Compensation and Disability

On this page, please find resources and ideas for compensation and benefit claims.  Please remember that I am not authorized to represent veterans, and I am not affiliated with a VSO office.

Presumptive Conditions for Disability Compensation: All veterans who develop Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), also known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease, at any time after separation from service may be eligible for compensation for that disability.

Certain veterans are eligible for disability compensation based on the presumption that their disability is service-connected.

Prisoners of War

Veterans Exposed to Agent Orange and Other Herbicides

Veterans Exposed to Radiation

Gulf War Veterans with Chronic Disabilities

Combat-Related Special Compensation (CRSC) provides tax-free monthly payments to eligible retired veterans with combat-related injuries. With CRSC, veterans can receive both their full military retirement pay and their VA disability compensation if the injury is combat-related.

Ensure you meet the eligibility criteria by reviewing the VA’s benefit booklet here.

How to Begin a Claim

First, you’ll need to have all your information handy.  This means that you should have a copy of your medical record from your discharge.  Before you leave the service, you should be given an option to have a complete copy of your medical record during your exit examination.  Ensure that any issues are noted on your record.

You need to put your initial claim in to the Department of Veteran’s Affairs within one year of your discharge from service.  If you received a dishonorable discharge, you won’t be considered.   You can now utilize the VA’s Pre- Disharge Program.  Review the services by clicking here.

I recommend that you be aware of what your injuries mean, from a disability point of view.  Also, don’t misinterpret this, we aren’t talking the same type of disability you would get from Social Security.  Basically this is compensation for a continuing injury.  You went into the service in a certain “healthy” condition, if you came out different from how you went in, you likely deserve compensation.  First, make sure that you read the section of Title 38 of the Code of Federal Regulations that applies to your injury.  It is an invaluable resource that will help you to understand how your case should be evaluated.

Next, you need to actually put in your claim.  This can be accomplished by either calling the VA at 1-800-827-1000 and speaking with a Benefits Counselor.  They will take your information over the phone and help you begin your claim.  The other option is to begin it electronically with VONAPP, Veteran’s Online Application.  This option is good if you have the information readily accessible and you have a little bit of time to complete the required fields.

At this point, if you have not done so already, you will need to find a Veteran’s Service Organization, and request a representative to assist you.  They will have you fill out a power of attorney form that is only good for them to represent you and request information regarding your claim.  The VSO officer will adjudicate on your behalf, and can help you in understanding whether you have a valid claim or not.  However, you absolutely need to stay on top of both your claim and your VSO representative.  Remember, the VA is a massive organization with thousands of veterans utilizing various programs, this means that there is always the possibility of error.

You will be required to go to the nearest VA medical facility to be evaluated for your disability.  You will also need to send in Statements in Support of Claim.  These papers are statements made by you and those who know you, and give the VA a more complete picture of the injury.  The VA only has the one day that you come in for your examination to really look at you.  Statements from friends, family, and co-workers can assist them in seeing the impact that your injury has on your daily life.

If you have medical records from civilian doctors, get them now and send in copies with your statements.  Your VSO officer can get them for you if you fill out a form authorizing them to obtain medical records on your behalf, but I recommend you GET THEM YOURSELF.  You are entitled to a copy of any medical records about you, though you may have to pay a fee, I promise you will have to wait for them to be released from the doctor or hospital to the VA, and that will only slow up the process.

This should go without saying, but I’ll say it anyway.  DO NOT FALSIFY INFORMATION.  If you are legitimately injured or disabled, you DESERVE compensation for your injury.  If you are just trying to “get over” on the system and get a little extra money for yourself, eventually you will be caught and the government gets very upset with those who attempt to defraud them.

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