VA Disability: What You Need to Know

VA disability is a benefit program that provides monthly payments to veterans who have a service-connected disability.

An illness or injury that was caused by or made worse by your active military service defines a service-connected disability.

VA disability compensation is tax-free and can help you cover the costs of living with a disability.

If you are a veteran who has a service-connected disability, you may be eligible for VA disability benefits.

In this article, we will explain how to file a VA disability claim, how much you can get for disability in VA, what is VA total and permanent disability, and how long does a VA claim take.

A picture of a soldier saluting[photo courtesy: Getty images]
VA disability benefits are designed to help veterans who have a service-connected disability[photo courtesy: Getty images]

What is a VA Disability?

A VA disability is a condition that affects your ability to function normally due to your military service. Some examples of VA disabilities are:

  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  • Traumatic brain injury (TBI)
  • Chronic pain
  • Hearing loss
  • Amputation
  • Cancer
  • Diabetes

VA disability ratings are based on the severity of your condition and how it affects your daily life.

The ratings range from 0% to 100%, in increments of 10%. The higher your rating, the more compensation you will receive.

How do I get VA Disability?

To get VA disability benefits, you need to file a claim with the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).

You can file a claim online, by mail, in person, or with the help of a professional and you will need to provide evidence to support your claim, such as:

  • Medical records
  • Service records
  • Statements from you, your family, or your friends
  • Any other documents that show how your condition is related to your service

You can also apply for VA disability benefits before you leave the military. This is called a pre-discharge claim and can help you get your benefits faster.

How much do you get for disability in VA?

The amount of money you get for disability in VA depends on your disability rating and the number of dependents you have.

The VA updates the compensation rates every year to reflect the cost of living. As of 2023, the monthly rates are:

Disability Rating No Dependents One Dependent Two Dependents Each Additional Dependent
10% $153.32 N/A N/A N/A
20% $303.13 N/A N/A N/A
30% $469.69 $522.69 $562.69 $25.00
40% $681.35 $752.35 $809.35 $38.00
50% $929.09 $1,018.09 $1,092.09 $51.00
60% $1,196.06 $1,303.06 $1,394.06 $64.00
70% $1,492.94 $1,617.94 $1,725.94 $77.00
80% $1,756.71 $1,899.71 $2,024.71 $90.00
90% $1,989.12 $2,150.12 $2,292.12 $103.00
100% $3,146.42 $3,321.85 $3,462.81 $121.95

You can also get additional benefits if you have certain conditions or circumstances, such as:

These additional benefits are called special monthly compensation (SMC) and vary depending on the type and level of SMC you qualify for.

What is VA Total and Permanent Disability?

Having a disability rating of 100% and an unanticipated improvement outlook for the future defines a total and permanent disability (T&P) according to VA guidelines on SEO and readability rules.

If you hold T&P status, the VA grants you the highest level of compensation and additional benefits.

Some of the benefits of T&P status are:

  • No future exams or reviews of your disability rating
  • Eligibility for student loan forgiveness
  • Eligibility for property tax exemption
  • Eligibility for health care benefits for your dependents
  • Eligibility for CHAMPVA (Civilian Health and Medical Program of the Department of Veterans Affairs)
  • Eligibility for Dependents’ Educational Assistance (DEA)

You can get T&P status either by meeting the criteria for a schedular rating or by getting an individual unemployability (IU) rating.

A schedular rating means that your disability rating is based on the VA’s schedule of ratings, which assigns a percentage to each condition. To achieve a schedular rating of 100%, you either need to combine one or more conditions totaling 100%, or you must have a single condition that holds a standalone rating of 100%.

An IU rating means that you are unable to work due to your service-connected disability, even if your disability rating is less than 100%. To achieve an IU rating, your content must include either one condition rated at a minimum of 60%, or two or more conditions that collectively reach at least 70%, with one of those conditions being no less than 40%.

You also need to provide evidence that you are unable to maintain a substantially gainful occupation because of your disability.

How long does a VA claim take?

The time it takes for the VA to process your claim depends on several factors, such as:

  • The type and complexity of your claim
  • The number of claims pending at the VA
  • The quality and completeness of your evidence
  • The need for additional exams or evidence
  • The cooperation of other agencies or parties

According to the VA, the average time it takes to complete a claim is about 125 days.

However, this is only an estimate and your claim may take more or less time depending on your specific situation.

You can check the status of your claim online, by phone, or by mail.[Department of Veterans Affairs (VA)]

Conclusion

VA disability benefits are designed to help veterans who have a service-connected disability.

If you are a veteran who has a service-connected disability, you may be eligible for VA disability compensation, which provides tax-free monthly payments.

You can file a VA disability claim online, by mail, in person, or with the help of a professional. You will need to provide evidence to support your claim and show how your condition is related to your service.

The amount of money you get for disability in VA depends on your disability rating and the number of dependents you have.

You can also get additional benefits if you have certain conditions or circumstances that qualify you for special monthly compensation or total and permanent disability status.

The time it takes for the VA to process your claim varies depending on several factors. You can check the status of your claim online, by phone, or by mail.

We hope this article has given you some useful information about VA disability benefits. If you have any questions or need any assistance with your claim, please contact the VA or an accredited representative. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA)

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