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VA Disability Compensation


VA Disability Compensation pays veterans a tax-free compensation to help meet their living costs and needs once they leave the military if they were disabled or injured while on active duty. Disability compensation pays for disabilities like losing a limb, but it can also pay for any illness or disease that is related to active duty service or aggravated due to service.

Disability Compensation is paid according to VA rate tables that classify and qualify compensation based on the severity of the disability. In order to be eligible for Veteran Disability Compensation a service member must first obtain a disability rating by filing a claim with the VA using the Veterans Application for Compensation or Pension, Form 21-526.

If you file Form 21-526 within one year of release from duty, you are eligible to receive VA compensation retroactively. If you apply after this one-year period, your compensation will begin the date you file your claim.

Disabled veterans may also receive additional amounts of compensation if they are severely disabled or have lost a limb, have a spouse and dependent children or have a severely disabled spouse.

Disabled veterans may enroll in the VA’s Vocational Rehabilitation Program. This program specializes in providing disabled vets with the tools they will need to enter employment with their disability. This program can include training, education, assessment counseling services, employment assistance and job placement. The VA pays for educational costs, equipment costs and special needs costs to help disabled veterans re-enter employment. More information about this program and the Veterans Compensation Program is available through the VA’s website online or by contacting your Regional VA Office.

Disabled military also qualify for Social Security benefits under their program called “Disability Benefits for Wounded Warriors.” These benefits are available separately through the Social Security Administration and they require a separate application.

Members of the military disabled after October 1, 2001 are entitled to use the expedited process to receive their Social Security benefits. Social Security benefits are based on two scales — the first is for service members who have worked long enough to be eligible to receive social security benefits. The second scale, called Supplemental Social Security Income (SSI), is based entirely on need. These benefits may also be available to qualifying members of a veteran’s family. Information about these programs is available online and/or through the Social Security Administrations publications No 05-10029 and No 05-11000. Social Security benefits are reserved for severely disabled veterans. More information about this program can be found online, at your closest Social Security Office or by calling 1-800-772-1213 and asking for the “Disability Starter Kit.”

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