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Sean Kendall

The basics of disability compensation

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Let's start with the simplest of questions, what is VA disability compensation?

Disability compensation is a benefit paid to a veteran because of injuries or diseases that happened while on active duty, or were made worse by active military service. It is also paid to certain veterans disabled from VA health care. The benefits are tax-free.

Who is eligible?

You may be eligible for disability compensation if you have a service-related disability and you were discharged under other than dishonorable conditions.

How much does the VA pay?

Probably of no surprise here, the amount of pay ranges depending on how disabled you are. Do note, however, that you may be paid additional amounts, in certain instances, if:

  • you have very severe disabilities or loss of limbs (see our post here about compensation for severe disabilities)
  • you have a spouse, child(ren), or dependent parent(s)
  • you have a seriously disabled spouse

How can you apply?

You can apply by filling out VA Form 21-526, Veterans Application for Compensation and/or Pension OR VA Form 21-526EZ, Fully Developed Claim.

If you have any of the following material, be sure to attach it to your application:

  • discharge or separation papers (DD214 or equivalent)
  • dependency records (marriage and children's birth certificates)
  • medical evidence (doctor and hospital reports)

You can also apply online here.

Category: Veterans Affairs

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