01 Aug When Is a Veteran Ineligible for Disability Benefits?
When someone develops a disability while serving our country, impairing their ability to provide for themselves and their family, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs steps in to ensure they are cared for—at least in theory. Sometimes, a veteran may feel left in the dark about available resources, unsure if he qualifies for benefits. Or they may find the application process too difficult to get the help they needs. You can apply for veteran disability benefits online at the VA website, but it is recommended that you consult with an attorney that specializes in veterans’ disability issues. An experienced attorney can help you make the most of every program available to you.
Veterans Disability Compensation
Disability compensation benefits are available for former active duty service members who developed an injury, disease, or disorder related to their military service.
You may NOT qualify for disability benefits if:
- You received a dishonorable discharge
- You served less than 24 months of active duty (although there are exceptions to this requirement)
- Your disability was caused by your own misconduct or while avoiding duty
- Your injury/disability occurred while in prison or otherwise detained for crimes
To receive veteran disability benefits, you must be able to show that your disability is connected to your military service. There are three kinds of service connections:
- Direct Service Connection: the disability is directly caused by the veteran’s military service.
- Aggravated Service Connection: a pre-existing condition was worsened or aggravated by the veteran’s military service.
- Presumed Service Connection: Certain chronic diseases, such as PTSD, are presumed to be related to a veteran’s military service. These connections may be specific to a particular illness, time and/or region, such as cancer found in those exposed to Agent Orange during the Vietnam War.
If you are unable to prove your disability is connected to your service to your country, you may still qualify for other disability programs.
Veterans Disability Pension
The Veterans Disability Pension is a supplemental income program for those that meet specific age and income requirements. To qualify, you must be at least 65 years of age and earn less than $1,055 a month. You may qualify for higher paying pensions if you are homebound or need assistance with daily living activities.
Although you must be a disabled veteran to qualify for the veteran disability pension, you do not need to show that your disability is connected to your military service.
Social Security Disability & Supplemental Security Income
If a veteran does not meet the service connection requirement for Veterans Disability benefits or the age requirement for a Veterans Disability Pension, they may still qualify for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI). These programs are available to any disabled person (not just veterans), and each has its own eligibility requirements.
Need Legal Assistance? Call A South Carolina Disability Lawyer
Applying for disability benefits can be a frustrating and confusing process. If you are a veteran needing assistance with your disability benefits application, contact the experienced disability attorneys at Klok Law Firm LLC in Mt. Pleasant, SC.