When applying for VA benefits it can be hard to know where to start. There’s a ton of forms to fill out, brochures to read and decisions to make. Before you do any of that you’ll need to figure out which type of claim best fits your needs and situation.
The Big Three
Generally speaking there are three common types of VA compensation claims. There are other claims but the three most common are: Disability Compensation, Dependency and Indemnity, and Individual Unemployability. In addition to these three types of claims, a veteran may also qualify for Special Monthly Compensation and other allowances based on Special Circumstances.
Disability compensation is a tax-free monthly financial payment made to vets who have a disability as a result of their military service. The payment amount depends on the level of severity of the disability. The severity level is ranked on a scale of 0%-100%. The payment amounts are determined by the rating assigned to your disability and a compensable rating begins at 10%.
Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (DIC)
DIC is a financial assistance program designed to help surviving spouses, children or parents of servicemembers who have died while on active duty, active duty for training, or inactive duty training, or to survivors of Veterans who died from their service-connected disabilities.
Individual Unemployability (IU)
Veterans who are unable to sustain gainful employment due to their service connected disabilities may qualify for IU. The IU program is designed to compensate a veteran at the 100% rating, even if their disability or combination of disabilities does not meet a scheduler rating of 100%.
In addition to these three types of claims, a veteran may also qualify for Special Monthly Compensation and other allowances based on Special Circumstances.
Special Monthly Compensation (SMC)
SMC is a tax-free monetary benefit that is paid in addition to a veteran’s monthly disability compensation payment. Amputations or loss of use of a limb or organ are examples of conditions that might qualify a veteran for SMC. Surviving spouses and parents of deceased veterans may also be eligible for SMC.
Benefits based on Special Circumstances
If a disability is recognized as being service related a veteran might also qualify for additional, sometimes temporary, compensation based on special circumstances. These circumstances surround the following: automobile allowance, clothing allowance, hospitalization, convalescence, and dental.
If you have any questions regarding the various types of benefits please contact a skilled VA lawyer. The law office of Jan Dils is knowledgeable in all areas of VA disability benefits and can help find the right benefit program for you.