What is service-connected disability?

Disability Compensation is a monthly payment made to a veteran who has a disability for a disease or injury that was incurred or aggravated by service in the armed forces. Payments are based on the degree of disability. VA pays additional allowances for your dependents if your disabilities are evaluated as 30 percent or more disabling. A special monthly compensation rate may be authorized for veterans whose service-connected disabilities are very severe and meet certain statutory requirements. Service connection for a disability may be granted based on the following conditions:

  • A presumption of service connection may also be granted for certain chronic and tropical diseases under certain circumstances, even if the conditions were not manifested or diagnosed during active service.
  • Service connection may also be established for a secondary disability or disease which is proximately the result of a service-connected disease or injury.
  • A service-connected disability may entitle you to additional benefits such as VA medical care, vocational rehabilitation, adaptive equipment/homes, etc.

Important Note: When a service connection for a disability or disease has been established and the condition worsens, a claim for an increase of the rating should be filed.

Total Disability

Total disability will be found to exist when there is an impairment of mind or body which is certain to continue throughout the life of the disabled veteran and renders it impossible for the average person to follow a substantially gainful occupation. A single or combined disability that is ratable at 100%.

Note: There are specific benefits that apply when a rating is classified as total and permanent.

Individual Unemployability

Individual unemployability may be applied for when there is an exceptional disability factor that substantially interferes with the veteran’s ability to sustain gainful employment. A veteran must meet one of the following criteria:

  • The veteran must have one service-connected disability rated at 60% or more or;
  • The veteran must have two or more service-connected disabilities totaling 70% combined, with one that is rated at least 40%, and unable to follow gainful employment because of the service-connected disability.

Temporary 100% Rating for Convalescence

Hospitalization – A total 100% temporary disability rating will be assigned, without regard to the rating schedule, when a service-connected disability has required hospitalization treatment by the Department of Veterans Affairs, for a period in excess of 21 days.

Surgery – A total 100% temporary disability rating may be assigned when your service-connected disability resulted in surgery, post-hospital convalescence, immobilization with a cast, or surgery of a major joint. When the requirements are met, the rating will be effective from the first day of hospitalization and will continue for a period of 1, 2, or 3 months. Extensions may be authorized under certain circumstances.

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1. Are we the Department of Veteran Affairs?
2. What am I eligible for?
3. What if I have a less than Honorable Discharge?
4. Where is the nearest Vet Center?
5. Where is the nearest VA Medical Center?
6. Where can I find nearby Tri-Care Providers?
7. How can I obtain a copy of my discharge papers?
8. How do I update my address and telephone number?
9. How can I change my VA direct deposit?
10. What is service-connected disability?
11. What Special Monthly Compensation (SMC) Awards exist?
12. What is the Veterans Pension benefit?
13. What GI Bill/Veterans Education benefit program is right for me?
14. Where are nearby Veterans Cemeteries?
15. Where are nearby Colorado State Veterans Nursing Homes?
16. Where can I get VA or State Vocational Rehab services?