Gardberg & Kemmerly, P.C. Attorneys at Law

What vets should know about disability benefits

As a nation, we are eternally grateful to those men and women who have served in the armed forces. As a gesture of appreciation for their valor, selflessness and commitment to keeping the U.S. secure, the federal government has long provided Army, Navy, Marine and Air Force personnel with access to everything from education to healthcare.

Indeed, it's important for those individuals who suffered some manner of debilitating injury or illness in connection with their service to understand that the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs also provides access to much-needed disability compensation.

Those veterans who are a minimum of 10 percent disabled owing to injuries or diseases either sustained or aggravated during active duty, active duty training or inactive duty training (injury, stroke or heart attack), and who were not dishonorably discharged are eligible for disability benefits. In fact, the disability in question is not confined to physical ailments, but can also relate to a veteran's mental health.

As to the amount of this tax-free benefit, which is paid on a monthly basis, it depends upon the degree of the individual veteran's disability, which is measured in 10 percent increments on a scale of 10 percent to 100 percent.

Additional compensation may be paid, however, for those disabilities considered secondary, or otherwise related to disabilities sustained or presumed to be sustained in connection with military service.   

It's important for veterans to note that disability compensation could potentially be reduced if they are already receiving disability severance pay, separation incentive payments and/or military retirement pay.

We'll continue this discussion in future posts, exploring the evidence that must be submitted in support of a claim for disability benefits and those veterans whose disabilities are presumed under the law.

In the meantime, if you are a veteran with questions about disability benefits or your claim for benefits has been denied, consider speaking with a skilled legal professional to learn more about your rights and your options.

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