Who Can Apply for a VA Disability Claim?

Standard VA Disability Compensation

Standard VA disability compensation is available to all service members with a documented service-connected disability and any discharge status other than dishonorable. The benefit amount is determined by the percentage of disability and number of dependents in the family. Dependents can include your parents, if they are dependent on your income, as well as your spouse and children.

Standard Disability Amounts

The benefit amount is adjusted annually to compensate for cost-of-living increases. As of December 2008, benefits ranged from $123 per month for a single veteran with a 10 percent service-connected disability to $3,172 for a 100 percent disabled veteran with a spouse, two parents and a child. Additional benefits are available for those with multiple children or a disabled spouse.

Special Monthly Compensation

If you experienced a serious disability, such as loss of a hand or foot, during military service, you can qualify for special monthly compensation (SMC). The benefit rate depends on the severity of disability and the number of dependents in the family. You can qualify for additional SMC benefits if you sustained multiple serious injuries, such as the loss of one hand and one foot, or if you are bedridden or dependent on a personal-care assistant.

VA Pension

The VA pension is a special benefit program for low-income wartime veterans who are age 65 or older, or have a 100 percent disability not connected to military service. You can apply for this program if you served at least 90 days in the military with at least one day during wartime. Your discharge status can't be dishonorable, and your income can't exceed guidelines for your family size.

VA Pension Amounts

As of December 2008, income limits ranged from $11,830 for a single veteran with no dependents to $23,396 for a veteran with one dependent who requires a personal care aide. The size of the benefit is the difference between your countable income and the income limit for your situation. The annual benefit is divided into 12 monthly installments. The Department of Veterans Affairs, or VA, is responsible for the administration of benefits for veterans and their dependents. A disability pension is one of the benefits, but you must meet specific requirements in order to qualify. Special additional benefits are provided for disabled veterans who meet additional qualifications. The VA requires written evidence of all claims.