Veterans' Disability Benefits Program Description
Compensation for Service-connected Disabilities
Disability compensation is a monetary benefit paid to veterans who are disabled by injury or disease incurred in or aggravated during active military service. Individuals discharged or separated from military service under dishonorable conditions are generally not eligible for compensation payments. The amount of monthly compensation depends on the degree of disability, rated as the percentage of normal function lost. Effective December 1, 2011, payments range from $127 a month for a 10 percent disability to $2,769 a month for total disability. Veterans who have at least a 30 percent service-connected disability are entitled to an additional dependent's allowance. The amount is based on the number of dependents and degree of disability.
Pensions for Nonservice-connected Disabilities
Monthly benefits are provided to wartime veterans with limited income and resources who are totally and permanently disabled because of a condition not attributable to their military service. To qualify for these pensions, a veteran must have served in one or more of the following designated war periods: The Mexican Border Period, World War I, World War II, the Korean Conflict, the Vietnam Era, or the Gulf War. The period of service must have lasted at least 90 days, at least one day of which was during a war period, and the discharge or separation cannot have been dishonorable. Service less than 90 days is acceptable if the veteran was discharged with a service-connected disability.
Pension payments are reduced by countable income. Some medical and other expenses are allowed as deductions from countable income. Veterans aged 65 or older who meet service, net worth, and income requirements are eligible for a pension, regardless of current physical condition.
Effective December 1, 2011, maximum benefit amounts for nonservice-connected disabilities range from $1,021 per month for a veteran without a dependent spouse or child to $2,020 per month for a veteran who is in need of regular aid and attendance and who has one dependent. For each additional dependent child, the pension is raised by $174 per month.
For additional information about benefits and services available from the Department of Veterans Affairs, see Federal Benefits for Veterans, Dependents and Survivors at http://www.va.gov/opa/publications/benefits_book.asp.
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