Veterans trying to make their way through the process of filing a disability claim often come away with more questions than answers about ratings and compensation.
Understanding the complicated paperwork and the VA’s unique way of doing math can make it confusing to determine how much VA disability compensation you might receive.
If you’ve ever scratched your head trying to figure out just how much is VA disability and where can you go for help with your claim, then you’ve come to the right place!
At VA Claims Insider we’re veterans helping veterans, and we know how challenging the VA disability claims process can be. We also know how important it is to understand that process so you can get the rating and compensation you deserve by law.
Let’s take a look at some common questions related to “how much is VA disability?”—including how to calculate your compensation, how disability ratings affect compensation, and how to get help with your claim.
- What Are 2021 VA Disability Rates?
- How Much is VA Disability for YOU?
- 2022 VA Disability Pay Chart Revealed (MASSIVE 6.1% 2022 COLA Increase!)
- How Much Is VA Disability Compensation for Dependents?
- Is There Additional Compensation for Disabilities Involving Severe Impairment?
- How Much is VA Disability After Taxes?
- How Much is the Average VA Disability Check?
- Want to explore fast-tracking an increased VA rating?
- About the Author
You DESERVE a HIGHER VA rating.
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What Are 2021 VA Disability Rates?
Based upon the September 2020 report on inflation from the Bureau of Labor and Statistics, the Social Security Administration announced that there would be a cost of living adjustment (COLA)to VA disability compensation for 2021.
VA disability rates 2021 were released on October 13, 2020. The new 2021 VA disability rates were effective December 1, 2020, and disabled veterans saw the new increase starting with January 1, 2021 VA compensation payments.
The COLA increase of 1.3% was small this time around, due to the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and the low inflation rate.
For example, if you were previously receiving $1,000 per month tax-free, a 1.3% pay increase is $13, so your compensation pay in 2021 would go up to $1,013 per month.
The 2021 compensation rates are shown in the following charts:
|Total Combined Rating (10-50%)||10%||20%||30%||40%||50%|
|You & 1 Child||$144.14||$284.93||$476.35||$681.77||$963.04|
|You & 1 Parent||$144.14||$284.93||$483.35||$691.77||$975.04|
|You & Spouse||$144.14||$284.93||$493.35||$705.77||$992.04|
|You, 1 Parent, & 1 Child||$144.14||$284.93||$518.35||$737.77||$1,033.04|
|You & 2 Parents||$144.14||$284.93||$525.35||$747.77||$1,045.04|
|You, Spouse, & 1 Child||$144.14||$284.93||$532.35||$756.77||$1,056.04|
|You, Spouse, & 1 Parent||$144.14||$284.93||$535.35||$761.77||$1,062.04|
|You, 2 Parents, & 1 Child||$144.14||$284.93||$560.35||$793.77||$1,103.04|
|You, Spouse, 1 Parent, & 1 Child||$144.14||$284.93||$574.35||$812.77||$1,126.04|
|You, Spouse, & 2 Parents||$144.14||$284.93||$577.35||$817.77||$1,132.04|
|You, Spouse, 2 Parents, & 1 Child||$144.14||$284.93||$616.35||$868.77||$1,196.04|
|Additional Children under 18||–||–||$26.00||$34.00||$43.00|
|Aid and Attendance Spouse||–||–||$48.00||$64.00||$81.00|
|Total Combined Rating (60-100%)||60%||70%||80%||90%||100%|
|You & 1 Child||$1,216.39||$1,526.71||$1,772.35||$1,992.18||$3,263.74|
|You & 1 Parent||$1,230.39||$1,542.71||$1,791.35||$2,013.18||$3,287.21|
|You & Spouse||$1,251.39||$1,566.71||$1,819.35||$2,044.18||$3,321.85|
|You, 1 Parent, & 1 Child||$1,300.39||$1,624.71||$1,884.35||$2,118.18||$3,404.53|
|You & 2 Parents||$1,314.39||$1,640.71||$1,903.35||$2,139.18||$3,428.00|
|You, Spouse, & 1 Child||$1,328.39||$1,656.71||$1,922.35||$2,160.18||$3,450.32|
|You, Spouse, & 1 Parent||$1,335.39||$1,664.71||$1,931.35||$2,170.18||$3,462.64|
|You, 2 Parents, & 1 Child||$1,384.39||$1,722.71||$1,996.35||$2,244.18||$3,545.32|
|You, Spouse, 1 Parent, & 1 Child||$1,412.39||$1,754.71||$2,034.35||$2,286.18||$3,591.11|
|You, Spouse, & 2 Parents||$1,419.39||$1,762.71||$2,043.45||$2,296.18||$3,603.43|
|You, Spouse, 2 Parents, & 1 Child||$1,496.39||$1,852.71||$2,146.35||$2,412.18||$3,731.90|
|Additional Children under 18||$52.00||$61.00||$69.00||$78.00||$87.17|
|Aid and Attendance Spouse||$96.00||$113.00||$129.00||$145.00||$160.89|
How Much is VA Disability for YOU?
It depends on your disability rating.
How much veterans receive in disability compensation depends on how the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) rates your service-connected disability or condition. If you have more than one service-connected condition, the amount of monthly compensation is based on your combined disability rating.
To be eligible for VA disability compensation, you must submit a claim, establish a service connection for at least one condition related to your military service (whether on active duty, active duty training, or inactive duty training), and have VA approve your claim and assign a disability rating for that condition.
VA assigns a disability rating based on the frequency, duration, and severity of symptoms. VA makes a determination about the severity of your disability based on the evidence you submit as part of your claim, and/or from military records. VA rates disability from 0% to 100%, in 10% increments.
If you have multiple disability ratings, VA uses them to calculate your combined VA disability rating. This involves more than adding up your individual ratings, so your combined rating may be different from the sum of your individual ratings.
0% Service Connection
While a veteran can be service-connected with a disability rating of 0%, you don’t receive any monetary compensation at 0%. If you fall into this category, don’t be discouraged. Having a service-connected condition means the VA recognizes you have an issue linked directly to your military service.
If the condition should worsen (as many do), your rating for that condition can increase later on—and having it service-connected to begin with will make it easier to get your rating for that condition later. (This is why it’s very important to file a claim even if you feel your condition isn’t serious—yet. As you age, you’ll be glad your condition was on record!)
To receive monetary compensation from the VA, a veteran must have a disability rating of at least 10%. How much is VA disability paying for 10%? That comes to $144.14 per month given the 1.3% increase for the cost of living adjustment for 2021. As you can see from the chart above, compensation increases with higher ratings.
It’s totally possible to increase your rating! (We see about 91% of the veterans we work with receiving at least a 30% increase.) Check out our video for 5 Ways To Increase Your Disability Rating in 2021 if you’d like some essential tips.
100% Service Connected Compensation
One of the questions we hear often at VA Claims Insider is how much does a 100% disabled veteran earn in compensation? A veteran who is 100% service connected without any dependents makes $3146.42 per month in 2021.
90% and Lower Service Connected Compensation
The largest increase in disability pay is when a veteran’s rating goes from 90% to 100%. How much is VA disability for a 90% rating? The monthly compensation for veterans rated at 90% with no dependents is $1887.18. The increases in monthly compensation between 10% to 90% are less dramatic, ranging from $140 to a little more than $200 for each 10% increment.
2022 VA Disability Pay Chart Revealed (MASSIVE 6.1% 2022 COLA Increase!)
How Much Is VA Disability Compensation for Dependents?
VA provides additional monthly compensation for veterans with qualifying dependents who have a combined disability rating of 30 percent or higher. Qualifying dependents include the following:
- Minor children under the age of 18
- Children between the ages of 18 and 23 who are still in school
- Dependent parents
The amount of additional compensation varies based on the type of dependent being claimed and the number of dependents claimed.
The specific amount a veteran receives for different dependent combinations at each disability rating is shown on the chart earlier in this article.
Is There Additional Compensation for Disabilities Involving Severe Impairment?
Veterans who have service-connected conditions that result in severe impairment, including the loss of use of extremities, blindness, loss of organ function, or the regular need for aid and attendance, may be eligible for additional monthly compensation. This type of compensation is known as Special Monthly Compensation.
VA special monthly compensation (SMC) is a higher rate of compensation paid to veterans as well as their spouses, surviving spouses, and parents with certain needs or disabilities. Special monthly compensation is paid in addition to (not instead of) regular VA disability compensation. The rates for SMC in 2021 can be found at the VA’s SMC page.
How Much is VA Disability After Taxes?
Is VA disability pay tax-free? Yes! VA disability pay is exempt from taxation at both the state and federal level.
How Much is the Average VA Disability Check?
How much is VA disability paying out on average? To understand that figure, it’s helpful to know a few statistics about the veteran population.
As of fiscal year 2018, there were 19,602,316 veterans eligible to receive a disability rating through the VA. Of those more than 19 million eligible veterans, only 4,743,108 are receiving disability compensation benefits and have a combined disability rating of at least 0%.
That means that 75.8% of eligible veterans are not receiving disability benefits through the VA for one reason or another.
There are many possible reasons for this. Some veterans don’t know they’re eligible; some filed for a rating and were denied; some became frustrated with the notoriously difficult VA and gave up. Some veterans don’t believe they’re deserving of benefits (never true!)
This confirms our own experience at VA Claims Insider that 80% of veterans receiving disability compensation are underrated and deserve a higher rating.
So how much is VA disability paying out on average? The average combined VA disability rating for all veterans, across all demographics, is currently 10%, which means the average disability check comes to only $144.14.
As you’ve seen, compensation increases considerably with increased ratings, and the increase from 90% to 100% is exceptional. This is why it’s so important to do everything you can to get the maximum rating you’re due and pursue all your options.
Want to explore fast-tracking an increased VA rating?
Most veterans are underrated for their disabilities and therefore not getting the compensation they deserve. At VA Claims Insider, we’re on a mission to change that. We help veterans understand and take control of the claims process so they can get the rating and compensation they’re owed by law.
Our process takes the guesswork out of filing a VA disability claim and supports you every step of the way in building a fully-developed claim (FDC) – so you can increase your rating in less time! If you’ve filed your VA disability claim and have been denied or have received a low rating – or you’re not sure how to get started – reach out to us! You served … you deserve.
Take advantage of a FREE VA Claim Strategy Session with an experienced veteran coach. Learn what you’ve been missing—so you can FINALLY get the disability rating and compensation you deserve! We’ve supported more than 15,000 veterans to win their claims and increase their ratings. NOW IT’S YOUR TURN.
About the Author
Aaron is a Navy Veteran with a 100% P&T disability rating. He enlisted at age 23 and served for three years before being medically discharged in 2009. He found his calling years ago as a National Service Officer with the Vietnam Veterans of America Organization and has assisted thousands of veterans in filing and appealing claims through the Department of Veterans Affairs. He is honored to continue assisting veterans in obtaining the benefits they deserve for their service to our country.
You can connect with Aaron at [email protected].