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Title 38 U.S.C. 1151 Claims

Title 38 U.S.C. Section 1151 allows VA to pay compensation for death or disability "as if service-connected." Don't be confused with this subtle difference. The disability is not considered service-connected. Under Section 1151, benefits may be paid for:

  • Injuries incurred or aggravated while receiving VA-sponsored medical treatment.
  • Injuries incurred or aggravated while pursuing a course of vocational rehabilitation under 38 U.S.C. Chapter 31 or participating in compensated work therapy under 38 U.S.C. 1718.

If eligibility is established under Section 1151, the disability is considered service-connected for payment purposes ONLY.

Eligibility Requirements

  • You must be a Veteran
  • You must have a disabling condition that is the result of or has been aggravated due to VA sponsored medical treatment or training

Evidence Requirements

As a result of VA hospitalization, medical or surgical treatment, examination, or training, the evidence must show you have:

  • An additional disability or disabilities, OR
  • An aggravation of an existing injury or disease, AND

The disability was:

  • The direct result of VA fault such as carelessness, negligence, lack of proper skill, or error in judgment, OR
  • Not a reasonably expected result or complication of the VA care or treatment OR
  • The direct result of participation in a VA Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment or compensated work therapy program.


A Veteran was pursuing training under VA's Chapter 31 Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment program. He was receiving on-the-job training as a car mechanic. During training, a jack slipped from a car and crushed his left foot. Disability compensation may be paid for his foot injury because the injury occurred while the Veteran was pursuing training under a VA Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment program.

How to Apply

For more information on how to apply and for tips on making sure your claim is ready to be processed by VA, visit our How to Apply page.