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Veterans Law

VA Disability Payment Schedule for 2021

April Donahower

December 11, 2020

Updated: February 16, 2024

VA Disability Payment Schedule for 2021

VA’s 2021 payment schedule determines the dates on which a veteran’s monthly VA disability compensation payments are received.

VA Disability Compensation Explained

VA disability compensation is a tax-free monetary benefit paid to veterans with service-connected conditions (i.e., a disabling condition that is related to a veteran’s military service).  Generally speaking, the amount of monthly compensation a veteran receives depends on his or her combined disability rating.

Specifically, veterans are assigned disability ratings for each of their service-connected conditions.  VA uses its Schedule for Rating Disabilities to assign a disability rating based on the severity of the veteran’s condition.  These separate ratings are then combined using the 2021 VA Disability Calculator.

Veterans with a combined rating of 30 percent or higher may be eligible for additional compensation for qualifying dependents, including:

  • A spouse
  • Children under 18 years old
  • Children ages 18-23 years old and still in school
  • Dependent parents

Monthly compensation amounts for veterans based on dependent status can be found using our VA Disability Pay Chart.

How Does VA Determine the Amount of Monthly Compensation Veterans Receive?

In order to receive VA disability compensation, veterans must first establish service connection for the condition(s) they are claiming.  Generally speaking, service connection involves the following three elements:

  • A current, diagnosed condition;
  • An in-service event, injury, or illness; and
  • A medical nexus (i.e., link) between the current, diagnosed condition and the in-service event.

Once service connection is granted, VA will assign a disability rating based on the severity of the veteran’s condition.  Typically, the more severe a veteran’s condition is, the higher the disability rating they will receive.  VA disability ratings range from 0 to 100 percent, in increments of 10.

A rating of 0 percent does not entitle veterans to monthly compensation; however, they may be eligible for other benefits, such as VA healthcare.  If veterans have more than one service-connected condition, their disability ratings will be combined to determine their combined disability rating.  Importantly, a veteran’s combined disability rating determines the amount of monthly compensation they will receive.

2021 VA Disability Pay Rates With Pay Chart

VA Disability Compensation Rates for 2021

VA disability compensation rates typically increase each year as a result of the cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) set by Congress.  This year, compensation rates are seeing a 1.3 percent increase effective December 2020.  The VA disability compensation rates for 2021 are listed in the table below.

Combined VA Rating2021 VA Compensation Rates

Anticipated VA Disability Payment Schedule for 2021

Usually, disability benefits for a particular month will be paid on the first business day of the following month.  It is important to note that if the first business day of the month falls on a holiday, then VA benefits will be paid on the last business day of the preceding month.  Therefore, the VA disability payment schedule for 2021 will likely be as follows*:

MonthPayment DateDay of Week
January 2021February 1stMonday
February 2021March 1stMonday
March 2021April 1stThursday
April 2021April 30thFriday
May 2021June 1stTuesday
June 2021July 1stThursday
July 2021July 30thFriday
August 2021September 1stWednesday
September 2021October 1stFriday
October 2021October 30thMonday
November 2021December 1stWednesday
December 2021December 31stFriday

*Disclaimer: The 2021 payment schedule has not yet been officially released by VA.  The figure above represents an estimate based on the dates used in 2020.

About the Author

Bio photo of April Donahower

April joined Chisholm Chisholm & Kilpatrick in August of 2016 as an Associate Attorney. She currently serves as the Appellate Supervisor in our Veterans Law practice. April’s practice focuses on representing disabled veterans before the Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims.

See more about April