TN 95 (09-04)

SI 00830.318 Payments to Veterans’ Children with Certain Birth Defects

Citations:

Soc. Sec. Act as Amended, Sec 1612(b); P.L. 104-204, §421; P.L. 106-419, §401; P.L. 108-183, §102; 20 CFR §416.1124(b)

A. Background

The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) provides three types of benefits to natural children of veterans:

  • benefits for Vietnam veterans’ children born with spina bifida,

  • benefits for Korea service veterans’ children born with spina bifida
    (Section 102 of the Veterans Benefits Act of 2003, P.L. 108-183, signed into law on December 16, 2003), and

  • benefits for women Vietnam veterans’ children born with certain birth defects.

For purposes of this VA benefit, the child status is not changed by age or marital status.

Children do not receive benefits under more than one of these programs. VA determines eligibility for VA benefits.

1. Benefits for Veterans’ Children with Spina Bifida (Spina Bifida Benefit)

VA pays monthly benefits to eligible Vietnam and Korea service veterans’ natural children born with spina bifida. These payments began after October 1, 1997. VA pays three different benefit amounts based on levels of disability and payments are subject to annual increases. In 2004, the payment amounts are $237, $821, $1,402 for spina bifida benefits. If children with spina bifida have one or more additional birth defects, VA may pay benefit payments under the provisions for benefits for women Vietnam veterans’ children born with certain birth defects, rather than payments under the provisions for spina bifida benefits. See SI 00830.318A.2. Children may receive benefits under spina bifida benefits or benefits for women Vietnam veterans’ children born with certain birth defects, but children do not receive both benefits simultaneously.

The statutory provisions authorizing these benefits provide that the monthly allowance paid to these veterans' children shall not be considered income or resources in determining eligibility for or the amount of benefits under any Federal or federally-assisted program.

2. Benefits for Women Vietnam Veterans’ Children with Certain Birth Defects (Section 401 of P.L. 106-419 Benefit)

Beginning December 1, 2001, women Vietnam veterans’ children born with certain birth defects may be eligible for monthly payments from VA. VA identifies birth defects of children of women Vietnam veterans as those that:

  • are associated with the service of those veterans in the Republic of Vietnam during the Vietnam era, and

  • result in permanent physical or mental disability.

Section 401 of Public Law 106-419 established VA payments to eligible children according to four levels of disability. VA pays four different payment amounts that correspond to four levels of disability and payments are subject to annual increases. In 2004, the payment amounts are $108, $237, $821, $1,402. If children have a single birth defect of spina bifida, VA may pay benefits under spina bifida benefit rates. Children may receive benefits under spina bifida benefits or Section 401 of P.L. 106-419 benefits, but children do not receive both benefits simultaneously.

The statutory provisions authorizing these benefits provide that the monthly allowance paid to these Vietnam veterans' children shall not be considered income or resources in determining eligibility for or the amount of benefits under any Federal or federally-assisted program.

B. Policy

The following types of VA benefits are excluded from income and resources for SSI purposes:

  • VA payments made to or on behalf of certain Vietnam veterans' natural children regardless of their age or marital status, for any disability resulting from spina bifida suffered by such children;

  • VA payments made to or on behalf of certain Korea service veterans' natural children regardless of their age or marital status, for any disability resulting from spina bifida suffered by such children; and

  • VA payments made to or on behalf of women Vietnam veterans’ natural children regardless of their age or marital status, for certain birth defects

NOTE: For benefits payable on or after July 1, 2004, interest and dividends earned on unspent payments are excluded from income. See SI 00830.500. For benefits payable prior to July 1, 2004, interest and dividends earned on unspent payments are not excluded from income.

C. Procedure

Individuals who apply for SSI benefits or receive SSI benefits may have docume