How Do VA Disability Benefits Work?

by Nov 30, 2018Disability Benefits

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The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) provides benefits for veterans who become disabled due to an event during their military service. These are known as VA disability benefits. As a disabled veteran, you can qualify for monthly compensation, free healthcare, and other VA services. You do not have to be fully disabled and incapable of working, but you do have to be diagnosed with a qualifying medical condition that is connected to your military service.

A VA disability lawyer can help you apply for benefits and understand how VA disability benefits work. Your attorney can assist you in filling out your claim, collecting evidence to prove your disability, and gathering and submitting other supporting documentation. For a free VA disability consultation, call the Disability Advantage Group at 865-566-0800.

Who Is Eligible for VA Disability Benefits?

To receive VA disability benefits, you must meet a few requirements set by the VA. You must have an illness or injury that disables you in some way, whether physically, mentally, or psychologically. You must also meet both of the following criteria:

  • You served on active duty, active duty training, or training for inactive duty.
  • Your medical condition has a disability rating in the VA’s handbook.

You must also meet at least one of the following criteria:

  • You got sick or injured while serving in the military, and your illness or injury resulted from a specific event in your service, OR
  • You had a pre-existing illness or injury before serving in the military, and a specific event in your military service made it worse, OR
  • You developed an illness or injury while in the military that did not appear until after your service.

How to File a Claim for VA Disability Benefits

The VA offers several ways to file a claim for VA disability benefits. Your attorney can also help you with this process.

The first way to apply, and the one many veterans find the easiest, is to file a claim online by visiting, the official VA website. You can fill out the various forms you need, and the online application provides instructions on submitting medical evidence and other supporting documents.

The second way is to show up in person to your local VA benefits office. A representative can help you if needed, or you can bring your attorney with you.

Third, you can apply by mail. This involves printing out the forms, filling them out, and mailing them to the VA’s claims intake center in Wisconsin. If you do not have a way to print out the forms, you can call VA at 800-827-1000 and have them sent to you.

How Much Will I Receive in VA Disability Benefits?

Your monthly VA disability compensation depends on the severity of your disability. The more disabled you are, the more you will receive. The VA will assign you an impairment rating between 0% and 100% that is meant to signify your level of disability. Each rating on the scale corresponds to a monthly payment amount.

As of December 2018, the VA disability pay scale for veterans with no dependents is:

  • 0% rating: $0 per month (but eligible for free VA healthcare and other perks)
  • 10% rating: $140.05 per month    
  • 20% rating: $276.84 per month    
  • 30% rating: $428.83 per month    
  • 40% rating: $617.73 per month    
  • 50% rating: $879.36 per month    
  • 60% rating: $1,113.86 per month    
  • 70% rating: $1,403.71 per month    
  • 80% rating: $1,631.69 per month    
  • 90% rating: $1,833.62 per month    
  • 100% rating: $3,057.13 per month

There are a few things to keep in mind when reviewing this pay scale.

One, the only way to receive a 100% impairment rating is to prove you are fully disabled. That means you cannot work, cannot earn a living, and have difficulty even carrying out daily living activities on your own, such as eating, bathing, and dressing. It is a high bar to clear. If you believe you should get full disability, you should speak with a lawyer before filing your claim.

Two, if you have multiple illnesses or injuries that appear in the VA’s handbook of disabilities, you can receive a combined rating. But the VA does not simply add your ratings together (i.e., give you a 100% rating if you have two conditions rated at 50% each). Instead, it uses a complicated formula. Still, it will increase your compensation when you apply and get approved based on multiple medical conditions. Your lawyer can help with this, too.

For a Free VA Disability Consultation, Call the Disability Advantage Group at 865-566-0800

The VA disability attorneys at the Disability Advantage Group, want to help you understand how VA disability benefits work and file to collect the VA disability benefits you deserve.

Our firm’s passion is helping disabled veterans. We want to put our resources to work for you. For a free VA disability case evaluation with a member of our staff, call us today at 865-566-0800.