According to the 2019 U.S. Census, there are more than 18 million veterans of America’s armed forces living in the United States today — all of whom are entitled to some benefit from the Veterans Affairs Department. Veterans’ benefits range from higher education grants, vocational training, pension, and health care to home loans, insurance, and funeral services.
One of the most important ways the United States supports its veterans is through disability benefits. Over 5 million veterans currently receive disability payments from Veterans affairs as part of their overall benefits package. If you or someone you love is a veteran it’s very possible that they may be eligible for disability benefits.How to Qualify for Veterans Disability Benefits
There are actually a number of ways to qualify for veterans’ disability benefits. As long as the veteran served on active duty, active duty for training, or inactive duty training there is a possibility that they are eligible for veterans disability benefits.
In order to receive veterans’ disability benefits, a veteran must apply through the Veterans Affairs Department. During this process, a board will review the claims and provide a disability rating for any service-connected conditions. These rated conditions will form the basis for their disability benefits.What is a Service-Connected Condition?
A veteran does not have to have been injured in active combat or in the line of duty to qualify for veterans’ disability benefits. They simply have to prove that their injury or condition is related to their service in some way. The following are considered service-connected conditions:
● Any condition that is due to an illness or injury that occurred while serving in the military
● Conditions that manifest after having been discharged from the military that can be connected to active-duty service
● Conditions caused by time spent as a prisoner of war
● Any chronic illness that manifests within one year of military discharge
● Conditions that can be linked to hazardous materials, contaminants, or toxic chemicals
● A secondary condition presumed related to a service-connected condition.
● Any condition that was aggravated or made worse by time in the military, even if the condition began before military service
How Are Disability Benefits Assigned?
The veteran’s affairs department rates all service-connected conditions on a scale meant to quantify how debilitating the injury or symptoms are to the veteran. Conditions are rated on a scale of 0% -100% in 10% increments. If a veteran has multiple conditions they are all rated and the percentages are added together using an equation the Veterans Affairs Department calls it’s “whole person theory.” This theory allows that a person can not be more than 100% disabled and so the rating of additional conditions are subtracted from a veteran’s remaining ability.
Benefits are then assigned based on a veteran’s total disability percentage, and number of dependants. For instance, a single veteran with no dependents who have been assigned a 30% disability rating would receive $441.35 per month. If that same veteran has a spouse and child the benefit would increase to $532.35. As another example a veteran with no dependents found to be 100% disabled would receive $3,146.42 — and with a child, spouse and dependent parents that amount rises to 3,731.90 per month.
Having a basic understanding of how being a veteran can qualify you for disability benefits is a good place to start, but as the Veterans Affairs Department can be notoriously difficult to deal with it’s probably best to get help from the experts. Berry Law Veterans law attorneys specialize in helping veterans navigate the disability process, and since they themselves are veterans they understand the process better than anyone.