VA Claims

What Disability Benefits Are Available for Veterans?

There are two primary disability programs available through the VA:

  • Service-connected disability: Disability benefits can be awarded for physical or psychological impairments. For service-connected veterans' disabilities, benefits can be awarded for even a partial disability. To qualify, you must have a discharge other than dishonorable and a current diagnosis of a service-connected disability. Additionally you must prove that an incident in service caused the disability or that the disability began during service and you must show a medical connection between your current condition and its service origin. Some veterans with service-connected disabilities, whether partial or total, can receive both veterans' disability benefits and Social Security disability benefits without any setoff.

A service-connected disability does not necessarily have to be incurred during combat as long as the disability originated while in service or is otherwise service-connected. In addition, some disabilities can be secondarily service-connected. For example, service-connected post traumatic stress syndrome could cause depression.

  • Nonservice-connected pension: Another VA program pays benefits to disabled veterans whose disabilities are not service-connected. These veterans may be entitled to a nonservice-connected pension. In order to receive these benefits, a veteran must have served on active duty during a period of war, there must be a total and permanent disability, and the veteran must meet certain financial requirements.

Positive Presumptions...

There are various legislative presumptions that help veterans win their claims. As an example, when a Vietnam veteran is diagnosed with diabetes mellitus to a 10 percent or more degree of disability, it is presumed to be service-connected. These presumptions are helpful for veterans who have incurred certain defined illnesses that are common among veterans from a particular war era.

If a veteran receives service-connected disability benefits, he or she may be able to receive a small portion of those benefits during the period of incarceration. The benefits will resume at their full level when the veteran is released from custody. Therefore, it is important for an incarcerated veteran to apply for service-connected disability benefits – either a new claim or a claim for an increased rating, if applicable – while he or she is incarcerated.

Incarcerated veterans with families have an additional reason to apply for VA disability benefits – either a claim for benefits or a claim for an increased rating for ongoing benefits — a veteran's spouse and/or children can apply to receive that part of the monthly benefit that is withheld from the veteran by the VA during the period of incarceration. It is important that the incarcerated veteran's spouse or children's guardian apply for those benefits as soon as possible, and while the VA may initially determine that the spouse or children should receive only a small portion of those withheld benefits, it often pays to appeal that initial ruling.

Your advocate.....

In addition to representing veterans with psychiatric disabilities such as PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder) and depression, we also help veterans with disabilities such as:

  • Sexual assault during military service
  • Other assaults during military service
  • Orthopedic injuries
  • Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI)
  • Total disability based on unemployability (TDIU)
  • Neurological and other serious illnesses that began during, or were caused by, military service
  • Illnesses caused by Agent Orange
  • Diabetes
  • Cancer
  • Gunshot or shrapnel wounds
  • Orthopedic injuries
  • Neurological diseases
  • Heart conditions
  • Gulf War syndrome

Contact Us

For a free initial consultation, contact our office.