Veterans: Do you know about the disability compensation program?

Friday, May 26, 2017 8:14 PM

The Veterans Administration provides disabled former servicemen and women with compensation programs designed to assist disabled veterans and their dependents.

The disability compensation program provides financial assistance to veterans with service-connected disabilities to compensate them for the loss of, or reduction in, earning power resulting from comparable injuries and diseases in civilian life.

Disability compensation is a benefit paid to a veteran because of injuries or diseases that happened while on active duty, or existing conditions that were made worse by active military service. This is also known as a service connected disability. You may be eligible for disability compensation if you have a service-related disability and you were discharged under other than dishonorable conditions. These benefits are tax-free.

The severity of each SCD is rated by the Veterans Administration, and these ratings can range from zero to 100 percent. A veteran may be assigned a single disability or multiple disability ratings. The VA can pay you monthly compensation if you are at least 10 percent disabled as a result of your military service.

If a veteran is evaluated as having a SCD of 30 percent or more, the veteran is entitled to additional allowances for his or her dependents. In addition, in cases where a veteran has suffered certain severe disabilities, the veteran may be entitled to Special Monthly Compensation, which can provide compensation payments at a rate greater than the 100 percent rate.

Other SMCs available are Individual Employability for veterans rated between 70 and 90 percent who are unable to work because of their disabilities; and Aid and Attendance, which is a program for veterans in nursing facilities or permanently housebound who are helpless or blind, or so nearly helpless or blind as to require the aid and attendance of another person.

If you have not checked into VA compensation benefits, you should schedule an appointment with your local county veterans service officer and ask what the VA can do for you.

Richard Schleeter is the veterans service officer for the La Plata County Veterans Service Office. He can be reached at 759-0117 or

For more information

The La Plata County Veterans Service Office provides information and assis­tance to veterans and their families. For more information, visit the county website at and type “veterans services” in the search window. The Veterans Service Office and the Durango VA Clinic are located at 1970 East Third Ave. The office phone number is 759-0117. Office hours are 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays except holidays. Appointments are encouraged. To schedule an appoint­ment, call 382-6150. For clinic appointments, call 247-2214.
Help for vetsThe Veterans Crisis Line offers free, confidential support to veterans, family and friends. Call (800) 273-8255 and press 1. You also can text professional responders at 838255 or chat online at
Health care van serviceDisabled American Veterans is running a VA health-care van from Durango to Albuquerque on Tuesdays and Thursdays, and from Farmington to Albuquerque on Mondays and Wednesdays. If you want to use the DAV transportation network, contact DAV coordinators at:
Durango area – 442-0149Cortez area – (970) 676-1116Farmington/Aztec – (505) 793-1782