Service Connected Disability and VA Benefits
Disability compensation is a tax-free monthly payment from the VA to Veterans who were injured, had a pre-existing injury aggravated beyond normal progression, or developed an illness while serving in the military. Examples of a service connected disability include physical injuries, chronic diseases, and mental health conditions that developed before, during, and after the Veteran’s military service. Veterans are only eligible for compensation and benefits if their disability can be shown to be service-connected and they were not discharged under dishonorable conditions.
What does it mean to have a service connected disability?
To receive disability compensation, you must prove that your physical or mental health condition was service connected, that is, it was sustained or aggravated during active service.
When you apply for your disability rating, and thus, your disability compensation, you must present evidence that the injury, illness, or mental condition occurred while you were actively serving in the military. Active service includes training exercises and domestic or overseas deployment.
How do you prove your illness or injury was service connected?
The VA requires evidence to support your claim for benefits and disability compensation. The evidence to support your claim of a service-connected disability consists of buddy letters, medical and mental health records from VA-approved physicians, including the Disability Benefits Questionnaire, and various other VA forms.
You may also use lay evidence in your claim. This is evidence presented by your spouse, family, friends, or fellow service members with intimate knowledge of your symptoms. Lay evidence statements help to strengthen your case, fill in gaps of missing treatment information, and clarify or better illustrate your current situation.
What benefits will you receive for a service-connected disability?
After submitting all of the required forms and evidence, you will receive a disability rating from the VA, which determines your benefits and compensation. You can use our disability calculator and pay rates guide to determine the monthly monetary compensation you will receive based on your rating. If you are severely disabled (including loss of limb(s)), have a spouse, dependent parent(s), or child(ren), or have a severely disabled spouse, you may receive additional compensation.
Other types of benefits you can receive include:
- Priority Medical Care
- Vocational Rehabilitation
- Specially Adapted Housing Grants
- Automotive and Adaptive Equipment Grants
- Service-Disabled Veterans Insurance
- Federal Employment Preference
- State and Local Veterans Benefits
- Military Exchange and Commissary Privileges
- Clothing Allowance
What if I’m denied or believe I should have a higher rating?
If you receive a denied claim or a disability rating that is less than what you think you are owed, it is not the end of the road for you. You can go through the appeals process and have your case reviewed again, and you can file to have your disability rating reconsidered for an increase.
If you have a service-connected disability, you are entitled to compensation and benefits from the VA. We can help you get it.