Veterans disability claims can result in monthly payments made to a veteran to compensate them for a service-related disability, whether full or partial. They are not automatic. A disabled former service member must apply in order to receive the benefit.
United States veterans of any branch of the military are qualified to apply; as are active service members who are close to discharge and meet a few other timing and process requirements. Spouses and children of fully disabled veterans may qualify for health and educational benefits.
What injuries qualify?
Veterans disability claims require that an injury or illness must meet three main criteria in order to serve as the basis for a disability claim. First, the veteran must have a current mental or physical disability or disease. Second, some type of incident, event, or injury must have occurred during the veteran’s service. Third, there must be a causal connection (i.e. a link) between the currently existing disability or disease and the event or injury during service.
Notably, it does not matter if the veteran served five months ago or 50 years ago. If the veteran can successfully produce evidence that meets the criteria listed above, they may qualify for benefits. Also, unlike Social Security Disability, the veteran need not be totally disabled and unable to work to receive benefits.
What amount of benefits is paid?
As with so many legal questions, it depends. In the case of veterans disability claim, the amount of the benefit is determined by how disabled the individual seeking the benefits is. This determination of how disabled the individual is is called a disability rating. So, for example, an individual with a 20% disability rating will receive a monthly payment that is 30% less than an individual with a 50% disability rating. If the disability is greater than 30% and the veteran has a spouse and children, they may receive a slightly higher monthly benefit than a similarly situated veteran without a wife and children.
There are additional nuances that play into the disability rating process. For example, multiple disabilities are not simply added together; rather, a different formula is used to make a determination of overall disability. Additionally, certain enumerated disabilities, like permanent loss of hearing, result in an additional increase in the benefit amount paid.
Evidence Gathering is Key
Since a disability rating is the basis of the amount received monthly, it is imperative that as much reliable supporting evidence as possible is produced. An experienced Veterans Service Officer, VA Accredited Claims Agent, or VA Accredited Attorney can advise you as to the information you need to gather and can help compile it in a persuasive manner.