According to 38 CFR 3.57(b), the term “stepchild” refers to the legitimate or illegitimate child of a Veteran’s spouse. It also refers to the child of a surviving spouse whose marriage to a Veteran VA has deemed valid.
References: For more information on deemed-valid marriages, see M21-1MR, Part III, Subpart iii, 5.E.26.
receiving (or was receiving at the time of the Veteran’s death) at least half of his/her support from the Veteran.
Important: The awarding of legal custody to someone other than the Veteran does not affect the stepchild’s status as a child of the Veteran as long as the child is actually a member of the Veteran’s household.
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42. Establishing a Stepchild as a Veteran’s Child for VA Purposes, Continued
c. Overview of the Process for Establishing a Stepchild as a Veteran’s Child
The table below provides a general overview of the process for establishing a stepchild as a Veteran’s child for VA purposes. The remaining blocks within this topic contain the details for completing this process.
Follow the instructions in M21-1MR, Part III, Subpart iii, 5.B.5 and 6 for establishing the Veteran’s marriage to the stepchild’s biological or adoptive parent.
Establish the stepchild’s relationship to the biological or adoptive parent to whom the Veteran is/was married.
If the Veteran is
still living, establish that the child is a member of the Veteran’s household, or
deceased, establish that the child was a member of the Veteran’s household at the time of the Veteran’s death.
Reference: For more information on establishing a stepchild as a Veteran’s child for VA purposes, see 38 CFR 3.210(d).