Service connected disability compensation

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By Donald Mustard

    Service connected disability compensation is a monetary benefit paid to veterans who are disabled by an injury or disease that occurred in or was aggravated by active military service. 

    These disabilities are considered to be service-connected.  Disability compensation varies with the degree of disability and the number of dependents, and is paid monthly. Veterans with certain service-connected disabilities may be eligible for additional special monthly compensation.  The service-connected benefits are not subject to federal or state income tax.
    The rates for service-connected disability compensation effective December 1, 2008 and payable January 1 2009 remain in effect today due to the absence of any COLA increases for 2009 -2011: 10 percent $123; 20 percent, $243; 30 percent, $376; 40 percent, $541; 50 percent, $770; 60 percent, $974; 70 percent, $1,228; 80 percent, $1,427; 90 percent, $1,604; 100 percent, $2,673.
    Veterans with disability ratings of at least 30 percent are eligible for additional allowances for dependents.  The additional amount depends on the disability rating.  For example, a married veteran rated at 50 percent would receive $845 monthly.
    Special monthly compensation is payable in addition to the basic rate for the loss, or loss of use of body members or functions.  An example would be the loss, or loss of use of a hand or leg.
    Other benefits available to certain service-connected disabled veterans include; specially adapted housing grants, automobiles and conveyances, guide dogs for blind veterans, prosthetics and rehabilitative aids, clothing allowance for clothing worn out as a result of prosthetic or orthopedic appliances, drugs, medicines, and rehabilitative devices.         Those veterans desiring to file a claim for service-connected disability compensation are required to submit a formal application.  The appropriate form is VA Form 21-526.  This form is available at any Veterans Service Office where assistance in completing the form is also available at no charge.  The form is also available on line at www.va.gov/vaforms/.
    Next month this column will address two special programs; Aid & Attendance, and Housebound benefits which are available to veterans who currently receive VA compensation or pension and meet the requirements of these special programs.
    This column provides only general information concerning VA benefits.  If you have questions about veteran’s benefits contact Don Mustard, the Service Officer for DAV Chapter 8, VFW Post 8184 and American Legion Post 16 at 434-401-7335.  The office, located at 1301 Greenview Drive, Lynchburg, VA is open for walk-ins on Tuesday 10 a. m. - 3 p.m. and Thursday by appointment. 
    The sources for this article were applicable 2008 VA rate tables which remain unchanged in 2011, the 2009 edition of the VFW Service Officer handbook, and the 2010 edition of the booklet titled Federal Benefits for Veterans and Dependents.