If you are a United States Armed Forces veteran injured during service and suffer from a resulting disease or disability you may be eligible to receive veterans disability compensation through the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.
Today, we discuss what you should know about veterans disability compensation.
What is Veterans Disability Compensation?
Veterans disability compensation is a monthly tax-free benefit paid to veterans from the government.
A disability can apply to physical conditions such as chronic knee condition, as well as a mental health conditions, such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
Who May Apply?
The following are the eligibility requirements to qualify for veterans disability compensation:
- 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 have at least a 10 percent disability by an injury or disease that was incurred in or aggravated during active duty or active duty for training, or inactive duty training.
If you were on inactive duty for training, the disability must have resulted from injury, heart attack, or stroke.
How to Apply?
To receive veterans disability compensation, you must file VA Form 21-526, the Veteran’s Application for Compensation and/or Pension. You can download this form from the Department of Veterans Affairs website and submit to the closest VA Regional Office, or you can fill out the form online on the Veterans Online Application (VONAPP) website.
You must also provide a DD214, Certificate of Release or Discharge from Active Duty, for all periods of service along with copies of medical records, evidence of the claimed disability, as well as evidence showing the disability or disease was caused by active service.
Under certain circumstances, the Department of Veterans Affairs may conclude that certain current disabilities were caused by service, even if there is no specific evidence to prove this in your claim.
The cause of a disability is presumed for the following Veterans who have certain diseases:
- 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.
For example, an army reservist who injures her knee during a weekend drill at a physical training class is eligible for compensation for residuals of the knee injury.
Or let’s say, an individual enlisted in the U.S. Navy on June 10, 1988, and served for a period of three years. He was honorably discharged on June 9, 1991. During his active duty, he fell from a bunk and injured his back. Based on his active service, he is entitled to service-connected benefits for the residuals of his back injury.
How Much Compensation Will You Receive?
Once you submit all your paperwork, your file will be reviewed by the Veterans Affairs’ Board of Veterans Appeals (BVA). The BVA will determine whether or not you qualify for disability compensation. If you do qualify, the BVA will assign you a rating ranging from 10 to 100 percent in 10 percent increments.
This percentage rating directly correlates to a pre-determined monthly payment amount.
For instance, if you are determined to have a 10 percent disability, you would receive $133.17 per month. A veteran with a 100 percent disability would receive $2,906.83 monthly payment.
In addition, if you are deemed to have a 30 percent or more disability and have a spouse and/or dependent children, your monthly payment is higher.
For certain more serious injuries or disabilities, such as blindness or loss of a limb, veterans would be entitled to receive a higher monthly compensation.
If you have more questions about veterans disability compensation you can find detailed information on the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs website, or you can call your local Veterans Affairs office toll-free at 1-800-827-1000.
Image Source: U.S. Army