Children with disabilities whose parents are veterans, living or dead, may be entitled to government support.

Veterans and their children might not be aware of the fact, but financial assistance is available through the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs and the Social Security Administration, whether for health care costs, vocational training, or in the form of survivor benefits.

One such source is the VA’s Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (VA DIC), which provides a monthly tax-free financial benefit to the parents, spouses, and children — with or without disabilities — of veterans who died in the line of duty, or as a result of a service-related injury. Assistance is also available for the children of surviving veterans who became totally disabled as a result of their service.

There is also help with health care costs specifically tailored for veterans’ children with disabilities, through the Civilian Health and Medical Program of the Department of Veterans Affairs (CHAMPVA) and the Department of Defense’s TRICARE insurance program. The former provides “special restorative training” to assist such children in “overcom[ing] or lessen[ing] the effects of a physical or mental disability.” It also provides “special vocational training.”  TRICARE offers several services under the basic TRICARE benefit and some special programs for beneficiaries with special needs.  For details on TRICARE’s special needs benefits, click here.

Veterans who served in Vietnam or Thailand, or in or near the Korean Demilitarized Zone and whose child has spina bifida or certain other birth defects linked to the use of Agent Orange may be eligible for disability benefits. For more, click here.

Like other children with special needs, veterans’ children who have disabilities may also be entitled to Social Security benefits.  For more, click here.

The programs and funding sources available to veterans’ families are many, and sometimes complex. Therefore, it is important that those seeking financial planning consult with professionals who are familiar with veterans’ benefits.