The topic of disability benefits after service can be confusing for many people, but the facts are clearer than they may seem. There are several basic things you need to know about VA aid and attendance.
What are disability benefits?
Some disabled veterans can be given additional benefits such as life insurance and housing grants, but there are three basic types of compensation available. According to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, the different types include the following:
- Dependency and indemnity compensation: When a serviceman passes away while in active duty, his or her children, parents or spouse are eligible to receive financial benefits that are completely free of taxes. This type of benefit is also available for those who die in both active and inactive duty training or from disabilities connected to their service.
- Disability compensation: If veterans became disabled during active duty from an injury or disease, they may be eligible for tax-free financial support to compensate for the inability that can result from the disability. If disabilities arise after service ends but are connected to incidents that occurred during active service, they can also be included. Pre-existing conditions that were aggravated or worsened due to service can also be considered for compensation.
- Special monthly compensation: Often referred to as aid and attendance , this type of benefit is available to those who have a severe disability that requires the aid of another person. One example is the loss of a limb or appendage, such as a leg or hand. The special circumstances requiring this type of support often result in higher pay rates than other types of compensation. This benefit is available to parents, spouses and widows, as well as veterans themselves.
Veterans and servicemen may be able to receive additional benefits, depending on the circumstances and severity of their disabilities.
When can you claim benefits?
Many people do not realize that you do not need to wait until you have completed service to apply for benefits for veterans. Disability compensation can be applied for by active servicemen up to 180 days before active duty release, separation or retirement. Doing so can provide benefits that will be available at discharge, eliminating any lapse in coverage.
If you or a loved one has been disabled in any way during active service, the best course of action is to enlist the help of an experienced attorney. Having an expert to aid in navigating the application process can make things simple and get your benefits started as soon as possible.