb. 24, 1961, as amended at 37 FR 5384, Mar. 15, 1972; 39 FR 17222, May 14, 1974; 60 FR 18355, Apr. 11, 1995; 62 FR 5529, Feb. 6, 1997]

§ 3.107 Awards where not all dependents apply.

Except as provided in § 3.251(a)(4), in any case where claim has not been filed by or on behalf of all dependents who may be entitled, the awards (original or amended) for those dependents who have filed claim will be made for all periods at the rates and in the same manner as though there were no other dependents. However, if the file reflects the existence of other dependents who have not filed claim and there is potential entitlement to benefits for a period prior to the date of filing claim, the award to a person who has filed claim will be made at the rate which would be payable if all dependents were receiving benefits. If at the expiration of the period allowed, claims have not been filed for such dependents, the full rate will be authorized for the first payee.

[29 FR 9564, July 15, 1964]

§ 3.108 State Department as agent of Department of Veterans Affairs.

Diplomatic and consular officers of the Department of State are authorized to act as agents of the Department of Veterans Affairs and therefore a complete claim as set forth in § 3.160(a) or an intent to file a claim as set forth in § 3.155(b) or evidence submitted in support of a claim filed in a foreign country will be considered as filed in the Department of Veterans Affairs as of the date of receipt by the State Department representative.

Cross Reference:

Evidence from foreign countries. See § 3.202.

[26 FR 1569, Feb. 24, 1961, as amended at 79 FR 57695, Sept. 25, 2014]

§ 3.109 Time limit.

(a) Notice of time limit for filing evidence.

(1) If a claimant's application is incomplete, the claimant will be notified of the evidence necessary to complete the application. If the evidence is not received within 1 year from the date of such notification, pension, compensation, or dependency and indemnity compensation may not be paid by reason of that application (38 U.S.C. 5103(a)). Information concerning the whereabouts of a person who has filed claim is not considered evidence.

(2) The provisions of this paragraph are applicable to original initial applications, to applications for increased benefits by reason of increased disability, age, or the existence of a dependent, and to applications for reopening or resumption of payments. If substantiating evidence is required with respect to the veracity of a witness or the authenticity of documentary evidence timely filed, there will be allowed for the submission of such evidence 1 year from the date of the request therefor. However, any evidence to enlarge the proofs and evidence originally submitted is not so included.

(b) Extension of time limit. Time limits within which claimants or beneficiaries are required to act to perfect a claim or challenge an adverse VA decision may be extended for good cause shown. Where an extension is requested after expiration of a time limit, the action required of the claimant or beneficiary must be taken concurrent with or prior to the filing of a request for extension of the time limit, and good cause must be shown as to why the required action could not have been taken during the original time period and could not have been taken sooner than it was. Denials of time limit extensions are separately appealable issues.

[26 FR 1569, Feb. 24, 1961, as amended at 26 FR 2231, Mar. 16, 1961; 29 FR 1462, Jan. 29, 1964; 30 FR 133, Jan. 7, 1965; 55 FR 13529, Apr. 11, 1990; 79 FR 57695, Sept. 25, 2014]

§ 3.110 Computation of time limit.

(a) In computing the time limit for any action required of a claimant or beneficiary, including the filing of claims or evidence requested by VA, the first day of the specified period will be excluded and the last day included. This rule is applicable in cases in which the time limit expires on a workday. Where the time limit would expire on a Saturday, Sunday, or holiday, the next succeeding workday will be included in the computation.

(b) The first day of the specified period referred to in paragraph (a) of this section shall be the date of mailing of notification to the claimant or beneficiary of the action required and the time limit therefor. The date of the letter of notification shall be considered the date of mailing for purposes of computing time limits. As to appeals, see §§ 19.52, 20.203, and 20.110 of this chapter.

[55 FR 13529, Apr. 11, 1990, as amended at 58 FR 32443, June 10, 1993; 84 FR 168, Jan. 18, 2019]

§ 3.111 [Reserved]
§ 3.112 Fractions of one cent.

In all cases where the amount to be paid under any award involves a fraction of a cent, the fractional part will be excluded.

[26 FR 1570, Feb. 24, 1961]

§ 3.114 Change of law or Department of Veterans Affairs issue.

(a) Effective date of award. Where pension, compensation, dependency and indemnity compensation, or a monetary allowance under 38 U.S.C. chapter 18 for an individual who is a child of a Vietnam veteran or child of a veteran with covered service in Korea is awarded or increased pursuant to a liberalizing law, or a liberalizing VA issue approved by the Secretary or by the Secretary's direction, the effective date of such award or increase shall be fixed in accordance with the facts found, but shall not be earlier than the effective date of the act or administrative issue. Where pension, compensation, dependency and indemnity compensation, or a monetary allowance under 38 U.S.C. chapter 18 for an individual who is a child of a Vietnam veteran or child of a veteran with covered service in Korea is awarded or increased pursuant to a liberalizing law or VA issue which became effective on or after the date of its enactment or issuance, in order for a claimant to be eligible for a retroactive payment under the provisions of this paragraph the evidence must show that the claimant met all eligibility criteria for the liberalized benefit on the effective date of the liberalizing law or VA issue and that such eligibility existed continuously from that date to the date of claim or administrative determination of entitlement. The provisions of this paragraph are applicable to original and supplemental claims as well as claims for increase.

(1) If a claim is reviewed on the initiative of VA within 1 year from the effective date of the law or VA issue, or at the request of a claimant received within 1 year from that date, benefits may be authorized from the effective date of the law or VA issue.

(2) If a claim is reviewed on the initiative of VA more than 1 year after the effective date of the law or VA issue, benefits may be authorized for a period of 1 year prior to the date of administrative determination of entitlement.

(3) If a claim is reviewed at the request of the claimant more than 1 year after the effective date of the law or VA issue, benefits may be authorized for a period of 1 year prior to the date of receipt of such request.

(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 1805, 1815, 1821, 1832, 5110(g))

(b) Discontinuance of benefits. Where the reduction or discontinuance of an award is in order because of a change in law or a Department of Veterans Affairs issue, or because of a change in interpretation of a law or Department of Veterans Affairs issue, the payee will be notified at his or her latest address of record of the contemplated action and furnished detailed reasons therefor, and will be given 60 days for the presentation of additional evidence. If additional evidence is not received within that period, the award will be reduced or discontinued effective the last day of the month in which the 60-day period expired.

[27 FR 11886, Dec. 1, 1962, as amended at 55 FR 13529, Apr. 11, 1990; 62 FR 17706, Apr. 11, 1997; 65 FR 35282, June 2, 2000; 67 FR 49586, July 31, 2002; 76 FR 4247, Jan. 25, 2011; 84 FR 168, Jan. 18, 2019; 84 FR 4336, Feb. 15, 2019]

§ 3.115 Access to financial records.

(a) The Secretary of Veterans Affairs may request from a financial institution the names and addresses of its customers. Each such request, however, shall include a certification that the information is necessary for the proper administration of benefits programs under the laws administered by the Secretary, and cannot be obtained by a reasonable search of records and information of the Department of Veterans Affairs.

(b) Information received pursuant to a request referred to in paragraph (a) of this section shall not be used for any purpose other than the administration of benefits programs under the laws administered by the Secretary if the disclosure of that information would otherwise be prohibited by any provision of the Right to Financial Privacy Act of 1978 (12 U.S.C. 3401 through 3422).

[58 FR 32445, June 10, 1993]

Claims
§ 3.150 Forms to be furnished.

(a) Upon request made in person or in writing by any person applying for benefits under the laws administered by the Department of Veterans Affairs, the appropriate application form will be furnished.

(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 5102)

(b) Upon receipt of notice of death of a veteran, the appropriate application form will be forwarded for execution by or on behalf of any dependent who has apparent entitlement to pension, compensation, or dependency and indemnity compensation. If it is not indicated that any person would be entitled to such benefits, but there is payable an accrued benefit not paid during the veteran's lifetime, the appropriate application form will be forwarded to the preferred dependent. Notice of the time limit will be included in letters forwarding applications for benefits.

Cross Reference:

Extension of time limit. See § 3.109(b).

[26 FR 1570, Feb. 14, 1961, as amended at 30 FR 133, Jan. 7, 1965; 79 FR 57695, Sept. 25, 2014]

§ 3.151 Claims for disability benefits.

(a) General. A specific claim in the form prescribed by the Secretary must be filed in order for benefits to be paid to any individual under the laws administered by VA. (38 U.S.C. 5101(a)). A claim by a veteran for compensation may be considered to be a claim for pension; and a claim by a veteran for pension may be considered to be a claim for compensation. The greater benefit will be awarded, unless the claimant specifically elects the lesser benefit. (See scope of claim, § 3.155(d)(2); complete claim, § 3.160(a); supplemental claims, § 3.2501(b)).

(b) Retroactive disability pension claims. Where disability pension entitlement is established based on a claim received by VA on or after October 1, 1984, the pension award may not be effective prior to the date of receipt of the pension claim unless the veteran specifically claims entitlement to retroactive benefits. The claim for retroactivity may be filed separately or included in the claim for disability pension, but it must be received by VA within one year from the date on which the veteran became permanently and totally disabled. Additional requirements for entitlement to a retroactive pension award are contained in § 3.400(b) of this part.

(c) Issues within a claim.

(1) To the extent that a complete claim application encompasses a request for more than one determination of entitlement, each specific entitlement will be adjudicated and is considered a separate issue for purposes of the review options prescribed in § 3.2500. A single decision by an agency of original jurisdiction may adjudicate multiple issues in this respect, whether expressly claimed or determined by VA to be reasonably within the scope of the application as prescribed in § 3.155(d)(2). VA will issue a decision that addresses each such identified issue within a claim. Upon receipt of notice of a decision, a claimant may elect any of the applicable review options prescribed in § 3.2500 for each issue adjudicated.

(2) With respect to service-connected disability compensation, an issue for purposes of paragraph (c)(1) of this section is defined as entitlement to compensation for a particular disability. For example, if a decision adjudicates service-connected disability compensation for both a knee condition and an ankle condition, compensation for each condition is a separate entitlement or issue for which a different review option may be elected. However, different review options may not be selected for specific components of the knee disability claim, such as ancillary benefits, whether a knee injury occurred in service, or whether a current knee condition resulted from a service-connected injury or condition.

(d) Evidentiary record. The evidentiary record before the agency of original jurisdiction for an initial or supplemental claim includes all evidence received by VA before VA issues notice of a decision on the claim. Once the agency of original jurisdiction issues notice of a decision on a claim, the evidentiary record closes as described in § 3.103(c)(2) and VA no longer has a duty to assist in gathering evidence under § 3.159. (See § 3.155(b), submission of evidence).

Cross Reference:

Intent to file a claim. See § 3.155(b).

[50 FR 25981, June 24, 1985, as amended at 79 FR 57695, Sept. 25, 2014; 84 FR 168, Jan. 18, 2019]

§ 3.152 Claims for death benefits.

(a) A specific claim in the form prescribed by the Secretary (or jointly with the Commissioner of Social Security, as prescribed by § 3.153) must be filed in order for death benefits to be paid to any individual under the laws administered by VA. (See § 3.400(c) concerning effective dates of awards.)

(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 5101(a))

(b)

(1) A claim by a surviving spouse or child for compensation or dependency and indemnity compensation will also be considered to be a claim for death pension and accrued benefits, and a claim by a surviving spouse or child for death pension will be considered to be a claim for death compensation or dependency and indemnity compensation and accrued benefits.

(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 5101(b)(1))

(2) A claim by a parent for compensation or dependency and indemnity compensation will also be considered to be a claim for accrued benefits.

(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 5101(b)(2))

(c)

(1) Where a child's entitlement to dependency and indemnity compensation arises by reason of termination of a surviving spouse's right to dependency and indemnity compensation or by reason of attaining the age of 18 years, a claim will be required. (38 U.S.C. 5110(e).) (See paragraph (c)(4) of this section.) Where the award to the surviving spouse is terminated by reason of her or his death, a claim for the child will be considered a claim for any accrued benefits which may be payable.

(2) A claim filed by a surviving spouse who does not have entitlement will be accepted as a claim for a child or children in her or his custody named in the claim.

(3) Where a claim of a surviving spouse is disallowed for any reason whatsoever and where evidence requested in order to determine entitlement from a child or children named in the surviving spouse's claim is submitted within 1 year from the date of request, requested either before or after disallowance of the surviving spouse's claim, an award for the child or children will be made as though the disallowed claim had been filed solely on their behalf. Otherwise, payments may not be made for the child or children for any period prior to the date of receipt of a new claim.

(4) Where payments of pension, compensation or dependency and indemnity compensation to a surviving spouse have been discontinued because of remarriage or death, or a child becomes eligible for dependency and indemnity compensation by reason of attaining the age of 18 years, and any necessary evidence is submitted within 1 year from date of request, an award for the child or children named in the surviving spouse's claim will be made on the basis of the surviving spouse's claim having been converted to a claim on behalf of the child. Otherwise, payments may not be made for any period prior to the date of receipt of a new claim.

Cross References:

State Department as agent of Department of Veterans Affairs. See § 3.108. Change in status of dependents. See § 3.651.

[50 FR 25981, June 24, 1985, as amended at 71 FR 44918, Aug. 8, 2006]

§ 3.153 Claims filed with Social Security.

An application on a form jointly prescribed by the Secretary and the Commissioner of Social Security filed with the Social Security Administration on or after January 1, 1957, will be considered a claim for death benefits, and to have been received in the Department of Veterans Affairs as of the date of receipt in Social Security Administration. The receipt of such an application (or copy thereof) by the Department of Veterans Affairs will not preclude a request for any necessary evidence.

[26 FR 1570, Feb. 24, 1961, as amended at 71 FR 44918, Aug. 8, 2006]

§ 3.154 Injury due to hospital treatment, etc.

Claimants must file a complete claim on the appropriate application form prescribed by the Secretary when applying for benefits under 38 U.S.C. 1151 and 38 CFR 3.361. See §§ 3.151, 3.160(a), and 3.400(i) concerning effective dates of awards; see § 3.155(b) regarding intent to file the appropriate application form.

Cross Reference:

Effective Dates. See § 3.400(i). Disability or death due to hospitalization, etc. See §§ 3.358, 3.361 and 3.800.

[79 FR 57695, Sept. 25, 2014]

§ 3.155 How to file a claim.

The following paragraphs describe the manner and methods in which a claim can be initiated and filed. The provisions of this section are applicable to all claims governed by part 3, with the exception that paragraph (b) of this section, regarding intent to file a claim, does not apply to supplemental claims.

(a) Request for an application for benefits. A claimant, his or her duly authorized representative, a Member of Congress, or some person acting as next friend of a claimant who is not of full age or capacity, who indicates a desire to file for benefits under the laws administered by VA, by a communication or action, to include an electronic mail that is transmitted through VA's electronic portal or otherwise, that does not meet the standards of a complete claim is considered a request for an application form for benefits under § 3.150(a). Upon receipt of such a communication or action, the Secretary shall notify the claimant and the claimant's representative, if any, of the information necessary to complete the application form or form prescribed by the Secretary.

(b) Intent to file a claim. A claimant, his or her duly authorized representative, a Member of Congress, or some person acting as next friend of claimant who is not of full age or capacity may indicate a claimant's desire to file a claim for benefits by submitting an intent to file a claim to VA. An intent to file a claim must provide sufficient identifiable or biographical information to identify the claimant. Upon receipt of the intent to file a claim, VA will furnish the claimant with the appropriate application form prescribed by the Secretary. If VA receives a complete application form prescribed by the Secretary, as defined in paragraph (a) of § 3.160, appropriate to the benefit sought within 1 year of receipt of the intent to file a claim, VA will consider the complete claim filed as of the date the intent to file a claim was received.

(1) An intent to file a claim can be submitted in one of the following three ways:

(i) Saved electronic application. When an application otherwise meeting the requirements of this paragraph (b) is electronically initiated and saved in a claims-submission tool within a VA web-based electronic claims application system prior to filing of a complete claim, VA will consider that application to be an intent to file a claim.

(ii) Written intent on prescribed intent to file a claim form. The submission to an agency of original jurisdiction of a signed and dated intent to file a claim, on the form prescribed by the Secretary for that purpose, will be accepted as an intent to file a claim.

(iii) Oral intent communicated to designated VA personnel and recorded in writing. An oral statement of intent to file a claim will be accepted if it is directed to a VA employee designated to receive such a communication, the VA employee receiving this information follows the provisions set forth in § 3.217(b), and the VA employee documents the date VA received the claimant's intent to file a claim in the claimant's records.

(2) An intent to file a claim must identify the general benefit (e.g., compensation, pension), but need not identify the specific benefit claimed or any medical condition(s) on which the claim is based. To the extent a claimant provides this or other extraneous information on the designated form referenced in paragraph (b)(1)(ii) of this section that the form does not solicit, the provision of such information is of no effect other than that it is added to the file for appropriate consideration as evidence in support of a complete claim if filed. In particular, if a claimant identifies specific medical condition(s) on which the claim is based in an intent to file a claim, this extraneous information does not convert the intent to file a claim into a complete claim or a substantially complete application. Extraneous information provided in an oral communication under paragraph (b)(1)(iii) of this section is of no effect and generally will not be recorded in the record of the claimant's intent to file.

(3) Upon receipt of an intent to file a claim, the Secretary shall notify the claimant and the claimant's representative, if any, of the information necessary to complete the appropriate application form prescribed by the Secretary.

(4) If an intent to file a claim is not submitted in the form required by paragraph (b)(1) of this section or a complete claim is not filed within 1 year of the receipt of the intent to file a claim, VA will not take further action unless a new claim or a new intent to file a claim is received.

(5) An intent to file a claim received from a service organization, an attorney, or agent indicating a represented claimant's intent to file a claim may not be accepted if a power of attorney was not executed at the time the communication was written. VA will only accept an oral intent to file from a service organization, an attorney, or agent if a power of attorney is of record at the time the oral communication is received by the designated VA employee.

(6) VA will not recognize more than one intent to file concurrently for the same benefit (e.g., compensation, pension). If an intent to file has not been followed by a complete claim, a subsequent intent to file regarding the same benefit received within 1 year of the prior intent to file will have no effect. If, however, VA receives an intent to file followed by a complete claim and later another intent to file for the same benefit is submitted within 1 year of the previous intent to file, VA will recognize the subsequent intent to file to establish an effective date for any award granted for the next complete claim, provided it is received within 1 year of the subsequent intent to file.

(c) Incomplete application form. Upon receipt of a communication indicating a belief in entitlement to benefits that is submitted on a paper application form prescribed by the Secretary that is not complete as defined in § 3.160(a) of this section, the Secretary shall notify the claimant and the claimant's representative, if any, of the information necessary to complete the application form prescribed by the Secretary. If a complete claim is submitted within 1 year of receipt of such incomplete application form prescribed by the Secretary, VA will consider it as filed as of the date VA received the incomplete application form prescribed by the Secretary that did not meet the standards of a complete claim. See § 3.160(a) for Complete Claim.

(d) Claims. -

(1) Requirement for complete claim and date of claim. A complete claim is required for all types of claims, and will generally be considered filed as of the date it was received by VA for an evaluation or award of benefits under the laws administered by the Department of Veterans Affairs.

(i) Supplemental claims. Upon receipt of a communication indicating a belief in entitlement to benefits that is submitted in writing or electronically on a supplemental claim form prescribed by the Secretary that is not complete as defined in § 3.160(a) of this section, the Secretary shall notify the claimant and the claimant's representative, if any, of the information necessary to complete the application form prescribed by the Secretary. If VA receives a complete claim within 60 days of notice by VA that an incomplete claim was filed, it will be considered filed as of the date of receipt of the incomplete claim (see § 3.2501).

(ii) For other types of claims. If VA receives a complete claim within 1 year of the filing of an intent to file a claim that meets the requirements of paragraph (b) of this section, it will be considered filed as of the date of receipt of the intent to file a claim. Only one complete claim for a benefit (e.g., compensation, pension) may be associated with each intent to file a claim for that benefit, though multiple issues may be contained within a complete claim. In the event multiple complete claims for a benefit are filed within 1 year of an intent to file a claim for that benefit, only the first claim filed will be associated with the intent to file a claim. In the event that VA receives both an intent to file a claim and an incomplete application form before the complete claim as defined in § 3.160(a) is filed, the complete claim will be considered filed as of the date of receipt of whichever was filed first provided it is perfected within the necessary timeframe, but in no event, will the complete claim be considered filed more than one year prior to the date of receipt of the complete claim.

(2) Scope of claim. Once VA receives a complete claim, VA will adjudicate as part of the claim entitlement to any ancillary benefits that arise as a result of the adjudication decision (e.g., entitlement to 38 U.S.C. Chapter 35 Dependents' Educational Assistance benefits, entitlement to special monthly compensation under 38 CFR 3.350, entitlement to adaptive automobile allowance, etc.). The claimant may, but need not, assert entitlement to ancillary benefits at the time the complete claim is filed. VA will also consider all lay and medical evidence of record in order to adjudicate entitlement to benefits for the claimed condition as well as entitlement to any additional benefits for complications of the claimed condition, including those identified by the rating criteria for that condition in 38 CFR Part 4, VA Schedule for Rating Disabilities. VA's decision on an issue within a claim implies that VA has determined that evidence of record does not support entitlement for any other issues that are reasonably within the scope of the issues addressed in that decision. VA's decision that addresses all outstanding issues enumerated in the complete claim implies that VA has determined evidence of record does not support entitlement for any other issues that are reasonably within the scope of the issues enumerated in the complete claim.

Cross Reference:

Complete claim. See § 3.160(a). Effective dates. See § 3.400.

[79 FR 57695, Sept. 25, 2014, as amended at 84 FR 168, Jan. 18, 2019]

§ 3.156 New evidence.

New evidence is evidence not previously part of the actual record before agency adjudicators.

(a) New and material evidence. For claims to reopen decided prior to the effective date provided in § 19.2(a), the following standards apply. A claimant may reopen a finally adjudicated legacy claim by submitting new and material evidence. New evidence is evidence not previously part of the actual record before agency adjudicators. Material evidence means existing evidence that, by itself or when considered with previous evidence of record, relates to an unestablished fact necessary to substantiate the claim. New and material evidence can be neither cumulative nor redundant of the evidence of record at the time of the last prior final denial of the claim sought to be reopened, and must raise a reasonable possibility of substantiating the claim.

(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 501, 5103A(f), 5108)

(b) Pending legacy claims not under the modernized review system. New and material evidence received prior to the expiration of the appeal period, or prior to the appellate decision if a timely appeal has been filed (including evidence received prior to an appellate decision and referred to the agency of original jurisdiction by the Board of Veterans Appeals without consideration in that decision in accordance with the provisions of § 20.1304(b)(1) of this chapter), will be considered as having been filed in connection with the claim which was pending at the beginning of the appeal period.

(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 501)

(c) Service department records.

(1) Notwithstanding any other section in this part, at any time after VA issues a decision on a claim, if VA receives or associates with the claims file relevant official service department records that existed and had not been associated with the claims file when VA first decided the claim, VA will reconsider the claim, notwithstanding paragraph (a) of this section. Such records include, but are not limited to:

(i) Service records that are related to a claimed in-service event, injury, or disease, regardless of whether such records mention the veteran by name, as long as the other requirements of paragraph (c) of this section are met;

(ii) Additional service records forwarded by the Department of Defense or the service department to VA any time after VA's original request for service records; and

(iii) Declassified records that could not have been obtained because the records were classified when VA decided the claim.

(2) Paragraph (c)(1) of this section does not apply to records that VA could not have obtained when it decided the claim because the records did not exist when VA decided the claim, or because the claimant failed to provide sufficient information for VA to identify and obtain the records from the respective service department or from any other official source.

(3) An award made based all or in part on the records identified by paragraph (c)(1) of this section is effective on the date entitlement arose or the date VA received the previously decided claim, whichever is later, or such other date as may be authorized by the provisions of this part applicable to the previously decided claim.

(4) A retroactive evaluation of disability resulting from disease or injury subsequently service connected on the basis of the new evidence from the service department must be supported adequately by medical evidence. Where such records clearly support the assignment of a specific rating over a part or the entire period of time involved, a retroactive evaluation will be assigned accordingly, except as it may be affected by the filing date of the original claim.

(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 501(a))

(d) New and relevant evidence. On or after the effective date provided in § 19.2(a), a claimant may file a supplemental claim as prescribed in § 3.2501. If new and relevant evidence, as defined in § 3.2501(a)(1), is presented or secured with respect to the supplemental claim, the agency of original jurisdiction will readjudicate the claim taking into consideration all of the evidence of record.

Cross References:

Effective dates - general. See § 3.400. Correction of military records. See § 3.400(g).

[27 FR 11887, Dec. 1, 1962, as amended at 55 FR 20148, May 15, 1990; 55 FR 52275, Dec. 21, 1990; 58 FR 32443, June 10, 1993; 66 FR 45630, Aug. 29, 2001; 71 FR 52457, Sept. 6, 2006; 84 FR 169, Jan. 18, 2019; 84 FR 4336, Feb. 15, 2019; 86 FR 15414, Mar. 23, 2021]

§ 3.158 Abandoned claims.

(a) General. Except as provided in § 3.652, where evidence requested in connection with an initial claim or supplemental claim or for the purpose of determining continued entitlement is not furnished within 1 year after the date of request, the claim will be considered abandoned. After the expiration of 1 year, further action will not be taken unless a new claim is received. Should the right to benefits be finally established, pension, compensation, dependency and indemnity compensation, or monetary allowance under the provisions of 38 U.S.C. chapter 18 based on such evidence shall commence not earlier than the date of filing the new claim.

(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 501)

(b) Department of Veterans Affairs examinations. Where the veteran fails without adequate reason to respond to an order to report for Department of Veterans Affairs examination within 1 year from the date of request and payments have been discontinued, the claim for such benefits will be considered abandoned.

(c) Disappearance. Where payments of pension, compensation, dependency and indemnity compensation, or monetary allowance under the provisions of 38 U.S.C. chapter 18 have not been made or have been discontinued because a payee's present whereabouts is unknown, payments will be resumed effective the day following the date of last payment if entitlement is otherwise established, upon receipt of a valid current address.

Cross References:

Periodic certification of continued eligibility. See § 3.652. Failure to report for VA examination. See § 3.655. Disappearance of veteran. See § 3.656.

[27 FR 11887, Dec. 1, 1962, as amended at 28 FR 13362, Dec. 10, 1963; 52 FR 43063, Nov. 9, 1987; 62 FR 51278, Sept. 30, 1997; 67 FR 49586, July 31, 2002; 84 FR 169, Jan. 18, 2019]

§ 3.159 Department of Veterans Affairs assistance in developing claims.

(a) Definitions. For purposes of this section, the following definitions apply:

(1) Competent medical evidence means evidence provided by a person who is qualified through education, training, or experience to offer medical diagnoses, statements, or opinions. Competent medical evidence may also mean statements conveying sound medical principles found in medical treatises. It would also include statements contained in authoritative writings such as medical and scientific articles and research reports or analyses.

(2) Competent lay evidence means any evidence not requiring that the proponent have specialized education, training, or experience. Lay evidence is competent if it is provided by a person who has knowledge of facts or circumstances and conveys matters that can be observed and described by a lay person.

(3) Substantially complete application means an application containing:

(i) The claimant's name;

(ii) His or her relationship to the veteran, if applicable;

(iii) Sufficient service information for VA to verify the claimed service, if applicable;

(iv) The benefit sought and any medical condition(s) on which it is based;

(v) The claimant's signature; and

(vi) In claims for nonservice-connected disability or death pension and parents' dependency and indemnity compensation, a statement of income;

(vii) In supplemental claims, identification or inclusion of potentially new evidence (see § 3.2501);

(viii) For higher-level reviews, identification of the date of the decision for which review is sought.

(4) For purposes of paragraph (c)(4)(i) of this section, event means one or more incidents associated with places, types, and circumstances of service giving rise to disability.

(5) Information means non-evidentiary facts, such as the claimant's Social Security number or address; the name and military unit of a person who served with the veteran; or the name and address of a medical care provider who may have evidence pertinent to the claim.

(b) VA's duty to notify claimants of necessary information or evidence.

(1) Except as provided in paragraph (3) of this section, when VA receives a complete or substantially complete initial or supplemental claim, VA will notify the claimant of any information and medical or lay evidence that is necessary to substantiate the claim (hereafter in this paragraph referred to as the “notice”) In the notice, VA will inform the claimant which information and evidence, if any, that the claimant is to provide to VA and which information and evidence, if any, that VA will attempt to obtain on behalf of the claimant. The information and evidence that the claimant is informed that the claimant is to provide must be provided within one year of the date of the notice. If the claimant has not responded to the notice within 30 days, VA may decide the claim prior to the expiration of the one-year period based on all the information and evidence contained in the file, including information and evidence it has obtained on behalf of the claimant and any VA medical examinations or medical opinions. If VA does so, however, and the claimant subsequently provides the information and evidence within one year of the date of the notice in accordance with the requirements of paragraph (b)(4) of this section, VA must readjudicate the claim.

(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 5103)

(2) If VA receives an incomplete application for benefits, it will notify the claimant of the information necessary to complete the application and will defer assistance until the claimant submits this information.

(3) No duty to provide the notice described in paragraph (b)(1) of this section arises:

(i) Upon receipt of a supplemental claim under § 3.2501 within one year of the date VA issues notice of a prior decision;

(ii) Upon receipt of a request for higher-level review under § 3.2601;

(iii) Upon receipt of a Notice of Disagreement under § 20.202 of this chapter; or

(iv) When, as a matter of law, entitlement to the benefit claimed cannot be established.

(4) After VA has issued a notice of decision, submission of information and evidence substantiating a claim must be accomplished through the proper filing of a review option in accordance with § 3.2500 on a form prescribed by the Secretary. New and relevant evidence may be submitted in connection with either the filing of a supplemental claim under § 3.2501 or the filing of a Notice of Disagreement with the Board under 38 CFR 20.202, on forms prescribed by the Secretary, and election of a Board docket that permits the filing of new evidence (see 38 CFR 20.302 and 20.303).

(c) VA's duty to assist claimants in obtaining evidence. VA has a duty to assist claimants in obtaining evidence to substantiate all substantially complete initial and supplemental claims, and when a claim is returned for readjudication by a higher-level adjudicator or the Board after identification of a duty to assist error on the part of the agency of original jurisdiction, until the time VA issues notice of a decision on a claim or returned claim. VA will make reasonable efforts to help a claimant obtain evidence necessary to substantiate the claim. VA will not pay any fees charged by a custodian to provide records requested. When a claim is returned for readjudication by a higher-level adjudicator or the Board after identification of a duty to assist error, the agency of original jurisdiction has a duty to correct any other duty to assist errors not identified by the higher-level adjudicator or the Board.

(1) Obtaining records not in the custody of a Federal department or agency. VA will make reasonable efforts to obtain relevant records not in the custody of a Federal department or agency, to include records from State or local governments, private medical care providers, current or former employers, and other non-Federal governmental sources. Such reasonable efforts will generally consist of an initial request for the records and, if the records are not received, at least one follow-up request. A follow-up request is not required if a response to the initial request indicates that the records sought do not exist or that a follow-up request for the records would be futile. If VA receives information showing that subsequent requests to this or another custodian could result in obtaining the records sought, then reasonable efforts will include an initial request and, if the records are not received, at least one follow-up request to the new source or an additional request to the original source.

(i) The claimant must cooperate fully with VA's reasonable efforts to obtain relevant records from non-Federal agency or department custodians. The claimant must provide enough information to identify and locate the existing records, including the person, company, agency, or other custodian holding the records; the approximate time frame covered by the records; and, in the case of medical treatment records, the condition for which treatment was provided.

(ii) If necessary, the claimant must authorize the release of existing records in a form acceptable to the person, company, agency, or other custodian holding the records.

(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 5103A(b))

(2) Obtaining records in the custody of a Federal department or agency. VA will make as many requests as are necessary to obtain relevant records from a Federal department or agency. These records include but are not limited to military records, including service medical records; medical and other records from VA medical facilities; records from non-VA facilities providing examination or treatment at VA expense; and records from other Federal agencies, such as the Social Security Administration. VA will end its efforts to obtain records from a Federal department or agency only if VA concludes that the records sought do not exist or that further efforts to obtain those records would be futile. Cases in which VA may conclude that no further efforts are required include those in which the Federal department or agency advises VA that the requested records do not exist or the custodian does not have them.

(i) The claimant must cooperate fully with VA's reasonable efforts to obtain relevant records from Federal agency or department custodians. If requested by VA, the claimant must provide enough information to identify and locate the existing records, including the custodian or agency holding the records; the approximate time frame covered by the records; and, in the case of medical treatment records, the condition for which treatment was provided. In the case of records requested to corroborate a claimed stressful event in service, the claimant must provide information sufficient for the records custodian to conduct a search of the corroborative records.

(ii) If necessary, the claimant must authorize the release of existing records in a form acceptable to the custodian or agency holding the records.

(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 5103A(b))

(3) Obtaining records in compensation claims. In a claim for disability compensation, VA will make efforts to obtain the claimant's service medical records, if relevant to the claim; other relevant records pertaining to the claimant's active military, naval or air service that are held or maintained by a governmental entity; VA medical records or records of examination or treatment at non-VA facilities authorized by VA; and any other relevant records held by any Federal department or agency. The claimant must provide enough information to identify and locate the existing records including the custodian or agency holding the records; the approximate time frame covered by the records; and, in the case of medical treatment records, the condition for which treatment was provided.

(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 5103A(c))

(4) Providing medical examinations or obtaining medical opinions.

(i) In a claim for disability compensation, VA will provide a medical examination or obtain a medical opinion based upon a review of the evidence of record if VA determines it is necessary to decide the claim. A medical examination or medical opinion is necessary if the information and evidence of record does not contain sufficient competent medical evidence to decide the claim, but:

(A) Contains competent lay or medical evidence of a current diagnosed disability or persistent or recurrent symptoms of disability;

(B) Establishes that the veteran suffered an event, injury or disease in service, or has a disease or symptoms of a disease listed in §§ 3.309, 3.313, 3.316, 3.317, and 3.320 manifesting during an applicable presumptive period provided the claimant has the required service or triggering event to qualify for that presumption; and

(C) Indicates that the claimed disability or symptoms may be associated with the established event, injury, or disease in service or with another service-connected disability.

(ii) Paragraph (4)(i)(C) could be satisfied by competent evidence showing post-service treatment for a condition, or other possible association with military service.

(iii) For requests to reopen a finally adjudicated claim received prior to the effective date provided in § 19.2(a) of this chapter, this paragraph (c)(4) applies only if new and material evidence is presented or secured as prescribed in § 3.156.

(iv) This paragraph (c)(4) applies to a supplemental claim only if new and relevant evidence under § 3.2501 is presented or secured.

(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 5103A(d))

(d) Circumstances where VA will refrain from or discontinue providing assistance. VA will refrain from providing assistance in obtaining evidence for an initial or supplemental claim if the substantially complete application for benefits indicates that there is no reasonable possibility that any assistance VA would provide to the claimant would substantiate the claim. VA will discontinue providing assistance in obtaining evidence for a claim if the evidence obtained indicates that there is no reasonable possibility that further assistance would substantiate the claim. Circumstances in which VA will refrain from or discontinue providing assistance in obtaining evidence include, but are not limited to:

(1) The claimant's ineligibility for the benefit sought because of lack of qualifying service, lack of veteran status, or other lack of legal eligibility;

(2) Claims that are inherently incredible or clearly lack merit; and

(3) An application requesting a benefit to which the claimant is not entitled as a matter of law.

(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 5103A(a)(2))

(e) Duty to notify claimant of inability to obtain records.

(1) If VA makes reasonable efforts to obtain relevant non-Federal records but is unable to obtain them, or after continued efforts to obtain Federal records concludes that it is reasonably certain they do not exist or further efforts to obtain them would be futile, VA will provide the claimant with oral or written notice of that fact. VA will make a record of any oral notice conveyed to the claimant. For non-Federal records requests, VA may provide the notice at the same time it makes its final attempt to obtain the relevant records. In either case, the notice must contain the following information:

(i) The identity of the records VA was unable to obtain;

(ii) An explanation of the efforts VA made to obtain the records;

(iii) A description of any further action VA will take regarding the claim, including, but not limited to, notice that VA will decide the claim based on the evidence of record unless the claimant submits the records VA was unable to obtain; and

(iv) A notice that the claimant is ultimately responsible for providing the evidence.

(2) If VA becomes aware of the existence of relevant records before deciding the claim, VA will notify the claimant of the records and request that the claimant provide a release for the records. If the claimant does not provide any necessary release of the relevant records that VA is unable to obtain, VA will request that the claimant obtain the records and provide them to VA.

(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 5103A(b)(2))

(f) For the purpose of the notice requirements in paragraphs (b) and (e) of this section, notice to the claimant means notice to the claimant or his or her fiduciary, if any, as well as to his or her representative, if any.

(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 5102(b), 5103(a))

(g) The authority recognized in subsection (g) of 38 U.S.C. 5103A is reserved to the sole discretion of the Secretary and will be implemented, when deemed appropriate by the Secretary, through the promulgation of regulations.

(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 5103A(g))

[66 FR 45630, Aug. 29, 2001, as amended at 73 FR 23356, Apr. 30, 2008; 84 FR 169, Jan. 18, 2019; 86 FR 42732, Aug. 5, 2021]

§ 3.160 Status of claims.

(a) Complete claim. A submission of an application form prescribed by the Secretary, whether paper or electronic, that meets the following requirements:

(1) A complete claim must provide the name of the claimant; the relationship to the veteran, if applicable; and sufficient information for VA to verify the claimed service, if applicable.

(2) A complete claim must be signed by the claimant or a person legally authorized to sign for the claimant.

(3) A complete claim must identify the benefit sought.

(4) A description of any symptom(s) or medical condition(s) on which the benefit is based must be provided to the extent the form prescribed by the Secretary so requires.

(5) For nonservice-connected disability or death pension and parents' dependency and indemnity compensation claims, a statement of income must be provided to the extent the form prescribed by the Secretary so requires; and

(6) For supplemental claims, potentially new evidence must be identified or included.

(b) Original claim. The initial complete claim for one or more benefits on an application form prescribed by the Secretary.

(c) Pending claim. A claim which has not been finally adjudicated.

(d) Finally adjudicated claim. A claim that is adjudicated by the Department of Veterans Affairs as either allowed or disallowed is considered finally adjudicated when:

(1) For legacy claims not subject to the modernized review system, whichever of the following occurs first:

(i) The expiration of the period in which to file a Notice of Disagreement, pursuant to the provisions of § 19.52(a) or § 20.502(a) of this chapter, as applicable; or

(ii) Disposition on appellate review.

(2) For claims under the modernized review system, the expiration of the period in which to file a review option available under § 3.2500 or disposition on judicial review where no such review option is available.

(e) Reopened claims prior to effective date of modernized review system. An application for a benefit received prior to the effective date provided in § 19.2(a) of this chapter, after final disallowance of an earlier claim that is subject to readjudication on the merits based on receipt of new and material evidence related to the finally adjudicated claim, or any claim based on additional evidence or a request for a personal hearing submitted more than 90 days following notification to the appellant of the certification of an appeal and transfer of applicable records to the Board of Veterans' Appeals which was not considered by the Board in its decision and was referred to the agency of original jurisdiction for consideration as provided in § 20.1304(b)(1) of this chapter. As of the effective date provided in § 19.2(a) of this chapter, claimants may no longer file to reopen a claim, but may file a supplemental claim as prescribed in § 3.2501 to apply for a previously disallowed benefit. A request to reopen a finally decided claim that has not been adjudicated as of the effective date will be processed as a supplemental claim subject to the modernized review system.

(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 501)

[27 FR 11887, Dec. 1, 1962, as amended at 31 FR 12056, Sept. 15, 1966; 55 FR 20148, May 15, 1990; 58 FR 32445, June 10, 1993; 79 FR 57696, Sept. 25, 2014; 84 FR 170, Jan. 18, 2019]

§ 3.161 [Reserved]
Evidence Requirements
§ 3.200 Testimony certified or under oath.

(a) All oral testimony presented by claimants and witnesses on their behalf before any rating or authorization body will be under oath or affirmation. (See § 3.103(c).)

(b) All written testimony submitted by the claimant or in his or her behalf for the purpose of establishing a claim for service connection will be certified or under oath or affirmation. This includes records, examination reports, and transcripts material to the issue received by the Department of Veterans Affairs at the instance of the claimant or in his or her behalf or requested by the Department of Veterans Affairs from State, county, municipal, recognized private institutions, and contract hospitals.

[40 FR 36329, Aug. 20, 1975]

§ 3.201 Exchange of evidence; Social Security and Department of Veterans Affairs.

(a) A claimant for dependency and indemnity compensation may elect to furnish to the Department of Veterans Affairs in support of that claim copies of evidence which was previously furnished to the Social Security Administration or to have the Department of Veterans Affairs obtain such evidence from the Social Security Administration. For the purpose of determining the earliest effective date for payment of dependency and indemnity compensation, such evidence will be deemed to have been received by the Department of Veterans Affairs on the date it was received by the Social Security Administration.

(b) A copy or certification of evidence filed in the Department of Veterans Affairs in support of a claim for dependency and indemnity compensation will be furnished the Social Security Administration upon request from the agency.

Cross Reference:

Claims filed with Social Security. See § 3.153.

[26 FR 1571, Feb. 24, 1961, as amended at 58 FR 25562, Apr. 27, 1993]

§ 3.202 Evidence from foreign countries.

(a) Except as provided in paragraph (b) of this section, where an affidavit or other document is required to be executed under oath before an official in a foreign country, the signature of that official must be authenticated by a United States Consular Officer in that jurisdiction or by the State Department. Where the United States has no consular representative in a foreign country, such authentication may be made as follows:

(1) By a consular agent of a friendly government whereupon the signature and seal of the official of the friendly government may be authenticated by the State Department; or

(2) By the nearest American consul who will attach a certificate showing the result of the investigation concerning its authenticity.

(b) Authentication will not be required:

(1) On documents approved by the Deputy Minister of Veterans Affairs, Department of Veterans Affairs, Ottawa, Canada: or

(2) When it is indicated that the attesting officer is authorized to administer oaths for general purposes and the document bears his or her signature and seal; or

(3) When the document is executed before a Department of Veterans Affairs employee authorized to administer oaths; or

(4) When a copy of a public or church record from any foreign country purports to establish birth, adoption, marriage, annulment, divorce, or death, provided it bears the signature and seal of the custodian of such record and there is no conflicting evidence in the file which would serve to create doubt as to the correctness of the record; or

(5) When a copy of the public or church record from one of the countries comprising the United Kingdom, namely: England, Scotland, Wales, or Northern Ireland, purports to establish birth, marriage, or death, provided it bears the signature or seal or stamp of the custodian of such record and there is no evidence which would serve to create doubt as to the correctness of the records; or

(6) When affidavits prepared in the Republic of the Philippines are certified by a Department of Veterans Affairs representative located in the Philippines having authority to administer oaths.

(c) Photocopies of original documents meeting the requirements of this section will be accepted if they satisfy the requirements of § 3.204 of this part.

Cross Reference:

State Department as agent of Department of Veterans Affairs. See § 3.108.

[26 FR 1571, Feb. 24, 1961, as amended at 40 FR 36329, Aug. 20, 1975; 52 FR 19348, May 22, 1987; 59 FR 46338, Sept. 8, 1994]

§ 3.203 Service records as evidence of service and character of discharge.

(a) Evidence submitted by a claimant. For the purpose of establishing entitlement to pension, compensation, dependency and indemnity compensation or burial benefits the Department of Veterans Affairs may accept evidence of service submitted by a claimant (or sent directly to the Department of Veterans Affairs by the service department), such as a DD Form 214, Certificate of Release or Discharge from Active Duty, or original Certificate of Discharge, without verification from the appropriate service department if the evidence meets the following conditions:

(1) The evidence is a document issued by the service department. A copy of an original document is acceptable if the copy was issued by the service department or if the copy was issued by a public custodian of records who certifies that it is a true and exact copy of the document in the custodian's custody or, if the copy was submitted by an accredited agent, attorney or service organization representative who has successfully completed VA-prescribed training on military records, and who certifies that it is a true and exact copy of either an original document or of a copy issued by the service department or a public custodian of records; and

(2) The document contains needed information as to length, time and character of service; and

(3) In the opinion of the Department of Veterans Affairs the document is genuine and the information contained in it is accurate.

(b) Additional requirements for pension claimants. In addition to meeting the requirements of paragraph (a) of this section, a document submitted to establish a creditable period of wartime service for pension entitlement may be accepted without verification if the document (or other evidence of record) shows:

(1) Service of 4 months or more; or

(2) Discharge for disability incurred in line of duty; or

(3) Ninety days creditable service based on records from the service department such as hospitalization for 90 days for a line of duty disability.

(c) Verification from the service department. When the claimant does not submit evidence of service or the evidence submitted does not meet the requirements of paragraph (a) of this section (and paragraph (b) of this section in pension claims), the Department of Veterans Affairs shall request verification of service from the service department. However, payment of nonservice-connected burial benefits may be authorized, if otherwise in order, based upon evidence of service which VA relied upon to authorize payment of compensation or pension during the veteran's lifetime, provided that there is no evidence which would serve to create doubt as to the correctness of that service evidence. If it appears that a length of service requirement may not be met (e.g., the 90 days wartime service requirement to receive pension under 38 U.S.C. 1521(j)), the Department of Veterans Affairs shall request a complete statement of service to determine if there are any periods of active service that are required to be excluded under § 3.15.

[45 FR 72654, Nov. 3, 1980, as amended at 46 FR 51246, Oct. 19, 1981; 58 FR 37857, July 14, 1993; 58 FR 42623, Aug. 10, 1993; 66 FR 19858, Apr. 18, 2001]

§ 3.204 Evidence of dependents and age.

(a)

(1) Except as provided in paragraph (a)(2) of this section, VA will accept, for the purpose of determining entitlement to benefits under laws administered by VA, the statement of a claimant as proof of marriage, dissolution of a marriage, birth of a child, or death of a dependent, provided that the statement contains: the date (month and year) and place of the event; the full name and relationship of the other person to the claimant; and, where the claimant's dependent child does not reside with the claimant, the name and address of the person who has custody of the child. In addition, a claimant must provide the social security number of any dependent on whose behalf he or she is seeking benefits (see § 3.216).

(2) VA shall require the types of evidence indicated in §§ 3.205 through 3.211 where: the claimant does not reside within a state; the claimant's statement on its face raises a question of its validity; the claimant's statement conflicts with other evidence of record; or, there is a reasonable indication, in the claimant's statement or otherwise, of fraud or misrepresentation of the relationship in question.

(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 5124)

(b) Marriage or birth. The classes of evidence to be furnished for the purpose of establishing marriage, dissolution of marriage, age, relationship, or death, if required under the provisions of paragraph (a)(2), are indicated in §§ 3.205 through 3.211 in the order of preference. Failure to furnish the higher class, however, does not preclude the acceptance of a lower class if the evidence furnished is sufficient to prove the point involved.

(c) Acceptability of photocopies. Photocopies of documents necessary to establish birth, death, marriage or relationship under the provisions of §§ 3.205 through 3.215 of this part are acceptable as evidence if the Department of Veterans Affairs is satisfied that the copies are genuine and free from alteration. Otherwise, VA may request a copy of the document certified over the signature and official seal of the person having custody of such record.

(The Office of Management and Budget has approved the information collection requirements in this section under control number 2900-0624)

[26 FR 1572, Feb. 24, 1961, as amended at 40 FR 53581, Nov. 19, 1975; 45 FR 72655, Nov. 3, 1980; 59 FR 46338, Sept. 8, 1994; 61 FR 56626, Nov. 4, 1996; 66 FR 56614, Nov. 9, 2001]

§ 3.205 Marriage.

(a) Proof of marriage. Marriage is established by one of the following types of evidence:

(1) Copy or abstract of the public record of marriage, or a copy of the church record of marriage, containing sufficient data to identify the parties, the date and place of marriage, and the number of prior marriages if shown on the official record.

(2) Official report from service department as to marriage which occurred while the veteran was in service.

(3) The affidavit of the clergyman or magistrate who officiated.

(4) The original certificate of marriage, if the Department of Veterans Affairs is satisfied that it is genuine and free from alteration.

(5) The affidavits or certified statements of two or more eyewitnesses to the ceremony.

(6) In jurisdictions where marriages other than by ceremony are recognized the affidavits or certified statements of one or both of the parties to the marriage, if living, setting forth all of the facts and circumstances concerning the alleged marriage, such as the agreement between the parties at the beginning of their cohabitation, the period of cohabitation, places and dates of residences, and whether children were born as the result of the relationship. This evidence should be supplemented by affidavits or certified statements from two or more persons who know as the result of personal observation the reputed relationship which existed between the parties to the alleged marriage including the periods of cohabitation, places of residences, whether the parties held themselves out as married, and whether they were generally accepted as such in the communities in which they lived.

(7) Any other secondary evidence which reasonably supports a belief by the Adjudicating activity that a valid marriage actually occurred.

(b) Valid marriage. In the absence of conflicting information, proof of marriage which meets the requirements of paragraph (a) of this section together with the claimant's certified statement concerning the date, place and circumstances of dissolution of any prior marriage may be accepted as establishing a valid marriage, provided that such facts, if they were to be corroborated by record evidence, would warrant acceptance of the marriage as valid. Where necessary to a determination because of conflicting information or protest by a party having an interest therein, proof of termination of a prior marriage will be shown by proof of death, or a certified copy or a certified abstract of final decree of divorce or annulment specifically reciting the effects of the decree.

(c) Marriages deemed valid. Where a surviving spouse has submitted proof of marriage in accordance with paragraph (a) of this section and also meets the requirements of § 3.52, the claimant's signed statement that he or she had no knowledge of an impediment to the marriage to the veteran will be accepted, in the absence of information to the contrary, as proof of that fact.

Cross References:

Marriages deemed valid. See § 3.52. Definitions; marriage. See § 3.1(j). Evidence of dependents and age. See § 3.204.

[26 FR 1572, Feb. 24, 1961, as amended at 27 FR 6281, July 3, 1962; 36 FR 20946, Nov. 2, 1971; 40 FR 53581, Nov. 19, 1975; 45 FR 72655, Nov. 3, 1980; 47 FR 28096, June 29, 1982; 52 FR 19349, May 22, 1987; 58 FR 37857, July 14, 1993; 59 FR 46338, Sept. 8, 1994; 62 FR 5529, Feb. 6, 1997]

§ 3.206 Divorce.

The validity of a divorce decree regular on its face, will be questioned by the Department of Veterans Affairs only when such validity is put in issue by a party thereto or a person whose interest in a claim for Department of Veterans Affairs benefits would be affected thereby. In cases where recognition of the decree is thus brought into question:

(a) Where the issue is whether the veteran is single or married (dissolution of a subsisting marriage), there must be a bona fide domicile in addition to the standards of the granting jurisdiction respecting validity of divorce;

(b) Where the issue is the validity of marriage to a veteran following a divorce, the matter of recognition of the divorce by the Department of Veterans Affairs (including any question of bona fide domicile) will be determined according to the laws of the jurisdictions specified in § 3.1(j).

(c) Where a foreign divorce has been granted the residents of a State whose laws consider such decrees to be valid, it will thereafter be considered as valid under the laws of the jurisdictions specified in § 3.1(j) in the absence of a determination to the contrary by a court of last resort in those jurisdictions.

Cross Reference:

Evidence of dependents and age. See § 3.204.

[27 FR 6281, July 3, 1962, as amended at 35 FR 16831, Oct. 31, 1970; 40 FR 53581, Nov. 19, 1975; 52 FR 19349, May 22, 1987]

§ 3.207 Void or annulled marriage.

Proof that a marriage was void or has been annulled should consist of:

(a) Void. A certified statement from the claimant setting forth the circumstances which rendered the marriage void, together with such other evidence as may be required for a determination.

(b) Annulled. A copy or abstract of the decree of annulment. A decree regular on its face will be accepted unless there is reason to question the basic authority of the court to render annulment decrees or there is evidence indicating that the annulment may have been obtained through fraud by either party or by collusion.

Cross References:

Effective dates, void or annulled marriage. See § 3.400 (u) and (v). Evidence of dependents and age. See § 3.204.

[28 FR 2904, Mar. 3, 1963, as amended at 40 FR 53581, Nov. 19, 1975; 52 FR 19349, May 22, 1987; 59 FR 46338, Sept. 8, 1994]

§ 3.208 Claims based on attained age.

In claims for pension where the age of the veteran or surviving spouse is material, the statements of age will be accepted where they are in agreement with other statements in the record as to age. However, where there is a variance in such records, the youngest age will be accepted subject to the submission of evidence as outlined in § 3.209.

Cross Reference:

Evidence of dependents and age. See § 3.204.

[40 FR 53581, Nov. 19, 1975, as amended at 52 FR 19349, May 22, 1987]

§ 3.209 Birth.

Age or relationship is established by one of the following types of evidence. If the evidence submitted for proof of age or relationship indicates a difference in the name of the person as shown by other records, the discrepancy is to be reconciled by an affidavit or certified statement identifying the person having the changed name as the person whose name appears in the evidence of age or relationship.

(a) A copy or abstract of the public record of birth. Such a record established more than 4 years after the birth will be accepted as proof of age or relationship if, it is not inconsistent with material of record with the Department of Veterans Affairs, or if it shows on its face that it is based upon evidence which would be acceptable under this section.

(b) A copy of the church record of baptism. Such a record of baptism performed more than 4 years after birth will not be accepted as proof of age or relationship unless it is consistent with material of record with the Department of Veterans Affairs, which will include at least one reference to age or relationship made at a time when such reference was not essential to establishing entitlement to the benefit claimed.

(c) Official report from the service department as to birth which occurred while the veteran was in service.

(d) Affidavit or a certified statement of the physician or midwife in attendance at birth.

(e) Copy of Bible or other family record certified to by a notary public or other officer with authority to administer oaths, who should state in what year the Bible or other book in which the record appears was printed, whether the record bears any erasures or other marks of alteration, and whether from the appearance of the writing he or she believes the entries to have been made at the time purported.

(f) Affidavits or certified statements of two or more persons, preferably disinterested, who will state their ages, showing the name, date, and place of birth of the person whose age or relationship is being established, and that to their own knowledge such person is the child of such parents (naming the parents) and stating the source of their knowledge.

(g) Other evidence which is adequate to establish the facts in issue, including census records, original baptismal records, hospital records, insurance policies, school, employment, immigration, or naturalization records.

Cross Reference:

Evidence of dependents and age. See § 3.204.

[26 FR 1573, Feb. 24, 1961, as amended at 27 FR 1899, Feb. 28, 1962; 40 FR 53581, Nov. 19, 1975; 47 FR 28096, June 29, 1982; 52 FR 19349, May 22, 1987; 59 FR 46338, Sept. 8, 1994]

§ 3.210 Child's relationship.

(a) Legitimate child. Where it is necessary to determine the legitimacy of a child, evidence will be required to establish the legality of the marriage of the mother of the child to the veteran or to show that the child is otherwise legitimate by State laws together with evidence of birth as outlined in § 3.209. Where the legitimacy of a child is not a factor, evidence to establish legitimacy will not be required: Provided, That, evidence is on file which meets the requirements of paragraph (b) of this section sufficient to warrant recognition of the relationship of the child without regard to legitimacy.

(b) Illegitimate child. As to the mother of an illegitimate child, proof of birth is all that is required. As to the father, the sufficiency of evidence will be determined in accordance with the facts in the individual case. Proof of such relationship will consist of:

(1) An acknowledgment in writing signed by him; or

(2) Evidence that he has been identified as the child's father by a judicial decree ordering him to contribute to the child's support or for other purposes; or

(3) Any other secondary evidence which reasonably supports a finding of relationship, as determined by an official authorized to approve such findings, such as:

(i) A copy of the public record of birth or church record of baptism, showing that the veteran was the informant and was named as parent of the child; or

(ii) Statements of persons who know that the veteran accepted the child as his; or

(iii) Information obtained from service department or public records, such as school or welfare agencies, which shows that with his knowledge the veteran was named as the father of the child.

(c) Adopted child. Except as provided in paragraph (c)(1) of this section evidence of relationship will include a copy of the decree of adoption or a copy of the adoptive placement agreement and such other evidence as may be necessary.

(1) In jurisdictions where petition must be made to the court for release of adoption documents or information, or where release of such documents or information is prohibited, the following may be accepted to establish the fact of adoption:

(i) As to a child adopted into the veteran's family, a copy of the child's revised birth certificate.

(ii) As to a child adopted out of the veteran's family, a statement over the signature of the judge or the clerk of the court setting forth the child's former name and the date of adoption, or a certified statement by the veteran, the veteran's surviving spouse, apportionee, or their fiduciaries setting forth the child's former name, date of birth, and the date and fact of adoption together with evidence indicating that the child's original public record of birth has been removed from such records. Where application is made for an apportionment under § 3.458(d) on behalf of a child adopted out of the veteran's family, the evidence must be sufficient to establish the veteran as the natural parent of the child.

(2) As to a child adopted by the veteran's surviving spouse after the veteran's death, the statement of the adoptive parent or custodian of the child will be accepted in absence of information to the contrary, to show that the child was a member of the veteran's household at the date of the veteran's death and that recurring contributions were not being received for the child's maintenance sufficient to provide for the major portion of the child's support, from any person other than the veteran or surviving spouse or from any public or private welfare organization which furnished services or assistance to children. (Pub. L. 86-195)

(d) Stepchild. Evidence of relationship of a stepchild will consist of proof of birth as outlined in § 3.209, evidence of the marriage of the veteran to the natural parent of the child, and evidence that the child is a member of the veteran's household or was a member of the veteran's household at the date of the veteran's death.

Cross Reference:

Evidence of dependents and age. See § 3.204.

[26 FR 1573, Feb. 24, 1961, as amended at 27 FR 1899, Feb. 28, 1962; 28 FR 2959, Mar. 26, 1963; 38 FR 871, Jan. 5, 1973; 47 FR 28096, June 29, 1982; 52 FR 19349, May 22, 1987; 59 FR 46338, Sept. 8, 1994]

§ 3.211 Death.

Death should be established by one of the following types of evidence:

(a)

(1) A copy of the public record of the State or community where death occurred.

(2) A copy of a coroner's report of death or a verdict of a coroner's jury of the State or community where death occurred, provided such report or verdict properly identified the deceased.

(b) Where death occurs in a hospital or institution under the control of the United States Government:

(1) A death certificate signed by a medical officer; or

(2) A clinical summary or other report showing fact and date of death signed by a medical officer.

(c) An official report of death of a member of a uniformed service from the Secretary of the department concerned where death occurs while deceased was on the retired list, in an inactive duty status, or in the active service.

(d) Where death occurs abroad:

(1) A United States consular report of death bearing the signature and seal of the United States consul; or

(2) A copy of the public record of death authenticated (see § 3.202(b)(4) for exception) by the United States consul or other agency of the State Department; or

(3) An official report of death from the head of the department concerned, where the deceased person was, at the time of death, a civilian employee of such department.

(e) If the foregoing evidence cannot be furnished, the reason must be stated. The fact of death may then be established by the affidavits of persons who have personal knowledge of the fact of death, have viewed the body of the deceased, know it to be the body of the person whose death is being established, setting forth all the facts and circumstances concerning the death, place, date, time, and cause thereof.

(f) If proof of death, as defined in paragraphs (a) through (e) of this section cannot be furnished, a finding of fact of death, where death is otherwise shown by competent evidence, may be made by an official authorized to approve such findings. Where it is indicated that the veteran died under circumstances which precluded recovery or identification of the body, the fact of death should be established by the best evidence, which from the nature of the case must be supposed to exist.

(g) In the absence of evidence to the contrary, a finding of fact of death made by another Federal agency will be accepted for the purposes of paragraph (f) of this section.

Cross Reference:

Evidence of dependents and age. See § 3.204.

[26 FR 1573, Feb. 24, 1961, as amended at 27 FR 1899, Feb. 28, 1962; 52 FR 19349, May 22, 1987; 59 FR 46338, Sept. 8, 1994]

§ 3.212 Unexplained absence for 7 years.

(a) If satisfactory evidence is produced establishing the fact of the continued and unexplained absence of any individual from his or her home and family for a period of 7 years or more and that a diligent search disclosed no evidence of his or her existence after the date of disappearance, and if evidence as provided in § 3.211 cannot be furnished, the death of such individual as of the expiration of such period may be considered as sufficiently proved.

(b) No State law providing for presumption of death will be applicable to claims for benefits under laws administered by the Department of Veterans Affairs and the finding of death will be final and conclusive except where suit is filed for insurance under 38 U.S.C. 1984.

(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 108)

(c) In the absence of evidence to the contrary, a finding of death made by another Federal agency will be accepted if the finding meets the requirements of paragraph (a) of this section.

Cross Reference:

Evidence of dependents and age. See § 3.204.

[26 FR 1573, Feb. 24, 1961, as amended at 27 FR 1899, Feb. 28, 1962; 52 FR 19349, May 22, 1987]

§ 3.213 Change of status affecting entitlement.

(a) General. For the purpose of establishing entitlement to a higher rate of pension, compensation, or dependency and indemnity compensation based on the existence of a dependent, VA will require evidence which satisfies the requirements of § 3.204. For the purpose of reducing or discontinuing such benefits, a statement by a claimant or payee setting forth the month and year of change of status which would result in a reduction or discontinuance of benefits to that person will be accepted, in the absence of contradictory information. This includes:

(1) Veteran. A statement by the veteran setting forth the month and year of death of a spouse, child, or dependent parent.

(2) Surviving spouse. A statement by the surviving spouse or remarried surviving spouse setting forth the month and year of remarriage and any change of name. (An award for a child or children who are otherwise entitled may be made to commence the day following the date of discontinuance of any payments to the surviving spouse.)

(3) Child. A statement by the veteran or surviving spouse (where an additional allowance is being paid to the veteran or surviving spouse for a child), or fiduciary, setting forth the month and year of the child's death, marriage, or discontinuance of school attendance. A similar statement by a child who is receiving payments direct will be accepted to establish the child's marriage or the discontinuance of school attendance. Where appropriate, the month and year of discontinuance of school attendance will be required in addition to the month and year of death or marriage of a child.

(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 501)

(4) Parent. A statement by a parent setting forth the month and year:

(i) Of marriage or remarriage;

(ii) When two parents or a parent and spouse ceased living together;

(iii) When two parents or a parent and spouse resumed living together following a period of separation;

(iv) Of divorce or death of a spouse.

(b) Date not reported. If the month and year of the event is not reported, the award will be reduced or discontinued, whichever is appropriate, effective date of last payment. The payee will be requested to furnish within 60 days from the date of request a statement setting forth the date of the event. Where payments are continued at a reduced rate, the award will be discontinued effective date of last payment if the required statement is not received within the 60-day period. Payments on a discontinued award may be resumed, if otherwise in order, from the date of discontinuance if the necessary information is received within 1 year from the date of request; otherwise from the date of receipt of a new claim.

(c) Contradictory information. Where there is reason to believe that the event reported may have occurred at an earlier date, formal proof will be required.

Cross References:

Abandoned claims. See § 3.158. Change in status of dependents. See § 3.651. Material change in income, net worth or change in status. See § 3.660. Evidence of dependents and age. See § 3.204.

[26 FR 1574, Feb. 24, 1961, as amended at 27 FR 1899, Feb. 28, 1962; 27 FR 11888, Dec. 1, 1962; 52 FR 19349, May 22, 1987; 61 FR 56626, Nov. 4, 1996]

§ 3.214 Court decisions; unremarried surviving spouses.

Effective July 15, 1958, a decision rendered by a Federal court in an action to which the United States was a party holding that a surviving spouse of a veteran has not remarried will be followed in determining eligibility for pension, compensation or dependency and indemnity compensation.

Cross References:

Abandoned claims. See § 3.158. Change in status of dependents. See § 3.651. Dependency, income and estate. See § 3.660. Evidence of dependents and age. See § 3.204.

[31 FR 2782, Feb. 16, 1966, as amended at 52 FR 19349, May 22, 1987]

§ 3.215 Termination of marital relationship or conduct.

On or after January 1, 1971, benefits may be resumed to an unmarried surviving spouse upon filing of an application and submission of satisfactory evidence that the surviving spouse has ceased living with another person and holding himself or herself out openly to the public as that person's spouse or that the surviving spouse has terminated a relationship or conduct which had created an inference or presumption of remarriage or related to open or notorious adulterous cohabitation or similar conduct, if the relationship terminated prior to November 1, 1990. Such evidence may consist of, but is not limited to, the surviving spouse's certified statement of the fact.

[57 FR 10426, Mar. 26, 1992, as amended at 58 FR 32445, June 10, 1993]

§ 3.216 Mandatory disclosure of social security numbers.

Any person who applies for or receives any compensation or pension benefit as defined in §§ 3.3, 3.4, or 3.5 of this part, or a monetary allowance under 38 U.S.C. chapter 18, shall, as a condition for receipt or continued receipt of benefits, furnish the Department of Veterans Affairs upon request with his or her social security number and the social security number of any dependent or beneficiary on whose behalf, or based upon whom, benefits are sought or received. However, no one shall be required to furnish a social security number for any person to whom none has been assigned. Benefits will be terminated if a beneficiary fails to furnish the Department of Veterans Affairs with his or her social security number or the social security number of any dependent or beneficiary on whose behalf, or based upon whom, benefits are sought or received, within 60 days from the date the beneficiary is requested to furnish the social security number.

(Approved by the Office of Management and Budget under control number 2900-0522)

[57 FR 8268, Mar. 9, 1992, as amended at 57 FR 27935, June 23, 1992; 65 FR 35282, June 2, 2000; 67 FR 49586, July 31, 2002; 76 FR 4248, Jan. 25, 2011]

§ 3.217 Submission of statements or information affecting entitlement to benefits.

(a) For purposes of this part, unless specifically provided otherwise, the submission of information or a statement that affects entitlement to benefits by e-mail, facsimile, or other written electronic means, will satisfy a requirement or authorization that the statement or information be submitted in writing.

Note to paragraph (a):

Section 3.217(a) merely concerns the submission of information or a statement in writing. Other requirements specified in this part, such as a requirement to use a specific form, to provide specific information, to provide a signature, or to provide a certified statement, must still be met.

(b) For purposes of this part, unless specifically provided otherwise, VA may take action affecting entitlement to benefits based on oral or written information or statements provided to VA by a beneficiary or his or her fiduciary. However, VA may not take action based on oral information or statements unless the VA employee receiving the information meets the following conditions:

(1) During the conversation in which the information or statement is provided, the VA employee:

(i) Identifies himself or herself as a VA employee who is authorized to receive the information or statement (these are VA employees authorized to take actions under §§ 2.3 or 3.100 of this chapter);

(ii) Verifies the identity of the provider as either the beneficiary or his or her fiduciary by obtaining specific information about the beneficiary that can be verified from the beneficiary's VA records, such as Social Security number, date of birth, branch of military service, dates of military service, or other information; and

(iii) Informs the provider that the information or statement will be used for the purpose of calculating benefit amounts; and

(2) During or following the conversation in which the information or statement is provided, the VA employee documents in the beneficiary's VA records the specific information or statement provided, the date such information or statement was provided, the identity of the provider, the steps taken to verify the identity of the provider as being either the beneficiary or his or her fiduciary, and that he or she informed the provider that the information would be used for the purpose of calculating benefit amounts.

Authority:

38 U.S.C. 501, 1115, 1506, 5104.

[66 FR 56614, Nov. 9, 2001]

Dependency, Income and Estate
Regulations Applicable to Programs in Effect Prior to January 1, 1979
§ 3.250 Dependency of parents; compensation.

(a) Income -

(1) Conclusive dependency. Dependency of a parent (other than one who is residing in a foreign country) will be held to exist where the monthy income does not exceed:

(i) $400 for a mother or father not living together;

(ii) $660 for a mother and father, or remarried parent and spouse, living together:

(iii) $185 for each additional “member of the family” as defined in paragraph (b)(2).

(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 102(a))

(2) Excess income. Where the income exceeds the monthly amounts stated in paragraph (a)(1) of this section dependency will be determined on the facts in the individual case under the principles outlined in paragraph (b) of this section. In such cases, dependency will not be held to exist if it is reasonable that some part of the corpus of the claimant's estate be consumed for his or her maintenance.

(3) Foreign residents. There is no conclusive presumption of dependency. Dependency will be determined on the facts in the individual case under the principles outlined in this section.

(b) Basic rule. Dependency will be held to exist if the father or mother of the veteran does not have an income sufficient to provide reasonable maintenance for such father or mother and members of his or her family under legal age and for dependent adult members of the family if the dependency of such adult member results from mental or physical incapacity.

(1) “Reasonable Maintenance” includes not only housing, food, clothing, and medical care sufficient to sustain life, but such items beyond the bare necessities as well as other requirements reasonably necessary to provide those conveniences and comforts of living suitable to and consistent with the parents' reasonable mode of life.

(2) “Member of the family” means a person (other than spouse) including a relative in the ascending as well as descending class, whom the father or mother is under moral or legal obligation to support. In determining whether other members of the family under legal age are factors in necessary expenses of the mother or father, consideration will be given to any income from business or property (including trusts) actually available, directly or indirectly, to the mother or father for the support of the minor but not to the corpus of the estate or the income of the minor which is not so available.

(c) Inception of dependency. The fact that the veteran has made habitual contributions to the father or mother, or both, is not conclusive evidence that dependency existed but will be considered in connection with all other evidence. In death claims, it is not material whether dependency arose prior or subsequent to the veteran's death. (See § 3.1000(d)(3) as to accrued.)

(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 102(a))

(d) Remarriage. Dependency will not be denied solely because of remarriage (38 U.S.C. 102(b)(1)). Compensation may be continued if the parent submits evidence to show that dependency exists, considering the combined income and expenses of the parent and spouse.

[28 FR 29, Jan. 1, 1963, as amended at 40 FR 16065, Apr. 9, 1975; 49 FR 47004, Nov. 30, 1984; 61 FR 20727, May 8, 1996]

§ 3.251 Income of parents; dependency and indemnity compensation.

(a) Annual income limitations and rates.

(1) Dependency and indemnity compensation is not payable to a parent or parents whose annual income exceeds the limitations set forth in 38 U.S.C. 1315 (b), (c), or (d).

(2) Where there is only one parent, and the parent has remarried and is living with his or her spouse, dependency and indemnity compensation will be paid under either the formula in 38 U.S.C. 1315(b)(1) or the formula in 38 U.S.C. 1315(d), whichever will provide the greater monthly rate of dependency and indemnity compensation. The total combined annual income of the parent and spouse will be counted.

(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 1315)

(3) Where the claim is based on service in the Commonwealth Army of the Philippines, or as a guerrilla or as a Philippine Scout under section 14, Pub. L. 190, 79th Congress, the income limitation will be at a rate of $0.50 for each dollar. See § 3.100(b).

(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 107)

(4) If the remarriage of a parent has been terminated, or the parent is separated from his or her spouse, the rate of dependency and indemnity compensation for the parent will be that which would be payable if there were one parent alone or two parents not living together, whichever is applicable.

(5) Where there are two parents living and only one parent has filed claim, the rate of dependency and indemnity compensation will be that which would be payable if both parents had filed claim.

(b) Basic rule. Payments of any kind or from any source will be counted as income unless specifically excluded. Income will be counted for the calendar year in which it is received and total income for the full calendar year will be considered except as provided in § 3.260.

[28 FR 29, Jan. 1, 1963, as amended at 31 FR 14455, Nov. 10, 1966; 40 FR 16065, Apr. 9, 1975; 41 FR 15411, Apr. 13, 1976; 60 FR 18355, Apr. 11, 1995]

§ 3.252 Annual income; pension; Mexican border period and later war periods.

(a) Annual income limitations; old-law pension. Where the right to old-law pension is payable under section 306(b) of Pub. L. 95-588 (92 Stat. 2497), pension is not payable if the pensioner's annual income exceeds the income limitations prescribed by § 3.26(c).

(b) Annual income and net worth limitations; Pub. L. 86-211. Pension is not payable to a veteran, surviving spouse or child whose annual income exceeds the limitations set forth in 38 U.S.C. 1521, 1541 or 1542; or to a veteran, surviving spouse or child if it is reasonable that some part of the claimant's estate be consumed for his or her maintenance. Where a veteran and spouse are living together, the separate income of the spouse will be considered as the veteran's income as provided in § 3.262(b).

(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 1543)

(c) Basic rule. Payments of any kind or from any source will be counted as income unless specifically excluded. Income will be counted for the calendar year in which it is received and total income for the full calendar year will be considered except as provided in § 3.260.

(d) Veteran with a spouse. For the purpose of determining eligibility under paragraph (b) of this section the pension rates provided by 38 U.S.C. 1521(c) may be authorized for a married veteran if he or she is living with or, if estranged, is reasonably contributing to the support of his or her spouse. The determination of “reasonable” contribution will be based on all the circumstances in the case, considering the income and estate of the veteran and the separate income and estate of the spouse. Apportionment of the veteran's pension under § 3.451 meets the requirement of reasonable contribution.

(e) Surviving spouse with a child -

(1) Child. The term “child” means a child as defined in § 3.57. Where a veteran's child is born after the veteran dies, the surviving spouse will not be considered a surviving spouse with a child prior to the child's date of birth.

(2) Veteran's child not in surviving spouse's custody. Where the veteran was survived by a surviving spouse and by a child, the income increments for a surviving spouse and child apply even though the child is not the child of the surviving spouse and not in his or her custody.

(3) Income of child. The separate income received by a child or children, regardless of custody, will not be considered in computing the surviving spouse's income. Where the separate income of the child is turned over to the surviving spouse, only so much of the money as is left after deducting any expenses for maintenance of the child will be considered the surviving spouse's income.

(4) Alternative rate. Whenever the monthly pension rate payable to the surviving spouse under the formula in 38 U.S.C. 1541(c) is less than the rate payable for one child under section 1542 if the surviving spouse were not entitled, the surviving spouse will be paid the child's rate.

(f) Income over maximum; reduced aid and attendance allowance. Beginning January 1, 1977, veterans in need of regular aid and attendance who are not receiving pension because their income exceeds the applicable statutory limitation may be eligible for a reduced aid and attendance allowance. The amount payable is the regular aid and attendance allowance authorized by 38 U.S.C. 1521(d)(1) reduced by 16.6 percent for each $100, or portion thereof, by which the veteran's annual income exceeds the applicable maximum income limitation. The reduced aid and attendance allowance is payable when:

(1) A veteran in need of regular aid and attendance is denied pension under 38 U.S.C. 1521 solely because the veteran's annual income exceeds the applicable maximum income limitation in 38 U.S.C. 1521 (b)(3) and (c)(3); or

(2) Pension payable under 38 U.S.C. 1521 to a veteran in need of regular aid and attendance is discontinued solely because the veteran's annual income exceeds the applicable maximum income limitation in 38 U.S.C. 1521 (b)(3) or (c)(3); and

(3) The veteran's annual income exceeds the applicable maximum income limitation in 38 U.S.C. 1521 (b)(3) or (c)(3) by an amount not greater than the amount specified in 38 U.S.C. 1521 (d)(2).

Cross References:

Basic pension determinations. See § 3.314. Determination of permanent need for regular aid and attendance and “permanently bedridden”. See § 3.352.

[28 FR 30, Jan. 1, 1963, as amended at 40 FR 16065, Apr. 9, 1975; 41 FR 15411, Apr. 13, 1976; 41 FR 56803, Dec. 30, 1976; 44 FR 45935, Aug. 6, 1979; 61 FR 20727, May 8, 1996; 62 FR 5529, Feb. 6, 1997]

§§ 3.253-3.255 [Reserved]
§ 3.256 Eligibility reporting requirements.

(a) Obligation to report changes in factors affecting entitlement. Any individual who has applied for or receives pension or parents' dependency and indemnity compensation must promptly notify the Secretary of any change affecting entitlement in any of the following:

(1) Income;

(2) Net worth or corpus of estate;

(3) Marital status;

(4) Nursing home patient status;

(5) School enrollment status of a child 18 years of age or older; or

(6) Any other factor that affects entitlement to benefits under the provisions of this part.

(b) Eligibility verification reports.

(1) For purposes of this section the term eligibility verification report means a form prescribed by the Secretary that is used to request income, net worth (if applicable), dependency status, and any other information necessary to determine or verify entitlement to pension or parents' dependency and indemnity compensation.

(2) VA will not require old law or section 306 pensioners to submit eligibility verification reports unless the Secretary determines that doing so is necessary to preserve program integrity.

(3) Except for a parent who has attained 72 years of age and has been paid dependency and indemnity compensation during two consecutive calendar years, the Secretary shall require an eligibility verification report from individuals receiving parents' dependency and indemnity compensation under the following circumstances:

(i) If the Social Security Administration has not verified the beneficiary's Social Security number and, if the beneficiary is married, his or her spouse's Social Security number.

(ii) If there is reason to believe that the beneficiary or, if the spouse's income could affect entitlement, his or her spouse may have received income other than Social Security during the current or previous calendar year; or

(iii) If the Secretary determines that an eligibility verification report is necessary to preserve program integrity.

(4) An individual who applies for or receives pension or parents' dependency and indemnity compensation as defined in §§ 3.3 or 3.5 of this part shall, as a condition of receipt or continued receipt of benefits, furnish the Department of Veterans Affairs an eligibility verification report upon request.

(c) If VA requests that a claimant or beneficiary submit an eligibility verification report but he or she fails to do so within 60 days of the date of the VA request, the Secretary shall suspend the award or disallow the claim.

(The Office of Management and Budget has approved the information collection requirements in this section under control numbers 2900-0101 and 2900-0624)

[63 FR 53595, Oct. 6, 1998, as amended at 66 FR 56614, Nov. 9, 2001; 73 FR 40466, July 15, 2008]

§ 3.257 Children; no surviving spouse entitled.

Where pension is not payable to a surviving spouse because his or her annual income exceeds the statutory limitation or because of his or her net worth, payments will be made to or for the child or children as if there were no surviving spouse.

[62 FR 5529, Feb. 6, 1997]

§§ 3.258-3.259 [Reserved]
§ 3.260 Computation of income.

For entitlement to pension or dependency and indemnity compensation, income will be counted for the calendar year in which it is received.

(a) Installments. Income will be determined by the total amount received or anticipated during the calendar year.

(b) Deferred determinations. Where there is doubt as to the amount of the anticipated income, pension or dependency and indemnity compensation will be allowed at the lowest appropriate rate or will be withheld, as may be in order, until the end of the calendar year when the total income received during the year may be determined.

(c) Proportionate income limitations; excess income. A proportionate income limitation will be established under the conditions set forth in paragraph (d) of this section except where application of a proportionate income limitation would result in payment of a lower rate than would be payable on the basis of income for the full calendar year.

(d) Proportionate income limitations; computation. Income limitations will be computed proportionately for the purpose of determining initial entitlement, or for resuming payments on an award which was discontinued for a reason other than excess income or a change in marital or dependency status. A proportionate income limitation will be established for the period from the date of entitlement to the end of that calendar year. The total amount of income received by the claimant during that period will govern the payment of benefits. Income received prior to the date of entitlement will be disregarded.

(e) Proportionate income limitations; spouse. In determining whether proportionate computation is applicable to a claim under Pub. L. 86-211 (73 Stat. 432), the total income for the calendar year of entitlement of both veteran and that of the spouse available for use of the veteran will be considered. If a proportionate income limitation is then applicable, it will be applied to both the veteran's and the spouse's income. The spouse's income will not be included, however, where his or her total income for the calendar year does not exceed $1,200.

(f) Rate changes. In years after that for which entitlement to pension or dependency and indemnity compensation has been established or reestablished as provided in paragraph (d) of this section, total income for the calendar year will govern the payment of benefits. Where there is a change in the conditions of entitlement because of a change in marital or dependency status, entitlement for each period will be determined separately. For the period when the claimant was married or had a dependent, the rate payable will be determined under the annual income limitation or increment applicable to a claimant who is married or has a dependent. For the period when the claimant was unmarried or without a dependent, the rate payable will be determined under the annual income limitation or increment applicable to a claimant who is not married or has no dependent. Since these determinations will be based on total income for the calendar year, it is not material whether such income was received before or after the change of status.

(g) Fractions of dollars. In computing a claimant's annual income a fraction of a dollar will be disregarded for the purpose of determining entitlement to monthly payments of pension and dependency and indemnity compensation.

[28 FR 30, Jan. 1, 1963, as amended at 29 FR 2944, Mar. 4, 1964; 37 FR 6677, Apr. 1, 1972; 40 FR 16066, Apr. 9, 1975]

§ 3.261 Character of income; exclusions and estates.

The following factors will be considered in determining whether a claimant meets the requirements of §§ 3.250, 3.251 and 3.252 with reference to dependency, income limitations and corpus of estate:

(a) Income.

Income Dependency (parents) Dependency and indemnity compensation (parents) Pension; old-law (veterans, surviving spouses and children) Pension; section 306 (veterans, surviving spouses and children) See -
(1) Total income from employment, business, investments, or rents Included Included Included Included § 3.262(a).
(2) Income of spouse ......do ......do Excluded ......do § 3.262(b).
(3) Earnings of members of family under legal age ......do Excluded ......do Excluded § 3.250(b)(2).
§ 3.252(e)(3).
(4) Earned income of child-claimant Included ......do
(5) Gifts, including contributions from adult members of family:
Property ......do Included ......do ......do § 3.262(k).
Money ......do ......do ......do Included
(6) Value of maintenance by relative, friend, or organization Excluded Excluded Excluded Excluded § 3.262(c).
(7) Rental value of property owned by and resided in by claimant ......do ......do ......do ......do
(8) Charitable donations ......do ......do Included ......do § 3.262(d).
(9) Family allowance authorized by service personnel Included Included ......do Included
(10) Reasonable value of allowances to person in service in addition to base pay ......do ......do ......do Included except as earned income of child-claimant
(11) Mustering-out pay Excluded ......do Excluded ......do
(12) Six-months' death gratuity ......do Excluded ......do Excluded
(13) Bonus or similar cash gratuity paid by any State based on service in Armed Forces of United States Excluded Excluded Excluded Excluded
(14) Retired Serviceman's Family Protection Plan; Survivor Benefit Plan (10 U.S.C. ch. 73):
Retired Serviceman's Family Protection Plan (Subch. I):
Annuities ......do ......do ......do ......do
Refund (10 U.S.C. 1446) Included Included Included Included
Survivor Benefit Plan (Subch. II) (Pub. L. 92-425; 86 Stat. 706) ......do ......do ......do ......do § 3.262(e).
Annuity under § 653, Pub. L. 100-456 Included Included Excluded Excluded § 3.262(r)
(15) Retirement pay received direct from service department Included
......do
Included
......do
Included
......do
Included
......do
§ 3.262(e).
§ 3.262(h).
(16) Retirement benefits; general ......do ......do ......do ......do § 3.262(e).
(17) Social security benefits:
Old age and survivors', and disability insurance Included Included Included Included § 3.262(f).
Charitable programs Excluded Excluded ......do Excluded
Lump-sum death payments Included ......do ......do ......do
Supplemental security income Excluded Excluded ......do ......do
(18) Railroad Retirement benefits ......do Included Disability pension - Excluded Death pension - Included Included § 3.262(g).
(19) Retirement pay waived under Federal statute Excluded Excluded Excluded ......do § 3.262(h).
(20) Department of Veterans Affairs payments:
Pension Excluded Excluded Excluded Excluded
Compensation and dependency and indemnity compensation ......do ......do ......do ......do
World War I adjusted compensation ......do Included ......do Included
U.S. Government life insurance or national service life insurance for disability or death, maturity of endowment policies, and dividends, including special and termination dividends Excluded Excluded Excluded Excluded
Servicemembers' group life insurance ......do ......do ......do ......do
Veterans' group life insurance ......do ......do ......do ......do
Servicemembers' indemnity ......do ......do ......do ......do
Subsistence allowance (38 U.S.C. ch. 31) Included Included Included Included
Veterans educational assistance in excess of amounts expended for training (38 U.S.C. ch. 34) ......do ......do ......do ......do
Educational assistance (38 U.S.C. ch. 35) Excluded Excluded
Special allowance under 38 U.S.C. 1312(a) Excluded Included ......do Included
Statutory burial allowance ......do Excluded ......do Excluded
Accrued ......do Included, except accrued as reimbursement ......do Included, except accrued as reimbursement
(21) Compensation (civilian) for injury or death Included Included Included Included § 3.262(i).
(22) Contributions by a public or private employer to a:
Public or private health or hospitalization plan for an active or retired employee Excluded Excluded Excluded Excluded
Retired employee as reimbursement for premiums for supplementary medical insurance benefits under the Social Security Program (Pub. L. 91-588; 84 Stat. 1580) Included Included Excluded Excluded
(23) Overtime pay; Government employees Included Included Disability pension - Excluded. Death pension - Included Included
(24) Commercial life insurance; disability, accident, or health insurance, less payments of medical or hospital expenses resulting from the accident or disease for which payments are made Included (as received) Included (as received) Included (special provision) Included (as received) § 3.262(j).
(25) Commercial annuities or endowments ......do Included (special provision) ......do Included (special provision) § 3.262(j).
(26) Dividends from commercial insurance Excluded Excluded Excluded Excluded
(27) Insurance under Merchant Marine Act of 1936, as amended Included Included Included Included
(28) Reimbursement for casualty loss (Pub. L. 100-687) Included Excluded Included Included § 3.262(t)
Other fire Insurance Excluded Excluded Excluded Excluded § 3.262(t)
(29) Bequests, devises and inheritances:
Property Included Excluded Included ......do § 3.262(k).
Money ......do Included ......do Included
Joint bank accounts ......do ......do ......do Excluded § 3.262(k)(1).
(30) Profit from sale of property Excluded Excluded Excluded Excluded § 3.262(k).
(31) Jury duty or obligatory civic duties ......do ......do ......do ......do
(32) Relocation payments (Pub. L. 90-448; Pub. L. 90-495) ......do ......do ......do ......do § 3.262(c).
(33) The following programs administered by the ACTION Agency:
Foster Grandparent Program and Older Americans Community Service Programs payments (Pub. L. 93-29; 87 Stat. 55) ......do ......do ......do ......do § 3.262(q)(1).
Volunteers in Service to America (VISTA), University Year for ACTION (UYA), Program for Local Services (PLS), ACTION Cooperative Volunteers (ACV), Foster Grandparent Program (FGP), and Older American Community Service Programs, Retired Senior Volunteer Program (RSVP), Senior Companion Program (Pub. L. 93-113; 87 Stat. 394) ......do ......do ......do ......do § 3.262(q)(2).
(34) The Service Corps of Retired Executives (SCORE) and Active Corps of Executives (ACE) administered by the Small Business Administration. (Pub. L. 93-113; 87 Stat. 394) ......do ......do ......do ......do § 3.262(q)(2).
(35) Income received under Section 6 of the Radiation Exposure Compensation Act (Pub. L. 101-426) Excluded Excluded Included Included § 3.262(t)
(36) Income received from income tax returns Excluded Excluded Excluded Excluded § 3.262(u)
(37) Other amounts excluded from income by statute Excluded Excluded Excluded Excluded § 3.262(v)
§ 3.279

(b) Deduction of amounts paid by claimant.

Deduction Dependency (parents) Dependency and indemnity compensation Pension; old-law (veterans, surviving spouses, and children) Pension; section 306 (veterans, surviving spouses, and children) See
(1) Unusual medical expenses Not authorized Authorized Not authorized Authorized §§ 3.262(b)(1) and (1).
(2) Veteran: just debts, expenses of last illness and burial Not authorized Authorized, except debts Not authorized Authorized §§ 3.262(m) and (o).
(3) Veteran's spouse or child: expenses of last illness and burial Not authorized Not authorized Not authorized Authorized § 3.262(n).
(4) Parent's spouse: just debts; expenses of last illness and burial Not authorized Authorized § 3.262(o).
(5) Prepayment on real property mortgages after death of spouse (Pub. L. 91-588) Not authorized Not authorized Not authorized Authorized §§ 3.262(k)(6).

(c) Corpus of estate.

Dependency (parents) Dependency and indemnity compensation Pension; old-law (veterans, widows, and children) Pension; section 306 (veterans, surviving spouses, and children) See
Considered conditionally Not considered Not considered Considered § 3.263.

[28 FR 31, Jan. 1, 1963, as amended at 29 FR 15205, Nov. 11, 1964; 31 FR 15632, Dec. 13, 1966; 33 FR 15286, Oct. 15, 1968; 36 FR 8446, May 6, 1971; 37 FR 6677, Apr. 1, 1972; 37 FR 7092, Apr. 8, 1972; 37 FR 21436, Oct. 11, 1972; 38 FR 872, Jan. 5, 1973; 38 FR 26804, Sept. 26, 1973; 38 FR 28826, Oct. 17, 1973; 40 FR 13305, Mar. 26, 1975; 40 FR 57459, Dec. 10, 1975; 41 FR 17386, Apr. 26, 1976; 42 FR 43834, Aug. 31, 1977; 57 FR 59298, Dec. 15, 1992; 58 FR 12174, Mar. 3, 1993; 58 FR 31909, June 7, 1993; 58 FR 33766, June 21, 1993; 59 FR 37696, July 25, 1994; 60 FR 2522, Jan. 10, 1995; 60 FR 18355, Apr. 11, 1995; 62 FR 51278, Sept. 30, 1997; 67 FR 49586, July 31, 2002; 68 FR 60852, Oct. 24, 2003; 70 FR 15591, Mar. 28, 2005; 76 FR 4248, Jan. 25, 2011; 83 FR 47268, Sept 18, 2018]

§ 3.262 Evaluation of income.

(a) Total income. All income from sources such as wages, salaries, earnings, bonuses from employers, income from a business or profession or from investments or rents as well as the fair value of personal services, goods or room and board received in lieu thereof will be included.

(1) Salary is not determined by “takehome” pay, but includes deductions made under a retirement act or plan and amounts withheld by virtue of income tax laws.

(2) The gross income from a business or profession may be reduced by the necessary operating expenses, such as cost of goods sold, or expenditures for rent, taxes, and upkeep. Depreciation is not a deductible expense. The cost of repairs or replacement may be deducted. The value of an increase in stock inventory of a business is not considered income.

(3) A loss sustained in operating a business, profession, or farm or from investments may not be deducted from income derived from any other source.

(b) Income of spouse. Income of the spouse will be determined under the rules applicable to income of the claimant.

(1) Parents. Where the mother and father, or remarried parent and spouse are living together, the total combined income will be considered in determining dependency, or in determining the rate of dependency and indemnity compensation payable to the parent. This rule is equally applicable where both parents have remarried and each is living with his or her spouse. If the remarriage of a parent has been terminated, or the parent is separated from his or her spouse, income of the spouse will be excluded.

(2) Veterans. The separate income of the spouse of a disabled veteran who is entitled to pension under laws in effect on June 30, 1960, will not be considered. Where pension is payable under section 306(a) of Pub. L. 95-588, to a veteran who is living with a spouse there will be included as income of the veteran all income of the spouse in excess of whichever is the greater, the amount of the spouse income exclusion specified in section 306(a)(2)(B) of Pub. L. 95-588 as increased from time to time under section 306 (a)(3) of Pub. L. 95-588 or the total earned income of the spouse, which is reasonably available to or for the veteran, unless hardship to the veteran would result. Each time there is an increase in the spouse income exclusion pursuant to section 306(a)(3) of Pub. L. 95-588, the actual amount of the exclusion will be published in the “Notices” section of the Federal Register. The presumption that inclusion of such income is available to the veteran and would not work a hardship on him or her may be rebutted by evidence of unavailability or of expenses beyond the usual family requirements.

(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 1521(f); sec. 306(a)(2)(B) of Pub. L. 95-588)

(c) Maintenance. The value of maintenance furnished by a relative, friend, or a charitable organization (civic or governmental) will not be considered income. Where the claimant is maintained in a rest home or other community institution or facility, public or private, because of impaired health or advanced age, money paid to the home or to the claimant to cover the cost of maintenance will not be considered income, regardless of whether it is furnished by a relative, friend or charitable organization. The expense of maintenance is not deductible if it is paid from the claimant's income, except as provided in paragraph (l) of this section in claims for dependency and indemnity compensation.

(d) Charitable donations. Charitable donations from public or private relief or welfare organizations will not be considered income except in claims for pension under laws in effect on June 30, 1960. In the latter cases, additional charitable allowances received by a claimant for members of his or her family may not be divided per capita in determining the amount of the claimant's income.

(e) Retirement benefits; general. Retirement benefits, including an annuity or endowment, paid under a Federal, State, municipal, or private business or industrial plan are considered income as limited by this paragraph. Where the payments received consist of part principal and part interest, interest will not be counted separately.

(1) Protected pension. Except as provided in this paragraph (e)(1), effective January 1, 1965, in determining income for pension purposes under laws in effect on June 30, 1960, 10 percent of the retirement payments received by a veteran, surviving spouse, or child will be excluded. The remaining 90 percent will be considered income as received. Where the retirement benefit is based on the claimant's own employment, payments will not be considered income until the amount of the claimant's personal contribution (as distinguished from amounts contributed by the employer) has been received. Thereafter the 10 percent exclusion will apply.

(2) Pension; Pub. L. 86-211. Except as provided in this subparagraph, effective January 1, 1965, in determining income for pension purposes, under Pub. L. 86-211 (73 Stat. 432), 10 percent of the retirement payments received by a veteran, the veteran's spouse, surviving spouse, or child will be excluded. The remaining 90 percent will be considered income as received. Where a person was receiving or entitled to receive pension and retirement benefits based on his or her own employment on December 31, 1964, the retirement payments will not be considered income until the amount of the claimant personal contribution (as distinguished from amounts contributed by the employer) has been received. Thereafter the 10 percent exclusion will apply.

(3) Compensation. In determining dependency of a parent for compensation purposes, all payments will be considered income as received.

(4) Dependency and indemnity compensation. Except as provided in this subparagraph, effective January 1, 1967, in determining income for dependency and indemnity compensation purposes, 10 percent of the retirement payments received by a deceased veteran's parent or by the parent's spouse will be excluded. The remaining 90 percent will be considered income as received. Where a parent was receiving or entitled to receive dependency and indemnity compensation and retirement benefits based on his or her own employment on December 31, 1966, the retirement payments will not be considered income until the amount of the claimant's personal contribution (as distinguished from amounts contributed by the employer) has been received. Thereafter the 10 percent exclusion will apply.

(f) Social security benefits. Old age and survivor's insurance and disability insurance under title II of the Social Security Act will be considered income as a retirement benefit under the rules contained in paragraph (e) of this section. Benefits received under noncontributory programs, such as old age assistance, aid to dependent children, and supplemental security income are subject to the rules contained in paragraph (d) of this section applicable to charitable donations. The lumpsum death payment under title II of the Social Security Act will be considered as income except in claims for dependency and indemnity compensation and for pension under Pub. L. 86-211 (73 Stat. 432).

(g) Railroad retirement benefits -

(1) Parents, surviving spouses and children. Retirement benefits received from the Railroad Retirement Board will be considered as income under the rules contained in paragraph (e) of this section. (See paragraph (h) of this section as to waivers.)

(2) Veterans. Effective July 1, 1959, retirement benefits received from the Railroad Retirement Board were excluded from consideration as income in determining eligibility for disability pension. (45 U.S.C. 228s-1) This exclusion continues to be applicable to claims under laws in effect on June 30, 1960. For purposes of section 306 pension, such retirement benefits will be considered as income under the rules contained in paragraph (e) of this section.

(h) Retirement benefits waived. Except as provided in this paragraph, retirement benefits (pension or retirement payments) which have been waived will be included as income. For the purpose of determining dependency of a parent, or eligibility of a parent for dependency and indemnity compensation or eligibility of a veteran, surviving spouse, or child for pension under laws in effect on June 30, 1960, retirement benefits from the following sources which have been waived pursuant to Federal statute will not be considered as income:

(1) Civil Service Retirement and Disability Fund;

(2) Railroad Retirement Board (see paragraph (g)(2) of this section);

(3) District of Columbia, firemen, policemen, or public school teachers;

(4) Former lighthouse service.

(i) Compensation (civilian) for injury or death.

(1) Compensation paid by the Bureau of Employees' Compensation, Department of Labor (of the United States), or by Social Security Administration, or by Railroad Retirement Board, or pursuant to any workmen's compensation or employer's liability statute, or damages collected because of personal injury or death, less medical, legal, or other expenses incident to the injury or death, or the collection or recovery of such moneys will be considered income as received, except as provided in paragraph (i)(2) of this section. The criteria of paragraph (i)(1) of this section are for application as to all medical expenditures after such award or settlement.

(Authority: Pub. L. 92-198, 85 Stat. 663)

(2) For pension, effective October 7, 1966, and for dependency and indemnity compensation effective January 1, 1967, if payments based on permanent and total disability or death are received from the Bureau of Employees' Compensation, Social Security Administration or Railroad Retirement Board, or pursuant to any workmen's compensation or employer's liability statute, there will be excluded 10 percent of the payments received after deduction of medical, legal, and other expenses as authorized by paragraph (i)(1) of this section. The 10 percent exclusion does not apply to damages collected incident to a tort suit under other than an employer's liability law of the United States or a political subdivision of the United States, or to determinations of dependency for compensation purposes.

(j) Commercial insurance -

(1) Annuity or endowment insurance. For pension, effective January 1, 1965, or for dependency and indemnity compensation, effective January 1, 1967, the provisions of paragraph (e) of this section apply. In such cases, 10 percent of the payments received will be excluded. In dependency and indemnity compensation claims, where the parent is receiving or entitled to receive dependency and indemnity compensation on December 31, 1966, and is also receiving or entitled to receive annuity payments on that date, or endowment insurance matures on or before that date, no part of the payments received will be considered income until the full amount of the consideration has been received, after which 10 percent of the amount received will be excluded. For compensation, the full amount of each payment is considered income as received.

(2) Life insurance; general. In determining dependency, or eligibility for dependency and indemnity compensation, or for section 306 pension the full amount of payments is considered income as received. For section 306 pension, effective October 7, 1966, and for dependency and indemnity compensation, effective January 1, 1967, 10 percent of the payments received will be excluded.

(3) Life insurance; old-law pension. For pension under laws in effect on June 30, 1960, 10 percent of the payments received will be excluded. Where it is considered that life insurance was received in a lump sum in the calendar year in which the veteran died and payments are actually received in succeeding years, no part of the payments received in succeeding years will be considered income until an amount equal to the lump-sum face value of the policy has been received, after which 10 percent of the payments received will be excluded. The 10 percent exclusion is authorized effective October 7, 1966.

(4) Disability, accident or health insurance. For pension, effective October 7, 1966, and for dependency and indemnity compensation, effective January 1, 1967, there will be excluded 10 percent of the payments received for disability after deduction of medical, legal, or other expenses incident to the disability. For compensation, after deduction of such expenses, the full amount of payments is considered income as received.

(k) Property -

(1) Ownership. The terms of the recorded deed or other evidence of title will constitute evidence of ownership of real or personal property. This includes property acquired through purchase, bequest or inheritance except that, effective January 1, 1971, amounts in joint accounts in banks and similar institutions acquired by reason of the death of another joint owner shall not be considered income of a survivor for section 306 pension purposes. With the foregoing exception, if property is owned jointly each person will be considered as owning a proportionate share. The claimant's share of property held in partnership will be determined on the facts found. In the absence of evidence to the contrary, the claimant's statement as to the terms of ownership will be accepted.

(Authority: Sec. 306, Pub. L. 95-588; 92 Stat. 2508)

(2) Income-producing property. Income received from real or personal property owned by the claimant will be counted. The claimant's share will be determined in proportion to his right according to the rules of ownership.

(3) Sale of property. Except as provided in paragraphs (k)(4) and (5) of this section, net profit from the sale of real or personal property will be counted. In determining net profit from the sale of property owned prior to the date of entitlement, the value at the date of entitlement will be considered in relation to the selling price. Where payments are received in installments, payments will not be considered income until the claimant has received amounts equal to the value of the property at the date of entitlement. Principal and interest will not be counted separately.

(4) Homes. Net profit from the sale of the claimant's residence which is received during the calendar year of sale will not be considered as income under the following conditions:

(i) To the extent that it is applied within the calendar year of the sale, or the succeeding calendar year, to the purchase price of another residence as his principal dwelling;

(ii) Such application of the net profit is reported within 1 year following the date so applied, and

(iii) The net profit is so applied after January 10, 1962, to a purchase made after said date.

This exclusion will not apply where the net profit is applied to the price of a home purchased earlier than the calendar year preceding the calendar year of sale of the old residence.

(5) Sale of property; section 306 pension and dependency and indemnity compensation. For pension under section 306 pension and for dependency and indemnity compensation, profit from the sale of real or personal property other than in the course of a business will not be considered income. This applies to property acquired either before or after the date of entitlement. Any amounts received in excess of the sales price will be counted as income. Where payments are received in installments, principal and interest will not be counted separately. For pension, this provision is effective January 1, 1965; for dependency and indemnity compensation, January 1, 1967.

(6) Payments on mortgages on real property; section 306 pension. Effective January 1, 1971, for the purposes of section 306 pension, an amount equaling any prepayments made by a veteran or surviving spouse on a mortgage or similar type security instrument in existence at the death of veteran or spouse on real property which prior to the death was the principal residence of the veteran and spouse will be excluded from consideration as income if such payment was made after the death and prior to the close of the year succeeding the year of death.

(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 1503(a)(14))

(l) Unusual medical expenses. Within the provisions of paragraphs (l)(1) through (4) of this section there will be excluded from the amount of the claimant's annual income any unreimbursed amounts which have been paid within the calendar year for unusual medical expenses regardless of the year the indebtedness was incurred. The term unusual means excessive. It does not describe the nature of a medical condition but rather the amount expended for medical treatment in relationship to the claimant's resources available for sustaining a reasonable mode of life. Unreimbursed expenditures which exceed 5 percent of the claimant's reported annual income will be considered unusual. Health, accident, sickness and hospitalization insurance premiums will be included as medical expenses in determining whether the claimant's unreimbursed medical expenses meet the criterion for unusual. A claimant's statement as to amounts expended for medical expenses ordinarily will be accepted unless the circumstances create doubt as to its credibility. An estimate based on a clear and reasonable expectation that unusual medical expenditure will be realized may be accepted for the purpose of authorizing prospective payments of benefits subject to necessary adjustment in the award upon receipt of an amended estimate or after the end of the calendar year upon receipt of an income questionnaire. For the definition of what constitutes a medical expense, see § 3.278, Deductible medical expenses.

(1) Veterans. For the purpose of section 306 pension, there will be excluded unreimbursed amounts paid by the veteran for unusual medical expenses of self, spouse, and other relatives of the veteran in the ascending as well as descending class who are members or constructive members of the veteran's household and whom the veteran has a moral or legal obligation to support.

(2) Surviving spouses. For the purpose of section 306 pension, there will be excluded unreimbursed amounts paid by the surviving spouse for the unusual medical expenses of self, the veteran's children, and other relatives of the surviving spouse in the ascending as well as descending class who are members or constructive members of the surviving spouse's household and whom the surviving spouse has a moral or legal obligation to support.

(3) Children. For the purpose of section 306 pension, there will be excluded unreimbursed amounts paid by a child for the unusual medical expenses of self, parent, and brothers and sisters of the child.

(4) Parents. For dependency and indemnity compensation purposes there will be excluded unreimbursed amounts paid by the parent for the unusual medical expenses of self, spouse, and other relatives of the parent in the ascending as well as descending class who are members or constructive members of the parent's household and whom the parent has a moral or legal obligation to support. If the combined annual income of the parent and the parent's spouse is the basis for dependency and indemnity compensation, the exclusion is applicable to the combined annual income and extends to the unusual unreimbursed medical expenses of the spouse's relatives in the ascending as well as descending class who are members or constructive members of the household and whom the parent's spouse has a moral or legal obligation to support.

(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 1315(f)(3); Sec. 306, Pub. L. 95-588; 92 Stat. 2508)

(m) Veteran's final expenses; pension. In claims for pension under section 306, there will be excluded, as provided in paragraph (p) of this section:

(1) From the income of a surviving spouse, amounts equal to amounts paid for the expenses of the veteran's last illness;

(2) From the income of a surviving spouse, or of a child of a deceased veteran where there is no surviving spouse, amounts equal to amounts paid by the surviving spouse or child for the veteran's just debts, for the expenses of the veteran's last illness, and burial to the extent such expenses are not reimbursed by the Department of Veterans Affairs. The term “just debts” does not include any debt that is secured by real or personal property.

(Authority: Sec. 306, Pub. L. 95-588; 92 Stat. 2508)

(n) Final expenses of veteran's spouse or child; pension. In claims for pension under section 306, there will be excluded, as provided in paragraph (p) of this section:

(1) From the income of a veteran, amounts equal to amounts paid by the veteran for the last illness and burial of the veteran's deceased spouse or child; and

(2) From the income of a spouse or surviving spouse, amounts equal to amounts paid by her as spouse or surviving spouse of the deceased veteran for the last illness and burial of a child of such veteran.

(Authority: Sec. 306, Pub. L. 95-588; 92 Stat. 2508)

(o) Final expenses of veteran or parent's spouse; dependency and indemnity compensation. In claims for dependency and indemnity compensation there will be excluded from the income of a parent, as provided in paragraph (p) of this section, amounts equal to amounts paid by the parent for:

(1) The expenses of the veteran's last illness and burial to the extent that such expenses are not reimbursed under 38 U.S.C. ch. 23.

(2) The parent's deceased spouse's just debts, the expenses of the spouse's last illness to the extent such expenses are not reimbursed under 38 U.S.C. ch. 51 and the expenses of the spouse's burial to the extent that such expenses are not reimbursed under 38 U.S.C. ch. 23 or 51. The term “just debts” does not include any debt that is secured by real or personal property.

(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 1315(f))

(p) Final expenses; year of exclusion. For the purpose of paragraphs (m), (n) and (o) of this section, in the absence of contradictory information, the claimant's statement will be accepted as to the nature, amount and date of payment, and identity of the creditor. Except as provided in this paragraph, payments will be deducted from annual income for the year in which such payments are made. Payments made by a veteran, the spouse or surviving spouse of a veteran, child or, in dependency and indemnity compensation claims, by a parent during the calendar year following the year in which the veteran, spouse or child died may be deducted from the claimant's income for the year of last illness or burial if this deduction is advantageous to the claimant.

(q) Volunteer programs -

(1) Payments under Foster Grandparent Program and Older Americans Community Service Programs. Effective May 3, 1973, compensation received under the Foster Grandparent Program and the Older Americans Community Service Programs will be excluded from income in claims for compensation, pension and dependency and indemnity compensation.

(Authority: Pub. L. 93-29; 87 Stat. 55)

(2) Payments under domestic volunteer service act programs. Effective October 1, 1973, compensation or reimbursement received under a Domestic Volunteer Service Act Program (including Volunteers in Service to America (VISTA), University Year for ACTION (UYA), Program for Local Services (PLS), ACTION Cooperative Volunteers (ACV), Foster Grandparent Program (FGP) and Older American Community Service Program, Retired Senior Volunteer Program (RSVP), Senior Companion Program, Service Corps of Retired Executives (SCORE) and Active Corps of Executives (ACE), will be excluded from income in claims for compensation, pension and dependency and indemnity compensation.

(Authority: Pub. L. 93-113; 87 Stat. 394)

(r) Survivor benefit annuity. For the purposes of old law pension and section 306 pension, there shall be excluded from computation of income annuity paid by the Department of Defense under the authority of section 653, Public Law 100-456 to qualified surviving spouses of veterans who died prior to November 1, 1953. (September 29, 1988)

(Authority: Sec. 653, Pub. L. 100-456; 102 Stat. 1991)

(s) Reimbursement for casualty loss. The following sources of reimbursements for casualty loss will not be considered as income in determining entitlement to benefits under the programs specified. Amounts to be excluded from computation in parens' dependency and indemnity compensation claims are limited to amounts of reimbursement which do not exceed the greater of the fair market value or the reasonable replacement cost of the property involved at the time immediately preceding the loss.

(1) Reimbursement for casualty loss of any kind in determining entitlement to parents' dependency and indemnity compensation benefits. For purposes of paragraph (t) of this section, the term “casualty loss” means the complete or partial destruction of property resulting from an identifiable event of a sudden, unexpected or unusual nature.

(2) Proceeds from fire insurance in determining dependency of a parent for compensation purposes or in determining entitlement to old-law and section 306 pension benefits.

(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 1315(f))

(t) Radiation Exposure Compensation Act. For the purposes of parents' dependency and indemnity compensation and dependency of parents under § 3.250, there shall be excluded from income computation payments under Section 6 of the Radiation Exposure Compensation Act of 1990.

(Authority: 42 U.S.C. 2210 note)

(u) Income tax returns. VA will exclude from income payments from income tax returns. See § 3.279(d)(1).

(Authority: 26 U.S.C. 6409)

(v) Statutory exclusions. Other amounts excluded from income by statute. See § 3.279. VA will exclude from income any amount designated by statute as not countable as income, regardless of whether or not it is listed in this section or in § 3.279.

[28 FR 32, Jan. 1, 1963]

§ 3.263 Corpus of estate; net worth.

(a) General. The following rules are for application in determining the corpus of estate of a parent where dependency is a factor under § 3.250, and the net worth of a veteran, surviving spouse, or child where pension is subject to Pub. L. 86-211 (73 Stat. 432) under § 3.252(b). Only the estate of the parent, in claims based on dependency, or the estate of the veteran, surviving spouse, or child-claimant in claims for pension, will be considered. In the absence of contradictory information, the claimant's statement as to ownership and estimate of value will be accepted.

(b) Definition. Corpus of estate and net worth mean the market value, less mortgages or other encumbrances, of all real and personal property owned by the claimant except the claimant's dwelling (single-family unit) including a reasonable lot area, and personal effects suitable to and consistent with the claimant's reasonable mode of life.

(c) Ownership. See § 3.262(k).

(d) Evaluation. In determining whether some part of the claimant's estate should be consumed for his or her maintenance, consideration will be given to the amount of the claimant's income, together with the following factors: whether the property can be readily converted into cash at no substantial sacrifice; ability to dispose of property as limited by community property laws; life expectancy; number of dependents who meet the requirements of § 3.250(b)(2); potential rate of depletion, including unusual medical expenses under the principles outlined in § 3.262(l) for the claimant and his or her dependents.

(e) VA will exclude from the corpus of estate or net worth any amount designated by statute as not countable as a resource. See § 3.279.

[28 FR 33, Jan. 1, 1963, as amended at 39 FR 28527, Aug. 8, 1974; 44 FR 45936, Aug. 6, 1979; 57 FR 59299, Dec. 15, 1992; 58 FR 33767, June 21, 1993; 62 FR 51279, Sept. 30, 1997; 67 FR 49587, July 31, 2002; 68 FR 60852, Oct. 24, 2003; 70 FR 15591, Mar. 28, 2005; 76 FR 4248, Jan. 25, 2011; 83 FR 47269, Sept. 18, 2018]

§ 3.270 Applicability of various dependency, income and estate regulations.

(a) Sections 3.250 through 3.263 and 3.278 through 3.279. These sections are applicable to dependency, income and estate determinations needed to determine entitlement or continued entitlement for the following programs:

(1) Parents' death compensation.

(2) Old-law pension.

(3) Section 306 pension.

(4) Parents' dependency and indemnity compensation.

Note:

Citations to title 38 U.S.C. in §§ 3.250 through 3.263 and 3.278 through 3.279 referring to section 306 or old-law pension generally refer to provisions of law in effect on December 31, 1978.

(b) Sections 3.271 through 3.279. These sections apply to income and estate determinations of entitlement to the improved disability and death pension program which became effective January 1, 1979.

[44 FR 45936, Aug. 6, 1979, as amended at 83 FR 47269, Sept. 18, 2018]

Regulations Applicable to the Improved Pension Program Which Became Effective January 1, 1979
Source:

44 FR 45936, Aug. 6, 1979, unless otherwise noted.

§ 3.271 Computation of income.

(a) General. Payments of any kind from any source shall be counted as income during the 12-month annualization period in which received unless specifically excluded under § 3.272.

(1) Recurring income. Recurring income means income which is received or anticipated in equal amounts and at regular intervals (e.g., weekly, monthly, quarterly, etc.), and which will continue throughout an entire 12-month annualization period. The amount of recurring income for pension purposes will be the amount received or anticipated during a 12-month annualization period. Recurring income which terminates prior to being counted for at least one full 12-month annualization period will be treated as nonrecurring income for computation purposes.

(2) Irregular income. Irregular income means income which is received or anticipated during a 12-month annualization period, but which is received in unequal amounts or at irregular intervals. The amount of irregular income for pension purposes will be the amount received or anticipated during a 12-month annualization period following initial receipt of such income.

(3) Nonrecurring income. Nonrecurring income means income received or anticipated on a one-time basis during a 12-month annualization period (e.g., an inheritance). Pension computations of income will include nonrecurring income for a full 12-month annualization period following receipt of the income.

(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 501)

(b) Salary. Salary means the gross amount of a person's earnings or wages before any deductions are made for such things as taxes, insurance, retirement plans, social security, etc.

(c) Business, farm or professional income.

(1) This includes gross income from a business, farm or profession as reduced by the necessary operating expenses such as cost of goods sold, or expenditures for rent, taxes, and upkeep, or costs of repairs or replacements. The value of an increase in stock inventory of a business is not considered income.

(2) Depreciation is not a deductible expense.

(3) A loss sustained in operating a business, profession, farm, or from investments, may not be deducted from income derived from any other source.

(d) Income from property. Income from real or personal property is countable as income of the property's owner. The terms of a recorded deed or other evidence of title shall constitute evidence of ownership. This includes property acquired through purchase, gift, devise, or descent. If property is owned jointly, income of the various owners shall be determined in proportion to shares of ownership of the property. The owner's shares of income held in partnership shall be determined on the basis of the facts found.

(e) Installments. Income shall be determined by the total amount received or anticipated during a 12-month annualization period.

(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 501)

(f) Deferred determinations.

(1) When an individual is unable to predict with certainty the amount of countable annual income, the annual rate of improved pension shall be reduced by the greatest amount of anticipated countable income until the end of the 12-month annualization period, when total income received during that period will be determined and adjustments in pension payable made accordingly.

(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 501)

(2) When a claimed dependent is shown to have income which exceeds the additional amount of benefits payable based on the claimed dependency, but evidence requirements of § 3.204, § 3.205, § 3.209, or § 3.210 have not been met, the maximum annual rate of improved pension shall be determined without consideration of the claimed dependency. This amount shall be reduced by an amount which includes the income of the unestablished dependent. Adjustments in computation of the maximum annual rate of improved pension shall occur following receipt of evidence necessary to establish the dependency.

(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 501(a))

(g) Compensation (civilian) for injury or death. Compensation paid by the United States Department of Labor, Office of Workers' Compensation Programs, Social Security Administration, or the Railroad Retirement Board, or pursuant to any worker's compensation or employer's liability statute, or damages collected because of personal injury or death, will be considered income as received. However, medical, legal or other expenses incident to the injury or death, or incident to the collection or recovery of the amount of the award or settlement, may be deducted. The criteria in § 3.272(g) apply as to all medical expenditures after the award or settlement.

(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 501)

(h) Fractions of dollars. Fractions of dollars will be disregarded in computing annual income.

(i) Waiver of receipt of income. Potential income that is not excludable under § 3.272 or § 3.279 but is waived by an individual is included as countable income of the individual. However, if an individual withdraws a claim for Social Security benefits, after a finding of entitlement to those benefits, in order to maintain eligibility for unreduced Social Security benefits upon reaching a particular age, VA will not regard this potential income as having been waived and will therefore not count it.

[44 FR 45936, Aug. 6, 1979, as amended at 53 FR 23235, June 21, 1988; 57 FR 59299, Dec. 15, 1992; 83 FR 47269, Sept. 18, 2018]

§ 3.272 Exclusions from income.

The following shall be excluded from countable income for the purpose of determining entitlement to improved pension. Unless otherwise provided, expenses deductible under this section are deductible only during the 12-month annualization period in which they were paid.

(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 501)

(a) Welfare. Donations from public or private relief, welfare, or charitable organizations.

(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 1503(a)(1))

(b) Maintenance. The value of maintenance furnished by a relative, friend, or a charitable organization (civic or governmental) will not be considered income. Where the individual is maintained in a rest home or other community institution or facility, public or private, because of impaired health or advanced age, money paid to the home or the individual to cover the cost of maintenance will not be considered income, regardless of whether it is furnished by a relative, friend, or charitable organization. The expense of maintenance is not deductible if it is paid from the individual's income.

(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 501, 1503(a)(1))

(c) Department of Veterans Affairs pension benefits. Payments under chapter 15 of title 38, United States Code, including accrued pension benefits payable under 38 U.S.C. 5121.

(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 1503(a)(2))

(d) Reimbursement for casualty loss. Reimbursement of any kind for any casualty loss. The amount to be excluded is not to exceed the greater of the fair market value or the reasonable replacement cost of the property involved at the time immediately preceding the loss. For purposes of this paragraph, the term “casualty loss” means the complete or partial destruction of property resulting from an identifiable event of a sudden, unexpected or unusual nature.

(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 1503(a)(5))

(e) Profit from sale of property. Profit realized from the disposition of real or personal property other than in the course of business, except amounts received in excess of the sales price, for example, interest on deferred sales is included as income. In installment sales, any payments received until the sales price is recovered are not included as income, but any amounts received which exceed the sales price are included, regardless of whether they represent principal or interest.

(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 1503(a)(6))

(f) Joint accounts. Amounts in joint accounts in banks and similar institutions acquired by reason of death of the other joint owner.

(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 1503(a)(7))

(g) Medical expenses. Within the provisions of the following paragraphs, there will be excluded from the amount of an individual's annual income any unreimbursed amounts which have been paid within the 12-month annualization period for medical expenses regardless of when the indebtedness was incurred. An estimate based on a clear and reasonable expectation that unusual medical expenditure will be realized may be accepted for the purpose of authorizing prospective payments of benefits subject to necessary adjustment in the award upon receipt of an amended estimate, or after the end of the 12-month annualization period upon receipt of an eligibility verification report. For the definition of what constitutes a medical expense, see § 3.278, Deductible medical expenses.

(1) Veteran's income. Unreimbursed medical expenses will be excluded when all of the following requirements are met:

(i) They were or will be paid by a veteran or spouse for medical expenses of the veteran, spouse, children, parents and other relatives for whom there is a moral or legal obligation of support;

(ii) They were or will be incurred on behalf of a person who is a member or a constructive member of the veteran's or spouse's household; and

(iii) They were or will be in excess of 5 percent of the applicable maximum annual pension rate or rates for the veteran (including increased pension for family members but excluding increased pension because of need for aid and attendance or being housebound) as in effect during the 12-month annualization period in which the medical expenses were paid.

(2) Surviving spouse's income. Unreimbursed medical expenses will be excluded when all of the following requirements are met:

(i) They were or will be paid by a surviving spouse for medical expenses of the spouse, veteran's children, parents and other relatives for whom there is a moral or legal obligation of support;

(ii) They were or will be incurred on behalf of a person who is a member or a constructive member of the spouse's household; and

(iii) They were or will be in excess of 5 percent of the applicable maximum annual pension rate or rates for the spouse (including increased pension for family members but excluding increased pension because of need for aid and attendance or being housebound) as in effect during the 12-month annualization period in which the medical expenses were paid.

(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 501)

(3) Children's income. Unreimbursed amounts paid by a child for medical expenses of self, parent, brothers and sisters, to the extent that such amounts exceed 5 percent of the maximum annual pension rate or rates payable to the child during the 12-month annualization period in which the medical expenses were paid.

(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 501)

(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 501)

(h) Expenses of last illnesses, burials, and just debts. Expenses specified in paragraphs (h)(1) and (h)(2) of this section which are paid during the calendar year following that in which death occurred may be deducted from annual income for the 12-month annualization period in which they were paid or from annual income for any 12-month annualization period which begins during the calendar year of death, whichever is to the claimant's advantage. Otherwise, such expenses are deductible only for the 12-month annualization period in which they were paid.

(1) Veteran's final expenses.

(i) Amounts paid by a spouse before a veteran's death for expenses of the veteran's last illness will be deducted from the income of the surviving spouse.

(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 1503(a)(3))

(ii) Amounts paid by a surviving spouse or child of a veteran for the veteran's just debts, expenses of last illness and burial (to the extent such burial expenses are not reimbursed under chapter 23 of title 38 U.S.C.) will be deducted from the income of the surviving spouse or child. The term “just debts” does not include any debt that is secured by real or personal property.

(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 1503(a)(3))

(2) Spouse or child's final expenses.

(i) Amounts paid by a veteran for the expenses of the last illness and burial of the veteran's deceased spouse or child will be deducted from the veteran's income.

(ii) Amounts paid by a veteran's spouse or surviving spouse for expenses of the last illness and burial of the veteran's child will be deducted from the spouse's or surviving spouse's income.

(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 1503(a)(4))

(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 501)

(i) Educational expenses. Amounts equal to expenses paid by a veteran or surviving spouse pursuing a course of education or vocational rehabilitation or training, to include amounts paid for tuition, fees, books, and materials, and in the case of a veteran or surviving spouse in need of regular aid and attendance, unreimbursed amounts paid for unusual transportation expenses in connection with the pursuit of such course. Unusual transportation expenses are those exceeding the reasonable expenses which would have been incurred by a nondisabled person using an appropriate means of transportation (public transportation, if reasonably available).

(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 1503(a)(9))

(j) Child's income. In the case of a child, any current work income received during the year, to the extent that the total amount of such income does not exceed an amount equal to the sum of the following:

(1) The lowest amount of gross income for which a Federal income tax return must be filed, as specified in section 6012(a) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1954, by an individual who is not married (as determined under section 143 of such Code), and is not a surviving spouse (as defined in section 2(a) of such Code), and is not a head of household (as defined in section 2(b) of such Code); and

(2) If the child is pursuing a course of postsecondary education or vocational rehabilitation or training, the amount paid by the child for those educational expenses including the amount paid for tuition, fees, books, and materials.

(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 1503(a)(10))

(k) Veterans' benefits from States and municipalities. VA will exclude from income payments from a State or municipality to a veteran of a monetary benefit that is paid as a veterans' benefit due to injury or disease. VA will exclude up to $5,000 of such benefit in any annualization period.

(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 1503(a)(11))

(l) Distributions of funds under 38 U.S.C. 1718. Distributions from the Department of Veterans Affairs Special Therapeutic and Rehabilitation Activities Fund as a result of participation in a therapeutic or rehabilitation activity under 38 U.S.C. 1718 and payments from participation in a program of rehabilitative services provided as part of the care furnished by a State home and which is approved by VA as conforming to standards for activities under 38 U.S.C. 1718 shall be considered donations from a public or private relief or welfare organization and shall not be countable as income for pension purposes.

(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 1718(f))

(m) Hardship exclusion of child's available income. When hardship is established under the provisions of § 3.23(d)(6) of this part, there shall be excluded from the available income of any child or children an amount equal to the amount by which annual expenses necessary for reasonable family maintenance exceed the sum of countable annual income plus VA pension entitlement computed without consideration of this exclusion. The amount of this exclusion shall not exceed the available income of any child or children, and annual expenses necessary for reasonable family maintenance shall not include any expenses which were considered in determining the available income of the child or children or the countable annual income of the veteran or surviving spouse.

(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 1521(h), 1541(g))

(n) Survivor benefit annuity. Annuity paid by the Department of Defense under the authority of section 653, Public Law 100-456 to qualified surviving spouses of veterans who died prior to November 1, 1953. (September 29, 1988)

(Authority: Sec. 653, Pub. L. 100-456; 102 Stat. 1991)

(o) Cash surrender value of life insurance. That portion of proceeds from the cash surrender of a life insurance policy which represents a return of insurance premiums.

(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 501(a))

(p) Radiation Exposure Compensation Act. Any payment made under Section 6 of the Radiation Exposure Compensation Act of 1990.

(Authority: 42 U.S.C. 2210 note)

(q) Life insurance proceeds. Lump-sum proceeds of any life insurance policy on a veteran.

(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 1503(a)(12))

(r) Income tax returns. VA will exclude from income payments from income tax returns. See § 3.279(e)(1).

(Authority: 26 U.S.C. 6409)

(s) Reimbursements for loss. VA will exclude from income payments described in 38 U.S.C. 1503(a)(5).

(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 1503(a)(5))

(t) Statutory exclusions. Other amounts excluded from income by statute. See § 3.279. VA will exclude from income any amount designated by statute as not countable as income, regardless of whether or not it is listed in this section or in § 3.279.

[44 FR 45936, Aug. 6, 1979]

§ 3.273 Rate computation.

The commencement date of change in benefit payments based on rate computations under the provisions of this section will be determined under the provisions of § 3.31 or § 3.660.

(a) Initial award. For the purpose of determining initial entitlement, or for resuming payments on an award which was previously discontinued, the monthly rate of pension payable to a beneficiary shall be computed by reducing the beneficiary's applicable maximum pension rate by the beneficiary's countable income on the effective date of entitlement and dividing the remainder by 12. Effective June 1, 1983, the provisions of § 3.29(b) apply to this paragraph. Recomputation of rates due to changes in the maximum annual pension rate or rate of income following the initial date of entitlement are subject to the provisions of paragraph (b) of this section.

(b) Running awards -

(1) Change in maximum annual pension rate. Whenever there is change in a beneficiary's applicable maximum annual pension rate, the monthly rate of pension payable shall be computed by reducing the new applicable maximum annual pension rate by the beneficiary's countable income on the effective date of the change in the applicable maximum annual pension rate, and dividing the remainder by 12. Effective June 1, 1983, the provisions of § 3.29(b) apply to this paragraph.

(2) Change in amount of income. Whenever there is a change in a beneficiary's amount of countable income the monthly rate of pension payable shall be computed by reducing the beneficiary's applicable maximum annual pension rate by the beneficiary's new amount of countable income on the effective date of the change in the amount of income, and dividing the remainder by 12. Effective June 1, 1983, the provisions of § 3.29(b) apply to this paragraph.

(c) Nonrecurring income. The amount of any nonrecurring countable income (e.g. an inheritance) received by a beneficiary shall be added to the beneficiary's annual rate of income for a 12-month annualization period commencing on the effective date on which the nonrecurring income is countable.

(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 501)

(d) Recurring and irregular income. The amount of recurring and irregular income anticipated or received by a beneficiary shall be added to determine the beneficiary's annual rate of income for a 12-month annualization period commencing at the beginning of the 12-month annualization, subject to the provisions of § 3.660(a)(2) of this chapter.

[44 FR 45936, Aug. 6, 1979, as amended at 48 FR 34472, July 29, 1983; 57 FR 59300, Dec. 15, 1992]

§ 3.274 Net worth and VA pension.

(a) Net worth limit. For purposes of entitlement to VA pension, the net worth limit effective October 18, 2018 is $123,600. This limit will be increased by the same percentage as the Social Security increase whenever there is a cost-of-living increase in benefit amounts payable under section 215(i) of title II of the Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. 415(i)). VA will publish the current limit on its website at www.benefits.va.gov/pension/.

(b) When a claimant's or beneficiary's net worth exceeds the limit. Except as provided in paragraph (h)(2) of this section, VA will deny or discontinue pension if a claimant's or beneficiary's net worth exceeds the net worth limit in paragraph (a) of this section.

(1) Net worth. Net worth means the sum of a claimant's or beneficiary's assets and annual income.

(2) Asset calculation. VA will calculate a claimant's or beneficiary's assets under this section and § 3.275.

(3) Annual income calculation. VA will calculate a claimant's or beneficiary's annual income under § 3.271, and will include the annual income of dependents as required by law. See §§ 3.23(d)(4), 3.23(d)(5), and 3.24 for more information on annual income included when VA calculates a claimant's or beneficiary's pension entitlement rate. In calculating annual income for this purpose, VA will subtract all applicable deductible expenses, to include appropriate prospective medical expenses under § 3.272(g).

(4) Example of net worth calculation. For purposes of this example, presume the net worth limit is $123,600. A claimant's assets total $117,000 and annual income is $9,000. Therefore, adding the claimant's annual income to assets produces net worth of $126,000. This amount exceeds the net worth limit.

(c) Assets of other individuals included as claimant's or beneficiary's assets -

(1) Claimant or beneficiary is a veteran. A veteran's assets include the assets of the veteran as well as the assets of his or her spouse, if the veteran has a spouse.

(2) Claimant or beneficiary is a surviving spouse. A surviving spouse's assets include only the assets of the surviving spouse.

(3) Claimant or beneficiary is a surviving child.

(i) If a surviving child has no custodian or is in the custody of an institution, the child's assets include only the assets of the child.

(ii) If a surviving child has a custodian other than an institution, the child's assets include the assets of the child as well as the assets of the custodian. If the child is in the joint custody of his or her natural or adoptive parent and a stepparent, the child's assets also include the assets of the stepparent. See § 3.57(d) for more information on child custody for pension purposes.

(d) How a child's net worth affects a veteran's or surviving spouse's pension entitlement. VA will not consider a child to be a veteran's or surviving spouse's dependent child for pension purposes if the child's net worth exceeds the net worth limit in paragraph (a) of this section.

(1) Dependent child and potential dependent child. For the purposes of this section -

(i) “Dependent child” refers to a child for whom a veteran or a surviving spouse is entitled to an increased maximum annual pension rate.

(ii) “Potential dependent child” refers to a child who is excluded from a veteran's or surviving spouse's pension award solely or partly because of this paragraph (d). References in this section to “dependent child” include a potential dependent child.

(2) Dependent child net worth. A dependent child's net worth is the sum of his or her annual income and the value of his or her assets.

(3) Dependent child asset calculation. VA will calculate the value of a dependent child's assets under this section and § 3.275. A dependent child's assets include the child's assets only.

(4) Dependent child annual income calculation. VA will calculate a dependent child's annual income under § 3.271, and will include the annual income of the child as well as the annual income of the veteran or surviving spouse that would be included if VA were calculating a pension entitlement rate for the veteran or surviving spouse.

(e) When VA calculates net worth. VA calculates net worth only when:

(1) VA has received -

(i) An original pension claim;

(ii) A new pension claim after a period of non-entitlement;

(iii) A request to establish a new dependent; or

(iv) Information that a veteran's, surviving spouse's, or child's net worth has increased or decreased; and

(2) The claimant or beneficiary meets the other factors necessary for pension entitlement as provided in § 3.3(a)(3) and (b)(4).

Note to paragraph (e):

If the evidence shows that net worth exceeds the net worth limit, VA may decide the pension claim before determining if the claimant meets other entitlement factors. VA will notify the claimant of the entitlement factors that have not been established.

(f) How net worth decreases. Net worth may decrease in three ways: Assets can decrease, annual income can decrease, or both assets and annual income can decrease.

(1) How assets decrease. A veteran, surviving spouse, or child, or someone acting on their behalf, may decrease assets by spending them on any item or service for which fair market value is received unless the item or items purchased are themselves part of net worth. See § 3.276(a)(4) for the definition of “fair market value.” The expenses must be those of the veteran, surviving spouse, or child, or a relative of the veteran, surviving spouse, or child. The relative must be a member or constructive member of the veteran's, surviving spouse's, or child's household.

(2) How annual income decreases. See §§ 3.271 through 3.273.

(3) Example 1. For purposes of this example, presume the net worth limit is $123,600 and the maximum annual pension rate (MAPR) is $12,000. A claimant has assets of $115,000 and annual income of $9,000. Adding annual income to assets produces a net worth of $124,000, which exceeds the net worth limit. However, the claimant is a patient in a nursing home and pays annual unreimbursed nursing home fees of $29,000. Reasonably predictable unreimbursed medical expenses are deductible from annual income under § 3.272(g) to the extent that they exceed 5 percent of the applicable MAPR. VA subtracts the projected expenditures that exceed 5 percent of the applicable MAPR (here, $28,400) from annual income, which decreases annual income to zero. The claimant's net worth is now $115,000; therefore, net worth is within the limit to qualify for VA pension.

(4) Example 2. For purposes of this example, presume the net worth limit is $123,600 and the MAPR is $12,000. A claimant has assets of $123,000 and annual income of $9,500. Adding annual income to assets produces a net worth of $132,500, which exceeds the net worth limit. The claimant pays reasonably predictable annual unreimbursed medical expenses of $9,000. Unreimbursed medical expenses are deductible from annual income under § 3.272(g) to the extent that they exceed 5 percent of the applicable MAPR. VA subtracts the projected expenditures that exceed 5 percent of the applicable MAPR (here, $8,400) from annual income, which decreases annual income to $1,100. This decreases net worth to $124,100, which is still over the limit. VA must deny the claim for excessive net worth.

(g) Effective dates of pension entitlement or increased entitlement after a denial, reduction, or discontinuance based on excessive net worth -

(1) Scope of paragraph. This paragraph (g) applies when VA has:

(i) Discontinued pension or denied pension entitlement for a veteran, surviving spouse, or surviving child based on the veteran's, surviving spouse's, or surviving child's excessive net worth; or

(ii) Reduced pension or denied increased pension entitlement for a veteran or surviving spouse based on a dependent child's excessive net worth.

(2) Effective date of entitlement or increased entitlement. The effective date of entitlement or increased entitlement is the day net worth ceases to exceed the limit. For this effective date to apply, the claimant or beneficiary must submit a certified statement that net worth has decreased and VA must receive the certified statement before the pension claim has become finally adjudicated under § 3.160. This means that VA must receive the certified statement within 1 year after its decision notice to the claimant concerning the denial, reduction, or discontinuance unless the claimant appeals VA's decision. Otherwise, the effective date is the date VA receives a new pension claim. In accordance with § 3.277(a), VA may require the claimant or beneficiary to submit additional evidence as the individual circumstances may require.

(h) Reduction or discontinuance of beneficiary's pension entitlement based on excessive net worth -

(1) Effective date of reduction or discontinuance. When an increase in a beneficiary's or dependent child's net worth results in a pension reduction or discontinuance because net worth exceeds the limit, the effective date of reduction or discontinuance is the last day of the calendar year in which net worth exceeds the limit.

(2) Net worth decreases before the effective date. If net worth decreases to the limit or below the limit before the effective date provided in paragraph (h)(1) of this section, VA will not reduce or discontinue the pension award on the basis of excessive net worth.

(i) Additional effective-date provisions for dependent children -

(1) Establishing a dependent child on veteran's or surviving spouse's pension award results in increased pension entitlement. When establishing a dependent child on a veteran's or surviving spouse's pension award results in increased pension entitlement for the veteran or surviving spouse, VA will apply the effective-date provisions in paragraphs (g) and (h) of this section.

(2) Establishing a dependent child on veteran's or surviving spouse's pension award results in decreased pension entitlement.

(i) When a dependent child's non-excessive net worth results in decreased pension entitlement for the veteran or surviving spouse, the effective date of the decreased pension entitlement rate (i.e., VA action to add the child to the award) is the end of the year that the child's net worth decreases.

(ii) When a dependent child's excessive net worth results in increased pension entitlement for the veteran or surviving spouse, the effective date of the increased pension entitlement rate (i.e., VA action to remove the child from the award) is the date that VA receives a claim for an increased rate based on the child's net worth increase.

[83 FR 47269, Sept 18, 2018]

§ 3.275 How VA determines the asset amount for pension net worth determinations.

(a) Definitions pertaining to assets -

(1) Assets. The term assets means the fair market value of all property that an individual owns, including all real and personal property, unless excluded under paragraph (b) of this section, less the amount of mortgages or other encumbrances specific to the mortgaged or encumbered property. VA will consider the terms of the recorded deed or other evidence of title to be proof of ownership of a particular asset. See also § 3.276(a)(4), which defines “fair market value.”

(2) Claimant.

(i) Except as provided in paragraph (a)(2)(ii) of this section, for the purposes of this section and § 3.276, claimant means a pension beneficiary, a dependent spouse, or a dependent or potential dependent child as described in § 3.274(d), as well as a veteran, surviving spouse, or surviving child pension applicant.

(ii) For the purpose of paragraph (b)(1) of this section, claimant means a pension beneficiary or applicant who is a veteran, a surviving spouse, or a surviving child.

(3) Residential lot area. For purposes of this section, residential lot area means the lot on which a residence sits that does not exceed 2 acres (87,120 square feet), unless the additional acreage is not marketable.

(b) Exclusions from assets. Assets do not include the following: