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If you have a service-related disability, you may be eligible for disability compensation from the VA. But the application process can be complicated and may require extensive documentation for your claim.
Here are a few facts on the disability benefits and tips on the filing process.
VA Disability Benefits
Disability benefits are available to veterans who have injuries sustained while on active duty or diseases that were contracted or made worse by active military service. They can also be paid to compensate veterans injured or disabled from VA health care.
The amount of basic disability benefits paid can vary depending on the severity of your disability and your number of dependents. The minimum amount paid per month is $133 and the maximum could exceed $3,300 per month.
Filing for VA Disability Benefits
The VA disability compensation application process can be long and complicated. For the fastest response you start your claim with the Veterans On-Line Application. You can submit a "Fully Developed Claim", which means that you can submit all of your supporting documentation along with your claim for benefits.
It's best to have all of your supporting documentation when you file the application. You'll need any medical evidence of your illness or injury, including both military and civilian documentation (if any) like doctor and hospital reports and tests. You should attach any copies of your DD214 or separation documents. And you will also need any dependency records like marriage & children's birth certificates to prove your number of dependents.
If you can't or don't want to file your application online, you can also fill out a VA Form 21-526, the Veterans Application for Compensation or Pension, and attach hard copies of all your supporting documentation.
In some cases you may be able to apply for benefits before your discharge. The Pre-Discharge Program for Disability Compensation allows you to file disability claims up to 180 days before your separation or retirement, and claims submitted before discharge may be processed more quickly.
If you need help filing a disability claim, or your disability claim has been denied, you may want to consult with an experienced injury attorney about your options.