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 civil 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 (SCD). You may be eligible for disability compensation if you have an SCD and you were discharged under something other than dishonorable conditions. These benefits are tax-free.
The severity of each SCD is rated by the VA, and these ratings can range from 0 to 100 percent. A veteran can 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 (such as loss of or loss of use of extremities or organs), 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 Unemployability 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.
Richard Schleeter is the veterans service officer for the La Plata County Veterans Service Office. He can be reached at 759-0117 or schleeterrs@ co.laplata.co.us.