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How Much VA Disability Compensation Pays

To be eligible for Veteran Disability Compensation, a service member must first obtain a disability rating from the VA. You do this 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.

How much VA Disability Compensation pays is determined by the disability rating you receive from the VA and how many dependents you have. The VA has compensation rate tables that calculate how much they will pay you monthly based on these variables. Parents, children and step-children all count as dependents. A disabled spouse will also entitle you to more compensation. These tables are available online through the VA’s website.

You do not have to be totally and completely disabled to be eligible for VA Disability Compensation. VA Disability Compensation is available to veterans with as low as a 10% disability rating (currently paying $123 a month). All VA disability compensation is tax-free making these dollars go a bit further.

In 2011, the highest monthly compensation is $3,014 a month. Yearly increases in pay, known as COLA, were frozen last year by the Federal Government but they should start again soon. COLA takes into account yearly increases in the cost of living. Current compensation levels are frozen at 2009 rates.

Living entirely on VA Disability Compensation is almost impossible. However, as a disabled veteran you can take advantage of many programs designed to help you and your family. Many of these resources are available through the VA and they include programs to help you with everything from education to transportation. Many public, private and military-affiliated organizations also offer special benefits and programs for disabled Veterans.

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