Military Disability Benefits


VA Military Disability Benefits
DoD Military Disability Benefits
Receiving Both DoD and VA Military Disability Benefits
Increasing Your Military Disability Benefits
Military Disability Benefits

Military Disability Benefits are given for VA Disability and DoD Disability to Disabled Veterans for service-connected medical conditions. While the VA will give Military Disability Benefits for all service-connected medical conditions, the DoD will only give Military Disability Benefits for service-connected conditions that make the service member Unfit for Duty.

Monetary Military Disability Benefits are intended to reflect the amount of money the veteran will not be able to earn because of their disability that they would have been able to earn without it. 

The exact amount and type of Military Disability Benefits a veteran receives is determined by their Total Combined Rating. Each rating, 0% – 100%, receives a different amount of Military Disability Benefits. The minimum Military Disability Benefits are given for a 0% rating, and the maximum are given for a 100% rating.

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VA Military Disability Benefits

As part of the VA Disability Process, the VA will give veterans Military Disability Benefits for every service-connected condition they have.

Our VA Disability Chart notes the current compensation rates for VA Disability. These Military Disability Benefits are the same for each veteran, no matter their rank or how long they served in the military. The only factors that can adjust the amount of money a veteran receives from the VA are things like children and spouses.

All Military Disability Benefits from the VA are NOT taxable. 

It is important to submit a VA Disability Claim to receive Military Disability Benefits from the VA as soon after separation from the military as possible. As long as the initial application is received by the VA within 1 year from the veteran’s date of separation, the VA will give full Military Disability Benefits for all the months between the date of separation and the VA’s rating decision. If the application is received after that 1-year mark, VA Disability Back Pay for the time between the date of separation and the date of application will be lost.

In addition to the standard compensation, the VA also gives extra Military Disability Benefits, called Special Monthly Compensation, to veterans who have very serious disability combinations that qualify. The basic idea is that if a veteran had a leg amputated and is blind, they have a much more serious disability than if they had just one or the other, and thus should receive additional compensation.

Besides monetary compensation, the VA will also provide medical care. If the Total Combined Rating is 0%-40%, the VA will provide full medical care for service-connected conditions. If the rating is 50%-100%, the VA will provide full medical care for all medical conditions.

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DoD Military Disability Benefits

The DoD only gives Military Disability Benefits at the end of the DoD Disability Process to service members who have service-connected medical conditions that make them Unfit for Duty.

All Military Disability Benefits from the DoD are taxable unless the disability was caused by combat or combat-related activities.

The exact type and amount of Military Disability Benefits from the DoD depends on whether the service member is medically separated or medically retired.

If a veteran receives a 0%, 10%, or 20% Total Combined Rating from the DoD, then they are medically separated.

If a veteran receives a 30% or higher Total Combined Rating from the DoD, then they are medically retired. Military Disability Benefits for all medically retired veterans include full medical care and monthly payments for life.

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Receiving Both DoD and VA Military Disability Benefits

Any monetary retirement benefits (regular retirement or disability retirement) you receive from the DoD is decreased by the amount of Military Disability Benefits you receive from the VA.

So, if the DoD is giving you $1,000/month, and you then start receiving $500/month from the VA, the amount you receive from the DoD will decrease to $500/month (1,000 – 500 = 500).

While it may seem like you’re getting ripped off, this is actually a good thing since the VA’s Military Disability Benefits aren’t taxable, while the DoD’s are. If you can only receive one total amount, not having to pay taxes is always better.

While taking the amount of VA Military Disability Benefits from the amount of DoD Military Disability Benefits is the norm, there are two exceptions to this rule: Concurrent Retirement and Disability Pay (CRDP) and Combat Related Special Compensation (CRSC). If you qualify for one or both, you will be able to receive complete Military Disability Benefits from both the DoD and the VA.   

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Increasing Your Military Disability Benefits

The only way to increase your Military Disability Benefits is to get your Military Disability Ratings increased.

You can do this either by appealing a rating decision or by submitting for an increased evaluation (including for Individual Unemployability and Special Monthly Compensation) if your conditions have gotten worse over time (VA-only).

To be successful, it is important that you understand the entire DoD Disability Process and the VA Disability Process. Then you need to understand how your conditions are rated, including the VASRD and the VASRD Principles that dictate how to apply the VASRD in special cases.

Once you understand which principles will affect your ratings, go Find Your Condition. On our site, you will find detailed explanations of the rating requirements for each condition. If you are unable to find a condition, check out the Analogous and Equivalent Codes page—you may have to rate it on a similar condition. 

With a thorough knowledge of how your conditions are rated, you can then submit a VA Appeal or DoD Appeal or apply for an increased evaluation. Make sure to submit medical records with all the necessary information needed to support your arguments and rate your condition. The VA and DoD must have proof of this information in order to properly rate your condition, so you need to be proactive in making sure they have the essential evidence. 

If you are proactive in submitting the proper evidence, you will have a good chance of improving your Military Disability Benefits.

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What are Military Disability Benefits?

Military Disability benefits are given to veterans with medical conditions that are the result of their military career. There are two types: VA Disability and DoD Disability.

Do I qualify for Military Disability Benefits?

You qualify for VA Disability if you are a veteran with a service-connected condition. To qualify for DoD Disability, you must be a service member with a service-connected condition that also makes you Unfit for Duty.

How do I apply for disability?

If you are still active duty, you can apply for both DoD Disability and VA Disability at the same time through the IDES process. If you are already a veteran, then you only qualify to apply for VA Disability and can do so by submitting VA From 21-526EZ.

If I qualify, what benefits will I receive?

The DoD provides Disability Separation benefits for ratings up to 20% and Disability Retirement benefits for ratings 30% and up. The VA provides healthcare for each qualified condition along with a monthly payment.

How long does it take to receive my benefits?

The IDES process takes around 6 months to complete. If you are only applying for VA Disability, the claim usually processes in 3 months. Once the processes are complete, you should start receiving your benefits in 1-3 months.

How much money will I receive monthly?

This gets a bit complicated. The DoD will provide a monthly payment for disability retirees. The exact amount is determined using an equation that can be found on our DoD Disability page. The VA will provide different monthly amounts based on the rating and the number of dependents. All VA rates can be found in our VA Disability Chart.

I've been out of the military for many years. Can I still submit a claim?

For VA Disability, you can submit a claim to receive benefits at any time. For DoD Disability, once you agree to a non-disability discharge, you are no longer eligible to receive DoD disability benefits.

My conditions have worsened over time. Can my Military Disability Benefits increase?

VA Disability can increase any time your conditions worsen enough to qualify for a higher rating. Just submit a new claim and check the 'increased evaluation' box. DoD disability is not eligible to be increased as your conditions worsen since it is based only on the severity of your conditions at the time of separation.

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