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Conducting Veteran Dependency and Indemnity Compensation Exams: Establishing a Nexus Between Mental Health and Death

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Abstract

Forms of financial compensation have been paid to the beneficiaries of deceased service members since the Revolutionary War. In its current version, Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (DIC) is a tax-free monetary benefit paid to eligible survivors of veterans whose death resulted from a service-related disability. Mental health professionals are called upon to provide medico-legal opinions in DIC claims involving questions of whether a veteran’s service-connected mental illness contributed substantially to their death. The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) does not currently employ training programs, competency standards, or best practice recommendations for these specialized evaluations. This article seeks to fill this gap and provide a resource for mental health professionals providing medical opinions in DIC claims.

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Author information

Correspondence to Jeffrey Louis Garbelman.

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Conflict of Interest

This article is not funded by the VA or any other agency or entity. The author is employed by the VA to conduct Compensation and Pension examinations. The author is not affiliated with any veterans advocacy groups or any other stakeholders with regard to veteran’s issues in the USA. He is also not affiliated with any psychological test publishing companies or any other relevant commercial enterprise. The author wrote this article in a manner consistent with psychologist professional standards and ethical principles.

The author declares that they have no conflict of interest.

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There were no issues of informed consent as all information was taken from publicly assessable databases only.

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No animal studies were carried out by the authors for this article.

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The content is the responsibility of the author alone and does not necessarily reflect the views or policies of the Department of Veterans Affairs or the United States Government.

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Garbelman, J.L. Conducting Veteran Dependency and Indemnity Compensation Exams: Establishing a Nexus Between Mental Health and Death. Psychol. Inj. and Law 10, 161–176 (2017). https://doi.org/10.1007/s12207-017-9284-8

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Keywords

  • Veterans
  • Compensation
  • Death
  • Benefits
  • Mental health