VA Disability Claim Myths – 12 Facts You Need to Know About Filing a VA Disability Claim

Many myths that surround VA Disability Claims and service connected disability compensation benefits. This article helps to clarify rules about VA disability eligibility, how to file a claim, and more.
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VA Disability Claim Myths

Many veterans don’t want to file a VA disability claim when they leave the military. There are many misconceptions about filing for VA disability compensation, what happens when the VA reviews your claim, and how it will affect veterans going forward.

In this article, we will discuss some myths surrounding VA benefits claims and why it’s a good idea to file a VA disability claim when you leave the military.

Table of Contents
  1. VA Disability Claim Myths
    1. Myth: I don’t have a disability.
    2. Myth: Having a VA disability rating will affect my future employment options.
    3. Myth: I won’t be able to join the Guard or Reserves with a VA disability rating.
    4. Myth: Getting VA Disability benefits will take them from someone who deserves them.
    5. Myth: I’m already receiving military retirement pay. VA Disability compensation will only reduce my retirement pay.
    6. Myth: VA Disability Compensation benefits aren’t worth that much.
    7. Myth: I’m not eligible for VA disability benefits.
    8. Myth: My illness / injury isn’t bad. There is no need to file a disability claim.
    9. Myth: It’s too late to file a disability claim—I left active duty years ago!
    10. Myth: If I’m awarded a VA disability rating, I will have to use the VA medical system for health care.
    11. Myth: The VA is so backed up, they will never process my claim anyway.
    12. Myth: I’m not eligible for VA Disability Compensation because I’m already receiving Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) (or disability through another program).
    13. Myth: My VA Disability rating is permanent.
    14. Myth: The increased amount of disability compensation awarded for having dependents legally belongs to them.
  2. Summary – Always Verify with the VA or a Veterans Benefits Counselor

VA Disability Claim Myths

Here are some common reasons veterans don’t want to make a VA disability claim:

Myth: I don’t have a disability.

This is probably the most common reason veterans don’t file a disability claim. Unfortunately, there is a stigma around the term “disability.”

A better way to look at a VA disability claim is to say, “I have a medical condition that occurred during, or was caused by, my military service.”

Likewise, you can think about “disability compensation” as an insurance policy against those same medical conditions. An approved disability claim will give you access to VA medical care and a monthly disability compensation payment (for ratings 10% or higher).

Filing a VA disability claim isn’t milking the system – it is a way to insure your future self from potentially worse medical conditions, get the medical treatment you need, and receive monetary compensation from lost earnings potential.

Myth: Having a VA disability rating will affect my future employment options.

Many jobs require members to be in top physical condition (police, firefighters, first responders, federal agents, etc.). Some of these careers may even require the member to pass a physical fitness test or other medical screening. In almost all of these cases, the underlying medical condition and your health and fitness will determine your ability to qualify for the job.

The fact you have a VA disability rating generally won’t impact your ability to land the job. To counter this myth, a VA disability rating may actually give you additional Veterans Preference Points for federal employment (some states may have a similar program for state job applications).

Myth: I won’t be able to join the Guard or Reserves with a VA disability rating.

This may or may not be true. It is possible to join the Guard or Reserves if you have a VA disability rating, provided you are otherwise healthy enough to serve.

In many cases, it’s possible to transfer directly from active duty to the Guard or Reserves without undergoing additional medical screening.

If you have a break in service, you may need to go through MEPS again, and possibly even request a medical waiver to join. But just having a disability rating doesn’t always prevent you from serving again. Again, the underlying medical condition will determine your ability to serve, whether there is a VA disability rating or not.

Myth: Getting VA Disability benefits will take them from someone who deserves them.

This is a noble line of thinking, but it’s not true. There is no quota or maximum number of veterans who can receive VA disability benefits. The VA also places veterans into Priority Groups based on the severity of their disability ratings, economic need, and other factors.

The VA is there for all veterans, not just those with the “greatest” need. You owe it to yourself and your family to receive the care and benefits you have earned.

Myth: I’m already receiving military retirement pay. VA Disability compensation will only reduce my retirement pay.

This is another statement based on a partial truth, then slightly twisted. Retirees with a VA disability rating of 40% or lower will have their military retirement pay reduced by the amount of disability compensation they receive from the VA. However, VA disability compensation is tax-free. So the net gain works in the veteran’s favor.

Retirees with a VA disability rating of 50% or higher are eligible to receive Concurrent Retirement and Disability Payments (CRDP). CRDP awards veterans their full military retirement pay along with their full disability compensation payment.

Military retirees with a disability rating may affect their pay in other ways. The following article will give you more information regarding how VA disability compensation affects military retirement pay.

Myth: VA Disability Compensation benefits aren’t worth that much.

I wouldn’t say that. A 10% disability rating brings in $133.17 per month in disability compensation (FY16 rates). That may not seem like a huge amount on the surface. But this monthly payment is also indexed to inflation, meaning it can increase over time.

The higher your rating, the larger the monthly compensation payment. Veterans with a disability rating of 30% or greater can add dependents to their disability claim. This will increase the monthly payment for each qualified dependent. Finally, you may be able to file a new claim for an increased rating if your condition worsens.

It’s not just about the money. Having a disability rating may open the door to additional military or veterans benefits. These can often be more valuable than the monthly compensation that comes with a disability rating. For example, having a VA disability rating makes veterans eligible to avoid the VA Loan funding fee, which is a percentage of the loan amount, often amounting to several thousand dollars.

See the VA Disability Compensation Rates Table for More Information.

Myth: I’m not eligible for VA disability benefits.

There are several reasons why some veterans don’t believe they are eligible for disability benefits. Some common misconceptions include their discharge rating, length of service, not having served during a war, not being wounded in battle, or other concerns. We can address each of these topics:

  • Discharge Status: Veterans benefits are generally open to veterans with a discharge rating under other-than-dishonorable conditions (in other words, everything except a dishonorable discharge). This means veterans may still be eligible for disability benefits even if they have a Bad Conduct Discharge (BCD) or an Other Than Honorable (OTH) discharge (learn more about discharge upgrades).
  • Length of Service: Active duty veterans generally need active duty service beyond basic training to be eligible for disability benefits unless the illness or injury occurred during basic training. This generally covers most veterans who served on active duty. Members of the Guard or Reserves who were only activated for training purposes should contact the VA for a records review to determine eligibility.
  • Period of Service: Veterans may be eligible for disability benefits regardless of their served period. Disability benefits are not limited to those who served in battle or during a time of war. (note: Some other VA benefits programs, such as the Veterans Pension Benefit, may require wartime service. Disability benefits do not.).
  • I wasn’t wounded in battle: As noted above, no service during war is required to be eligible for disability compensation benefits.

Myth: My illness / injury isn’t bad. There is no need to file a disability claim.

Everything is fine—until it isn’t. Injuries and illnesses can get worse as we age. This is likely to be the healthiest period of your life. File a disability claim if you have an illness or injury that occurred while in the military. Even if the condition is minor, establishing a service connection is the first step in having your disability claim approved. The sooner you make your claim, the easier it is to establish a connection to your military service.

Note about 0% disability ratings:

It is possible to receive a 0% disability rating. This occurs when the VA acknowledges an illness or injury connected to your military service. This is still considered a valid disability rating; you can file a new claim requesting the rating increase if the condition worsens.

Myth: It’s too late to file a disability claim—I left active duty years ago!

There is no timeline to file a disability claim for a service-connected disability. However, it’s generally much easier to file a claim shortly after leaving the military. This is because you need to establish a connection to your illness or injury and your military service. This is generally easier when done shortly after leaving the military.

However, some illnesses and injuries don’t occur until years after leaving military service. This has received national attention recently as many veterans from the Korean and Vietnam War eras have been diagnosed with cancers and other medical conditions associated with Agent Orange exposure or related chemicals or exposure to contaminated water at Camp Lejeune.

Other exposure hazards include mustard gas, asbestos, ionizing radiation, Project 112/SHAD (chemical tests to defend against biological and chemical weapons threats), and Radiogenic Risk Activities. You can learn more about these chemical exposures.

In these cases, symptoms can take years or even decades to appear.

Remember, there is no time limit to file a claim! Here is an article from a veteran who filed VA disability claims several years after separating from active duty.

Myth: If I’m awarded a VA disability rating, I will have to use the VA medical system for health care.

The VA doesn’t require veterans to enroll in the VA health care system if they are eligible for health care. You also aren’t required to use the VA medical system if you do enroll. Many veterans choose to continue using their current healthcare plan. But it’s nice to know the benefit if there for you if you ever need it.

Myth: The VA is so backed up, they will never process my claim anyway.

VA disability claims can indeed take a long time to be processed. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t make a claim. Your claim will be processed more quickly if you double-check your claim for completion and accuracy before submitting it for review.

It’s also a good idea to seek the assistance of a veterans benefits counselor before filing your claim. Many organizations offer free benefits claims, counseling, and assistance. Take advantage of their expertise before filing – it will save you a lot of time and stress!

Myth: I’m not eligible for VA Disability Compensation because I’m already receiving Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) (or disability through another program).

You should verify this information before assuming you are ineligible to receive both forms of compensation. For example, it is possible to receive both VA disability compensation and Social Security Disability Benefits. There is even a program called Social Security Disability Benefits for Wounded Warriors. No rule states you cannot receive compensation from both sources. In fact, having a 100% Permanent and Total VA rating can make you eligible for expedited processing for your Social Security Disability claim.

Myth: My VA Disability rating is permanent.

This is a partial truth. Some disability ratings are permanent, while others are given a temporary rating. In some cases, the VA will send veterans a Notice of Reexamination Letter, which informs the veteran of their intent to reexamine the veteran to determine whether or not the veteran’s medical condition is the same. The reexamination can result in no change, an increased or decreased rating.

There are also several rules surrounding which disability ratings can be subjected to a reexamination and times when the VA cannot reexamine your disability (including how long you have held the rating, your age, and other factors).

I recommend reading this guide on reduced VA disability benefits for more information.

Myth: The increased amount of disability compensation awarded for having dependents legally belongs to them.

This is false. The disability compensation is awarded to the veteran, not the family member(s). It is intended for the veteran to use the additional money to support the family members, but it is not awarded directly to the family members. The increased compensation does not legally belong to the children, it legally belongs to the veteran.

That said, the family members must continue to be legal dependents for the veteran to continue receiving the increased disability compensation. In the case of a divorce or separation, the veteran must continue to support the dependents to continue being able to legally claim them as dependents on their VA disability claim. Any change of dependency status should be reported to the VA.

Summary – Always Verify with the VA or a Veterans Benefits Counselor

VA disability claims can be very complicated. But veterans have access to benefits counselors who will offer free claims assistance. Find a Veterans Service Organization (VSO) you trust and work with them on your claim. Your representative can help dispel any of the above myths, clear up any misconceptions, and answer your questions. they also have hands-on experience with the claims process. They can help you avoid problems that might add months or years to your claim.

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  1. Doug Bultje says

    I had surgery at the VA, they messed up my ureatha by putting on the catheter wrong. Also right after the surgery my right leg was very cold feeling in the hospital. Saw a neurologist in the VA and he said all the feeling would comeback. Bull. Only some has comeback and it it sill gets cold. The surgery cut also still hurts which my spouse rubs in twice a day with bengay or icy hot. The tort act has expired, can I still file a claim against the VA?

  2. Coley terry says

    Filed multiple va claims on may 8,2019 fdc . Did all c and p exams they are back . Va says will finish claim estimated Feb 6, 2020. On Jan 31 e ben says claim closed with. bve. Says closed claim because of 2 file claim numbers I only filed one claim with disabilities. They say delay for 90 days told me not to check status they then reopen after 90 days. Sounds a little suspicious. Claim was so close. Had positive c and p exams.

  3. Jon Kidder says

    Question I was Army national guard from 2001-2004 never went to basic training because was in delayed entry due to being in high school at the time. Question in the last 6 months before going to basic trainging I was having issues losing some weight and my legs when we did PT would go numb from the knees down. went to a doctor who determined I had spinal L1-L5 degenerative disc issues. At this time my unit was being geared up for deployment and they pushed me out to fill other spots within the unit. Question is I was never given the opportunity to fight or had the knowledge at the time to fight the military and get any documentation from my unit. Can I qualify for any benefits from the VA? I have had 2 back surgeries since then. ANY help appreciated.

    • Ryan Guina says

      Hello Jon, This is outside the scope of my knowledge. I recommend working with a Veterans Benefits Counselor at your county VA office or a Veterans Service Organization such as the DAV, AMVETS, or similar organizations. They have trained counselors who can offer free benefits claims assistance. Best wishes!

  4. LINWOOD PITTS 2279 says

    Do I need to keep my part D prescription plan as I have free medicine from the VA because of my 80% disability.

  5. Shere says

    I recently recieved disability for having removal of and “organ.”
    I also applied for my foot which I had surgery on while on active duty. I received a 0% disability.
    Can I resubmit a claim? How long should I wait.? Is it the same 60 day appeal??
    Any information I’d really appreciate..( it’s all so confusing)

    • Ryan Guina says

      Helle Shere, The best thing to do is work with a veterans claims counselor for one on one assistance. They can review your medical records and claim and assist you with an appeal. You should be able to find free assistance at your county VA office or a Veterans Service Organization such as the DAV, AMVETS, VFW, American Legion, etc. Best wishes!

  6. Carlos says

    I have 100% permanent but I had big claims denied event though I continue to suffer from it which is Meniers Disease. Do I continue to fight it or should I just stop now that I’m at 100% permanent?

    • Ryan Guina says

      Hello Carlos, This is a question for someone with more hands-on experience with disability claims. Normally, having a 100% permanent & total rating is sufficient, since you receive full compensation payments and full medical coverage through the VA.

      However, there may be some potential benefit if having a higher rating for additional conditions if any of your current conditions change and are downgraded. Not all conditions can or will be downgraded. But some can be.

      So I would take this question to someone who can provide some additional information.

      I wish you the best, and thank you for your service!

  7. M says

    I’m not sure I understand the Veteran’s disability system and any information is appreciated. I know a story of a veteran who retired with a 10% rating. After 6 years of weekly golfing, he was awarded an increase for knee and shoulder pain. Within months of the increase, he was then able to move the contents of a very large home essentially by himself 2 times in 3 years. He participated in a walking competition and ranked toward the top. He even took up bicycling and uses an elliptical machine almost daily. Im not accusing but, in my opinion, I would think if one is 50% disabled, they wouldn’t be able to accomplish such strenuous physical activity only a few years post disability determination. Reading some of the other poster’s comments about their physical impairments and not receiving disability, the system seems off kilter somewhat.

  8. James Lesher says

    I served on active duty from 1984 to 1995 and also served during Desert Shield/Desert Storm 1990 and 1991. I joined the guard in 2008 and managed to get 20 years in before my medical condition struck. I had been having headaches for a few years and just taking Advil(lots of Advil) but in 2017 I passed out. Long story short, I had to have surgery for hydrocephalus and I am being medically retired. My question is this, How do I prove service connection? Also, I was told something about if you had at least 10 years active duty you wouldn’t have to prove service connection. Any help would be appreciated.

    • Ryan Guina says

      James, I’m sorry to hear about this condition and I hope you receive the care you need. I recommend speaking with a veterans benefits counselor regarding your medical condition and your claim. They can provide one on one assistance, which is recommended for a case such as yours. Best wishes.

  9. Richard M says

    I am currently sitting at 100% P&T, My question is that I have three issues that needs attention (Knee, PTSD, & IBS) and I do not have a civilian PCM. If I use the VA as my PCM is there a chance that the VA would be able to reduce my current rating? Thanks in advance.

  10. Tim Sullivan says

    I am currently at 90%, and I have health insurance automatically through the VA, which isn’t the greatest. If I decline the VA Health insurance will it affect my disability rating??

    • Ryan Guina says

      Hello Tim,

      You can use different health care if you like. Your rating isn’t dependent on using the VA healthcare system. However, you will want to keep the VA apprised of your medical conditions so they can update your records. The VA can request the veteran have their ratings reviewed for various reasons. If that happens, you would need to visit the VA for a reexamination, and possibly bring copies of medical records if the VA doesn’t already have them.

      I wish you the best, and thank you for your service!

  11. Jill says

    Hello- I am doing research to help a man who had DOD TriCare medical benefits until age 65, when they were canceled due to his “eligibility” for Medicare. However, he has been on a Navy disability since honorably discharged from the Navy (during basic training) in the early 1970s and has not worked since then, and therefore is not eligible for Medicare (nor Social Security). The VA told him that he still cannot get medical benefits past age 65–despite not working since being honorably discharged going on fifty years ago. He has very little money. Can you please guide me in the right direction to get this man some help? I’d be so grateful.

    • Ryan Guina says

      Hello Jill, This is outside my level of expertise. I don’t know where to point you, other than to TRICARE, the VA, or the Social Security Administration.

      You could also try contacting the county department of Veterans Affairs or other state and local agencies. They may be able to help you or at least provide additional information.

      I wish you the best.

  12. Ramon Alverio says

    After serving in the Gulf war in 1990/91 I got out of active duty in good conditions, and then around 1995 I started suffering from Gulf war syndrome. You name, asthma, PTSD and etc. I have submitted my claim several time, using several agencies, but no luck kept being denied, and just this last time my appeal was denied in 9/2018. I don’t know what to do next. My conditions are getting worse.
    The VA is treating me, but they keep denying me. What else can I do. Thanks for any recommendation and/or advise. A frustrated veteran.

  13. Larry Iloff says

    I recently filed a claim for the first time September 2018. I retired from the Army in 1995 and served in Artillery Units and light Infantry Divisions. While at Fort Ord we participated in numerous road marches with 40 pound rucksacks. I experienced pain but never mentioned it just sucked it up. I am now 60 and have had multiple back surgeries to include fusion and suffer from constant pain in my left leg due to sciatica. I am hoping to be compensated and understand it is a difficult process, hoe does it work out when it wasn’t in my service records.

    • Ryan Guina says

      Hello Larry, Thank you for your question. I recommend working with a veterans service organization, such as your local state or county veterans affairs rep, or an organization such as the DAV, AMVETS, VFW, etc. They have trained counselors who can help you file your claim. I wish you the best, and thank you for your service!

  14. Shane says

    I was discharged due to a spinal injury, letter said I was “completely and permanently disabled” due to the injury, yet VA rated me at 10%. I finally got an increase to 50%.
    I can’t work, and I also get Social Security.
    How do I go about convincing the VA that I am “completely and permanently disabled”?

    Thank you.

    • Donald L Wilson says

      4.16 Total disability ratings for compensation based on unemployability of the individual.

      (a) Total disability ratings for compensation may be assigned, where the schedular rating is less than total, when the disabled person is, in the judgment of the rating agency, unable to secure or follow a substantially gainful occupation as a result of service-connected disabilities: Provided, That, if there is only one such disability, this disability shall be ratable at 60 percent or more, and that, if there are two or more disabilities, there shall be at least one disability ratable at 40 percent or more, and sufficient additional disability to bring the combined rating to 70 percent or more. For the above purpose of one 60 percent disability, or one 40 percent disability in combination, the following will be considered as one disability:

      (1) Disabilities of one or both upper extremities, or of one or both lower extremities, including the bilateral factor, if applicable,

      (2) Disabilities resulting from common etiology or a single accident,

      (3) Disabilities affecting a single body system, e.g. orthopedic, digestive, respiratory, cardiovascular-renal, neuropsychiatric,

      (4) Multiple injuries incurred in action, or

      (5) Multiple disabilities incurred as a prisoner of war.

      All of this and much more can be found at the Electronic Code of Federal Regulations.

  15. Donte Parker says

    Hello, so I’m in the process of making my claim and I have broken finger and my shoulder popped out of socket when I was in the field but I was told to brush it off and not worry about it. I never went to get it checked it so there’s no supporting Documents supporting the claim, but you can physically see the damage when examined will this hurt my claim?

  16. BOBBY D DENNEY says

    Yes I have a question I done my research and found multiple things I could claim over my right knee injury. To keep the VS from trying to lump them all together I decided to go to Ebenefits and claim one different claim a week. My question is the first claim went through easy and now have a c&p exam set up ,the other two I claimed the same way as the first just two seperste issues with the knee and the va put it as an intent to file. Why wouldn’t the other two claims go through as actual claims like the first claim and not an intent to file?

    • Ryan Guina says

      Hello Bobby, Thank you for your question. I believe the VA will normally only process one claim at a time. So filing multiple separate claims may not be the best way to go. Additionally, the VA may or may not award multiple ratings for the same joint or appendage. From what I understand, knee injuries are generally rolled into one rating.

      I recommend working with a VA benefits counselor on an individualized basis to go over your claim and ask for advice on how to proceed with this claim, and any other claims you may have pending. I wish you the best, and thank you for your service.

  17. Randall Vidas says

    I completed a retirement physical with the VA rep back in 2004. The paperwork was lost and never found. I tried twice through the VA to have them locate my retirement physical results to no avail. They said there was nothing they could do. Where do i go from here? Do I have to go through the whole physical and process again? Any adive anyone has would be great.

    • Ryan Guina says

      Hello Randall, Thank you for contacting me. The best thing to do is work with a Veterans Service Organization such as the DAV, AMVETS, American Legion, VFW, etc. They have trained counselors who can assist you with your claim and offer advice. I wish you the best, and thank you for your service!

  18. Mace says

    Ryan, great article! Very informative. I do have an additional question. I am a resently retired Soldier. I have a fully developed disability claim pending withe the VA. My date for an answer is between November 2017 and March of next year per the ebenfits website. Here is my concern: I have a fairly significant amount of medical issues but I am still attempting to attain full time employment. If I land a full time job prior to receiving my disability rating will that effect my rating from the VA?

    • Ryan Guina says

      Hello Mace, Your civilian employment has no bearing on your VA service-connected disability rating. So do your best to go out there and find a job that you are suited for without having to worry about it impacting your claim. I wish you the best, and thank you for your service!

  19. Tim says

    Hey great article, but I actually have a question since I was one of those people who was kind of rushed out without being told anything about disabilities and how that would work. During my time in the USAF I injured my knee twice, and began having back problems. Fast forward years later and I ended up agrivating both so severely that I ended up having multiple surgeries on both. My question would be what are the chances of a claim for myself going through 15years after a discharge? I was that guy who didn’t think it was right at the time to contemplate it and now I’ve had other Vets both at College and also at work tell me to look into it. Any info you could provide would be great! Thanks!

    • Ryan Guina says

      Hello Tim, Thank you for contacting me. It is possible to make a VA disability claim years after you separated from the military. However, you will need to provide documentation supporting your claim. This could include medical records, signed statements from witnesses to an event, or other records.

      Because so much time has passed since you separated, I recommend visiting a veteran’s service organization for assistance with your claim. Many organizations offer free benefits claims assistance, including the DAV, AMVETS, VFW, American Legion and others.

      I wish you the best, and thank you for your service!

  20. Ljthib says

    I recently applied for disability after being discharged from active duty three years. I am a reservist. Is there any truth in the fact that the military will discharge you once you get to a certain percentage of disability? If so, what is that percentage? Up until now, I was afraid to file because I have 16 years of service and wanted to get to the 20 year mark. I was awarded 50% disability, but there was one disability I filed for that they denied, stating it didn’t happen while I was on duty (funny though because they actually sent me home with an air cast because of the injury – hmmm). I am trying to determine if I need to wait until I am closer to 20 years to file for it, as I have a ton of supporting documentation, or if I should wait to avoid having it throw me over some magic percentage that could get me medially discharged. Your thoughts on this?

    • Ryan Guina says

      Hello Ljthib, Thank you for contacting me. So far as I am aware, there is no magic number that results in an automatic discharge from the Guard or Reserves. The main things the Guard considers are whether or not you are physically capable of performing your duties, whether you are worldwide deployable, and whether or not you can pass your PT tests. If you aren’t able to do any of these, you may be considered for a Medical Evaluation Board (MEB) in which the military will review your medical condition and make a determination of whether or not to allow you to remain on duty, or give you a medical discharge or retirement.

      Regarding your disability claim – I would consult with a Veterans Service Organization such as the DAV, AMVETS, American Legion, etc. They have trained benefits claims counselors who can help you file an amended claim or an appeal. The benefit of filing an appeal can result in an increased disability rating, which may impact your monthly compensation payment. But more importantly, it will have that injury annotated in the VA medical system as being service-related, which will allow you to receive VA medical care for that injury or any further complications. I hope this is helpful. Best wishes, and thank you for your service!

  21. Daniel zamorsky says

    I filed a fully developed claim for agent orange related prostate cancer. What are the average approval times? Any experience recently?

  22. Monica S. Puls says

    My son is 50% service disabled, yet wants to try to find a job he can physically handle. I have a former HR background, but my knowledge is that of civilian vs military disability w/ general compensation, which results in many restrictions & a max monthly gross of $500 or the complete forfeiture of disability benefits. We have fought (& continue) too hard for his (laughable) care & benefits & as I watch him decline, know that he can’t risk forfeiture … we’ve been told that if he “screws-up & crosses that line” that he will not be eligible to re-apply. What are the rules for maintaining his service disability pay AND working?

    • Roger says

      The VA disability does not restrict work or have any offset for any earned income. The only time that ever comes into play is if he filed for “Individual Umemployabilty” (IU) then he would be unable to work, be given 100% rating, and certify each year he is still not working. In addition, the VA compensation is not considered earned income, so I have never seen it affect any other payments. I draw a military retirement, SSDI, and VA compensation. For many years I worked at the Post Office and a couple of times I was hurt on the job. I was still paid worker’s comp and my VA comp because they weren’t related. My degree is also in Human Resources, so I get your doubt, but personal experience shows he doesn’t have to worry. To be clear, he can to rated as disabled by the VA and still work a job, without loss of benefits. Please get in touch with a Veterans Service Organization (DAV, VFW, – can see list on VA website) if you need help with his VA claim or benefits’

  23. Joe says

    Hi Ryan,

    I have to admit – my condition (currently @ 70%) is worsening, I use the VA health care system, so there is plenty of documentation, but I’m afraid to file for an increase because of the chance that my rating will be reduced. Do they examine the request for increase and either approve or disapprove it based on the request, or do they look at the overall rating and make an increase/decrease decision overall?

  24. Dennis A Bozek says

    When u start receiving your social security benefits at retirement age will you still be able to get military disability payments as well?

    • Ryan Guina says

      Hello Dennis, Thank you for contacting me. Yes. I have never heard of the VA stopping disability compensation payments when someone begins receiving Social Security Benefits.

  25. Bob Peetz says

    Military retirees with a VA disability rating of 40% or lower may also be eligible for CRSC payments which reimburse all or part of the amount deducted from their retirement pay. I’m a 30% Retired Vet – 10% for hearing loss & Tinnitus (the VAs most common disability) and 20% for Diabetes due to Exposure to Agent Orange. And the reimbursement is tax free as well.

  26. Cyndi says

    Thank you VERY much for this article! I’ve been debating about making a claim and this was the push that I needed.

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