A veteran with an honorable discharge who was disabled by an active duty injury is eligible for service-related disability. They may receive anything between $117 to $3000 per month or a bit more, tax-free, depending on the extent of disability and number of dependents.
The Department of Veterans Affairs rates disability as a percentage, using a lengthy Schedule for Rating Disabilities. A ratings board studies the medical examinations done for each veteran over the whole length of time any have been done. Then it assigns a figure from 10% to 100% for that veteran’s degree of disability in light of the possibility of obtaining work.
In the Line of Duty
Veterans’ disability benefits are given only when the injury happens or is aggravated in the soldier’s line of duty. Definitions of line of duty have been debated sine the late 18th century but Section 5 of the VA Schedule defines it this way:
“Currently, a service member is considered to be in the line of duty all day every day, including when on leave.”
Exceptions are made only when “the injury or disease arose from the individual’s willful misconduct or abuse of alcohol or drugs.”
Read more about how military services affect our veterans.
As Veterans Age
If the disability is determined to have been caused by service, then all its later manifestations are also considered service-connected. Age is not a factor. Most veterans first apply for disability benefits when they are between the ages of 56 and 75, although almost as many apply between the ages of 36 and 55. Aging tends to exacerbate any existing health problems, and the VA is facing increasing numbers of eligible veterans as the baby boomers reach these ages.
As a veteran ages, the level of disability required to qualify for a pension is lowered. For example, if the veteran must be rated at 70% disability at age 55 to 59 to receive the particular amount of pension, that figure will be lowered to 60% when the veteran reaches age 60 to 65. After age 65, a rating of 10% disability is considered enough.
The Qualification Process
There is no time limit for filing an initial claim of service-connected disability.
A vocational expert will analyze work-related variables such as education, work history, income at the time of injury, and local labor market conditions. He’ll also look at the medical report of physical and mental limitations, the veteran’s capacity for retraining, and many other factors. There will be an interview and some testing.
Our Firm’s Military Experience
If you are a veteran and wondering how you can qualify for VA benefits, ourJacksonville disability rights attorneys can help.
- W. Marc Hardesty, Esq. did active service in the Persian Gulf War and is a retired Lieutenant Colonel.
- Frank A. Ashton, Esq. Is a retired Navy Commander who did active duty from 1979 to 1984.
- On our paralegal staff is Ken Windle, who is a retired Navy Seal and a three-tour Vietnam veteran. He was awarded the Silver Star and several Purple Heart medals.
If you are in need of legal defense, our disability rights attorneys defend those who defend our country. Please contact us to schedule a free evaluation of your situation and needs. Our offices are in Jacksonville, FL and Jacksonville Beach, FL.