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VA Disability Benefits Video

Veterans & Military

This video explains the differences between the two types of veterans' disability benefits.

Understand the differences between the two types of veterans' disability benefits: Service-connected disability benefits and non-service related disability pensions. Video produced by the Texas Veterans Legal Aid Coalition.

VA Disability Benefits Video

What is VA disability compensation?

VA disability compensation is paid to veterans who are determined to be disabled. To receive disability compensation from the VA, the veteran's disability must be service connected. This means the disability either developed or was aggravated during active military service. To learn more about VA disability compensation, review the following:

How is disability compensation determined?

You will receive monthly compensation based on your disability ratings. A disability rating is based on the severity of your disability. You can find more information about disability ratings and compensation in the following:

How do I prove the disability is service connected?

You need to provide evidence to corroborate the claim. The type of evidence you need depends on the type of claim. To learn more about claims and evidence, review the following:

What is a presumptive disability?

This is when the VA presumes that certain disabilities were caused by military service. There is a presumption that the circumstance of the veteran's service caused the condition, and disability benefits are awarded. An example is a veteran who served in Vietnam and is presumed to have been exposed to Agent Orange. To learn more about presumptive conditions, review the following:

How do I request military records and medical records?

Request your military service records through the milConnect website. You can also request records by faxing a Standard Form SF180 to the National Personnel Records Center (NPRC). To learn more about requesting your records, review the following:

What is a C-file?

A C-File is a VA claims file that contains all relevant information on a veteran. When you apply for disability benefits, the VA creates a claims file. All of the documents regarding your claim are in this file. It is important to know what is in your C-File, and you should review this information to ensure it is accurate. Typically, you can request a copy from your local VA regional office. Review this article on How to Understand the Basic Documents in Your VA Claims File (C-File) to learn more about C-Files.

Is there a maximum disability rating I can receive compensation for?

Yes. The VA assigns a disability rating ranging from 0-100%. You can have different ratings for different disabilities, and you can add up the rating percentages, but the VA does not award compensation for a combined disability rating higher than 100%.

What is special monthly compensation?

Special monthly compensation (SMC) is additional compensation paid to veterans with specific needs and disabilities. This is in addition to any disability compensation the veteran is receiving. An example of an SMC is Aid & Attendance. Review the following articles to learn more about SMC:

Can I receive a 0% disability rating?

Yes. You c n receive a 0% disability rating, which will not result in any monthly compensation from the VA. This is referred to as a noncompensable rating. Some veterans have more than two 0% disability ratings for different conditions and are paid, at the minimum, 10%. This is referred to as a compensable 0% disability rating. A 0% disability rating might qualify you for other veteran benefits.  Learn more about the benefits you may be eligible for with a 0% disability rating in the following article:

What is VA pension benefits?

Pension is a needs-based benefit program for veterans with wartime service who are permanently and totally disabled or over the age of 65 and need financial support. To learn more the about VA p,ension review the following:

Am I eligible for VA pension?

The pension program provides monthly payments to wartime veterans who meet certain age or disability requirements and have income and net worth within certain limits. To determine if you are eligible, review the following:

How is VA pension calculated?

If you qualify, your payment amount is based on the difference between your countable income and a limit that Congress sets called the Maximum Annual Pension Rate (MAPR). To learn more about VA pension rates, review the following:

Where can veterans find more videos that discuss legal issues?

See the entire video series on our Texas Veterans Videos page. 

Where can I get help applying for benefits?

The Texas Veterans Legal Aid Coalition is comprised of thirteen legal aid organizations that provide a variety of legal services to veterans in Texas. For help, contact the organizations that serve your county. Find a legal aid organization serving your county in the Legal Help Directory.

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