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What is VA Disability?


Veterans disability compensation is administered by the United States Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). Compensation is a benefit paid to a veteran for a disability sustained or aggravated during service in the U.S. military. Such a disability is considered to be "service-connected." The amount of the monthly benefit depends on the veteran's disability rating, which is expressed as a percentage of total disability. These ratings range from 0% to 100% and are assigned in 10% increments. A veteran who is unemployable because of service-connected disabilities will be paid at the 100% rate, even if his or her actual rating is less than 100%.

To qualify for disability compensation, a veteran must have

  1. a current disability,
  2. a disease, injury, or event that occurred or began while serving in the military, and
  3. a link, or "nexus," between the current disability and the in-service disease, injury, or event

For each service-connected disability, VA assigns a rating based on medical criteria in the VA Rating Schedule for Disabilities. The ratings range from 0% to 100% and are assigned in 10% increments. Generally, the more severe the disability, the higher the rating. If you have service-connected migraine headaches, for example, your rating depends on the severity and frequency of the headaches.

If you can't work because of your service-connected disabilities, you may be eligible for total disability for individual unemployability (TDIU or IU).

Learn more about TDIU here.