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, illness or diseases that happened while on active duty or existing conditions that were made worse by active military service. This also is known as a Service Connected Disability, or SCD.
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 service-connected disability is rated by the VA, and these ratings can range from zero to 100 percent. A veteran can be assigned a single disability rating 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 an 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 (such as loss of, or loss of use of, extremities or organs), the veteran may be entitled to Special Monthly Compensation, or SMC, 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 percent 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 because of their service-connected disabilities.
Richard Schleeter is the veterans service officer for the La Plata County Veterans Service Office. He can be reached at 759-0117 or firstname.lastname@example.org.