Types of Veteran Disability Claims
Several types of claims can apply to disability compensation. They may be based upon disabilities that existed and became intensified during military service, disabilities that arose during active military service, or disabilities that became worse after leaving service. These claims include:
Pre-Discharge VA Disability Claims
Veterans who are within 180 days of separation or retirement from active duty or National Guard duty can file claims for disability.
Pre-Service VA Disability Claims
People may enter military service with a disability. If this becomes worse during military service, the VA may be required to pay compensation.
In-Service VA Disability Claims
These include claims based on disabilities that are due to an injury or a disease that occurred during active duty. Claims related to alcohol abuse or addictions to drugs are generally excluded.
Post-Service VA Disability Claims
This includes claims for disabilities that are service-related, even though the disability occurred after service.
The types of VA disability compensation benefits include the following:
VA Disability Claims & Compensation
This compensation is paid to Veterans with disabilities that are the result of a disease or injury incurred or aggravated during active military service. The benefit amount is granted according to the degree of the Veteran’s disability on a scale from 10 percent to 100 percent in increments of 10 percent. This type of benefit is also paid for disabilities that are related to or secondary to disabilities that happened during service or that are determined to be related to military service, even if they occur after military service. The degrees of disability specified are designed to compensate for a loss of working time.
VA Disability Claim: Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (DIC)
DIC is a tax-free monetary benefit that is paid to the surviving family member of a Veteran, such as a spouse, child, or parent. This benefit applies to Veterans on active duty, active duty training, inactive duty training, or to survivors of service members who died from their disabilities. DIC is offered to the parents of Veterans who are financially dependent on a Veteran or of a Veteran who died from a service-related cause.
VA Disability Claim: Special Monthly Compensation (SMC)
SMC is an additional tax-free benefit paid to Veterans, their spouses, surviving spouses, and parents. Special Monthly Compensation is a higher rate of compensation due to special circumstances, such as the need of aid and attendance by another person or for a specific disability (for example, a loss of use of one hand or leg). This benefit is referred to as aid and attendance, and the compensation is based on the Veteran’s need for aid and attendance from another person.
Special Circumstances for VA Disability Compensation
These types of claims do not always occur during active duty. In some instances, a disability can be determined to be related to an event that happened during military service. Some examples include surgery related to a disability that occurred during service, or additional compensation that is needed due to additional aid or attendance. Special VA disability compensation programs include an individual’s unemployability, an allowance for a vehicle, clothing allowance, pre-stabilization, hospitalization, dental, and birth defects.
Changes to VA Disability Pay Rates & VA Disability Compensation
Changes can occur to Veterans’ disability benefits rates when the VA decides to reexamine the Veteran. The VA retains the right to reconsider the disability rating at any time. You may receive a Notice of Reexamination letter in the mail that includes a scheduled appointment date. It is critical that you attend this appointment.
After the VA reexamines you, it will make a recommendation to increase, to decrease, or to leave your Veteran disability compensation at its current rating.
Changes in Family Status for VA Disability Compensation
It is important to contact the VA whenever there are changes in your family status, as your VA disability pay rates may change as a result. If you have a 30% disability rating or higher and are supporting qualified dependents such as a spouse, child, or parent, you may be eligible to receive a higher VA disability payment. If your disability rating is 20% or lower, changes in your family status do not affect your payment.