The VA has a number of different programs and benefits that help disabled veterans with different needs. You may be eligible for more than one of these benefits, so it’s important to talk to a veteran’s attorney with years of experience with all the aspects of the VA and what it offers. You do not have to be disabled to receive some of these benefits, and you can receive multiple benefits at the same time.
In order for you to receive disability compensation through the VA, you must have been honorably discharged, served on active duty or in active or inactive duty training, and have a disability rating for your service-connected condition. In addition, one of the following must be true:
- You got sick or injured while serving in the military and can link this to your current illness or injury
- You had an illness or injury before joining the military which was worsened by your service
- You have a disability related to your active-duty service that did not appear until after you ended service (post-service disability)
If you are denied disability compensation or you disagree with the level of compensation you received, you have the right to legal representation by a VA-approved attorney to appeal the ruling. At the Law Offices of Robert B. Goss, we are disabled vets who know what it’s like to appeal a denial of benefits and win the benefits we deserve. We are committed to helping other veterans get the compensation they deserve as well, and we will help you navigate the other opportunities you may have to receive help from the VA.
Receiving Disability and Retirement Concurrently
Until 2004, retiring veterans needed to choose between their disability pay and their retirement pay – in essence, disability payments were deducted from their retirement pay. Concurrent Retirement Disability Pay (passed in 2004) and Combat-Related Special Compensation (passed in 2008) give some veterans the opportunity to receive their full retirement pay and full disability pay concurrently. We can discuss your situation in detail and determine whether you are eligible and which benefit is best for you.
Adaptive Housing Grants for Disabled Veterans help veterans and their families modify their homes to compensate for specific service-connected injuries. Grants are also available for age-related disabilities. These are called Specially Adapted Housing or Special Housing Adaptation grants and Home Improvement and Structural Alterations grants. A veteran temporarily living in a family member’s home may apply for a Temporary Resident Adaptation grant.
Veterans can receive help with mortgage payments. In addition, the VA maintains a list of houses that have been in foreclosure that veterans can purchase at a discount, with the help of VA financing.
Veterans with disabilities may be eligible for an Automobile Allowance, which will pay for automobile adaptive equipment and a one-time grant to help pay for a vehicle. Those veterans with non-service-connected disabilities may still be eligible for the Vehicle Modifications Program that may pay for some modifications. If you qualify for either of these programs, you can also receive special driver training.
The GI Bill is available for college degrees, but also for certificate training and vocational training programs. Unused credits through the GI Bill can be transferred to spouses and dependents of the veterans, as well.
VA Pensions for Low-Income Veterans and Their Survivors
Low-income wartime veterans and their survivors may be eligible for a tax-free pension. These monthly benefits are based on financial need, service time, and the age or status of the veteran or survivor. This is not to be confused with military retirement. Retirement benefits are taxable and are based on years of service, while the VA Pension is based on wartime service (at least one day) and financial need. The recipient must either be 65 or older or be deemed disabled by the VA or Social Security Administration.
Some veterans have difficulty getting traditional life insurance at reasonable rates because of the increased risks associated with their service. The Servicemembers’ and Veterans’ Group Life Insurance Program offers veterans life insurance up to $400,000.
Long-Term Care and Caregiver Support
Through the Aid and Assistance Program, veterans may be eligible for financial assistance to cover costs for nursing homes, assisted living facilities, and other long-term care opportunities. Surviving spouses of veterans are also eligible for this program. The Caregiver Support is not monetary, but it does offer loved ones caring for their veterans with a free support line and a caregiver support coordinator who will help navigate the stress of caregiving and the military benefits available to them.
The families of veterans may request an American flag be draped over the casket, a presidential certificate honoring the veteran, and a free headstone or grave marker.
If you are a disabled veteran, reach out to us here at the Law Office of Robert B. Goss, the Veterans’ Attorney. We will help you receive the compensation you deserve for your service.