The VA compensation program provides you monthly benefits if you are disabled because of an injury or disease incurred in or aggravated during your military service and for certain conditions which may develop after your release from active duty. Benefits are authorized based upon the severity of your claimed disability. The rating schedule provides for ratings from 0% disability to 100% disability in increments of ten percent. If your service-connected disabilities are evaluated as 30 percent or more disabling, you are entitled to additional allowances for your dependents
You may be entitled to VA disability compensation for any medical condition or injury that was incurred in or aggravated by your military service if you were released from active military duty with an other than dishonorable discharge. There is no time limit to apply for VA disability compensation. However, you are encouraged to apply within one year of your release from active duty as entitlement is established retroactively to the date of separation if your claim is filed within this period. The effective date of eligibility for benefits will be based upon the date of your claim if you apply beyond the one-year period.
There are essentially five ways to establish service connection:
1. A condition was incurred or aggravated coincident with service (38 CFR 3.303); or
2. A condition that preexisted service was aggravated or became worse during service (38 CFR 3.306(a); or
3. A condition not manifested (not shown) during service should be presumptively service-connected.
Specific lists of diseases exist for: chronic diseases (38 CFR 3.309(a)); tropical diseases (38 CFR 3.110(b)); diseases specific as to former prisoners of war (38 CFR 3.309(c)); diseases specific to radiation-exposed veterans (38 CFR 3.309(d)); and diseases associated with exposure to certain herbicide agents (38 CFR 3.309(e)); or
4. A condition (or the resultant death) is the consequence of VA health care (38 CFR 3.358); or
5. A disability is a secondary result of another service-connected condition (38 CFR 3.310(a)).
The following supporting evidence and/or documents should be submitted with your application.
Service Medical Records If you have your original service medical records we encouraged you to submit them with your application to expedite processing. Otherwise, VA will contact the service department to obtain them. We suggest that you keep a copy of your service medical records.
Other Medical Records – Medical records to substantiate the existence and severity of your current disabilities.
Dependency Documents – Copies of birth and marriage certificates and copies of divorce/death records showing termination of all of prior marriages pertaining to yourself or your spouse.
Military Discharge/DD Form 214 – (Copy 4 – Member Copy) if you have a copy of your DD Form 214, you are encouraged to provide a certified copy with your claim to expedite processing. Otherwise, VA will attempt to obtain verification from the service department. Copies of missing DD Forms 214 may be obtained from the National Personnel Records Center in St. Louis, MO through the NARA web site.