Service Connected Compensation
Disability Compensation is a monetary benefit paid to veterans who are disabled by an injury or illness that was incurred or aggravated during active military service. These disabilities are considered to be service-connected.
Disability compensation varies with the degree of disability and the number of a veteran’s dependents, and is paid monthly. Veterans with certain severe disabilities may be eligible for additional special monthly compensation. The benefits are not subject to federal or state income tax.
The payment of military retirement pay, disability severance pay, or separation incentive payments, known as SSB (Special Separation Benefits) and VSI (Voluntary Separation Incentives) affects the amount of VA compensation paid to disabled veterans. Often, disabilities such as the diagnosis of a disease within one year of the date of discharge from active duty can also be approved. Diseases such as Multiple Sclerosis have a seven year presumptive period and ALS if diagnosed any time after active duty service can become service connected.
The VA rates service connected disabilities on a scale from 0% to 100% in 10% increments. Each increment has a financial amount associated with it and disabilities rated 30% or higher include an additional amount for each eligible dependent. See Rating Scales for more detailed information.
Filing a Claim
Filing a claim for service connected compensation is one of the many things that the Williams County Veterans Service Office does. Two service officers are available who are trained in accordance to the Ohio Revised Code and who must maintain annual training credits.
The first step in filing a claim is to contact the office for an appointment. The first appointment may take up to one hour. Remember, special appointments will be set for those whose employment prevents them from coming in during our regular working hours. The service officer will provide information to the veteran about what needs to be brought into the office; however, some of the usual documents needed include the following:
- Birth certificates
- Marriage certificate and Divorce decrees
- Name and address of any physicians treating for the disability
- Original or certified copy of the DD Form 214
- Social security numbers for all eligible dependents
Do not let the absence of any of these documents prevent you from calling for an appointment to file the claim. Please remember that filing the claim sooner rather than later is always the better choice; however, we still file claims for WWII veterans that are approved!
Filing for an increase for a service connected condition is a relatively easy task. The most important piece of information for a successful claim for an increase is medical evidence. The VA will need to be shown with medical evidence that the condition has actually worsened. Keep getting medical treatment for all service connected disabilities and remember that treatment for those conditions are free from the VA Health Care System.
Secondary Conditions are conditions that are caused by a service connected condition. For example, you are service connected for a right knee condition which causes you to overcompensate on the use of the left knee. This causes a disability of the left knee. If medical evidence supports that “more likely than not” the left knee condition was caused by the service connected right knee condition, then the left knee can be service connected also and your monthly compensation rate may increase. This is also seen very often for in country Vietnam Veterans who are service connected for Type II Diabetes, a disease that causes many other disabilities to occur.
Appeals are part of the “due process” provided by the Department of Veterans Affairs. There is a one year period after the decision date that an appeal can be started. Service Officers at the Williams County Veterans Service Office are trained to assist and advise you during this process.