In 2021 VA disability rates have increased by 1.3%.
For disabled veterans, the total amount of the benefits varies on the extent of disability. The VA decides on your disability eligibility based on information that you provide as part of your claim, or from information that the VA receives from your military service records.
VA disability compensation pay rates range from 0-100% in 10 percent increments. Eligible disabled veterans can receive up to $3,731.90 per month in VA disability compensation as a tax-free benefit.
Veterans with disabilities may use VA disability compensation charts to gain an idea about how much financial assistance they may be eligible to receive. The combined rating tables on the VA website will also calculate the disability percentage if you have multiple disabilities.
Periodically, the VA implements cost-of-living adjustments (COLA) to VA disability compensation and pension benefits to help ensure VA benefits are not diminished by inflation. The cost-of-living adjustments to the VA’s compensation and pension rates are the same percentage as for Social Security benefits. Vets who are disabled receive an increase that is connected to the level of their disability rating.
The average increase is expected to be around $26 a month, or $312 total for the year.
Veterans who retired in 2017 will receive a temporary partial COLA due to receiving an increase in January. Congress is still working on pay raises for current active duty service members, which is expected to be within the 2.1-2.3% range. Retired and disabled vets will see their benefits increase because an act of Congress is not required for COLA for these groups.
Several types of claims can apply to disability compensation. They may be based upon disabilities that existed and became intensified during military service, disabilities that arose during active military service, or disabilities that became worse after leaving service. These claims include:
This compensation is paid to veterans with disabilities that are the result of a disease or injury incurred or aggravated during active military service. The benefit amount is granted according to the degree of the veteran’s disability on a scale from 10 percent to 100 percent in increments of 10 percent. This type of benefit is also paid for disabilities that are related to or secondary to disabilities that happened during service or that are determined to be related to military service, even if they occur after military service. The degrees of disability specified are designed to compensate for a loss of working time.
DIC is a tax-free monetary benefit that is paid to the surviving family member of a veteran, such as a spouse, child, or parent. This benefit applies to veterans on active duty, active duty training, inactive duty training, or to survivors of service members who died from their disabilities. DIC is offered to the parents of veterans who are financially dependent on a veteran or of a veteran who died from a service-related cause.
SMC is an additional tax-free benefit paid to veterans, their spouses, surviving spouses, and parents. Special Monthly Compensation is a higher rate of compensation due to special circumstances, such as the need of aid and attendance by another person or for a specific disability (for example, a loss of use of one hand or leg). This benefit is referred to as aid and attendance, and the compensation is based on the veteran’s need for aid and attendance from another person.
These types of claims do not always occur during active duty. In some instances, a disability can be determined to be related to an event that happened during military service. Some examples include surgery related to a disability that occurred during service, or additional compensation that is needed due to additional aid or attendance. Special VA disability compensation programs include an individual’s unemployability, an allowance for a vehicle, clothing allowance, pre-stabilization, hospitalization, dental, and birth defects.
Changes can occur to veterans’ disability benefits rates when the VA decides to reexamine the veteran. The VA retains the right to reconsider the disability rating at any time. You may receive a Notice of Reexamination letter in the mail that includes a scheduled appointment date. It is critical that you attend this appointment.
After the VA reexamines you, it will make a recommendation to increase, to decrease, or to leave your veteran disability compensation at its current rating.
It is important to contact the VA whenever there are changes in your family status, as your VA disability pay rates may change as a result. If you have a 30% disability rating or higher and are supporting qualified dependents such as a spouse, child, or parent, you may be eligible to receive a higher VA disability payment. If your disability rating is 20% or lower, changes in your family status do not affect your payment.