It’s hard for me to admit this, but I don’t know everything…about VA disability compensation. It’s vast, complicated, and I have to keep up to date with other important things like what Jennifer Lawrence is up to these days. However, I do know quite a bit. I’m also observant. For instance, when I talk to Vets who served in OIF/OEF they tend to be confused by what VA disability means. They hear the word “disability,” and they think it means that they have to be completely and totally disabled in order to receive benefits. These younger Veterans also think they are too young to receive benefits, or that you have to be severely disabled. That is simply not true.
According to the VA’s definition, “total disability will be considered to exist when there is present any impairment of mind or body which is sufficient to render it impossible for the average person to follow a substantially gainful occupation.”
However, the VA also considers disabled or partially disabled those who have a wide variety of illnesses, injuries, and disabilities. The VA has assigned a disability rating, or percentage of disability, to these conditions. To receive Veterans Disability Benefits, the disability or medical condition must be listed in the VA’s “38 CFR Book C, Schedule for Rating Disabilities.” This listing is available from the VA or at http://www.benefits.va.gov/warms/bookc.asp.
The definition above is a little on the wordy side. In other words, the VA is saying that you can be totally disabled or partially disabled and still receive benefits. For instance, Tinnitus isn’t going to keep you from being able to perform most jobs. However, you can still receive compensation for this condition. Several conditions, like PTSD for instance, can be granted at different levels. You may not be suicidal (which is associated with the 100% level of PTSD,) but let’s say you miss work occasionally because of a lack of motivation, or find yourself doing stuff with friends and family less often. This is associated with the 30% level of PTSD. You can still hold a job with PTSD at 30%
The next thing a Veteran will assume is that if he gets disability compensation from the VA, then it will negatively affect his income. Once again, that is not true. You can work full time and receive VA disability compensation.* In fact, it’s not even income based. Regardless if you make 10 bucks a year, or 40 million dollars…before taxes, you are still qualified for VA disability compensation. In fact, VA disability isn’t even taxed.
*Please note, this rule does not apply to VA Pension, which is income based.
My advice to any Veteran who may be afraid of applying based on what they have heard from others is to give me a call. VA disability compensation is what we do. Call us toll free at 1-877-526-3457. If you would like for us to give you call, fill out this form, and we will call you at a time that works best for you. Also, if you have more questions, pick up a free copy of our VA disability book.