Veterans Disability Compensation – What is it?

Thousands of men and women who have served in the military suffer from a chronic injury or disease that can be traced back to their service. Each population of war Vets has faced circumstances both unique to their war period and common to all conflicts. They made tremendous sacrifices in defense of our way of life. Those sacrifices may have been injuries sustained in combat,  they may have manifested years later as debilitating chronic health conditions related to certain exposures such as radiation, Agent Orange or asbestos.  The Veterans Administration (VA) identifies seven categories of causes that connect disabilities to military service and provides veterans disability compensation for deserving Veterans who have  disabilities related to their military service.

The VA determines disability compensation based on:

  • if a condition is connected to military service – the service connection;
  • The degree of disability – the rating system

The Service Connection

The “service-connected” criteria and rating system for veterans disability benefits became key components of the Veterans Disability Compensation program during World War II. In those years and into the 1950s, exposure to radiation was common due to the extensive experimentation and nuclear testing of the Atomic Bomb. Diseases such as Leukemia, Lymphomas, Multiple Myeloma and Cancers were found to have developed in veterans because of their exposure to radiation at that time. Veterans from the Korean War, Vietnam and the Persian Gulf Wars have also been found to have specific service-connected disabilities resulting from the unique circumstances of their service.

The VA Disability Rating System

The VA uses a rating system, sometimes referred to as the “1945 rating schedule,” to establish the extent, or degree, of a disability. The range of disability starts at 10 percent up to 100 percent disabled. Each disability found to be service-connected is assigned a percentage rating based on its specific level of impairment. If there is more than one disability, the percentages are combined to determine the total rating. The amount of compensation is based on this combined rating percentage and is adjusted annually.

Here is an example of the monthly benefits a veteran with no dependents may receive based on level of disability (source: 2009 VA Compensation Pay Chart):

10% = $123          60% =$974

20% = $243          70% = $1,228

30% = $376          80% = $1,427

40% =$541           90% = $1,604

50% = $770          100% = $2,673

Who Qualifies for VA Disability Compensation?

Honorably discharged veterans who have experienced injury during military service or who have a medical condition that can be connected to active duty may qualify for disability compensation from the Veterans Administration.  Read “Eligibility and Benefits Compensation Criteria” to learn more.

Apply for Benefits with an Alpha Advocate  – Vets Helping Vets

If you do not receive a fully favorable decision from the VA, or you disagree with the percentage given to your disability, we can help you appeal for more.

It can take months, in many cases, years, for the VA to grant benefits. If you think you have a service-connected disability, or need help to prove that you do, the Alpha team is ready to help you.

Contact us to get started on your claim.

Note: All representation coordinated by Alpha is provided by our employees, the Advocates, who are accredited by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). No private organization that trains and employs accredited agents has been legally recognized by the VA for the purposes of preparation, presentation, and prosecution of claims. This work must be done by the Advocates themselves and not organizations.