Learn why making your scheduled VA exams is essential to accurately processing your disability compensation claim.
What is Individual Unemployability?
Disability Compensation is a tax free monetary benefit paid to Veterans with disabilities that are the result of a disease or injury incurred or aggravated during active military service. 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. Learn More
Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (DIC) is a tax free monetary benefit generally payable to a surviving spouse, child, or parent of Servicemembers 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. Learn More
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 hand 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. Learn about special monthly compensation benefit rates
Compensation benefits require that your disability be service-connected. You must also have separated or been discharged from service under other than dishonorable conditions.
Disability Compensation Your disability must be the result of an injury or disease that was incurred or aggravated while on active duty or active duty for training; or from injury, heart attack, or stroke that occurred during inactive duty training. A disability can apply to physical conditions, such as Lou Gehrig's Disease, as well as mental health conditions, such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Learn More
Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (DIC) Surviving spouses of a Servicemember who died on active duty, active duty for training, or inactive duty for training may be eligible for DIC. Children may be eligible for DIC if not included in the surviving spouse's DIC benefit. Learn More
Special Monthly Compensation Disability compensation recipients may be eligible for this additional tax-free benefit due to the special circumstances of your disability, if you
are housebound, or need help performing daily living functions. Learn about special monthly compensation benefit rates
The best way to apply for disability compensation is by obtaining an eBenefits account and applying online. When applying for compensation benefits, you must have access to the following information:
- Discharge or separation papers (DD214 or equivalent)
- Medical evidence (doctor and hospital reports)
- 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.
Service members may be able to receive disability compensation benefits sooner if you apply prior to your discharge from service through the Benefits Delivery at Discharge (BDD) or Quick Start pre-discharge programs.
Special Monthly Compensation 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. Learn about special monthly compensation benefit rates
Fully Developed Claims
Filing a Fully Developed Claim (FDC) allows Veterans, Servicemembers and survivors the option to participate more fully in the claims process. When Veterans, Servicemembers and survivors provide all required evidence at the same time they submit a claim AND certify that they have no more evidence, VA can issue a decision faster.
Veterans may file the following types of FDC claims electronically:
- An injury, disability, or condition you believe occurred or was aggravated by your service
- A condition caused or aggravated by an existing service-related condition
File an Electronic FDC Today
- Go to eBenefits.va.gov to find a Veterans Service Officer who can provide free, expert assistance.
- Gather supporting documents, including your DD-214, service and private medical records, and buddy statements.
- Initiate your claim at eBenefits.va.gov or call 1-800-827-1000 for assistance.
Four Steps to File a Fully Developed Claim Online
- Step 1: Log on to eBenefits.va.gov
- Step 2: Identify federal records
- Step 3: Gather records (as applicable)
- Step 4: Upload the documents
Fully Developed Claims for Servicemembers
Servicemembers use the Benefits Delivery at Discharge (BDD) program at eBenefits.va.gov to submit a Fully Developed Claim before discharge. The BDD program is available nationwide to all Servicemembers on full-time active duty, including members of the National Guard, Reserve, and Coast Guard.