If you are filing a claim for veterans benefits, it’s important to understand the difference between compensation and pension as determined by the VA. Once you know which category you fall into, you can visit the Veterans Affairs website to get a better estimate of how much you can expect if your claim is approved. They have two main rate tables that are used to pay benefits to veterans, one for compensation and one for pension. Under certain conditions, the widows and children of disabled veterans are also eligible for compensation and pensions.
Veterans Benefits Compensation
The VA considers money paid to a veteran due to an injury, disease, or condition that is “service connected” to be compensation. For a condition to be considered “service connected,” it must be sustained or aggravated as a result of service to the military.
Compensation is not needs based and is not restricted to any particular period of service. Currently, retired military personnel are subjected to offsets to these payments, but this is slowly being eliminated.
For veteran disability claims, veterans’ compensation can be between 10% and 100%, depending upon the percentage of disability. Even if you have less than a 100% disability, you may be given a 100% rating if you are unable to work due to the service-connected disability. Veterans who are considered extremely disabled may even qualify for more than 100%.
Veterans Benefits Pension
A pension is needs-based welfare. Pensions are paid when any total disability – whether it is service-connected or not – leads to the veteran requiring financial assistance. These disability claims payments are substantially less than compensation payments and are only available to certain veterans, such as individuals who served during a period of war. Instead of a percentage amount, they are paid in a flat amount, and veterans benefits pension is offset by other income dollar-for-dollar.