The United States military carries with it a storied history, and the debt the nation owes its veterans has no price tag. However, the Department of Veterans Affairs does grant specific monthly payments to its wounded warriors based on a sliding scale of disability.
10 Percent VA Disability Benefits
As of 2020, veterans who are rated as 10 percent disabled are eligible to receive $142.29 a month, which works out to $1707.48 per year. You can find more specifics on other disability rates and payments on the va.gov.
There are other benefits beyond the small monthly check.
With a 10 percent disability, veterans are also eligible for a 10 point preference in hiring for any federal job. Even more important, any medical care, including prescription drugs, for the treatment of that service connected injury, is free of charge to the veteran.
There are also travel allowance options for getting to and from the VA in relation to the service injury, burial and plot financial options from the VA, and waivers for VA funding fees in home loans.
You can use this veterans disability calculator to get an estimate of how much you might receive in VA disability benefits.
How do I Raise My VA Disability Percentage?
The simplest way to receive an increased disability percentage is to go to a VA doctor and get an updated diagnosis that is connected to your service.
Sometimes, it may take more than one doctor or specialist to reach the conclusion that your side effects or condition are linked to your service.
It was very common in the 1970s and 1980s for Vietnam veterans to grow discouraged due to a lack of help. This was in part due to the fact that VA hospitals were overwhelmed with aging veterans of the First World War, and did not have the resources to properly diagnose or care for returning Vietnam veterans.
There remain thousands and thousands of veterans from the wars in Korea, Vietnam, Iraq, and Afghanistan who have not been recognized for their injuries and not been properly compensated. The good news is that when receiving an updated diagnosis, veterans may, in some cases, be eligible to receive the back pay for what they should have gotten from the time of their discharge or retirement.
Breakthroughs in Our Understanding of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
It was called soldier’s heart in the Civil War, shell shock in the First World War, and combat fatigue in the Second World War. Starting in the early years following the Vietnam War, and as we are still learning today, post-traumatic stress is a serious and debilitating reality that affects almost everyone who has been exposed to combat, violence, and death.
By far and away the most common reason for a veteran in the VA system today to receive an upgraded rating is for PTSD. Many Vietnam War veterans with no visible injuries who went for four decades or more with no VA benefits are only now receiving well deserved 100% disability ratings for the struggles they have had to deal with as a result of their prolonged exposure to heavy combat.
The effects of PTSD are exhaustive and difficult for veterans and their families, and include:
- Extreme reactions to loud and sudden noises;
- Night sweats;
- Drug addiction;
- Bursts of violence;
- Emotional distance.
This is not a complete list. We are still learning more about the impacts of PTSD every year, and the research is far from over. We may never understand fully the consequences of warfare on the human brain or the soul, but we do know that it is devastating and often undiagnosed or underdiagnosed.
If you or your loved one who served in the military does not have a VA disability and is experiencing any of these symptoms, get over to your nearest VA hospital and get a screening from a doctor. If you don’t know where the closest VA hospital is, use this finder.