Of all the benefits available through the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs, VA compensation is perhaps one of the least understood. The VA receives thousands of comments on the topic every week from veterans all across the world.
According to Jason Davis, the VA social media administrator who pours over all those comments, most veterans do not understand the “intent, purpose or process behind this benefit.”
VA compensation is a monthly payment made to a veteran or eligible family member for a service-related disability. There are several different types of VA compensation, but disability compensation is the most common.
VA Disability Compensation
If a veteran develops a disability due to an injury or disease tied to their active-duty military service, he or she may be entitled to disability compensation. It’s important to note that the injury or disease causing the disability must have been sustained in the line of duty or if a pre-existing disease or injury was aggravated by your military duty.
The VA bases compensation on the level of the disability, meaning veterans who are disabled 30 percent or more are entitled to higher compensation.
How Does VA Compensation Work?
Service connection describes an injury or disease that is linked to your service in the military. VA will approve service connection when evidence shows a link between your debilitating injury or disease and your time in active duty.
The VA will review all military personnel records, medical records and doctor opinions to determine if a link exists. Non-federal records, such as your private medical records, will also be reviewed.
When evaluating your claim, the VA will look at the chronicity and continuity of your claim. This helps the VA identify the nature of the injury and the level of disability it causes.
How to File for VA Compensation
To file a claim for compensation, visit eBenefits.va.gov. Search for a veteran service officer in your area who will provide assistance. This service is free. You will need to have all your documents supporting your claim, including your DD-214, service and private medical records and buddy statements, according to the VA. You may also call 1-800-827-1000 for assistance.