I guess I’m not surprised at the number of veterans who don’t know they have benefits coming to them through the VA. They are hardly focused on paperwork when they are headed home!
In addition, there is often confusion over exactly what it is that Disability Compensation through the VA will pay for. I’ve seen many veterans who believed that any medical problem they had meant their benefit amount would be raised. That’s not true though.
Disability Compensation is a tax free monetary benefit paid to Veterans with disabilities that are the result of a disease or injury incurred or aggravated during active military service. Compensation may also be paid for post-service disabilities that are considered related or secondary to disabilities occurring in service and for disabilities presumed to be related to circumstances of military service, even though they may arise after service. Generally, the degrees of disability specified are also designed to compensate for considerable loss of working time from exacerbations or illnesses.
The benefit amount is determined according to the degree of the Veteran’s disability based on a scale from 10 percent to 100 percent (in increments of 10 percent). Compensation may also be paid for disabilities that are considered related or secondary to disabilities occurring in service and for disabilities presumed to be related to circumstances of military service, even though they may arise after service. Generally, the degrees of disability specified are also designed to compensate for considerable loss of working time from exacerbations or illnesses.
If you have dependents, an additional allowance may be added if your combined disability is rated 30% or greater. Your compensation may be offset if you receive military retirement pay, disability severance pay, or separation incentive payments.
A veteran must be determined to be eligible to receive benefits. Eligibility is based on:
- Service in the Uniformed Services on active duty, OR
- Active duty for training, OR
- Inactive duty training, AND
- You were discharged under other than dishonorable conditions, AND
- You are at least 10% disabled by an injury or disease that was incurred in or aggravated during active duty or active duty for training, or inactive duty training
Evidence is required to support the veteran’s claim:
- Medical evidence of a current physical or mental disability, AND
- Evidence of a relationship between your disability and an injury, disease, or event in military service. Medical records or medical opinions are required to establish this relationship.
Note: Under certain circumstances, VA may conclude that certain current disabilities were caused by service, even if there is no specific evidence proving this in your particular claim. The cause of a disability is presumed for the following Veterans who have certain diseases.
Presumed disability status may be granted for:
- Former prisoners of war
- Veterans who have certain chronic or tropical diseases that become evident within a specific period of time after discharge from service
- Veterans who were exposed to ionizing radiation, mustard gas, or Lewisite while in service
- Veterans who were exposed to certain herbicides, such as by serving in Vietnam
- Veterans who served in Southwest Asia during the Gulf War