Service-Connected Disability Benefits In 2023 (2023)

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Close to half of all veterans receive some sort of cash or non-cash benefit related to their military service, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. This includes close to 3.9 million veterans who receive disability compensation for a service-connected disability.

If you were hurt or made sick due to your military service, you may be one of the millions of Americans who are entitled to benefits from the Veterans Administration (VA). This guide explains your options for receiving service-connected disability benefits and helps you better understand how to apply for benefits and what income you are entitled to receive.

What Are Service-Connected Disability Benefits?

Service-connected disability benefits are tax-free monthly payments to veterans who were sickened or injured as a direct result of their military service. You can also get service connected disability benefits if you had an existing medical condition that was made worse due to your military service.

Service-connected disability benefits are available to you based on both physical conditions, such as an injury or a chronic illness, as well as based on mental health conditions such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Benefits are available based on conditions that developed before, during, or after your time in the military as a direct result of the services you performed.

Who Is Eligible for VA Disability Benefits?

You may be eligible for disability benefits if you served on active duty, active duty for training, or inactive duty training and you have an illness or injury that impacts your body or mind. In addition to meeting these two requirements, at least one of the following must also be true:

  • Your injury or illness occurred while you were serving in the military and there is a direct link between your services and your health issues. This is called an inservice disability claim.
  • You entered the military with an existing illness or injury and your service exacerbated it or made it worse in some way. This is called a preservice disability claim.
  • You left the military and a health issue developed after that is directly linked to your active-duty military service. This is called a post service disability claim.

You may not be eligible if you received a discharge that was other than honorable, dishonorable or bad conduct.. If any of these statuses apply to you, talk with a veteran’s disability benefits lawyer about the possibility of pursuing a discharge upgrade.

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What Types of Conditions Make You Eligible for VA Disability Benefits?

Many different kinds of medical issues can make you eligible for VA disability benefits as long as you can prove your health problems are connected to your military service.

There are some medical issues that are presumptive conditions.

This means that as long as you can show you meet the service requirements for the presumption, they are assumed to be connected to your military service and thus to make you eligible for benefits.

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Examples of presumptive conditions include:

  • Chronic (long-lasting illnesses that appear within a year after your discharge such as high blood pressure, diabetes, arthritis, or another condition listed in Title 38, Code of Federal Regulations, 3.309(a). The condition must be at least 10% disabling.
  • Certain chronic conditions that appear more than a year after service, such as Hansen’s disease or tuberculosis if either develops within three years from discharge, multiple sclerosis if it appears within seven years after discharge or ALS appearing any time after discharge.
  • Illnesses caused by coming into contact with toxic chemicals or other contaminants or hazardous materials
  • Illnesses or injuries resulting from spending time as a prisoner of war.

If you do not have a presumptive condition, you may still be eligible for service-connected disability benefits. However, it may be harder to meet eligibility requirements since you have to specifically present evidence to prove that your condition was directly caused by your service.

How to File a Claim for VA Disability Benefits

If you want to file a claim for VA disability benefits, you can do so online using VA Form 21-526EZ. You will need to include evidence with your application including:

  • VA medical and hospital records
  • Private medical and hospital records showing the type and extent of your disability
  • Supporting statements from coworkers, clergy, friends, family, law enforcement personnel, or others in your life who can attest to when your disability occurred or how it has become worse as a result of your military service.

It takes an average of 103.5 days for a review of your claim to be complicated, but your claim could be decided more or less quickly than average depending on factors such as the kind of claim, how many disabilities you have, and how long it takes for the VA to obtain the necessary evidence to make a decision about your eligibility for benefits.

If you disagree with the decision that is made by the VA, you can appeal. You should strongly consider speaking to a VA disability benefits lawyer for help with the initial application process and especially if you are requesting reconsideration of an initial denial of your claim.

Receiving VA Disability Benefits

If you are assigned a disability rating of at least 10%, you will begin receiving disability benefits within 15 days. The amount of your benefits depends on your disability rating as well as whether you have dependent spouses, children or parents.

The VA has a comprehensive table of benefit amounts based on your specific situation. For example, as of December 1, 2022, if you are 10% disabled, you are entitled to a monthly payment of $165.92.

If your disability rating is below 20%, you do not receive higher payments for having dependents. If your disability rating is above 20% you receive more money if you have dependents, though. For example, if you have a disability rating of 50%, you would be entitled to a monthly payment of $1,041.82 if you have no dependents or $1,141.82 if you have a spouse but no dependent parents or children.

If you have a 100% disability rating, you are entitled to certain other benefits including free health and dental care, reimbursement of travel cost to VA treatment centers, waiver of the funding fee for a VA home loan, burial and plot allowance and other benefits.

If you can’t work due to your service-connected disability or if you need special clothing because of it, a clothing allowance and individual unemployability benefits may also be available, even with a disability rating below 100%.

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Get Help With a Service-Connected Disability

If you have a service-connected disability, talk with a VA disability benefits lawyer as soon as possible. Your attorney will help you to understand what benefits you are entitled to and guide you through the application process to help you get the maximum income as quickly as possible so you can support yourself and those you love.

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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Who can get VA disability benefits?

VA disability benefits may be available if you were an active-duty service member or completed inactive duty training and you have a physical or mental illness or injury related to your service. Your health condition must have developed during or after your service. If you had a pre-existing medical condition made worse by your service, this could also qualify you for benefits.

What other benefits can I get with VA disability?

In addition to monthly disability payments, you may also be entitled to other benefits if you have a service-connected disability. This could include medical care, employment retraining, disability housing grants, fiduciary services, Aid & Attendance benefits, and more. A VA disability benefits lawyer can help you understand all the sources of support available to you.

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What qualifies as a service-connected disability?

Illnesses or injuries directly connected to active duty military service qualify as service-connected disability benefits. This includes chronic conditions that developed shortly after your service. illnesses or injuries resulting from exposure to toxic chemicals or hazards or mental health conditions related to your military service.


Service-Connected Disability Benefits In 2023? ›

2023 VA Disability Rates. 2023 VA disability pay rates, which are effective December 1, 2022, have a year over year increase of 8.7% based on the latest cost-of-living adjustment (COLA). Confirmed as of October 13, 2022, this rate increase is the highest rate increase we've seen in about 40 years.

Will VA service connected disability increase in 2023? ›

The adjustment for 2023 means a disabled veteran with a 10% VA rating can expect to see about $13.28 more each month, and a 100% disabled veteran with no dependents will receive $300 more per payment. Learn more online.

What will veteran disability payments be in 2023? ›

Effective December 1st, 2023, the monthly veterans disability payment amounts for veterans with no dependents are as follows: $165.92 per month for 10% disability. $327.99 per month for 20% disability. $508.05 per month for 30% disability.

How much is 100 percent VA disability 2023? ›

2023 VA Disability Pay Rates
Combined VA Rating2023 VA Compensation Rates (8.7% increase)2021 VA Compensation Rates
6 more rows
Aug 23, 2022

How much will VA disability increase in 2024? ›

2024 VA disability rates, which are effective December 1, 2023 (payable January 1, 2024), are estimated to increase by 3.1% based on the latest Cost-Of-Living Adjustment (COLA) data.

What happens to my VA disability when I turn 65? ›

No, VA disability does not stop at age 65; nor does it stop at age 67. VA disability benefits are for the life of the disabled veteran! And in some instances, the veteran's VA benefits can pass to the surviving spouse. At age 65, a disabled veteran may also become eligible for VA pension benefits.

At what age does VA disability become permanent? ›

There is no set age of when your VA disability becomes permanent. The VA rater will determine “permanence” of a VA disability if it is reasonably certain, based upon medical evidence, that the level of impairment will continue for the rest of your life. Translation: Whether you're 35 or 75 years old it does not matter.

How many veterans have a 100% disability rating? ›

A single 100% rating means that the condition you're experiencing is severe and totally disabling. A combined rating of 100% is not a total disability because a person may be able to maintain substantially gainful employment with a combined 100%. More than a million veterans receive benefits at the 100% rate.

What is the 55 year old rule for VA disability? ›

Once you turn 55, you are typically "protected" and will no longer have to attend an exam to prove that your condition has not changed unless there is reason to suspect fraud. This is sometimes called the 55-year rule.

Is 70% PTSD a permanent VA disability? ›

The veteran's total disability due to PTSD is permanent with no likelihood of improvement. The 100 percent rating for PTSD is total, permanent, and static in nature.

How much is special monthly compensation for erectile dysfunction? ›

SMC has a category termed “loss of use of a creative organ.” Under this category, SMC (k), you can receive monthly compensation for erectile dysfunction, which in 2022 is nearly $120 a month.

Is the VA ending disability benefits? ›

Beginning in January 2024, veterans whose income was $170,000 or higher in 2023 would no longer receive disability compensation, and those whose household incomes were between $125,000 and $170,000 would receive adjusted payments. There would be no adjustment for household size, according to the option.

What is the VA disability option component 2024? ›


This option would require the VA to means-test all current and prospective recipients of VA disability compensation beginning in January 2024; after that date, veterans would receive total payments only if their gross household income in the year prior was less than the determined threshold.

Does VA disability reduce Social Security? ›

SSA classifies VA benefits as “unearned income,” since it does not come from paid employment. As such, it will be deducted dollar for dollar from the SSI federal payment amount, after a general exclusion of $20.

How do I get the $16728 Social Security bonus? ›

To acquire the full amount, you need to maximize your working life and begin collecting your check until age 70. Another way to maximize your check is by asking for a raise every two or three years. Moving companies throughout your career is another way to prove your worth, and generate more money.

Does VA disability last a lifetime? ›

Because VA disability benefits depend on your condition, they do not necessarily last forever. Yet the VA can designate you as totally and permanently disabled if your condition is especially severe. In that case, VA benefits continue for life unless evidence of VA claim fraud arises.

What is the 10 year rule for VA disability? ›

If the Veteran's eligibility was due to a service-connected disability rated as totally disabling, they must have had this rating: For at least 10 years before their death, or. Since their release from active duty and for at least 5 years immediately before their death, or.

What is the 8 year rule for VA disability? ›

The 8-year provision actually goes both ways. The veteran needs to have been totally disabled for at least 8 years before death and then the benefit will be granted to surviving spouses for the same 8 years.

What is the 20 year rule for VA disability? ›

TWENTY YEAR RULE -The VA 20 year rule means if your rating has been in effect for 20 years or more, the VA cannot reduce it below the lowest rating it has held for the previous 20 years. Again, the only exception to this rule is if the VA can prove fraud.

What is the VA 50 year old rule? ›

The VA's 55-year-old rule states that disability compensation will not be awarded for disabilities that first appear in a veteran after they turn 55 years old, unless the disability is due to military service.

Can veterans fly for free? ›

Service members and their families can use Space-A flights – formally known as Military Airlift Command or MAC flights – to travel around the country and world at a reduced cost or for free.

Can you collect Social Security if you are 100 percent disabled veteran? ›

A Veterans Affairs compensation rating of 100% P&T doesn't guarantee that you'll receive Social Security disability benefits. To receive disability benefits from Social Security, a person must have a severe impairment expected to last at least one year or to result in death.

Does VA disability count as income? ›

Disability compensation is a benefit paid to Veterans because of injuries or disease that happened during active duty. In some cases, an existing disease or injury was worsened due to active military service. This benefit is also paid to certain Veterans disabled from VA health care. The benefits are tax-free.

What is the average VA rating for depression? ›

Overall, a 30 percent VA disability rating for depression and anxiety is assigned when a veteran presents with these symptoms in a mild manner, intermittently over time.

What is the highest disability for VA? ›

A 100% VA Disability Rating is the highest combined rating a veteran can receive for VA Disability. It is also known as a Total Rating.

How often does the VA reevaluate disability? ›

Basically, the VA can reevaluate your disability rating every 2 to 5 years unless your rating is permanent or protected. Depending on the results of the reexamination and reevaluation, you may see a reduced rating. Some conditions are likely to fluctuate in severity over time.

What does 80% VA disability entitle you to? ›

In addition to VA disability compensation, veterans rated at 80 percent may be eligible for additional benefits, including, but not limited to: Special Monthly Compensation. Veterans Benefits Banking Program. Travel allowances for VA Medical Center appointments.

What is the 10 year rule for VA 100 disability? ›

If the Veteran's eligibility was due to a service-connected disability rated as totally disabling, they must have had this rating: For at least 10 years before their death, or. Since their release from active duty and for at least 5 years immediately before their death, or.

How hard is it to get 100% VA disability? ›

As you might expect, it is difficult to obtain a 100% VA disability rating with just one service-connected disability. Most veterans who receive a 100% rating have two or more disabling conditions. Often, these conditions have a secondary service connection.

Will my VA disability ever stop? ›

The good news is that, once VA benefits start, they typically don't terminate except in extreme circumstances. There are some instances where your benefits could be reduced, but most rates are protected and require extensive evidence and reasoning to reduce.

How often is VA disability reviewed? ›

Basically, the VA can reevaluate your disability rating every 2 to 5 years unless your rating is permanent or protected. Depending on the results of the reexamination and reevaluation, you may see a reduced rating. Some conditions are likely to fluctuate in severity over time.

Is PTSD a permanent VA disability? ›

The veteran's total disability due to PTSD is permanent with no likelihood of improvement. The 100 percent rating for PTSD is total, permanent, and static in nature.

What does 90 percent VA disability pay? ›

How much does 90% VA disability pay? Veterans with no dependents receive $2,172.39 for a 90% disability rating. Veterans with a dependent spouse, children, or parent receive additional compensation.

How much does a spouse get from VA disability after death? ›

If you're the surviving spouse of a Veteran, your monthly rate would start at $1,562.74. Then for each additional benefit you qualify for, you would add the amounts from the Added amounts table.

What does 90 percent VA disability get you? ›

Veterans at a 90% VA Disability Rating are eligible to be placed in VA Health Care Priority Group 1, which is the highest priority group for receiving health care benefits. Members of Group 1 will receive health care services with no copays. Some of the services they are entitled to include: Preventative care.


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