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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 recovered.
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.
General Information About Pension
Eligibility - Generally, you must have 90 days or more of service of which at least 1 day
must have occurred during a period of war, and you must have been discharged under conditions other than
dishonorable. You must have a disability(ies) that VA evaluates as permanent and total. For VA pension purposes,
permanent and total means it is not likely that you will be able to maintain a substantially gainful job.
Unemployability and age are factors also considered in VA's eligibility decision.
Healthcare & Medical
General Information About the Medical Benefits Package
This is a standard health benefits plan that is available to all enrolled veterans. It includes preventive and
primary care, as well as prescription drugs. As of January 17, 2003, enrollment was limited by the Secretary of
Veterans Affairs to allow the VA hospitals to catch up on their patient workload. Priority Group 8 veterans are
not being accepted for enrollment. Currently enrollment is based on service-connection and/or household income.
This program offers full spectrum healthcare and prescriptions for veterans at their local VA Medical Centers and
Clinics. There is a limited co-pay, and for many veterans with reduced income, there is no co-pay. This program
does not provide healthcare for veteran’s dependents or survivors.
Normally, yes. You are NOT required to apply for enrollment if you fall into one of the following categories:
- VA has rated you as 50% or more service-connected;
- Less than one year has passed since you were discharged from military service for a disability
that the military determined was incurred or aggravated in the line of duty, but VA has not yet
- You are seeking care from VA for a service-connected disability only (even if the rating is only 0%)
You can apply for VA health care by completing VA Form 10-10EZ, Application for Health Benefits.
The 10-10EZ may be obtained by visiting, calling, or writing any VA health care facility or veterans
service office. You can also call toll-free 1-877-222-VETS (1-877-222-8387).
Enrollment is an ongoing process. You can apply for enrollment at any VA health care facility. An
important aspect of enrollment is for you to identify which VA health care facility you choose as your
The preferred facility is where you receive your primary care. If for any reason a selected facility
is unable to provide the health care needed by an enrolled veteran, then that facility will make
arrangements for referral to another VA health care facility or to one of VA’s private sector affiliates
to provide the required care.
General Information About the Vocational Rehabilitation Program
This program provides services and assistance necessary for service-connected disabled veterans to achieve
independence and to obtain and maintain suitable employment. Vocational Rehabilitation can include college,
technical school or on-the-job training or special training at rehabilitation facilities or at home when it is
necessary because of a serious disability.
Vocational Rehabilitation services include, in part, assessment, counseling, training, subsistence allowances
and employment assistance. VA also will assist you in job placement. While you are enrolled in a Vocational
Rehabilitation program, VA pays the cost of tuition, fees, required books, supplies and equipment. VA also may
pay for special supportive services such as medical and dental care, prosthetic devices, lip-reading training
and signing for the deaf.
If you have an other than dishonorable discharge, you may be entitled to Vocational Rehabilitation benefits if
BOTH of the following conditions are met:
- You have a service-connected disability(ies) and VA has awarded you at least 20 percent compensation.
Effective October 1, 1993, a veteran with a 10 percent disability evaluation may also be eligible if a serious
employment handicap is evident.
- VA determines that you need vocational rehabilitation to overcome an impairment to your ability to prepare
for, obtain or retain employment consistent with your abilities, aptitudes and interests. Your service-connected
disability must materially contribute to this employment handicap.
If you are eligible for Vocational Rehabilitation benefits, you may receive up to 4 years of rehabilitation
services. Generally, you must complete a rehabilitation program within 12 years from the date VA notifies you of
your entitlement to compensation benefits.
Burial & Death Benefits
A VA burial allowance is a partial reimbursement of an eligible veteran's burial and funeral costs.
When the cause of death is not service-related, the reimbursement is generally described as two payments:
(1) a burial and funeral expense allowance, and (2) a plot interment allowance.
You may be eligible for a VA burial allowance if:
- you paid for the veteran's burial or funeral AND
- you have not been reimbursed by another government agency or some other source, such as the
deceased veteran's employer AND
- the veteran was discharged under conditions other than dishonorable
In addition, at least one of the following conditions must be met:
- the veteran died because of a service-connected disability OR
- the veteran was getting VA pension or compensation at the time of death OR
- the veteran was entitled to receive VA pension or compensation but decided not to reduce his/her
military retirement or disability pay OR
- the veteran died in a VA hospital or while in a nursing home under VA contract
A United States flag is provided, at no cost, to drape the casket or accompany the urn of a deceased
veteran who served honorably in the U.S. Armed Forces. It is furnished to honor the memory of a veteran's
military service to his or her country. Former members of the Selected Reserve are also eligible for a
burial flag. The VA is authorized by law to issue one flag for a veteran's funeral and cannot replace it
if it is lost, destroyed or stolen.
Burial in a VA national cemetery is provided on a space available basis. Generally, deceased veterans
discharged under conditions other than dishonorable and service members who die while on active duty are
eligible. Under certain circumstance, spouses and qualified dependent children of active duty military
personnel and eligible veterans may also be buried in a VA national cemetery. Gravesites in national
cemeteries cannot be reserved.
The eligibility criteria for a VA headstone or marker are the same as for burial in a VA national
cemetery. A headstone or marker is also available to individuals with 20 years service in the Selected
Reserve or National Guard. The VA does not provide headstones or markers for the deceased spouse of a
veteran unless the spouse was also a veteran in their own right. Headstones and markers of the same
style as VA headstones and markers can be ordered commercially for spouses and other family members of
a veteran at the family's expense. A veteran does not have to be buried in a VA national or state
cemetery to get a VA headstone or marker.
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.