Military disability pay rates for 2021 were released on October 13, 2020, with the implementation of the Social Security Administration’s announcement of a 1.3% Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA) for 2021.
On October 20, 2020, the President signed into law H.R. 6168, the Veterans’ Compensation Cost-of-Living Adjustment Act of 2020, which authorized a 1.3% COLA adjustment for Veterans receiving military disability pay, VA disability compensation, clothing allowance, and survivors receiving Dependency Indemnity Compensation (DIC) payments.
This bill became Public Law 116-178, and increases the amount paid to disabled military veterans and their survivors by 1.3% effective December 2020, and will be reflected in all January 2021 military disability pay.
The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) adjusts veteran’s monthly disability compensation amounts based on the yearly change in the cost of living as determined by the Social Security Administration (final COLA adjustment of 1.3% in 2021 was based on the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) report of September 2020 inflation data).
Now I’ve probably got you wondering, “Will military veteran’s get a military disability pay increase in 2021?”
Yes! Military veterans will get a 1.3% military disability pay rates increase for CY 2021.
The 1.3% COLA boost was lower than normal due to low inflation and the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the economy.
You might also be interested in the following high-value Blog posts:
- VA Disability Pay Dates 2021
- VA Special Monthly Compensation Pay Rates
- Free VA Disability Calculator
- 5 Simple Ways to Increase Your VA Disability Rating
2021 COLA Increase is 1.3% for Disabled Military Veterans
The new 2021 military disability pay rates will be effective December 1, 2020, and disabled military veterans will see the new 1.3% COLA increase on their January 1, 2021 VA compensation payment.
Disabled military veterans with a current VA disability rating of 10% of higher will receive a 1.3% increase in their VA disability pay rate for calendar year 2021.
For example, if you were previously getting $1,000 per month tax-free, a 1.3% VA pay increase is $13, so a veteran’s military disability pay in 2021 will go up to $1,013 per month.
Did you know 80% of disability military veterans (8/10 of you reading this right now…) are being shorted nearly $1,000/month tax-free on your 2021 military disability pay rates?
But, I’ve got some good news, just click the link below to watch my FREE training to learn how to increase your VA disability rating (if deserved by law).
The official 2021 military disability pay chart table along with footnotes is shown below for reference.
These rates include the 1.3% increase versus the 2020 military disability pay rates.
Military Disability Pay Chart 2021 (OFFICIAL)
|10% – 20% VA Rating (No Dependents)|
|Percentage||VA Pay Rate|
|10% VA Pay Rate||$144.14|
|20% VA Pay Rate||$284.93|
|30% – 60% VA Rating (Without Children)|
|Veteran with Spouse Only||$493.02||$705.67||$992.16||$1,250.73|
|Veteran with Spouse & One Parent||$534.55||$761.38||$1,062.06||$1,334.81|
|Veteran with Spouse and Two Parents||$576.08||$817.10||$1,131.96||$1,418.89|
|Veteran with One Parent||$482.89||$691.48||$974.94||$1,230.47|
|Veteran with Two Parents||$524.42||$747.20||$1,044.84||$1,314.55|
|Additional for A/A spouse||$48.62||$63.82||$81.04||$97.25|
|70% – 100% VA Rating (Without Children)|
|Veteran with Spouse Only||$1,567.28||$1,819.15||$2,044.19||$3,321.85|
|Veteran with Spouse and One Parent||$1,665.54||$1,931.59||$2,170.82||$3,462.64|
|Veteran with Spouse and Two Parents||$1,763.81||$2,044.03||$2,297.44||$3,603.42|
|Veteran with One Parent||$1,542.97||$1,791.79||$2,013.80||$3,287.21|
|Veteran with Two Parents||$1,641.23||$1,904.24||$2,140.43||$3,427.99|
|Additional for A/A spouse||$112.44||$128.65||$144.86||$160.88|
|30% – 60% VA Rating (With Children)|
|Veteran with Spouse and Child||$532.52||$757.33||$1,056.99||$1,328.73|
|Veteran with Child Only||$475.80||$682.37||$962.79||$1,216.29|
|Veteran with Spouse, One Parent and Child||$574.06||$813.04||$1,126.89||$1,412.81|
|Veteran with Spouse, Two Parents and Child||$615.59||$868.76||$1,196.79||$1,496.89|
|Veteran with One Parent and Child||$517.33||$738.08||$1,032.68||$1,300.37|
|Veteran with Two Parents and Child||$558.86||$793.80||$1,102.58||$1,384.45|
|Add for Each Additional Child Under Age 18||$25.33||$34.44||$43.56||$51.66|
|Each Additional Schoolchild Over Age 18||$84.08||$112.44||$139.79||$168.16|
|Additional for A/A spouse||$48.62||$63.82||$81.04||$97.25|
|70% – 100% VA Rating (With Children)|
|Veteran with Spouse and Child||$1,657.44||$1,922.47||$2,160.69||$3,450.32|
|Veteran with Child Only||$1,526.76||$1,772.55||$1,992.53||$3,263.73|
|Veteran with Spouse, One Parent and Child||$1,755.70||$2,034.91||$2,287.31||$3,591.11|
|Veteran with Spouse, Two Parents and Child||$1,853.96||$2,147.36||$2,413.94||$3,731.89|
|Veteran with One Parent and Child||$1,625.02||$1,884.99||$2,119.16||$3,404.52|
|Veteran with Two Parents and Child||$1,723.29||$1,997.43||$2,245.78||$3,545.31|
|Add for Each Additional Child Under Age 18||$60.78||$68.88||$78.00||$87.17|
|Each Additional Schoolchild Over Age 18||$196.52||$224.89||$253.25||$281.57|
|Additional for A/A spouse||$112.44||$128.65||$144.86||$160.88|
- 2021 military disability rates for each school child are shown separately. They are not included with any other compensation rates. All other entries on this chart reflecting a rate for children show the rate payable for children under 18 or helpless. To find the amount payable to a 70% disabled veteran with a spouse and four children, one of whom is over 18 and attending school, take the 70% rate for a veteran with a spouse and 3 children and add the rate for one school child.
- Where the veteran has a spouse, who is determined to require Aid and Attendance (A/A), add the figure shown as “additional for A/A spouse” to the amount shown for the proper dependency code. For example, veteran has A/A spouse and 2 minor children and is 70% disabled. Add $112.44, additional for A/A spouse, to the rate for a 70% veteran to calculate the total amount.
WATCH: 2021 Military Disability Pay Revealed and Explained!
In the video tutorial below, VA Claims Insider reveals and explains the *NEW* 2021 military disability and VA pay rates (to include the COLA 2021 increase of 1.3%) along with 5 expert tips to increase your VA rating.
*****Timestamps & Resources Mentioned*****
⏩ 07:20 The difference between the VBA and VHA
⏩ 13:06 Are you eligible for VA benefits under the law?
⏩ 20:30 2021 VA disability compensation rates (Explained)
⏩ 21:07 30%-60% VA rating scale without Children
⏩ 21:40 70%-100% VA compensation rating without Children
⏩ 22:45 30%-60% VA rating scale with Children
⏩ 23:39 70%-100% VA pay rates table with Children
⏩ 25:15 What are the VA disability payment dates for 2021?
Military Disability Pay 2021 – Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Is Military Disability Pay Tax Free?
Yes! 2021 military disability pay, also known as “VA disability pay” is tax free at both the state and federal level.
VA disability compensation is a tax-free monetary benefit paid to Veterans with disabilities that are the result of a disease or injury that was caused or made worse during active duty military service.
VA disability benefits require that your disability conditon be “service connected.”
This is legally referred to as the “Nexus,” which simply means a logical link or connection.
Did you know one of the best ways to get a VA disability service connected is to get a doctor to write an evidence-based VA Nexus Letter?
You must also have separated or been discharged from service under other than dishonorable conditions (e.g., honorable discharge, under other than honorable discharge, general discharge).
However, veterans who have received undesirable, bad conduct, and other types of dishonorable discharges may qualify for VA benefits depending on a determination made by VA.
VA compensation may also be paid for post-service disabilities that are considered related or secondary to disabilities occurring in service and for disabilities presumed to be related to circumstances of military service, even though they may arise after service.
Generally, the degrees of disability specified are also designed to compensate for considerable loss of working time from exacerbations or illnesses.
At VA Claims Insider, we refer to this as “severity of symptoms,” meaning Veterans must explain HOW their disabilities are negatively impacting their work, life, and/or social functioning.
I’m a retired military member, how do I get BOTH military retirement pay AND VA disability compensation pay?
DFAS runs the Concurrent Retirement and Disability Pay (CRDP) program, which allows military retirees to receive BOTH military retired pay AND VA disability compensation pay at the same time.
This was prohibited until the CRDP program began on January 1, 2004.
The good news is you do NOT need to apply for CRDP!
If eligible, you will be enrolled automatically.
How do I qualify for CRDP?
To qualify for CRDP, you must meet one of the following criteria:
- You are a regular military retiree with a VA disability rating of 50 percent or higher.
- You are a reserve retiree with 20 qualifying years of service, who has a VA disability rating of 50 percent or greater and who has reached retirement age. (In most cases the retirement age for reservists is 60, but certain reserve retirees may be eligible before they turn 60. If you are a member of the Ready Reserve, your retirement age can be reduced below age 60 by three months for each 90 days of active service you have performed during a fiscal year.)
- You are retired under Temporary Early Retirement Act (TERA) and have a VA disability rating of 50 percent or higher.
- You are a disability retiree who earned entitlement to retired pay under any provision of law other than solely by disability, and you have a VA disability rating of 50 percent or greater. You might become eligible for CRDP at the time you would have become eligible for retired pay.
Do I qualify for CRDP if I am receiving Individual Unemployability (IU) from the VA?
You are eligible for full concurrent receipt of both your VA disability compensation and your retired pay, if you are a military retiree who meets all of the above eligibility requirements in addition to BOTH of the following:
- You are rated by the VA as unemployable, and are receiving VA Individual Unemployability (IU) pay
- You are in receipt of VA disability compensation as a result of IU
How Do I Increase My VA Rating?
So many veterans are stuck, frustrated, and underrated by the VA.
And we’re on a Mission to change it so you and your family get the veteran benefits you deserve by law.
You might be interested in my FREE video to learn about how to increase your service connected VA disability rating:
What is Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (DIC)?
Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (aka, DIC) is a tax-free monetary benefit generally payable to a surviving spouse, child, or parent of service members who died while on active duty, active duty for training, or inactive duty training or survivors of Veterans who died from their service-connected disabilities.
DIC for parents is an income-based benefit.
What is VA Special Monthly Compensation?
VA Special Monthly Compensation (SMC) is an additional tax-free benefit that can be paid to Veterans, their spouses, surviving spouses and parents.
For Veterans, Special Monthly Compensation is a higher rate of compensation paid due to special circumstances such as the need of aid and attendance by another person or a specific disability, such as loss of use of one arm or leg.
For spouses and surviving spouses, this benefit is commonly referred to as aid and attendance and is paid based on the need of aid and attendance by another person.
How to Apply for VA Disability Compensation
The easiest way to apply for VA disability compensation is by creating a free eBenefits or VA.gov account and applying online.
When applying for VA disability benefits in 2021, you must have access to the following information:
- Discharge or separation papers (DD 214 or equivalent)
- Medical evidence (service treatment records, VA medical records, and/or private medical records)
- Dependency records (marriage and children’s birth certificates)
Alternatively, you may print and mail-in VA Form 21-526EZ, Application for Disability Compensation and Related Compensation Benefits or call VA at 1-800-827-1000 to have the form mailed to you.
Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (DIC) VA Form 21P-534EZ, Application for DIC, Death Pension, and/or Accrued Benefits and mail it to your nearest VA regional office in your state.
If you do receive a VA disability rating of 10% or higher, the new VA disability rates 2021 will be automatically adjusted in your January 2021 VA disability pay.
How to Apply for VA Special Monthly Compensation
The VA will automatically award Special Monthly Compensation if your disability qualifies.
To apply for SMC if you are housebound or required the aid and attendance of someone to perform daily living functions complete VA Form 21-2680 and mail it to your nearest VA Regional Office in your state.
How to Find the VA Regional Office in Your State
If you’ve ever tried to search for a “VA Regional Office Near Me” you’re in the right place Veterans!
Each state has a VA Regional Office in a specific city.
How to Find VA Locations Near Me
Veterans can now search for VA locations near you with the VA’s new facility locator tool.
You can search for your nearest VA medical center as well as other health facilities, benefit offices, cemeteries, community care providers and Vet Centers.
You can also filter your results by service type to find locations that offer the specific service you’re looking for.
About the Author
Learn more About VA Claims Insider HERE.
Brian’s frustration with the 8-step VA disability claims process led him to create “VA Claims Insider,” which provides disabled veterans with tips, strategies, and lessons learned to win their VA disability compensation claim in less time.
He is also the CEO of Military Disability Made Easy, which is the world’s largest free searchable database for all things related to DoD disability and VA disability, and has served more than 6,000,000 military members and veterans since its founding in 2013.
Veterans can download one of his #1 most downloaded FREE eBooks right here right now: “The Secret Guide to 833 Ratable VA Disabilities” by clicking HERE now.
Brian is a former active duty Air Force officer with extensive experience leading hundreds of individuals and multi-functional teams in challenging international environments, including a combat tour to southern Afghanistan in 2011 in support of Operation ENDURING FREEDOM.
Brian is a Distinguished Graduate of Management from the United States Air Force Academy, Colorado Springs, CO and he holds an MBA from Oklahoma State University’s Spears School of Business, Stillwater, OK, where he was a National Honor Scholar (Top 1% of Graduate School class).