VA Disability Benefits
Veteran's disability benefits provide a means for disabled veterans to replace wages lost due to their inability to earn a living. The Department of Veterans Affairs issues benefit awards in cash allotments on a monthly basis based on the type or degree of disability a person has. The VA also administers a special benefit program that awards additional benefits to veterans who suffer from severe disabilities that have a permanent or lasting effect on their income earning capacity. To qualify, veterans must provide medical documentation that justifies a need for benefit assistance.
The VA makes disability determinations based on a ratings system that assigns percentages when evaluating a person's degree of disability. Degrees of disability have to do with how a physical or mental condition affects a person's ability to earn a living. A 100 percent rating indicates a condition that prevents a person from working within any job capacity. Veterans who receive a 100 percent rating become eligible for full benefit entitlement amounts based on the number of dependents a person has and marital status. In cases where severe disabling conditions significantly impair a person's overall functional capacity, a veteran becomes eligible for additional benefit amounts on top of the 100 percent entitlement.
Veterans who suffer from severe disabling conditions due to time spent in the service may qualify for additional disability benefits through the VA Special Monthly Compensation Program. Severe disabilities include the loss of a limb or conditions that cause paralysis or leave a person immobile. Veterans who suffer from conditions involving blindness or deafness may also qualify under the Special Monthly Compensation Program. Additional monthly benefits also apply in cases where a person has two or more severe disabilities, such as blindness and paralysis in a limb. Situations where a veteran's condition leaves him bedridden or homebound may also qualify for benefit amounts over the 100 percent entitlement.
Retirement Benefit Offsets
The VA awards retirement benefits to eligible veterans who have reached retirement age. The VA applies a benefit offset in cases where a veteran already receives disability benefits and becomes eligible for retirement benefits. Veterans who suffer from a combat-related disability and served 20 or more years in the military may qualify for both disability and retirement benefits through the Combat Related Special Compensation Program. In effect, someone with severe disabilities who already receives additional benefits over and above the 100 percent entitlement can also qualify for Combat Related Compensation benefits provided he meets the program's eligibility requirements.