This month’s article is designed to help you understand what pension benefits are now available to service connected veterans, disabled wartime veterans who are unemployable or over 65 years old, and widows of wartime veterans. Our office has been able to assist numerous veterans and widows apply for benefits so far this year. It concerns me that so many veterans are not aware or receiving benefits that they have earned. If you are a veteran and have not visited our office and been briefed on your entitlements I encourage you stop in at your convenience. Our office will advise each veteran or dependent of eligibility to benefits. We can assist you in making an application to the VA for any entitlements.
Service-Connected Disability Compensation: The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Compensation is a program that pays monthly benefits to veterans who are disabled as the result of injury or disease incurred in or aggravated during military service, in the line of duty. Monetary benefits are authorized based upon the severity of the disability.
Veterans who are currently receiving service-connected disability compensation are entitled to make application for an increase if their current disability has worsened. Also in many cases secondary disabilities are recognized as a direct result of a service connected disability. It is possible that disability ratings can be reduced if it is found by medical evidence that your disability has gotten better. Statutory protections exist if the disability has improved. In order to apply for an increase, it is necessary that the veteran show medical proof of a worsened condition.
Those veterans who have service-connected disabilities evaluated at 30% or more are entitled to additional VA benefits and allowances for dependents. Additional amounts are also payable for a spouse who is in need of the aid and attendance of another person.
NOTE: The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) announced effective September 23, 2008 that Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), commonly known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease as a service-connected condition. Also as of November 1, 2010 the following three conditions have been added to the list of service-connected disabilities based on their presumed exposure to Agent Orange: B Cell (hairy cell) Leukemia, Parkinson Disease, and Ischemic Heart Disease.