General Information About Compensation
Eligibility - You may be entitled to VA disability
compensation for any medical condition or injury that was incurred in or
aggravated by your military service if you were released from active military
duty with an other than dishonorable discharge. There is no time limit to apply
for VA disability compensation. However, you are encouraged to apply within one
year of your release from active duty as entitlement is established
retroactively to the date of separation if your claim is filed within this
period. The effective date of eligibility for benefits will be based upon the
date of your claim if you apply beyond the one-year period.
Other Benefits/Payments May Affect Your VA Compensation
Military Retired Pay - By law, the payment of VA
compensation benefits is affected by the receipt of military retired pay. If you
receive military retirement, you may initiate a waiver of your retired pay to
receive the full amount of VA compensation. Until the waiver takes effect, your
compensation will be adjusted or withheld depending on the amount of military
retired pay you are entitled to. The advantage of waiving military retired pay
for VA compensation is that VA benefits are not taxable.
Disability Severance Pay - By law, payment of VA
compensation and military disability severance pay for the same medical
condition or disability is prohibited. VA compensation will be withheld on a
monthly basis until the total amount of military severance pay has been
Special Separation Benefit (SSB) - VA compensation will be
withheld in full until the amount of the SSB has been recovered.
Voluntary Separation Incentive (VSI) - Your annual VSI
payment will be reduced by an amount equal to the amount of VA compensation paid
for the same period.
Selected Reserve and National Guard - By law, if you are an
active member of the Selected Reserve or National Guard, your VA compensation
will be withheld at the rate of one day of pay for each drill period served.
Also, VA compensation is not payable while serving full-time on active duty.
How to Apply For Compensation
Complete a VA Form 21-526, Veteran's Application for Compensation or
Pension. The following supporting evidence and/or documents should be
submitted with your application:
Service Treatment Records - Those applicants who have their
service treatment records are encouraged to submit them with their application
to expedite processing. Otherwise, VA will contact the service department to
obtain them. You can also request your service treatment records from the
archives in St. Louis, Missouri by completing SF 180, Request Pertaining to
Other Medical Records - Medical records to substantiate any
and all treatment by private doctors and hospitals.
Dependency Documents - Original or copies of birth and
marriage certificates and copies of divorce/death record terminating all of your
prior marriages and those of your spouse.
Military Discharge/DD Form 214 - Applicants who have a copy
of their DD 214 are encouraged to provide a copy with their claim to expedite
processing. Otherwise, VA will attempt to obtain verification from the service
department. You can also request a certified copy of your DD 214/discharge from
the archives in St. Louis, Missouri by completing
SF 180, Request Pertaining to Military Records.
Agent Orange compensation information
Your CVSO can assist you in obtaining relevant documents and submitting your
claim to the appropriate VA regional office. Please contact us so that we may
offer our assistance and guidance.