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What is Service Connection?
Compensation benefits are paid for disabilities that are service-connected, which means the injury or disease resulted in a disability linked to military service.
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
Other Benefits: VA provides additional housing and insurance benefits to Veterans with disabilities, including Adapted Housing grants, Service-Disable Veterans' Insurance, and Veterans' Mortgage Life Insurance.
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:
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.
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. Learn More
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
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:
File an Electronic FDC Today
Four Steps to File a Fully Developed Claim Online
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.