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How To Apply for VA Disability Compensation

VA Disability Compensation is paid according to VA rate tables that classify compensation based on the severity of the disability. In order to be eligible for Veteran Disability Compensation, you must first obtain a disability rating from the VA.

This is done by filing a claim with the VA using the Veterans Application for Compensation or Pension, Form 21-526. This application can be filed as soon as you are released from active duty. Often it is a good idea to get all this paperwork filed while you are still seeing your medical professionals on a regular basis.

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. Currently the top monthly payment is $3,014.

In addition to VA Form 21-526, you will also want to include a copy of your separation papers (DD214 or equivalent), dependency records including marriage and birth certificates and copies of your medical records and doctors reports.

Allow yourself plenty of time for getting marriage and birth records. Many States have cracked down on obtaining these records and they may require you to show up in person and/or notarize a request for these records. Make sure you allow enough time to process these dependency records before the one year filing period for VA Disability Compensation expires or you may not get your retroactive pay. If you have everything else and are close to the deadline, send in proof of dependents (life insurance policies, school records, etc.) with a letter explaining why your official dependency records are delayed.

You can apply online at the VA website, apply in person or send your application and supporting evidence to your Regional VA Office.

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