The United States Department of Veteran Affairs (VA) disability program provides financial assistance to veterans who incurred physical or mental disabilities that are related to their service.
The VA works to implement programs that can help veterans to transition seamlessly to civilian life. This program ensures that veterans who are living with disabilities can afford basic necessities and can care for their families after completing their service.
The VA disability pay and compensation rates can vary, depending on the current availability of funds for the program and a veteran’s individual factors. These determining factors include the significance of the veteran’s mental or physical disability and the number of dependents he or she is responsible for. Before any type of VA compensation is provided to an applicant, the department determines if he or she is eligible for these program benefits. It is important for veterans to understand the eligibility guidelines of the program and how to correctly complete the application process so they can receive compensation through this helpful program. For more information on VA disability benefits eligibility, rates and the application process, review the following information.
VA disability benefits eligibility must be met by a veteran applicant in order for him or her to be approved for financial compensation through the program. The eligibility requirements of the program mostly relate to an applicant’s service in the armed forces and the details of his or her disability. To qualify to receive benefits through the disability compensation program, an applicant must have served in the Uniformed Services of the United States through:
In addition, to meet the VA disability eligibility criteria, the veteran must have been discharged honorably. If a veteran was discharged due to a dishonorable reason, he or she is immediately disqualified from receiving disability compensation from the VA.
Related Article: VA Disability Ratings and Compensation Rates
The VA disability dependent eligibility requirements must be met for veterans attempting to claim dependents. When applying for the program, veterans claiming dependents are required to provide information on these family members, such as their names and ages. If eligible dependents are claimed, the amount of compensation provided may increase for veterans.
In addition to proving eligible service, an applicant must also meet the VA disability qualifying conditions that are set for the disability he or she is claiming. The veteran must be at least 10 percent physically or mentally disabled to attempt to claim disability benefits. The disability must also be directly linked to his or her service in the armed forces. An eligible disability may be an injury or disease caused by service or it may be a pre-existing injury or disease that was aggravated during service. Veterans who served inactive duty training can only receive disability benefits through the VA if their disabilities resulted from heart attacks, strokes or injuries.
VA disability rates are calculated based on the current rates that are available through the program and the eligible applicant’s specific situation. The disability rating scale is used by the VA to determine the compensation a veteran is eligible to receive through the program. In some cases, VA medical examinations are performed on applicants to determine the severity of their disabilities.
When a potential beneficiary applies to the program, VA compensation rates are only determined after his or her military records have been reviewed. Additionally, the applicant is required to provide evidence and proof of his or her disability. This documentation is also studied by VA representatives to determine the specific disability rating.
VA disability rates for conditions are set in 10 percent increments, from 10 percent to 100 percent. Applicants with disability ratings of lower than 10 percent do not qualify for benefits. A veteran with a higher disability rating will receive a higher rate of benefits, as long as he or she meets all other eligibility requirements. For example, a veteran determined to have a 90 percent disability rating will receive more monthly compensation than a veteran who has a 20 percent rating.
VA disability compensation rates are also determined by the number of dependents a veteran has. A married veteran will receive more compensation than a single veteran. Additionally, a veteran with children will also receive a higher monthly disability rate than a veteran with no children.
Veterans may apply for VA disability online or in person at a local VA office. Applicants who have internet access are encouraged to complete the process online, since it is usually faster and more convenient. To complete the process online, a veteran must:
Potential applicants who want to submit a VA disability application in person can download and print their forms from the website first. Once completed, they can submit the applications, along with all documents needed for evidence to a local VA office. A VA representative can assist these applicants in ensuring they have provided all necessary documentation for claim processing.
A veteran who is filing a VA disability claim online can also seek the assistance of a Veterans Service Officer (VSO), claims agent or accredited attorney at any time. This professional can help him or her to complete the application thoroughly and track the status of the application. Some potential VA disability applicants may be eligible for expedited claims through the Decision Ready Claims (DRC) program. These veterans are required to use accredited Veterans Service Organization representatives to help them submit an application.
VA special monthly compensation may be available to veterans who qualify for additional financial assistance through the disability program. Veterans with severe disabilities or who meet other additional special circumstances set by the VA may receive this special compensation through the disability program. For example, a veteran who has lost a hand or foot due to his or her service may be eligible for this special compensation. Veteran eligibility for additional financial compensation through the program is determined at the time of application.
The amount of special monthly compensation provided to eligible veterans through the disability program is directly related to the severity of the disability and the number of dependents in the household. For eligible applicants, the special compensation is provided each month in addition to the disability program benefits that they are already eligible to receive.
Related Article: Eligibility for VA Disability Compensation