Standard Va Disability Claims
With standard VA disability claims, the VA gathers evidence and compiles all supporting documents.
If the VA is unable to obtain a needed document, they may require your help. When help is required, it typically applies to documents not held by a federal agency, such as private medical records, employer information, and documents from state or local governments.
As with all claims programs, be prepared to provide your DD214 , service treatment records, VA medical records, and private medical records about your claim. Those needing help applying for their VA disability claim may also work with an accredited attorney, claims agent, or Veterans Service Officer .
Components Of Military Pay
The amount paid to each employee is determined by his or her rank and duration of employment. The basic wage is taxable, whereas allowances are not.
Basic Allowance for Housing
A housing allowance for members of the military. BAH is determined by the region of duty, pay grade, and dependency status.
Basic Allowance for Subsistence
The cost of a meal is offset by the BAS benefit. Enlisted personnel is eligible for the full BAS benefit, although they must pay for all meals regardless of whether or not they come from the government.
Duty Station Zip Code
BAH is an amount of money that the military pays to you. It is based on where you live, not where you work. Your BAH will be higher in urban areas than in rural areas.
Special Pay may be earned through specialized duties or operations. Special Pay is limited to two additional earnings per month and must be used by the end of each month.
A system of letters and digits to distinguish pay for military personnel.
- E = Enlisted Member
- W = Warrant Officer
- O = Commissioned Officer
The number reveals the level of pay for each letter, where 1 is the starting level of pay
Pay Scale Year
Military compensation typically rises each year. Choose a different pay scale year to see current, present, and future compensation.
Years of Service
The number of years a member has served in the military.
For the pay and allowance purposes, a dependent is:
- Unmarried Child
The term Child includes:
Va Disability Rates 2023 With 87% Cola Increase
I hope you enjoy reading this blog post.
If you want to learn how to implement these strategies to get the VA benefits you deserve, to speak with a VA claim expert for free.
The Social Security Administration recently announced a massive 8.7% COLA increase to VA Disability Rates 2023.
Disabled veterans with a VA rating of 10% or higher will see their 2023 VA Disability Pay Increase by 8.7% effective December 1, 2022, with an official pay date of January 2023.
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Retirement And Va Disability Pay Offset
Military retirees with combined VA disability ratings of 40% or lower whose injuries are not combat related can only receive that amount in either their retirement pension or their disability check but not both. That rule is known as an offset and is a matter of law. Since disability pay isnt subject to the federal income tax but retirement pay is, most veterans elect to receive it instead of their retirement pension for the offset amount.
That means even though both retirement and disability payments will see the COLA increase, some veterans will benefit from only one, not both.
Can I Waive My Retirement Pay Benefits
Veterans have the option to waive their disability compensation from VA. They can also opt out of the retirement pay issued by the Department of Defense . So, how do you decide which option to select?
Keep in mind that VA disability benefits are not taxed, so consider which option makes more sense for you. You can fill out VA Form 21-8951-2, the Notice of Waiver of VA Compensation or Pension to Receive Military Pay and Allowances, if you decide to waive your VA compensation and receive military pay instead.
In addition, your dependents will still enjoy DoD medical benefits, provided your disability rating is at least 30%.
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How To Use The Tables To Find Your Monthly Payment
Find your basic rate
Go to the compensation rates for your disability rating. On the Basic monthly rates table, find the amount for your disability rating and dependent status. This is your basic monthly rate.
Example :If youre a Veteran with a 30% disability rating, and you have a dependent spouse , your basic monthly rate would be $522.39 each month.
Find your added amounts, if any apply
If your spouse receives Aid and Attendance benefits or you have more than one child, you may qualify for additional monthly payment amounts as listed in the Added amounts table.
First, determine your basic rate.
Example :If youre a Veteran with a 70% disability rating, and you have a spouse, plus 3 dependent children under the age of 18, you would start with the basic rate of $1,754.95 .
Next, look at the Added amounts table. Find the amount for children under age 18 .
Since your basic rate already provides payment for 1 child, you would add the rate of $64.00 for each additional child .
If your spouse receives Aid and Attendance, you would also add $119 .
In our example of a Veteran with 70% disability rating, your total monthly payment amount would be:
$1,754.95 basic rate + $64 +$64 +$119 Total $2,001.95
The Value Of Concurrent Receipts
The main benefit of the VA disability offset is receiving the tax-free pay from the VA. The final dollar amount is the same, but the tax-free portion gives veterans greater spending power.
But the amount would be much greater if veterans received both forms of compensation under concurrent retirement disability pay laws. The increase would mean the full value of the military retirement pay, plus the full value of the VA disability compensation. Going from a 40% rating to a 50% rating is huge. Not only does the VA disability compensation increase by $285.16 per month, but the $673.28 is not deducted from the military retirement pay. The net effect is this:
- 40% disability rating: $2,000 total
- 50% disability rating: $2,958.44 total
The difference is an increase of $11,501.28 per year, none of which is taxable income.
Learn more about concurrent retirement disability pay :
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How Long Does It Take To Get A Va Rating Decision In 2023
New claims usually take 4-8 months to process.
Generally, the more conditions you file for, the longer your claim will take.
Increase claims or secondary claims usually take 3-4 months.
Once you get a VA rating decision, you will start receiving payments on the first day the following month.
Va Disability Payment Rates
The VA awards a disability rating between 10% and 100%, which, along with the number of family members, determines the amount of the servicemember’s. The VA publishes Veterans Compensation Benefits Rate Tables annually in December.
The minimum disability payment, for a 10% rating is $153/mo in 2021, and the benefits increase up to $3653.89 for a 100% disabled veteran who has a spouse and child, and even more with more children or qualifying parents.
Note that a members rank, while affecting the retirement payment, does NOT affect the amount of disability paid. So a married member with no children and a 30% disability rating will receive the same payment regardless of whether he was an Army Specialist or a Colonel .
In other words, a 40% disability rating is not somehow multiplied against the military retirement itself – after all, veterans who did not retire also receive it. Instead, the monthly disability payment is determined solely by the VA rate table. And a retiree who receives $800/mo in VA disability benefits for a 40% rating will waive $800/mo of retirement, regardless of how much retirement she is actually receiving.
Disabled veterans can download a VA Benefit Summary Letter from the Veterans Administration website which provides all pertinent details needed for VA disability and divorce situations, including the disability rating, monthly payment, and when the payment amount was last changed.
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Va Disability And Divorce In Colorado
The Colorado Court of Appeals has held that courts cannot divide VA disability payments as property in a divorce. Tozer .
That limitation also means that courts cannot do some kind of “backdoor” division of VA disability benefits at divorce by giving the non-veteran spouse additional property to make up for not receiving a share of the disability payments. In a 2019 unpublished decision, the appellate court upheld a trial court determination that it could not consider a military member’s VA disability payments for the purpose of awarding the spouse more of other assets:
“Thus, courts may not shift marital property to avoid the requirements of the USFSPA or Mansells holding, nor may they financially compensate a former spouse for not receiving a share of the military spouses disability pay.
For a more in-depth discussion of Copeland, see our blog post Veterans Benefits for Divorced Spouses Not Divisible.
How Can I Increase My Va Disability Rating
To qualify for a higher VA rating, you must get one or more individual condition ratings increased, which will then increase your total combined rating.
If your conditions have worsened since you last applied and now qualify for a higher rating, you can submit a new claim on VA.gov by checking the box for an increased evaluation.
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About Retirement Pay And Disability Compensation
Military retirement pay is calculated based on your military disability rating and your years of service. Disability compensation is determined by your VA disability rating and your number of dependents.
The reasoning behind this scenario is that the purpose of DOD pay is to compensate a service member for their career being ended early, while the purpose of VA compensation is to compensate for your loss of civilian earnings after service and to pay you for your functional loss resulting from your disability.
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Computing Reserve Retirement Points And Pay
To measure retirement pay for National Guard and Reserves, the formula is essentially the same as for active duty except for the difference in full-time and part-time service. Members must configure equivalent active-duty time.
Retirement points are accrued by members of the National Guard and Reserves. Members are required to perform one weekend of drill per month and two weeks of active-duty training per year, occasionally garnering more time on active duty if attending military training school or if theyre called for deployment.
Guard/Reserve members are eligible for four points for each weekend drill and one point for each day spent on active duty. Deployments, active duty for training , and attending military school are considered active duty for Guard/Reserve members.
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Important Differences Between Va Disability And Dod Disability
- DoD disability ratings are for life VA ratings are subject to change depending on whether the conditions get better or worse within certain VA time frames.
- VA ratings include a review of the patients entire medical condition used to inform the rating. DoD disability ratings are only awarded for specific conditions under review.
- VA disability payment may be altered if DoD Disability severance pay was awarded. If you are paid $5 thousand dollars in DoD severance for a disability and the VA awards you disability benefits, those payments will be withheld until the amount of the severance pay has been recouped by the government.
- VA disability benefits are not calculated using time-in-service, time-in-grade, or any such similar factor including rank. By contrast, DoD disability pay is calculated with those factors as an important part of the math.
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What Is Special Monthly Compensation
VA Special Monthly Compensation is an additional tax-free benefit that can be paid to Veterans, their spouses, surviving spouses and parents.
Special Monthly Compensation is a higher rate of compensation paid due to special circumstances such as the need of aid and attendance by another person or a specific disability, such as loss of use of one arm or leg.
For spouses and surviving spouses, this benefit is commonly referred to as aid and attendance and is paid based on the need of aid and attendance by another person.
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How Does The Va Rate Disabilities
When it comes to service connected compensation claims, the VA takes the view that it should not add whole numbers together to get your rating but, instead, the VA takes percentages of percentages. It is as if the VA says if you are 10% disabled then you are 90% healthy. Therefore, the next rating is not added but is used to take a percentage of the healthy 90%. So for a veteran with two 10 ratings the first ten percent rating would be 10% of 100, which is 10%. The second ten percent rating would be 10% of the 90% , which is 9%. So the combined rating would be 19%. The percentages are all rounded up or down to the nearest ten percent. Here, the rating would be rounded to 20%.
The combined rating system starts to work against a veteran when he gets closer to 100%. It gets harder and harder to get that higher rating, especially once a veteran is over 50%. For instance, if a veteran has a ratings of 50% for PTSD, 50% for Sleep Apnea, a rating of 20% for diabetes and 20% for a back problem the combined rating is 80%. So even though 50+50+20+20 equals 140 in real math it is only 80 in VA math.
Medical Retirement Pay Compensation
For permanent retirement or placement on the TDRL, your compensation is based on the higher of two computations: Disability rating × retired pay base or 2.5 × years of service × retired pay base. Veterans on the TDRL receive no less than 50 percent of their retired pay base.
The computation of your retired pay base depends on when you joined the military. If you joined prior to September 8, 1980, retired pay base is computed from your military basic pay at the time of medical retirement. For those who entered after September 7, 1980, its the average of the high 36 months of basic pay.
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The Military Disability System Is Complex
The Department of Defense and the VA evaluate injuries by somewhat different criteria. Also, the compensation associated with a service-connected disability is based on a combination of military retired pay, the VA disability compensation schedule, and the offset of military retired pay. These complexities make it hard to assess how a disability rating translates into a specific incremental monthly income, which is likely to confuse and frustrate both veterans and policymakers.
A key issue for all disability systems is how to assess the validity of the current method of determining disability. Both military and civilian systems are rooted in the history of medical decisions about workplaces that differ greatly from those retirees find today. Also, many retirees assigned VA disability ratings report that they have no health- or disability-related limitations on their civilian-sector work.
Can I Get Both Va Disability And Retirement Pay
Concurrent retirement and disability pay allows retired military members to receive both retirement pay and VA compensation. However, to best answer this question, we need to examine your disability rating. If you have a combined disability rating of 50% or greater, you should be eligible to receive CRDP. If you receive CRDP, you will receive your full military retirement pay along with your full VA disability compensation. There will be no reduction to your military retirement pay.
If you have a combined VA service-connected disability rating of 40% or lower, then you are not eligible for CRDP. However, if you have a service-connected disability that is considered a combat-related disability, then you may be eligible for combat-related special compensation . CRSC also replaces the VA disability offset and will increase your total compensation, even if you dont have a combined rating of at least 50%.
If your combined disability rating is 40% or lower and you do not have a combat-related disability, then your military retirement pay will be offset, or deducted, by the amount of VA service-connected disability compensation you receive.
Lets take a look at these special conditions in more detail and run some numbers to show you how valuable these benefits are.
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Changes In Family Status For Va Disability Compensation
It is important to contact the VA whenever there are changes in your family status, as your VA disability pay rates may change as a result. If you have a 30% disability rating or higher and are supporting qualified dependents such as a spouse, child, or parent, you may be eligible to receive a higher VA disability payment. If your disability rating is 20% or lower, changes in your family status do not affect your payment.
Which Disability Benefit To Choose
If you do not qualify for Concurrent Retirement and Disability Pay, or CRDP, then you must decide which military disability compensation you wish to receive, and which you wish to waive. It generally makes more financial sense to waive your DoD disability and take the VAs disability benefits. This is because disability benefits are not taxed, while medical retirement pay may be offset by however much you receive from disability. However, if the DoD has assigned you a higher disability rating than the VA, then you could receive more disability compensation from taking the DoD military retirement pay while waiving the your VA compensation.
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