What is a Claim For Disability Compensation?

Disability compensation is a benefit paid to a veteran because of injuries or diseases that happened while on active duty, or were made worse by active military service. It is also paid to certain veterans disabled from VA health care. The benefits are tax-free.

Who is eligible for Disability Compensation?

You may be eligible for disability compensation if you have a service-related disability and you were discharged under other than dishonorable conditions.


Veterans in the groups identified in this hyperlink (PDF):

Entitlement to disability compensation may be presumed under the circumstances described and for the conditions listed.

  • Veterans within one year of release from active duty: Veterans diagnosed with chronic diseases (such as arthritis, diabetes, or hypertension) are encouraged to apply for disability compensation.

Veterans with continuous service of 90 days or more:

  • Veterans diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS)/Lou Gehrig's disease at any time after discharge or release from qualifying active service is sufficient to establish service connection for the disease; if the veteran had active, continuous service of 90 days or more.

How much does VA pay for Disabilities?

The amount of basic benefit paid ranges, depending on how disabled you are. It is paid in 10 % increments. (Ex: a veteran with a 10 % rated service-connected disability gets $130.94 a month) View Disability Compensation Rates

Note: You may be paid additional amounts, in certain instances, if:

  • you have very severe disabilities or loss of limb(s)
  • you have a spouse, child(ren), or dependent parent(s) (must have 30 % disability or more)
  • you have a seriously disabled spouse

How do I apply for Disability Compensation?

The easiest thing to do is to contact the VSO Office at 219-465-3587 and set up an appointment with one of the VSOs. (There is no charge for any of their services) OR: You can apply by filling out VA Form 21-526, Veterans Application for Compensation and/or Pension. Or VA Form 21-526EZ, Fully Developed Claim (Compensation).

If you have any of the following material, please attach it to your application:

  • Discharge or separation papers (DD214 or equivalent)
  • Dependency records (marriage and children's birth certificates)
  • Medical evidence (doctor and hospital reports)

OR: You can also apply online through the VA website.

Disabilities determined by VA to be related to your military service can lead to monthly non-taxable compensation, enrollment in the VA health care system, a 10-point hiring preference for federal employment and other important benefits. Ask your VA representative or Veterans Service Organization representative about Disability Compensation, Pension, Health Care, Caregiver Program, Career Services, Educational Assistance, Home Loan Guaranty, Insurance and/or Dependents and Survivors' Benefits.