How Much Do Veterans Get for Disability?
As a U.S. veteran, you may be eligible to receive a monthly, tax-free, monetary benefit. How much veterans get for disability depends on how the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) rates your service-connected disability or condition.
If veterans have more than one service-connected condition, the amount of monthly compensation will be based on their combined disability rating.
How Much Compensation Can Veterans Receive?
As of December 1st, 2023 the VA disability rate benefit amounts are as follows:
- 0 percent disability rating: $0.00 per month
- 10 percent disability rating: $171.23 per month
- 20 percent disability rating: $338.49 per month
- 30 percent disability rating: $524.31 per month
- 40 percent disability rating: $755.28 per month
- 50 percent disability rating: $1,075.16 per month
- 60 percent disability rating: $1,361.88 per month
- 70 percent disability rating: $1,716.28 per month
- 80 percent disability rating: $1,995.01 per month
- 90 percent disability rating: $2,241.91 per month
- 100 percent disability rating: $3,737.85 per month
There are also circumstances where a veteran may be entitled to compensation greater than the 100 percent rating. One example of this is Special Monthly Compensation.
Special Monthly Compensation is awarded to veterans with service-connected conditions so debilitating that they warrant a rating higher than 100 percent.
How Does VA Determine Compensation Rates?
The VA sets its compensation rates based on the Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA) to ensure that the benefits provided to veterans keep pace with inflation. Here’s how it operates:
- Periodic Adjustments: The VA makes cost-of-living adjustments (COLAs) periodically to the compensation and pension benefits for veterans. These adjustments are designed to offset the effects of inflation on the purchasing power of the benefits provided to veterans.
- Matching Inflation Rate: The COLA is a percentage that reflects the rate of inflation, and it’s applied to VA compensation and pension benefits to match the inflation rate.
- Determination by Social Security Administration (SSA): The rate of COLA is based on the change in the cost of living as determined by the Social Security Administration (SSA). The same percentage of COLA applied to Social Security benefits is applied to VA compensation, ensuring that veterans’ benefits increase at a rate that’s aligned with the general cost of living.
Through these mechanisms, the VA ensures that the compensation rates provided to veterans are adjusted in a manner that reflects changes in the cost of living, helping to maintain the real value of the benefits over time.
How VA Assigns a Disability Rating
VA assigns a disability rating based on the frequency, duration, and severity of symptoms it uses to characterize a certain condition.
A veteran’s service-connected condition(s) must have a combined disability rating of at least 10 percent for the veteran to qualify for VA monthly compensation. The highest scheduler disability rating VA can assign to a veteran’s condition is 100 percent, which yields the highest amount of monthly disability compensation.
Adding Dependents for Additional Compensation
If you have a combined disability rating of 30 percent or higher, then you may be eligible for additional monthly compensation for qualifying dependents, including:
- Children under 18 years old;
- Children ages 18-23 years old and still in school;
- Spouses; and
- Dependent parents.
Additional Compensation for Disabilities Causing Severe Impairment
Furthermore, veterans who have service-connected conditions that result in severe impairment, including the loss of use of extremities; blindness; the regular need for aid and attendance; etc.; may be eligible for additional monthly compensation. This type of compensation is known as Special Monthly Compensation.
VA Criteria for Disability Compensation Eligibility
First and foremost, you must have served in the U.S. military, whether on active duty, active duty training, or inactive duty training. You also need to establish a service connection for a condition related to your military service and have VA assign a disability rating for that condition.
What to Do If You Disagree with VA’s Rating of Your Disability
The VA disability claims process can be long and arduous. It may be helpful to consider hiring a veteran’s disability lawyer to handle your appeal on your behalf.
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