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Veterans Law

Types of VA Benefits

There are two basic types of benefits available through the Department of Veteran’s Affairs.  These are Disability Benefits and Health Benefits.

Disability benefits are monthly payments made to service men and women, and, in some cases, their families.  For injuries that are caused by some service connected event, disability payments are made based on the degree of the injury.  A serviceman does not have to be completely disabled to receive compensation benefits.

For servicemen who served in a period of war, the VA law allows a pension benefit, regardless of whether the disability was service connected.  This benefit is income and asset tested and only applies to those Wartime Veterans who do not have significant income and assets.

Widows and widowers of deceased service members may also be entitled to payments based on circumstances of their spouse.  The VA law provides for a monthly payment where the cause of death was a service connected condition or where the veteran was totally disabled because of a service connected condition for a long period of time before the death.

The VA provides extensive medical benefits for Veterans, and, in some cases, for their families.  These medical benefits are budgeted each year by Congress and individual entitlement is determined based on the budget made by Congress

What Disability Benefits Are Available for Veterans?

There are two primary disability programs available through the VA:

  • Service-connected disability: Disability benefits can be awarded for physical or psychological impairments. For service-connected veterans' disabilities, benefits can be awarded for even a partial disability. To qualify, you must have a discharge other than dishonorable and a current diagnosis of a service-connected disability. Additionally, you must prove that an incident in service caused the disability or that the disability began during service and you must show a medical connection between your current condition and its service origin. Some veterans with service-connected disabilities, whether partial or total, can receive both veterans' disability benefits and Social Security disability benefits without any set off.

A service-connected disability does not necessarily have to be incurred during combat as long as the disability originated while in service or is otherwise service-connected. In addition, some disabilities can be secondarily service-connected. For example, service-connected post traumatic stress syndrome could cause depression.

  • Non service-connected pension: Another VA program pays benefits to disabled veterans whose disabilities are not service-connected. These veterans may be entitled to a non service-connected pension. In order to receive these benefits, a veteran must have served on active duty during a period of war, there must be a total and permanent disability, and the veteran must meet certain financial requirements.
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