Disability compensation is a benefit paid to a veteran because of injuries or diseases that happened while on active duty, or were made worse by active military service. It is also paid to certain veterans disabled from VA health care. The benefits are tax-free.
If you are at-least 10 percent disabled as a result of your military service, the VA can pay you monthly compensation. The amount of VA benefits paid is dependent on the percentage of disability. The percentages run from 10% to 100% and in some extreme cases can be more than 100% called special monthly compensation. The VA figures out the amount to be paid by taking the percentage of disability looking it up on the Compensation Rate Table. In other words, if the VA finds you 10% disabled, you would get less money than if they found you 80% disabled. Remember, the disability must be "service connected".
The amount of basic benefit paid ranges, depending on how disabled you are.
Note: You may be paid additional amounts, in certain instances, if:
To get VA compensation benefits for service connected disability, there is a three part test. First, you must have a disability at the present time that has been diagnosed medically. Second, there must have been a disease, injury or event in the service. Third, there must be a nexus. This means that the current medical condition is related to the in service medical condition. This may include disabilities that are secondary conditions, due to a disability that is service connected.
Pension is a benefit paid to wartime veterans who have limited or no income, and who are age 65 or older, or, if under 65, who are permanently and totally disabled. The disability does not have to be "service connected". This is needs based and the veteran must have limited income. These pension benefits are available to those who served during a period of war and are totally disabled. These payments are much less than compensation and are offset by other income. VA provides a Disability Benefits Pension Rate Table that is based on countable family income which is set yearly by Congress.
Generally, you may be eligible if:
If you are found eligible for pension you may also be entitled to Aid and Attendance or Housebound Benefits. These benefits are for veterans who are more seriously disabled and are in addition to monthly pension. These benefits may not be paid without eligibility to pension.
A veteran cannot receive both Aid and Attendance and Housebound benefits at the same time.
A&A is a benefit paid in addition to monthly pension and may not be paid without eligibility to pension. A veteran may be eligible for A&A when:
Housebound is paid in addition to monthly pension. Like A&A, Housebound benefits may not be paid without eligibility to pension. A veteran may be eligible for Housebound benefits when:
Death Pension is a needs based benefit paid to an unremarried surviving spouse (widow), or an unmarried child of a deceased wartime veteran.
Generally, you may be eligible if:
Countable income includes income received from most sources by the surviving spouse and any eligible children. It includes earnings, disability and retirement payments, interest and dividends, and net income from farming or business. Certain expenses like medical expenses may be excluded from your annual income to lower the total countable income. There is a presumption that all of a child's income is available to or for the surviving spouse. VA may grant an exception in hardship cases.
The following are examples of the types of exclusions or deductibles to countable income:
Net worth means the net value of the assets of the surviving spouse and his or her children. It includes such assets as bank accounts, stocks, bonds, mutual funds and any property other than the surviving spouse's residence and a reasonable lot area. There is no set limit on how much net worth a surviving spouse and his or her children can have, but net worth cannot be excessive. The decision as to whether a claimant's net worth is excessive depends on the facts of each individual case. All net worth should be reported and VA will determine if a claimant's assets are sufficiently large that the claimant could live off these assets for a reasonable period of time. VA's needs-based programs are not intended to protect substantial assets or build up an estate for the benefit of heirs.
If you are found eligible for death pension you may also be entitled to Aid and Attendance or Housebound Benefits. These benefits may not be paid without eligibility to death pension.
A veteran’s survivor cannot receive both Aid and Attendance and Housebound benefits at the same time.
Aid and Attendance is a benefit paid in addition to monthly pension when:
Housebound is paid to a claimant when:
VA pays you the difference between your countable income and an annual rate of payment established by Congress.VA provides of annual incomes that would qualify you for pension. See Death Pension Rate Table. This difference is generally paid in 12 equal monthly payments rounded down to the nearest dollar.