Disability compensation is a monthly tax-free benefit paid to Veterans who are at least 10 percent disabled because of injuries or diseases that were incurred in or aggravated during active duty, active duty for training, or inactive duty training. A disability can apply to physical conditions, such as a chronic knee condition, as well as a mental health conditions, such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
The benefit amount is graduated according to the degree of the Veteran’s disability on a scale from 10 percent to 100 percent (in increments of 10 percent). Compensation may also be paid for disabilities that are considered related or secondary to disabilities occurring in service and for disabilities presumed to be related to circumstances of military service, even though they may arise after service. Generally, the degrees of disability specified are also designed to compensate for considerable loss of working time from exacerbations or illnesses.
If you have dependents, an additional allowance may be added if your combined disability is rated 30 percent or greater. Your compensation may be offset if you receive military retirement pay, disability severance pay, or separation incentive payments. More information about disability compensation benefit amounts can be found on the Compensation Rates page.
- Service in the Uniformed Services on active duty, or
- Active duty for training, or
- Inactive duty training, and
- You were discharged under other than dishonorable conditions, and
- You are at least 10 percent disabled by an injury or disease that was incurred in or aggravated during active duty or active duty for training, or inactive duty training.
Note: If you were on inactive duty for training, the disability must have resulted from injury, heart attack, or stroke.
- Medical evidence of a current physical or mental disability, and
- Evidence of a relationship between your disability and an injury, disease, or event in military service. Medical records or medical opinions are required to establish this relationship.
Note: Under certain circumstances, VA may conclude that certain current disabilities were caused by service, even if there is no specific evidence proving this in your particular claim. The cause of a disability is presumed for the following Veterans who have certain diseases.
- Former prisoners of war
- Veterans who have certain chronic or tropical diseases that become evident within a specific period of time after discharge from service
- Veterans who were exposed to ionizing radiation, mustard gas, or Lewisite while in service
- Veterans who were exposed to certain herbicides, such as by serving in Vietnam
- Veterans who served in Southwest Asia during the Gulf War
During a weekend drill, an Army Reservist injures her knee while participating in a physical training class. She is eligible for compensation for residuals of the knee injury.
An individual enlisted in the U.S. Navy on June 10, 1988, and served for a period of 3 years. He was honorably discharged on June 9, 1991. During his active duty, he fell from a bunk and injured his back. Based on his active service, he is entitled to service-connected benefits for the residuals of his back injury.
How to Apply
- Apply online using eBenefits, or
- Work with an accredited representative or agent, or
- Go to a VA regional office and have a VA employee assist you. You can find your regional office on the Facility Locator page.
For more information on how to apply and for tips on making sure your claim is ready to be processed by VA, benefits.va.gov/COMPENSATION/apply.asp