RATING YOUR DISABILITY
Once the Veterans Administration determines that you have a service-connected disability, the Veterans Administration will rate the severity of your disability using a percentage scale from 0% to 100%. You do not have to be “totally” disabled in order to receive benefits, but you must have at least a 10% rating to receive monthly payments, and at least a 30% rating to qualify for benefits for your dependent spouse, children or parents.
If you have more than one service-connected disability, the Veterans Administration will rate each disability separately and combine them to give you an overall disability rating. Higher percentage ratings mean higher monthly payments.
VETERANS ADMINISTRATION DISABILITY COMPENSATION
Veterans who served in the active military and received an honorable or general discharge are entitled to monthly, non-taxable benefits if they are disabled in the service of our country. Sometimes these benefits are called “disability compensation” or “service-connected benefits.”
Regardless of what they are called, these benefits are payable for disabilities that are caused by either sickness or injury during military service. For example, your disability may be caused by something that happened while you were on active duty, or it may be due to a condition that you had before you were in the military but was made worse by your service.
Three following must be established for a successful claim:
- Evidence of a current physical or mental disability. This usually requires a medical diagnosis of your condition;
- An injury or event occurred during service which caused or aggravated your disability, and;
- Your current disability is somehow connected to the event or injury sustained during service.
Some disabilities can be service-connected even though they are not directly linked to an injury or event during service. For example, if you suffered a back injury during service and then developed depression because of chronic back pain, you should file claims for both your back and depression. Similarly, if you develop a problem with your right leg because of your back injury, you should file a claim for your right leg as well.
The Veterans Administration reviews the character of your discharge when determining your eligibility. Generally, you will qualify for compensation benefits if you received an honorable or general discharge. You are not eligible if you received a dishonorable discharge.
Since compensation benefits are not based on financial need, your income or assets do not affect whether you can receive benefits. This means you can receive compensation benefits even if you are working or if you are receiving other types of income such as Social Security disability benefits.
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