Many veterans finish their service to their country with an injury that could qualify for monthly monetary disability compensation. Many veterans come away from their service with questions about disability and the process of obtaining it. In order to obtain this compensation, veterans should apply for assistance through the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).
How do I know if I am eligible for disability benefits?
According to the Department of Veterans Affairs, “You may be able to get VA disability benefits or compensation if you have a current illness or injury that affects your body or mind and you meet at least one of the requirements.”
In order to qualify, both of the following must be true. You must have:
- Served on active duty for training, inactive duty training, active duty, AND
- A disability rating for the service-related condition
Additionally, at least one of the following must be true. You must have:
- Become sick or injured while serving in the military
- Had an illness or injury before you joined the military, and your service made it worse
- A disability-related to active-duty service that didn’t appear until after your service was ended
Can I qualify for benefits if I received a dishonorable discharge, bad conduct, or other than honorable discharge?
If you received a dishonorable discharge, bad conduct, or other than honorable discharge, you may not be eligible for benefits. However, you do have two options in order to pursue the issue further. You could apply for a discharge upgrade, possibly making you eligible for benefits, or you could request a character of discharge review.
If disability benefits are denied, can the decision be appealed?
Denied benefits can be appealed by filing a Notice of Disagreement (NOD) with the VA. This must be filed within one year after the denial letter was sent.
Why are disability claims denied?
Other than being ineligible, disability claims could be denied because:
- The condition was incurred outside of the actual service and doesn’t meet the service-connection requirement
- The condition is a result of misconduct during service
What is a disability rating?
When the VA determines that a veteran has a qualifying condition, they are assigned a disability rating. This rating will determine the monetary compensation that the veteran will receive for their condition. The VA Schedule for Rating Disabilities (VASRD) is used to determine this rating, which is communicated by using a percentage that ranges from 0 to 100.
A 100 percent disability rating is the highest percentage given. It is only assigned to veterans with debilitating conditions that prevent them from working and greatly affect their quality of life.
What if I disagree with my disability rating?
If you disagree with your assigned disability rating, you have one year to request a decision review. However, the review could result in an even lower disability rating. So only request a review if you feel that you have sufficient evidence to support your request for a review.
How to get a 100 percent disability rating will depend on a variety of factors, however ensuring that you provide ample evidence to support your injury claim will help your case greatly.