Veterans that have disabilities related to their military services may qualify for benefits from various programs offered by the United States Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).
These programs were created to help veterans adjust to a life with disabilities after or during their service. Veterans with disabilities may qualify to receive different types of aid, including basic financial and home adaptation assistance, life insurance policies, employment support and more.
The type and severity of a veteran’s disability determines his or her eligibility to receive certain kinds of VA benefits. For instance, some requirements include certain diseases or injuries sustained by the applicant during his or her time on or off duty.
Moreover, a veteran may also qualify for benefits based on other related injuries that occur after his or her discharge. Veterans are able to apply to any program and may receive benefits as long as they qualify. Eligibility is determined by the veteran’s disability rating that is based on an evaluation.
Furthermore, even if a veteran qualifies for multiple benefits, he or she must apply for each individual program separately. Retired service member can uncover more about programs and services that are available to them below.
Financial VA Disability Benefits
Each month, veterans with disabilities, receive tax-free compensation as part of their VA disability benefits. This is the most common type of financial assistance that veterans receive for their any injuries attained during their military training or service.
Moreover, veterans may also qualify to receive this compensation based on certain qualifying disabilities that occur after their service.
Applicants may be able to receive further benefits if they have a special claim. These claims enable veterans with low ratings to receive benefits equal to 100 percent of disability compensation, which they would not receive otherwise due to their low rating.
This additional compensation is often considered as an allowance that allows veterans to make special purchases for specific needs For example, these funds could be used to buy a special vehicle to accommodate a disability.
Special claims can also enable veterans to obtain extended hospitalization to recover from surgery, conditions that arise or get worse during treatment and special clothing that can accommodate wheelchairs or prosthetics.
Furthermore, veterans may also file a special claim if they are unable to obtain employment because of their disability.
To determine their eligibility, disabled veterans must first receive a disability rating by undergoing an examination performed by a doctor certified by the VA. The rating assigned by the doctor determines the amount of compensation that a veteran will receive. It may also be used when applying for other VA benefits.
Under special circumstances, the VA offers additional benefits to applicants who qualify. For instance, some disabled veterans may be eligible for a special monthly compensation or SMC. This compensation applies to retired service members who have lost a limb in service or simply need more compensation due other qualifying circumstances.
For example, a veteran may need an assistant for special treatment or assistance. In this case, the amount of compensation the veteran may collect is determined by how much assistance the veteran and his or her family needs.
Therefore, veterans with dependent family members may also apply for additional compensation.
Employment Services That Cater to Disabled Veterans
Veterans with disabilities may also benefit from the different programs the VA offers to help them find new employment after returning from service. Some of these programs include:
- VR&E, or Vocational Rehabilitation & Employment: This program offers provides resources such as resume building and job training. Moreover, veterans can attain access to career counseling and get support if they want to open a small business. These benefits are aimed to support veterans and service members re-acclimation to the workforce. Benefits generally lasts for 12 years and a veteran’s disability rating helps to determine eligibility.
- Vet Success on Campus (VSOC): With this program, veterans receive assistance when enrolling for higher education programs and work along rehabilitation counselors while completing college courses. Additionally, the counselors help veterans access GI benefits and provide them with general support such as organizing disability accommodations that veterans may need on campus.
- Assistance with independent living: Veterans receive this benefit when they are temporarily unable to attend school or work. This program is personalized on a case-by-case basis and is aimed to support retired service members pursuing employment. Assistance is usually provide for no more than 24 months.
Grant and Home Loans for Veteran Disability Accommodations
Disabled veterans often encounter accessibility issues when they return home. For this reason, qualifying applicants may access special programs created by the U.S. government. These programs aim to assist veterans make necessary housing adjustments. Furthermore, veterans may also obtain loans from private lenders to purchase a new home that is better suited to their needs. The VA partially guarantees this loan in order to ensure low interest rates.
Veterans who need to adapt their current homes have the opportunity to obtain a VA grant to do so. The Special Housing Adaptation (SHA) grant and the Specially Adapted Housing Assistive Technology (SAHAT) grant both help veterans looking for this kind of assistance.
The SAH grant gives financial assistance to veterans that need to modify their home in to better support their disability. Veterans often use this grant to fund the installation of devices like:
- Grab bars.
- Walk-in bathtubs or showers.
- Wider door frames.
- Wheelchair ramps.
On the other hand, the SAHAT grants access to veterans to technology that provides modern solution to disability assistance. Other grant related veteran assistance programs may be available at state level.
Just as the other programs, state level assistance is aimed to improve veterans’ living conditions by improving the overall accessibility in their homes.
Organizations for Disabled Veterans
- Wounded Warrior Project
- Paralyzed Veterans of America
- Hope For The Warriors
- Disabled Sports USA
- American Association of People with Disabilities
Veterans Medical Benefits
Disabled veterans may also be eligible to receive additional medical benefits if they need additional coverage. These benefits include life insurance policies that service members can access at low cost. Moreover, even though some benefits are limited to active duty members, there are two VA life insurance policies that are aimed at veterans who have disabilities.
For instance, veterans who are rendered 100 percent disabled are eligible for free Service-Disabled Veterans Life Insurance, otherwise known as S-DVI. Moreover, this policy is also available to any applicant who has received a disability rating of any amount in the past two years. In this case, the cost of the policy will depend on each applicant’s rating.
On the other hand, disabled veterans who receive benefits from the SAH grant, are likely to qualify for the Veterans’ Mortgage Life Insurance (VMLI). This insurance offers protection up to $200,000, but it decreases as the mortgage balance is paid.
To apply for the VMLI, candidates must have a title and mortgage on their home. Also, they must apply before they are 70 years of age.
How to Qualify for Veteran Disability Benefits
As mentioned before, each program has its own set of requirements to ensure a candidate’s eligibility. Therefore, veterans must meet different conditions, depending on the type of program that they apply.
For a veteran to qualify for benefits, he or she must receive an honorable discharge. Moreover, veterans must meet the disability rate outlined by the program for which the veteran applies.
Therefore, candidates must also complete an assessment that is conducted by a VA physician who assigns them a disability rating. Then, veterans may compare their rating with the required one, and must apply to the program they qualify for if they want to receive benefits from that program.
Applying for VA Benefits
Candidates may access and download the application on the official VA website before applying to better understand each program’s requirements. The process is simple once veterans start or complete the process to obtain their disability rating.
Veterans must also provide information such as:
- A VA file number.
- A Social Security Number (SSN).
- Type of disability and rating, if available.
- Service information, such as wars and branches served and discharge circumstances.
Note: Applicants who are still awaiting the results of their disability evaluation can submit their application earlier by providing a VA memorandum until they receive their disability rating.