When a Veteran starts considering whether or not to file a VA Disability Claim, there are a lot of questions that he or she tends to ask. Over the last 10 years, the following are the 14 most common basic questions I am asked about when it comes to filing VA Disability Claims.
1. What benefits do you get from a VA Disability claim?
There are several major categories of VA benefits you can get when you file a VA Disability claim. One category is what is called the “Non-Service Connected Pension” which is available to extremely low-income veterans with disabilities. Another category is education benefits. A third category is burial benefits. A fourth category is health care benefits. And the category that is the focus of this post – and the Veterans Law Blog – is disability compensation for diseases, conditions, and disabilities that had their origin in military service.
(Note that you do not need to show that military service CAUSED the disability – Congress long ago recognized that Veterans should get benefits even if a disease or disability that wasn’t caused BY service has its origins IN service.
When it comes to a VA Disability claim for service connected disabilities, the primary benefit is financial. Once you prove to the VA that your current medical condition, disease or disability is related to your military service, they will assign a percentage of disability to that condition – using a complicated table and formulas. That percentage of disability translates to a monthly dollar amount. 10% equals one amount….20% another amount… and so on and so forth.
In addition to the basic rates of compensation mentioned above, you can get additional compensation for different scenarios that you raise in your VA Disability claim. Here are just a few:
- A Veteran who has certain percentage ratings for multiple disabilities can be eligible for additional Special Monthly Compensation. This Special Monthly Compensation is also available to Veterans with certain disabilities that limit use of, or that resulted in the loss of, their extremities, their reproductive organs, organs of special sense (vision, etc).
- Veterans who are unable to work because of their service connected disabilities are entitled to a 100% total rating under a benefits program called Total Disability for Individual Unemployability, or TDIU.
- Veterans who need special aid and assistance with certain activities of daily living are entitled to an additional amount of compensation.
- And Veterans with a spouse or certain dependents are entitled to higher rates of compensation as well.
- There are certain vocational rehabilitation benefits available to Veterans with service-connected disabilities
- The total percent rating of your service connected disabilities can play a role in the ease you get VA Healthcare or the Priority Group you are assigned to.
- There are grants available for special adaptations to housing or automobiles that can grow out of your service connected disabilities.
- Survivors of Veterans are entitled to non-service connected survivors’ pensions – also limited to the lowest income survivors. These survivors are typically spouse or children, but it some cases include parents, and adult children who were permanently incapable of support before they turned 18.