VA Service-Connected Disability Compensation Rates

If you were injured or became seriously ill while serving in the military, you may be eligible for certain veterans benefits, including VA disability compensation, which is a benefit paid to certain military veterans based on illnesses or injuries received while serving on active duty. Certain veterans may also be eligible for VA health care benefits.

There are many factors which go into determining compensation eligibility and levels, most of which are outside the scope of this article. Treat this article as a primer for VA disability benefits as we show you the VA’s definition of a service-connected disability, where to apply for benefits, and the current VA disability compensation rate tables, as provided by the VA.

VA Disability Compensation Benefits Pay Rates

Find the updated VA Disability Compensation Benefits Pay Rates

What is a Service Connected Disability?

According to the Department of Veterans Affairs, VA Disability Compensation is:

a benefit paid to a veteran because of injuries or diseases that happened while on active duty, or were made worse by active military service. It is also paid to certain veterans disabled from VA health care. The benefits are tax-free. Source.

If you are considered to have a service-connected disability, then you may be eligible to receive a monthly compensation payment, and under certain circumstances, you may be eligible to receive additional compensation, usually if you have a service-connected rating of 30% or higher and have dependents (spouse, children, and/or parents under your care), if you have missing limbs, or if you have a severely disabled spouse.





Applying for VA Compensation Benefits

Detailed instructions for applying for VA disability benefits are outside the scope of this article, but in general, it is best to supply as much supporting information as possible, including how the injury or illness occurred, any medical treatment you received, current health status, and how your life has been affected by the injury or illness. You will need to fill out VA Form 21-526, Veterans Application for Compensation and/or Pension or apply online using VONAPP. Also be sure to have a copy of your DD Form 214.

Disability Ratings are Made on a Case by Case Basis

The VA rates each disability claim on a case by case basis. The VA first determines whether or not the illness or injury was sustained while the servicemember was in the military, then they assign a rating for each illness or injury. If the VA determines the injury or illness isn’t related to your military service, or didn’t happen while you were in the military, they will deny your claim. If the VA approves your claim, they will assign it a rating between 0% – 100%.

A 0% rating shows there is an illness or injury that is connected to your military service, but it doesn’t warrant compensation at this time. It is still good to get a 0% rating compared to no service-connected link because if the condition worsens at a later date, you can apply to have your disability rating upgraded.

Multiple disability ratings: Multiple disability ratings are a little tricky to calculate, and are beyond the scope of this article. But we’ll give a brief overview. In short, the VA uses a special method for calculating multiple disabilities. Here is a simplified example:

Example: If you have a 30% disability rating, the VA would multiply that against 100%, which is assumed to be good health. This gives you 30%. Subtract that from 100% which leaves you with 70% (consider this your new starting point for your health rating). Then subtract 70% from 100% and you are left with 30%. If that is your only disability, then your final VA Service-Connected Disability Rating is 30%.

If you have multiple ratings, you continue with the process, using your final number each time as your starting point. Continuing with our example, if your next rating is 10%, you would multiply 10% against 70%, which is 7%. You subtract that from 70%, which leaves you with 63%. Subtract 63% from 100% and you get 37%. Your disability rating is 37%, which rounds up to 40%.

It can get complicated quickly, so I have an in-depth article and podcast that explain how the VA calculates combined disability ratings. I highly recommend reading and/or listening to get a good idea how the process works!




VA Disability Ratings Are Not Always Permanent

Many disability ratings are temporary and the VA retains the right to reexamine the disability rating at any time. If they wish to reexamine you, you will receive a Notice of Reexamination letter in the mail which will include a scheduled appointment date. Make sure you attend this appointment or reschedule, as the VA can reduce or terminate your benefits rating if you fail to attend this scheduled appointment. After the VA reexamines your condition(s), they will make a recommendation to increase, decrease, or leave your benefit at its current rating. There are times when your ratings may be protected, based on the type of disability, how long you have held the rating, your age, or other factors. Here is more information about VA Disability Reexaminations and Benefits Reductions.

A Change in Your Family Status Can Change Your VA Disability Payment

Remember to contact the VA whenever you have a change in family status as your rates may change as well.  If you have a 30% disability rating or higher and you are also supporting qualified dependents such as a spouse, child, or parent, you may be eligible to receive a higher VA disability payment. If your disability rating is 20% or lower, changes in your family status should not affect your VA disability payment rates.

The VA will not know when there is a change in your family status, so you will need to inform them immediately when something changes – such as a birth, wedding, a parent moving in with you, divorce, child coming of age, or the death of a qualified dependent. It is always best to inform the VA of a change as soon as possible, however, in some cases you won’t be able to do so until you have more information (such as when a child is born, as you can’t do anything with the VA until your child has received his or her Social Security Number). Keep in mind that the VA will sometimes backdate payments to make up for any shortfalls, or in the case of the loss of an eligible dependent, your payment may decrease. Be sure to contact the VA disability center for more information.

Receive your disability check faster. When you file your disability claim, be sure to give the VA the routing number to your bank so you can enroll in direct deposits. This is faster and more secure – and a requirement as of March 1, 2013. I recommend using a high yield savings account so you can earn more money on any interest that your money earns.

Current VA Disability Compensation Pay Rates

The 2015 VA Disability rates increased by 1.7% on December 1, 2014. If you receive disability payments from the VA, you will see a small raise in your monthly check, starting on January 1, 2015. Increases in VA Service-Connected Disability Rates are tired to the same Cost of Living Adjustments (COLA) the government uses for determining cost of living increases for Social Security recipients, military retirees, and federal civilian retirees. 2014 was the first year the VA has included amounts above a flat dollar amount. In previous years, the amount was rounded down to the nearest dollar. This change won’t make a huge difference now, but if this policy remains in place, it will compound over time.

You can view the current VA Disability rates here, but for your convenience, we have included them in this article as well.

VA Disability Rating: 10% – 20% (No Dependents) 

PercentageRate
10%$129
20%$255

VA Disability Rating: 30% – 60% Without Children

Dependent Status30%40%50%60%
Veteran Alone$395$569$810$1026
Veteran with Spouse Only$442$631$888$1120
Veteran with Spouse & One Parent$479$681$951$1195
Veteran with Spouse and Two Parents$516$731$1014$1270
Veteran with One Parent$432$619$873$1101
Veteran with Two Parents$469$669$936$1176
Additional for A/A spouse (see footnote b)$43$58$72$86

VA Disability Rating: 70% – 100% Without Children

Dependent Status70% 80%90%100%
Veteran Alone$1,293$1,503$1,689$2,816
Veteran with Spouse Only$1,402$1,628$1,830$2,973
Veteran with Spouse & One Parent$1,490$1,728$1,943$3,099
Veteran with Spouse and Two Parents$1,578$1,828$2,056$3,225
Veteran with One Parent$1,381$1,603$1,802 $2,942
Veteran with Two Parents$1,469$1,703$1,915$3,068
Additional for A/A spouse (see footnote b)$101$115$129$144

VA Disability Rating: 30% – 60% With Children

Dependent Status30%40%50%60%
Veteran with Spouse & Child$476$677$946$1,189
Veteran with Child Only$426$611$862$1,089
Veteran with Spouse, One Parent and Child$513$727$1,009$1,264
Veteran with Spouse, Two Parents and Child$550$777$1,072$1,339
Veteran with One Parent and Child$463$661$925$1,164
Veteran with Two Parents and Child$500$711$988$1,239
Add for Each Additional Child Under Age 18$23$31$39$46
Each Additional Schoolchild Over Age 18 (see footnote a)$75$100$126$151
Additional for A/A spouse (see footnote b)$43$58$72$86

VA Disability Rating: 70% – 100% With Children

Dependent Status70%80%90%100%
Veteran with Spouse & Child $1,483$1,720$1,933$3,088
Veteran with Child Only$1,366$1,587$1,783$2,921
Veteran with Spouse, One Parent and Child$1,571$1,820$2,046$3,214
Veteran with Spouse, Two Parents and Child$1,659$1,920$2,159$3,340
Veteran with One Parent and Child$1,454$1,687$1,896$3,047
Veteran with Two Parents and Child$1,542$1,787$2,009$3,173
Add for Each Additional Child Under Age 18$54$62$70$78
Each Additional Schoolchild Over Age 18 (see footnote a)$176$201$226$252
Additional for A/A spouse (see footnote b)$101$115$129$144

If you have specific VA benefits related questions, it is always best to call or visit your regional VA medical center, as they will be able to access your file and answer your specific questions.

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Date published: December 14, 2013. Last updated: January 20, 2015.

Article by

Ryan Guina is the founder and editor of this site. He is a writer, small business owner, and entrepreneur. He served over 6 years on active duty in the USAF and is currently serving in the IL Air National Guard. He also writes about money management, small business, and career topics at Cash Money Life. You can also see his profile on Google.

Comments

  1. Robert says

    I retired at 20 years, regular retirement. I just received my VA rating of 80% on Jan 22. Will I receive both my full retirement and full VA benefit? I received one payment on Feb 2nd for $17.48, does that seem right? Thank you.

  2. Patrick says

    I retired October 2012 after 22 years of service. After 10 months of processing my claim, I was given a disability rating of 80%. Payments began Sept 2013. I’ve been waiting for back pay since then. It’s now February of 2015. I’ve sent multiple letters requesting information on why my back pay claim hasn’t progressed passed received and have been told each time by mail that there is a back log and expect longer processing times. What, if anything, can I do?
    Our regional VA office is in Columbia, SC.

  3. mark says

    Patrick, you should contact your local state and federal representative for help and contact the President. Tell him though the white house website about your situation and all you want is to know is “when” your going to get your rightful payment. Others may not agree but I got an increase solely on this. Trust me, my VA rep may want to take the credit but I know it was due to my letter, because my examine was ordered by the White house. Try all of these first.

  4. Lili says

    I have a question…I was just recently diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis…I was active duty Air Force from 1978-1988 and had a 23 year break in service…I joined the Army Reserve in 2010 (I have 14 years military service). I am currently serving in the Army Reserve and have 1 year left on my enlistment. I reviewed my AD AF medical records and found issues associated with my MS. The Army Reserve of course is starting a Physical Evaluation Board (PEB) since I have an autoimmune disease. My MS Specialist is now writing a letter to substantiate my claim I had MS in the Air Force. I know MS is minimum 30% and service connected. I submitted my paperwork to the VA last November. My first question is: if the VA service connects my MS to my AD AF time, will they back pay me? My dr says I had MS back then and can prove it through my medical records. Also, since I am going through a Line of Duty (LOD) PEB, will they medically retire me or just discharge me? TIA

    • says

      Lili, I’m sorry to hear about your health condition, and I hope you will be able to manage it through medication and other forms of therapy. Based on my understanding, I believe back pay is only made from the date you initially file a claim. So if you filed a claim in November 2014, the back pay would only go to that date. However, there may be some section of the law that states otherwise. I’m only basing that statement on what I have personally seen.

      Regarding a medical retirement or discharge – that’s a great question, and one I don’t have an answer to. There is a PEB forum with a lot of people who are better able to answer that question. Here is the link: http://www.pebforum.com/site/forums/

      Regarding your VA claim: I strongly recommend getting assistance with your claim. There are many organizations that offer free benefits claims assistance, incuding the DAV, VFW, American Legion, and more. I hope this helps, and again, I wish you the best of health going forward.

  5. Kevin Jones says

    I retired in Aug 2012 and I have 3 dependents, I also have a 40% rating for the VA. I have turned in all the supporting documents for my dependents. 2 are in college, still enrolled in DEERS and the youngest just started high school. I am still not being paid with Dependent pay who should I contact?

    • says

      Kevin, Thank you for contacting me. The VA is notoriously slow for updating dependents status. I’ve seen some situations where people waited over two years to have a dependent added or removed. The best I can say is to contact the VA help line and ask them if they have received the information and ask for a status update. I am not aware of any method for speeding up the process. Best of luck, and thanks for your service!

  6. Nate says

    Hi Ryan, I was just permanently retired from the Army (Dec 2014)at 100%. Here is the twist. I had 6 years active duty stationed at Bragg. I submitted a VA claim upon exiting active duty and then joined the Reserves before my rating came back which was 50%. I then joined the Guard and was about to deploy to Afghan when they would not let me deploy and started a MEB in the National Guard. Prior to starting the MEB I put in for an increase on my issues I was having, since my VA doctor told me too. A rating came back for service connected 100% P&T all directly related to combat operations from a deployment to Iraq in 2006.

    Here is the twist. I went through the IDES program to get medically retired from the Army. I was already 100% P&T from the VA so the Army used their rating to rate me. Hence 100% from the Army. I received a retired certificate from the Guard on 23 Dec then on 24 Dec I received a retirement cert from the Big Army. I only have 10 years in total and was expecting to just get my VA and possibly CRSC since all injuries happened while engaged with the enemy.

    I am now receiving both my full retirement pay and full VA pay. So, I am a chapter 61 retiree with less than 20 years of service and receiving both concurrent pay from DFAS and the VA. I am rated 100% P&T all from combat injures sustained in an engagement. I am worried that all that extra money I am receiving will be taken back. So, I called DFAS 5 times, the VA 5 times and the Army HRC command 2 times. I really couldn’t get a straight answer besides being told I should not be receiving both pay from the VA and DFAS.

    I know a lot of laws regarding concurrent receipt (CRPD)/CRSC have changed recently. Do you think that since I am rated 100% P&T in both the VA and the Army there is some clause where I can collect both with less than 20 years of service.

    The more I read the more I think I may be able to receive both with under 20 years due to the nature of the injuries. I have read DFAS’s website about CRDP and that site says I don’t qualify. (is it not up to date maybe?) But when I go to USC 10 Chapter 61 and read all the updates in the notes I kind of think that I may qualify.

    Have you heard of any changes to CRDP with folks that have less than 20 years that are rated at 100% by the VA and their branch of service?

    Thanks for any input.

    nate

  7. Sophia says

    Hello, My question is about the VA offset. I went thru a Med Board and received 70%military retirement and 100%VA. my military pay is not taxed but over $900 is taken out as VA offset. Is this a mistake or do I need to file for CRSC? My military pay states that it is tax free because of my combat related disabilities.

  8. CHARLES FRISINGER says

    I thought that I read somewhere that if you have a VA disability rating of less than 100% that age 65 that rating increases to 100%……is there any truth to this? I have a service connected 10% rating right now at age 64…..will that increase to 100% when I turn 65 next year? I already know about the VA pension program for vets over 65 with low income.

    • says

      Hello Charles, no, service-connected disability ratings do not increase to 100% at age 65. The only way they will increase is if you can show that the service-connected condition has worsened. Yo uwould need to apply to have your benefits increased, and the VA will perform an entirely new exam.

  9. Sean says

    Hi Ryan

    Great Site. I am from Canada and I am doing research on veterans’ benefits around the world. Could you please steer me to an official reference which shows that US VA disability compensation is paid for life (unless reevaluated or case of fraud)?

    thank you
    Sean

  10. Kris says

    Mr. Ryan,

    I was wondering about what you thought about the questions from Mr. Nate. I have heard of another person who was med boarded with 7 years in and she is receiving both her retirement pay and VA pay at the same time with no offset? Is there anything new about this. She is also labeled total and permanent by the VA. Have you heard of this Ryan?

  11. Susan Cannon says

    Hi Ryan,
    Is there any other rating scaling regarding compensation for PTSD? I notice in all of the literature that the ratings go from 30% to 50% to 70% and then to 100%. Is there any PTSD ratings in between, i.e. 40% or 60% or
    80% or 90%? If so, where would I find the criteria to meet these ratings?
    Thank you,
    Sue

  12. Terrence says

    I have a question. I submitted 3 claims back in 2012 and received disability under 1 claim for PTSD. After 2 years I finally got evaluated for the other 2 claims. 1 was an appeal for asthma and they granted me 10% but my compensation amount didn’t change and I’m not receiving anything for that claim even tho I suffered thru it and it’s been evaluated at 10%. Why isn’t there a change?

    • says

      Terrance, Thank you for contacting me. It really depends on your previous disability rating to know if adding another disability at 10% will affect your overall disability rating. VA Math doesn’t work the same way as simple addition. The formula is discussed on more detail here.

      Without knowing your previous rating, I can’t say whether or not your compensation amount should have changed. But it’s very possible to have another rating added to your claim without it changing your compensation payout.

      There is a silver lining, however. Having the VA recognize the new claim means you are now covered for medical care for this condition going forward. Additionally, if your situation worsens, you may be able to file an appeal to have your condition upgraded to a higher disability level. If approved, it’s possible you might receive additional compensation. Again, it all depends on how the disability ratings work when added using VA math. I hope this is helpful.

    • says

      David, Thank you for contacting me. There really isn’t anything you need to do to begin receiving your compensation. The VA will start depositing it into your account within a month (maybe two moths, max). You should also receive back pay to the date you filed your claim (or your separation date from the military if you filed close to your separation date). In regard to your compensation, you will also want to ensure you have any dependents listed on your claim because the VA provides additional compensation if you have dependents and a disability rating of 30% or higher. Here is more information.

      In regard to other benefits, you want to ensure you are enrolled in the VA health care system if you plan on using VA health care benefits. Be sure to schedule an appointment to go over your benefits, as they vary depending on specific profile and situation (such as when and where you served, when you separated, your specific disability rating(s), and other factors). The VA will be able to help you understand all the benefits you are eligible to receive. Best of luck, and thanks for your service!

      • Curious says

        I just had a quick question, I have a friend who has been in the military for about 10 years now. I was wondering if there was anyway to figure out what, if any, they would get paid if the military decided to start a MEB. They do not want to get out of the military at all but they fear that at some point a recent medical issue may warrant an MEB. My second question is, if seen by a civilian doctor is there anyway the military can get those docs and start an MEB without them knowing? Also, if they did not want out and the military did start an MEB is there anyway to stay in or fight the MEB? They have only seen people who are trying to get out with free money go through the MEB process so they don’t know if it voluntary or involuntary. Thanks

  13. Jim says

    Hi Ryan,
    I was granted a 10% disability rating for an ankle injury I got while in the military. I have since requested a secondary rating on leg,hip, and back issues related to the ankle issue I have had for many years. I had it checked a few years back and go a 0% and now it has been increased. How does the secondary ratings work?

  14. Ash says

    Hi Ryan,

    When I had a disability rating of 40%, my retirement check was taxed at about 60% of what I was receiving. For example, received $100.00′ but only $60.00 was taxable. My disability percentage increased to 60%. Once it reached 60%, is my retirement check now 100% taxable or is only 40% taxable now?

  15. Jarrod says

    I was Involuntarily Medically Separated from the Navy in January and received military separation pay. How do I go about recouping the tax withholdings without waiting until I file taxes next year?

    BTW this is a great site and thank you for all the information you put out. Really is a great thing you are doing.

    • says

      Jarrod, Thank you for contacting me. To be honest, I’m not sure if you can recoup the tax withholding early. DFAS withholds a portion of the payment for taxes for everyone – usually at a rate of 20-25%. I’m just not sure if it can be recouped before you file your taxes. Sorry I don’t have a better answer for you.

  16. Roger Kerr says

    I originally filed in 1977 and since then been appealed over the years and just received the decision of service connected on my claim they granted on my lungs ..my question is since it went back to RO for disability rating and effective date how long will it take to get my compensation? I live in Texas.

    • says

      Roger, Thank you for contacting me. The payments are normally made within a month or two of the decision. However, there can be situations where it may take longer. I hope you receive your compensation soon.

  17. Scott says

    Hey Ryan,

    First, this is a very informative site. Here is my question: I left the military back in 1999, but still young and I figured I was healthy, so I never filed a claim for VA disability. Almost 15 plus years later, I am starting to realize that I should have claimed some of my incidents that happened during my military career, as some of them are haunting me today. One thing I did was made copies of my entire medical file which was not much, but have the incidents on file. Would this work to file a VA disability claim?

    Thanks in advance,

    v/r
    Scott

    • says

      Scott, Thank you for contacting me. There is no statute of limitations for making a service-connected disability claim. The most important thing is being able to prove a nexus, or link, from the medical condition to your military service. If you have solid documentation, such as your military medical records, and there is a good chance there is a link to your military service, then you have the basis for a valid claim. I recommend speaking with a trained benefits counselor to help you file your claim. Many organizations such as the DAV, VFW, American Legion, etc. offer free benefits claims assistance. You may also wish to get a medical opinion from your current doctor, stating there is a possible link between your military service and your current ailment.

  18. Eric says

    I filed and received a 0% rating on my left ankle, several years ago. It was combined with another rating of 0% for a total of 10%. I have had several exams, x-rays, mri, etc for the past few years few no improvement. The condition of the ankle has worsened and I currently refiled because it was finally, found that I have old extensive damage per the VA doc! He has now set up a surgery for the ankle that was injured years ago. As for disability, what should I expect for an increase? This was well documented just not followed up on with the other VA sites I have visited. Thanks in advance! Keep up the great work!

    • says

      Eric, Thank you for contacting me. To be honest, I can’t tell you what disability rating you can expect to receive. There are some situation when you can apply for a temporary rating for your post-surgery period, due to the decreased ability to use your limb. Then the VA will reevaluate your condition after you have gone through rehab and your surgery has healed. Your rating would be finalized at that point. At this point, there are too many unknowns to hazard a guess. My recommendation would be to contact someone from the DAV or another organization to help you with your benefits claim. They will be able to walk you through the process and help you understand what to expect, and what to file, and when. I hope this helps!

  19. Dave says

    Ryan, your blog is well written and spot on. Thank you! I have an issue that I cannot figure out. I was rated 100% for 4 years. I received a letter from the VA letting me know my rating would be reduced to 80%. In January of 2015, the VA did indeed reduce my rating to 80%, but the payment remained at the 100% rate. The VA letter stated that the money I had been receiving at the 100% rating would continue. Have you ever heard of this? What is the basis for lowering the rating, but continuing the 100% monetary rate?

    Thanks!

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