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September 5, 2020

VA Disability Rates 2021 Explained – The Definitive Guide (with 1.3% COLA Increase)

Last updated on December 21, 2022

I hope you enjoy reading this blog post.

If you want to learn how to implement these strategies to get the VA benefits you deserve, click here to speak with a VA claim expert for free.

VA disability rates 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.

The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) adjusts veteran’s monthly VA compensation rates based on the yearly change in the cost of living as determined by the Social Security Administration (final COLA adjustment is based on the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) report of September 2020 inflation data).

Now I’ve probably got you wondering, “Did veteran’s get a VA disability pay increase in 2021?”

Yes! Veterans got a 1.3% VA disability pay increase for CY 2021.

The 1.3% COLA increase was small 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:

2021 COLA Increase is 1.3% for Disabled Veterans

The new 2021 VA disability rates were effective December 1, 2020, and disabled veterans will see the new 1.3% COLA increase on their January 1, 2021 VA compensation payment.

Disabled 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 veterans VA disability compensation pay in 2021 will go up to $1,013 per month.

Did you know 80% of Veterans (8/10 of you reading this right now…) are being shortchanged nearly $1,000/month tax-free on your 2021 VA disability pay?

>> Click HERE to learn “HOW to Increase Your Service-Connected VA Disability Rating!” <<

The official 2021 VA disability pay chart table along with footnotes is shown below for reference.

These rates include the 1.3% VA disability compensation payment increase over the 2020 VA disability rates.

VA Disability Pay Chart 2021 (OFFICIAL)

10% – 20% VA Rating (No Dependents)    
VA PercentageVA Pay Rate   
10% VA Pay Rate in 2021$143.86   
20% VA Pay Rate in 2021$284.36   
30% – 60% VA Rating (Without Children)    
Dependent Status30%40%50%60%
Veteran Alone$440.48$634.51$903.26$1,144.13
Veteran with Spouse Only$492.87$704.36$990.57$1,248.90
Veteran with Spouse & One Parent$534.98$759.84$1,060.42$1,333.13
Veteran with Spouse and Two Parents$577.10$815.30$1,130.27$1,417.36
Veteran with One Parent$482.60$689.99$973.11$1,228.35
Veteran with Two Parents$524.71$745.45$1,042.96$1,312.59
Additional for A/A spouse $48.28$63.68$80.12$96.55
70% – 100% VA Rating (Without Children)    
Dependent Status70%80%90%100%
Veteran Alone$1,441.86$1,676.04$1,883.45$3,140.21
Veteran with Spouse Only$1,564.09$1,815.73$2,040.61$3,315.29
Veteran with Spouse and One Parent$1,661.67$1,927.69$2,166.95$3,455.80
Veteran with Spouse and Two Parents$1,759.25$2,039.65$2,293.29$3,596.31
Veteran with One Parent$1,539.44$1,787.99$2,009.80$3,280.72
Veteran with Two Parents$1,637.02$1,899.96$2,136.13$3,421.22
Additional for A/A spouse $111.96$128.40$144.84$160.57
30% – 60% VA Rating (With Children)    
Dependent Status30%40%50%60%
Veteran with Spouse and Child$530.88$755.72$1,054.25$1,325.94
Veteran with Child Only$475.41$680.74$960.78$1,213.98
Veteran with Spouse, One Parent and Child$572.99$811.20$1,124.10$1,410.17
Veteran with Spouse, Two Parents and Child$615.10$866.66$1,193.95$1,494.40
Veteran with One Parent and Child$517.52$736.21$1,030.62$1,298.20
Veteran with Two Parents and Child$559.64$791.67$1,100.47$1,382.43
Add for Each Additional Child Under Age 18$25.68$33.90$43.14$51.36
Each Additional Schoolchild Over Age 18 $84.23$111.96$139.70$168.45
Additional for A/A spouse $48.28$63.68$80.12$96.55
70% – 100% VA Rating (With Children)    
Dependent Status70%80%90%100%
Veteran with Spouse and Child$1,653.46$1,918.44$2,155.65$3,443.52
Veteran with Child Only$1,523.00$1,769.50$1,988.22$3,257.30
Veteran with Spouse, One Parent and Child$1,751.04$2,030.41$2,282.00$3,584.03
Veteran with Spouse, Two Parents and Child$1,848.62$2,142.37$2,408.33$3,724.53
Veteran with One Parent and Child$1,620.58$1,881.47$2,114.57$3,397.81
Veteran with Two Parents and Child$1,718.16$1,993.43$2,240.91$3,538.32
Add for Each Additional Child Under Age 18$60.60$68.82$78.07$87.00
Each Additional Schoolchild Over Age 18 $196.19$223.93$252.69$281.02
Additional for A/A spouse $111.96$128.40$144.84$160.57

2021 VA Disability Pay Chart
  1. VA disability rates 2021 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.
  2. 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 $111.96, additional for A/A spouse, to the rate for a 70% veteran to calculate the total amount.

WATCH: 2021 VA Disability Rates *REVEALED* + 5 Tips to INCREASE Your VA Disability Pay [NEW]

In the video tutorial below, VA Claims Insider reveals and explains the *NEW* 2021 VA disability rates (to include the COLA 2021 increase of 1.3%) along with 5 expert tips to increase your VA disability pay:

VA Disability Rates 2021 Explained!

*****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?

VA Disability Rates 2021 – Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

VA Disability Rates 2021
VA Disability Rates 2021

Is VA Disability Pay Tax Free?

Yes! 2021 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. 

Click >> HERE to read the VA’s factsheet regarding Character of Discharge and eligibility for VA benefits <<

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.

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 rating:

>> Click HERE for instant free access to learn 3 VA Disability SECRETS to getting a higher VA disability rating in less time. <<

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.

Click HERE to learn more about this hidden 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.

Click HERE to read about Special Monthly Compensation from A to Z.

How to Apply for VA Disability Compensation

The easiest way to apply for VA disability compensation is by creating a free eBenefits or 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.

Click HERE to search for and find the VA Regional Office in your state.

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.

Click HERE to find VA locations and VA resources now.

About the Author

Brian Reese
Brian Reese

Brian Reese

Brian Reese is one of the top VA disability benefits experts in the world and bestselling author of You Deserve It: The Definitive Guide to Getting the Veteran Benefits You’ve Earned (Second Edition).

Brian’s frustration with the VA claim 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, faster, even if they’ve already filed, been denied, gave up, or don’t know where to start. 

As the founder of VA Claims Insider and CEO of Military Disability Made Easy, he has helped serve more than 10 million military members and veterans since 2013 through free online educational resources.

He 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 Afghanistan in 2011 supporting 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).

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According to our data, 8/10 (80%) of veterans reading this message right now are underrated by the VA…

This means you do NOT currently have the VA disability rating and compensation YOU deserve, and you could be missing out on thousands of dollars of tax-free compensation and benefits each month.

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