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%$133.17
20%$263.23

VA Disability Rating: 30% – 60% Without Children

Dependent Status30%40%50%60%
Veteran Alone$407.75$587.36$836.13$1,059.09
Veteran with Spouse Only$455.75$651.36$917.13$1,156.09
Veteran with Spouse & One Parent$494.75$703.36$982.13$1,234.09
Veteran with Spouse and Two Parents$533.74$755.36$1,047.13$1,312.09
Veteran with One Parent$446.75$639.36$901.13$1,137.09
Veteran with Two Parents$485.75$691.36$966.13$1,215.09
Additional for A/A spouse (see footnote b)$44.00$59.00*$74.00$89.00

VA Disability Rating: 70% – 100% Without Children

Dependent Status70% 80%90%100%
Veteran Alone$1,334.71$1,551.48$1,743.48$2,906.83
Veteran with Spouse Only$1,447.71$1,680.48$1,888.48$3,068.90
Veteran with Spouse & One Parent$1,538.71$1,784.48$2,005.48$3,198.96
Veteran with Spouse and Two Parents$1,629.71$1,888.48$2,122.48$3,329.02
Veteran with One Parent$1,425.71$1,655.48$1,860.48$3,036.89
Veteran with Two Parents$1,516.71$1,759.48$1,977.48$3,166.95
Additional for A/A spouse (see footnote b)$104.00$118.00$133.00$148.64

VA Disability Rating: 30% – 60% With Children

Dependent Status30%40%50%60%
Veteran with Spouse & Child$491.75$699.36 $976.13$1,227.09
Veteran with Child Only$439.75$630.36 $890.13$1,124.09
Veteran with Spouse, One Parent and Child$530.75$751.36 $1,041.13$1,305.09
Veteran with Spouse, Two Parents and Child$569.75$803.36$1,106.13$1,383.09
Veteran with One Parent and Child$478.75$682.36$955.13$1,202.09
Veteran with Two Parents and Child$517.75$734.36$1,020.13$1,280.09
Add for Each Additional Child Under Age 18$24.00$32.00$40.00$48.00
Each Additional Schoolchild Over Age 18 (see footnote a)$78.00$104.00$130.00$156.00
Additional for A/A spouse (see footnote b)$44.00$59.00$74.00$89.00

VA Disability Rating: 70% – 100% With Children

Dependent Status70%80%90%100%
Veteran with Spouse & Child $1,530.71$1,775.48 $1,995.48$3,187.60
Veteran with Child Only$1,409.71$1,637.48$1,840.48$3,015.22
Veteran with Spouse, One Parent and Child$1,621.71$1,879.48$2,112.48$3,317.66
Veteran with Spouse, Two Parents and Child$1,712.71$1,983.48$2,229.48$3,447.72
Veteran with One Parent and Child$1,500.71$1,741.48$1,957.48$3,145.28
Veteran with Two Parents and Child$1,591.71$1,845.48$2,074.48$3,275.34
Add for Each Additional Child Under Age 18$56.00$64.00$72.00$80.52
Each Additional Schoolchild Over Age 18 (see footnote a)$182.00$208.00$234.00$260.13
Additional for A/A spouse (see footnote b)$104.00$118.00$133.00$148.64

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. 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. 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. 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. 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

    • 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?

    • 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!

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