When you put your life on the line to defend the United States, you deserve to be taken care of by your country. If you served in the military, have a disability rating for a condition connected to your service, and have a current illness or injury either caused or worsened by your service, you are entitled to disability compensation from the Department of Veterans Affairs. Your qualified dependents may also qualify for benefits.
You’ve earned VA disability benefits through your commitment and dedication to your country, so if you are eligible to receive it, you should apply. VA disability compensation is granted for both physical and mental conditions. These monthly, tax-free payments can help you to afford basic necessities and ease some of the discomfort you feel due to your condition.
These are just some of the many physical and mental conditions that may make a veteran eligible for VA disability benefits:
- Loss of limb(s)
- Chronic pain
- Motor problems
- Spinal injuries
- Scar tissue
- Difficulty breathing
- Cancer caused by chemical exposure
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
The VA will assign a disability rating based on the severity of your condition, and that rating will determine the amount of compensation you can receive.
Special considerations when applying for VA disability pay
Every veteran’s circumstances are different, and some disability cases are more cut and dry than others. There may be special considerations that you should take into account before applying for benefits. You may need to:
File special forms — If you are a member of the National Guard or military reserve, or if you are claiming PTSD or individual unemployability, you will need to submit supplemental forms with your application. Extra forms are also required for veterans seeking specially adapted housing, an auto allowance, dependent benefits or other additional benefits.
Upgrade your discharge decision — Veterans who received a dishonorable discharge, other than honorable discharge, or bad conduct discharge may be ineligible for veterans disability benefits. However, it is possible to apply for a discharge upgrade or correction. If your discharge was related to a mental health condition, a traumatic brain injury, sexual assault or harassment, or due to your sexual orientation, you may have a strong case for a discharge upgrade. Receiving a change in status may increase your chances of qualifying for VA disability compensation.
If the VA denies your claim the first time, or if you disagree with all or part of the decision notice, you have the right to file an appeal. It is often helpful to secure assistance from a lawyer, claims agent or Veterans Service Officer as you prepare your response.
If you need help obtaining the VA disability compensation that is owed to you, contact Marcari, Russotto, Spencer & Balaban. We are longtime advocate for veterans’ rights, and partners Don Marcari and David Russotto are former U.S. Navy JAG attorneys. Call us at 866-866-VETS or contact us online to arrange a free initial consultation. We serve veterans across the country.