There are numerous types of claims that apply to disability compensation. They can be based on disabilities that existed when entering military service, but were made worse, disabilities that occurred during service, or disabilities that arose after you left military service. Additionally, there are claims that are filed for special circumstances.
Service members that are within 180 days of separation or retirement from active duty or full time National Guard duty may file claims for disability compensation. Learn more about pre-discharge claims
It is to your advantage to submit your disability compensation claim prior to separation, retirement, or release from active duty or demobilization. Processing times tend to be much shorter for claims submitted pre-discharge than after discharge. Pre-discharge programs provide Servicemembers with the opportunity to file claims for disability compensation up to 180 days prior to separation or retirement from active duty or full-time National Guard or Reserve duty (Titles 10 and 32).
You can apply for disability compensation through one of the following:
Claims Based on Pre-Service Disabilities
Individuals may enter military service with a known disability. Should this disability become worse due to military service, VA may be able to pay compensation. This is known as aggravation; however, compensation can only be paid for the level of aggravation. For example, at entry into military service, an individual has a disabling condition that could be considered 10% disabling. In order for this condition to be considered aggravated, it would have to have worsened due to military service to at least 20%.
Claims Based on In-Service Disabilities
These claims are based on disabilities that are a result of an injury or disease that occurred in active service, and in the line of duty. Injuries or diseases as a result of the Veteran’s own willful misconduct or abuse of alcohol or drugs are excluded.