Military Disability Benefits


VA Military Disability Benefits
DoD Military Disability Benefits
Receiving Both DoD and VA Military Disability Benefits
Increasing Your Military Disability Benefits


Military Disability Benefits are given for VA Disability and DoD Disability to Disabled Veterans for service-connected medical conditions. your military disability benefits are given for your military disabilityWhile the VA will give Military Disability Benefits for all service-connected medical conditions, the DoD will only give Military Disability Benefits for service-connected conditions that make the service member Unfit for Duty.

Military Disability Benefits are intended to reflect the amount of money the veteran will not be able to earn because of his disability that he would have been able to earn without it. 

The exact amount and type of Military Disability Benefits a veteran receives is determined by their Total Combined Military Disability Rating. Each rating, 0% - 100%, receives a different amount of Military Disability Benefits. The minimum Military Disability Benefits are given for a 0% rating, and the maximum are given for a 100% rating.

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VA Military Disability Benefits

As part of the VA Disability Process, the VA will give veterans Military Disability Benefits for every service-connected condition they have.

These Military Disability Benefits are the same for each veteran, no matter their rank or how long they served in the military. The only factors that can adjust the amount of money a veteran receives from the VA are things like a spouse and the number of their dependents. Our VA Disability Chart notes the current compensation rates for VA Disability.

All Military Disability Benefits from the VA are NOT taxable. 

It is important to submit a VA Disability Claim to receive Military Disability Benefits from the VA as soon after separation from the military as possible. As long as the initial application is received by the VA within 1 year from the veteran’s date of separation, the VA will give full Military Disability Benefits for all the months between the date of separation and the VA’s rating decision. If the application is received after that 1-year mark, VA Disability Back Pay for the time between the date of separation and the date of application will be lost.

In addition to the standard compensation, the VA also gives extra Military Disability Benefits, called Special Monthly Compensation, to veterans who have very serious disabilities that qualify. The basic idea is that if a veteran had a leg amputated and is blind, he has a much more serious disability than if he had just one or the other, and thus should receive additional compensation.

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DoD Military Disability Benefits

The DoD only gives Military Disability Benefits at the end of the DoD Disability Process to service members who have service-connected medical conditions that make them Unfit for Duty.

All Military Disability Benefits from the DoD are taxable unless the disability was caused by combat or combat-related activities.

The exact type and amount of Military Disability Benefits from the DoD depends on whether the service member is medically separated or medically retired.

If a veteran receives a 0%, 10%, or 20% Total Combined Military Disability Rating from the DoD, then he is medically separated.

If a veteran receives a 30% or higher Total Combined Military Disability Rating from the DoD, then he is medically retired. Military Disability Benefits for all medically retired veterans include full medical care and monthly payments for life.

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Receiving Both DoD and VA Military Disability Benefits

Any monetary retirement benefits (regular retirement or disability retirement) you receive from the DoD is decreased by the amount of Military Disability Benefits you receive from the VA.

So, if the DoD is giving you $1,000/month, and you then start receiving $500/month from the VA, the amount you receive from the DoD will decrease to $500/month (1,000 – 500 = 500).

While it may seem like you’regetting ripped off, this is actually a good thing since the VA's Military Disability Benefits aren’t taxable, while the DoD’s are.   

While taking the amount of VA Military Disability Benefits from the amount of DoD Military Disability Benefits is the norm, there are two exceptions to this rule: Concurrent Retirement and Disability Pay (CRDP) and Combat Related Special Compensation (CRSC). If you qualify for one or both, you will be able to receive complete Military Disability Benefits from both the DoD and the VA.   

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Increasing Your Military Disability Benefits

The only way to increase your Military Disability Benefits is to get your Military Disability Ratings increased. To do this, first make sure you understand the entire DoD Disability Process and the VA Disability Process. Then you need to understand the VASRD and the VASRD Principles that dictate how to apply the VASRD in special cases. This is vital! There are numerous principles that may indeed increase your rating. If you have a musculoskeletal condition, also read the Musculoskeletal Principles page. You may find some gems—or rules that may limit your rating. Unfortunately, it can go both ways. 

Once you understand which principles will affect your ratings, go Find Your Condition. You will find detailed explanations of the rating requirements for each condition. If you are unable to find a condition, check out the Analogous and Equivalent Codes page—you may have to rate it on a similar condition. 

You can then submit an appeal to the VA and the DoD. Make sure to include in the appeal medical records with all the necessary information needed to rate the condition. You should know exactly how the VASRD rates your conditions after finding them on this site. The VA and DoD must have proof of this information in order to properly rate your condition, so you need to be proactive in making sure they have the medical records that have the right info. 

For example, for a broken elbow condition, there may be X-rays and other proof that the elbow was indeed broken, but the VASRD may only rate that elbow condition on limited motion. The X-rays and other proof mean nothing, really. All the Rating Authorities need are range of motion measurements, and without them, they cannot properly rate your condition.

If you are proactive in submitting the proper information with your appeal, you will have a good chance of improving your Military Disability Benefits.

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