a. Result of the Adoption of a Veteran’s Child Out of the Veteran’s Family
The adoption of a Veteran’s child by a person outside the Veteran’s family does not break the relationship between the Veteran and his/her child, even if the Veteran’s parental rights have been terminated. The child
continues to be a child of the Veteran for VA purposes, and
may be recognized by VA as the child of two different Veterans if the adoptive parent is also a Veteran.
Reference: For more information on the adoption of a Veteran’s child by a person outside the Veteran’s family, see 38 CFR 3.58.
b. Example: Two Veterans Entitled to Additional Benefits for the Same Child
either of the Veterans died on or after June 9, 1960
separate death benefits to or for the child based on the service of each parent. If entitlement exists, the child (or his/her custodian) must elect benefits based on the service of one or the other parent.
separate awards of Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (DIC) to or for the child based on the service of each parent.
Note: The child may receive DIC based on the service of one parent and pension based on the service of another parent of the same sex.
Continued on next page
41. Children Adopted Out of a Veteran’s Family, Continued
d. Entitlement of a Child Adopted Out of a Veteran’s Family to Death Benefits (continued)
When the child’s parents are …
Then the child …
two different Veterans not in the same parental line
may receive more than one death benefit.
Example: If a child’s mother and father were both killed in service, the child may be eligible for two, separate DIC awards.
e. Effect of a Child’s Adoption on a Veteran’s Entitlement to Improved Pension
Under 38 CFR 3.58, a child adopted out of a Veteran’s family may remain a child of the Veteran for VA purposes. However, VA lacks authority to pay additional Improved Pension to a Veteran for such a child if
the Veteran is not reasonably contributing to the child’s support, and
the accompanying legal right to exercise parental control and responsibility for the child’s care and welfare.
Because laws governing adoptions vary by State, ask Regional Counsel to decide whether the above conditions exist before determining whether a Veteran is entitled to additional benefits for a child adopted out of the Veteran’s family.
References: For more information on
the adoption of a child out of a Veteran’s family, see VAOPGCPREC 16-94, and
“child custody” for the purpose of determining entitlement to Improved Pension, see 38 CFR 3.57(d).