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How VA Disability Benefits Work

Veterans of the armed forces of the United States who suffer injuries or disabilities that were the result of, or were aggravated, by active service, may be eligible for a wide range of disability benefits. These benefits are processed and handed out by the Department of Veterans Affairs, commonly known as the VA.

After filing for VA disability benefits, the VA evaluates claims made by injured or disabled vets in order to determine whether or not an individual qualifies for the benefits they want to claim. Upon review of the medical and personal history of the vet in question, the VA assigns the vet a disability rating, which is a percentage between 10 and 100. This rating is essentially the VA’s assessment of how serious the vet’s injuries or disabilities are and it is used as a measure of the extent that the vet does or will likely suffer an inability to work. Based on this disability rating, the VA will decide which benefits of many the vet is entitled to and the compensation rates that are to be used for the specific case of the vet in question.

Types of Benefits

There are many different benefits that the VA provides injured or disabled vets with, including all of the following:

  • Dependency and Indemnity Compensation: DIC is a tax-free monetary benefit that is usually paid to the surviving spouse, child, or parent of service members who died during active duty, active duty for training, or inactive duty training. It is also paid to eligible surviving family members of vets who died from service-related disabilities.
  • Special Monthly Compensation: SMC is a tax-free benefit that can be given to a vet or their eligible family members based on special circumstances, such as a need for special aid or the loss of a limb.
  • Other Benefits: Other benefits such as subsidized housing, insurance benefits, housing grants, mortgages, and life insurance are also provided by the VA to eligible vets.

Maintaining Eligibility For Benefits

The VA may require eligible vets to undergo certain tests or re-evaluations or provide specific types of documentation or proof to establish eligibility for the continued receipt of benefits.

For example, the VA may require a vet to undergo a medical exam anywhere between two and five years after winning an initial benefit claim, just to make sure that the medical condition or disability for which the initial benefit was awarded still exists and still impacts the vet’s life as much as it did when the benefit was first awarded.

If upon reexamination it is found that the disability has either disappeared, improved, or worsened, the VA can then reevaluate the disability rating that the vet was assigned, and his or her payouts would then increase or decrease accordingly.

Filing Claims and Establishing Eligibility for Benefits

To find out more about whether or not you are eligible for disability benefits, to file a claim for benefits, to appeal a denied claim, or for help with gathering the documentation needed to prove a claim, speak with a lawyer. An experienced lawyer that specializes in veteran disability cases can help you file a claim and fight for the benefits that you are rightfully owed.