Introduction to Military Disability Guidelines

Military disability benefits are issued through the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). This department works with both active duty service persons and those who have been discharged. The benefits you receive with the VA will depend on the length of your service and your status with the military during your service and afterward. The process to claim benefits, even those rightfully due to you, is not easy. In fact, many individuals who have become temporarily or permanently disabled will have challenges receiving support immediately from the VA.

How are Benefits Determined?

Benefits are determined based on your length of service and the status of your service. For example, officers will receive larger benefits than enlisted individuals. The branch of the military in which you served may also partially determine your benefits. The most important factor for a veteran, though, is the condition of his or her discharge. If you were dishonorably discharged from the military, you will surrender all rights to claim benefits in the future. This means you will not be able to get disability in any instance, and you will also be disqualified from medical benefits on the whole, as well as other services.

How are Claims Filed?

If you have become temporarily or permanently disabled, you will file your claim with the VA similarly to how you would file with a traditional insurer. You may receive special instructions if you were disabled in the course of your service. Generally, you will file various forms with the VA requesting a claim be paid. These include medical records and evaluations. In order to file for permanent disability benefits, you must be able to provide doctor's information that you are indeed permanently disabled. This can be difficult to determine in the beginning of an illness or injury, and you may need to show persistence of the problem to qualify.

How are Claims Processed?

Once you file your paperwork, the VA will begin processing your claim. It is important to note the VA is very bogged down with cases on a day-to-day basis. This means your disability claim could be delayed weeks or months without response. This is particularly true if the VA would like to carry out an independent medical examination. If so, you will have to report to a VA doctor for your exam, which will occur free of charge. After this examination, you will again have to resubmit papers to the VA.

How are Benefits Received?

If the VA does approve your disability claim, you will be eligible for full benefits in the amount determined by your service conditions. Most veterans will be eligible for between $2,500 and $3,000 a month as of 2010. Permanently disabled veterans may get financial assistance to help pay for a caregiver or to compensate a family member acting as a permanent caregiver. The checks will arrive monthly, and you will owe taxes on the amount received. These taxes will be assessed as if the monies coming to you are a form of income. You will therefore need to disclose the sum on your yearly tax statement.

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