Disability Benefit Programs Available to Eligible Veterans

The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) offers two major disability benefit programs for veterans: (1)service-connected disability compensation (compensation), and (2) non-service-connected disability pension (pension). There is a significant difference between these two programs: veterans with a serious service-connected condition usually receive much higher monthly payments than they would under the pension benefits program for a non-service connected condition.

Generally, veterans are entitled to disability compensation if:

  1. they were discharged or released under conditions other than dishonorable;
  2. their disease or injury was incurred or aggravated in the line of duty; and,
  3. the disability is not the result of their own willful misconduct or abuse of alcohol or drugs.

Veterans approved for disability compensation receive monthly monetary payments. As of December 01, 2011, for a single veteran without dependents, these payments ranged from $127 for a disability rated as 10% disabling, up to $2,765 for a disability rated as 100 percent disabling.

In some cases where a veteran has suffered certain severe disabilities, the veteran may be entitled to special monthly compensation (SMC), which can provide compensation payments at a rate much greater than the 100% rate. An example of this type of compensation would include a severely disabled veteran in need of the regular aid and attendance (A&A) or daily health-care services from another person.

A veteran who is receiving, or who is entitled to receive, VA service-connected disability compensation that is rated 30 percent or more disabling is entitled to receive an additional amount of monthly compensation based on the existence of qualifying family members. Family members who may qualify include an eligible spouse, child, and/or dependent parent or parents.

The VA also pays a form of compensation to surviving spouses, children, and parents of deceased veterans whose deaths were caused by service – connected conditions. This condition is called dependency and indemnity compensation (DIC).

If you believe that you may have a claim, or if you previously filed a claim and were denied, the Law Office of Sonya L. Pence stands ready and prepared to assist you and your family to receive the disability benefits you rightly deserve.