Frequently Asked Questions
VA disability compensation (pay) offers a monthly tax-free payment to Veterans who got sick or injured while serving in the military and to Veterans whose service made an existing condition worse. You may qualify for VA disability benefits for physical conditions (like a chronic illness or injury) and mental health conditions (like PTSD) that developed before, during, or after service.
The VA assigns you a disability rating based on the severity of your disability. They express this rating as a percentage, representing how much your disability decreases your overall health and ability to function. They then use your disability rating to determine your disability compensation rate, so they can calculate how much money you’ll receive from the VA each month. They also use your disability rating to help determine your eligibility for other benefits, like VA health care.
The VA assigns you a disability rating based on the severity of your service-connected condition. They use your disability rating to determine how much disability compensation you’ll receive each month, as well as your eligibility for other VA benefits.
If you have multiple disability ratings, the VA uses them to calculate your combined VA disability rating. Calculating your combined disability rating involves more than adding up your individual ratings. That’s why your combined rating may be different from the sum of your individual ratings.
The VA uses a method called the “whole person theory” to determine what they call your combined disability rating. The VA does this to make sure that your total VA disability rating doesn’t add up to more than 100%. That’s because a person can’t be more than 100% able-bodied.
If you’re the surviving spouse, child, or parent of a service member who died in the line of duty, or the survivor of a Veteran who died from a service-related injury or illness, you may be able to get a tax-free monetary benefit called VA Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (VA DIC).
How do I know if my spouse will eligible for DIC?
You may be eligible for VA benefits or compensation for surviving spouses if you meet the requirements listed below. You’ll also need to provide evidence with your claim showing that one of the descriptions below is true for the Veteran or service member. Evidence may include documents like military service records, doctor’s reports, and medical test results.
One of these must be true. You:
- Married the Veteran or service member before January 1, 1957, or
- Married the Veteran or service member within 15 years of their discharge from the period of military service during which the qualifying illness or injury started or got worse, or
- Were married to the Veteran or service member for at least 1 year, or
- Had a child with the Veteran or service member, aren’t currently remarried, and either lived with the Veteran or service member without a break until their death or, if separated, weren’t at fault for the separation
Note: If you remarried on or after December 16, 2003, and you were 57 years of age or older at the time you remarried, you can still continue to receive compensation.
You’ll also need to provide evidence showing that one of these descriptions is true for the Veteran or service member:
- The service member died while on active duty, active duty for training, or inactive-duty training, or
- The Veteran died from a service-connected illness or injury, or
- The Veteran didn’t die from a service-connected illness or injury, but was eligible to receive VA compensation for a service-connected disability rated as totally disabling for a certain period of time
If the Veteran’s eligibility was due to a rating of totally disabling, they must have had this rating:
- For at least 10 years before their death, or
- Since their release from active duty and for at least 5 years immediately before their death, or
- For at least 1 year before their death if they were a former prisoner of war who died after September 30, 1999
Note: “Totally disabling” means the Veteran’s injuries made it impossible for them to work.
The Veterans Pension program provides monthly payments to wartime Veterans who meet certain age or disability requirements, and who have income and net worth within certain limits.
You may be eligible for the Veterans Pension program if you meet the requirements listed below.
Both of these must be true:
- You didn’t receive a dishonorable discharge, and
- Your yearly family income and net worth meet certain limits set by Congress. Your net worth includes all personal property you own (except your house, your car, and most home furnishings), minus any debt you owe. Your net worth includes the net worth of your spouse.
Find out about Veterans pension rates
And at least one of these must be true about your service. You:
- Started on active duty before September 8, 1980, and you served at least 90 days on active duty with at least 1 day during wartime, or
- Started on active duty as an enlisted person after September 7, 1980, and served at least 24 months or the full period for which you were called or ordered to active duty (with some exceptions) with at least 1 day during wartime, or
- Were an officer and started on active duty after October 16, 1981, and you hadn’t previously served on active duty for at least 24 months
And at least one of these must be true. You:
- Are at least 65 years old, or
- Have a permanent and total disability, or
- Are a patient in a nursing home for long-term care because of a disability, or
- Are getting Social Security Disability Insurance or Supplemental Security Income
Under current law, the VA recognizes the following wartime periods to decide eligibility for VA pension benefits:
- Mexican Border period (May 9, 1916, to April 5, 1917, for Veterans who served in Mexico, on its borders, or in adjacent waters)
- World War I (April 6, 1917, to November 11, 1918)
- World War II (December 7, 1941, to December 31, 1946)
- Korean conflict (June 27, 1950, to January 31, 1955)
- Vietnam War era (February 28, 1961, to May 7, 1975, for Veterans who served in the Republic of Vietnam during that period. August 5, 1964, to May 7, 1975, for Veterans who served outside the Republic of Vietnam)
- Gulf War (August 2, 1990, through a future date to be set by law or presidential proclamation)
Each Veteran’s medical benefits package is unique. Yours will include care and services to help:
- Treat illnesses and injuries
- Prevent future health problems
- Improve your ability to function
- Enhance your quality of life
All Veterans receive coverage for most care and services, but only some will qualify for added benefits like dental care. The full list of your covered benefits depends on:
- Your priority group, and
- The advice of your VA primary care provider (your main doctor, nurse practitioner, or physician’s assistant), and
- The medical standards for treating any health conditions you may have
You may be eligible for VA health care benefits if you served in the active military, naval, or air service and didn’t receive a dishonorable discharge. If you enlisted after September 7, 1980, or entered active duty after October 16, 1981, you must have served 24 continuous months or the full period for which you were called to active duty, unless any of the descriptions below are true for you.
This minimum duty requirement may not apply if any of these are true. You:
- Were discharged for a disability that was caused—or made worse—by your active-duty service, or
- Were discharged for a hardship or “early out,” or
- Served prior to September 7, 1980
- If you’re a current or former member of the Reserves or National Guard, you must have been called to active duty by a federal order and completed the full period for which you were called or ordered to active duty. If you had or have active-duty status for training purposes only, you don’t qualify for VA health care.
Even with a less than honorable discharge, you may be able to access some VA benefits through the Character of Discharge review process. When you apply for VA benefits, we’ll review your record to determine if your service was “honorable for VA purposes.” This review can take up to a year. Please provide us with documents supporting your case, similar to the evidence you’d send with an application to upgrade your discharge.
You may want to consider finding someone to advocate on your behalf, depending on the complexity of your case. A lawyer or Veterans Service Organization (VSO) can collect and submit supporting documents for you.
If you need mental health services related to PTSD or other mental health problems linked to your service (including conditions related to an experience of military sexual trauma), you may qualify for VA health benefits right away, even without a VA Character of Discharge review or a discharge upgrade.
Yes. You may qualify for enhanced eligibility status (meaning you’ll be placed in a higher priority group, which makes you more likely to get benefits) if you meet at least one of the requirements listed below.
At least one of these must be true. You:
- Receive financial compensation (payments) from VA for a service-connected disability
- Were discharged for a disability resulting from something that happened to you in the line of duty
- Were discharged for a disability that got worse in the line of duty
- Are a recently discharged combat Veteran
- Get a VA pension
- Are a former prisoner of war (POW)
- Have received a Purple Heart
- Have received a Medal of Honor
- Get (or qualify for) Medicaid benefits
- Served in Vietnam between January 9, 1962, and May 7, 1975
- Served in Southwest Asia during the Gulf War between August 2, 1990, and November 11, 1998
- Served at least 30 days at Camp Lejeune between August 1, 1953, and December 31, 1987
We’ll base your priority group on:
- Your military service history, and
- Your disability rating, and
- Your income level, and
- Whether or not you qualify for Medicaid, and
- Other benefits you may be receiving (like VA pension benefits)
We assign Veterans with service-connected disabilities the highest priority. We assign the lowest priority to Veterans who earn a higher income and who don’t have any service-connected disabilities qualifying them for disability compensation (monthly payments).
If you qualify for more than one priority group, we’ll assign you to the highest one.
Priority group 1
We may assign you to priority group 1 if any of the below descriptions are true. You:
- Have a service-connected disability that we’ve rated as 50% or more disabling, or
- Have a service-connected disability that we’ve concluded makes you unable to work (also called unemployable), or
- Received the Medal of Honor (MOH)
Priority group 2
We may assign you to priority group 2 if you have a service-connected disability that we’ve rated as 30% or 40% disabling.
Priority group 3
We may assign you to priority group 3 if any of the below descriptions are true. You:
- Are a former prisoner of war (POW), or
- Received the Purple Heart medal, or
- Were discharged for a disability that was caused by—or got worse because of—your active-duty service, or
- Have a service-connected disability that we’ve rated as 10% or 20% disabling, or
- Were awarded special eligibility classification under Title 38, U.S.C § 1151, “benefits for individuals disabled by treatment or vocational rehabilitation”
Priority group 4
We may assign you to priority group 4 if either of the below descriptions is true. You:
- Are receiving VA aid and attendance or housebound benefits, or
- Have received a VA determination of being catastrophically disabled
Priority group 5
We may assign you to priority group 5 if any of the below descriptions are true. You:
- Don’t have a service-connected disability, or you have a non-compensable service-connected disability that we’ve rated as 0% disabling, and you have an annual income level that’s below our adjusted income limits (based on your resident zip code), or
- Are receiving VA pension benefits, or
- Are eligible for Medicaid programs
Priority group 6
We may assign you to priority group 6 if any of the below descriptions are true. You:
- Have a compensable service-connected disability that we’ve rated as 0% disabling, or
- Were exposed to ionizing radiation during atmospheric testing or during the occupation of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, or
- Participated in Project 112/SHAD, or
- Served in the Republic of Vietnam between January 9, 1962, and May 7, 1975, or
- Served in the Persian Gulf War between August 2, 1990, and November 11, 1998, or
- Served on active duty at Camp Lejeune for at least 30 days between August 1, 1953, and December 31, 1987
We may also assign you to priority group 6 if you meet all of the requirements listed below. You:
- Are currently or newly enrolled in VA health care, and
- Served in a theater of combat operations after November 11, 1998, or were discharged from active duty on or after January 28, 2003, and
- Were discharged less than 5 years ago
Note: As a returning combat Veteran, you’re eligible for these enhanced benefits for 5 years after discharge. At the end of this enhanced enrollment period, we’ll assign you to the highest priority group you qualify for at that time.
Priority group 7
We may assign you to priority group 7 if both of the below descriptions are true for you:
- Your gross household income is below the geographically adjusted income limits (GMT) for where you live, and
- You agree to pay copays
Priority group 8
We may assign you to priority group 8 if both of the below descriptions are true for you:
- Your gross household income is above VA income limits and geographically adjusted income limits for where you live, and
- You agree to pay copays
- Your most recent tax return
- Social Security numbers for yourself and your qualified dependents
- Account numbers for any current health insurance you already have (like Medicare, private insurance, or insurance from your employer)
By phone: Call our toll-free hotline at 877-222-8387, Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. ET to get help with your application.
By mail: Fill out an Application for Health Benefits (VA Form 10-10EZ).
Send your completed application here:
Health Eligibility Center
2957 Clairmont Rd., Suite 200
Atlanta, GA 30329
In person: Go to your nearest VA medical center or clinic. Or call the Clermont County Veterans Service Office for assistance.
Emergency Financial Assistance is a short-term temporary program to assist veterans and their dependents on an emergency basis. Financial assistance is not a pension, income supplement or an automatic entitlement program.
In accordance with the Ohio Revised Code (ORC) Title 5901.08, each applicant for emergency financial assistance must be a veteran, active duty member of the Armed Forces of the United States, the spouse, surviving spouse, dependent parent, minor child or ward of a veteran or an active duty member of the Armed Forces. Eligibility requires at least 90 days residency in Clermont County.
For the purpose of determining eligibility to receive emergency financial assistance, an “emergency” is a situation that possesses all of the following characteristics:
- It arose unexpectedly
- Created an immediate need for financial assistance
- The situation at hand or in question was not a result of the applicant’s own misconduct
Absolutely! We can potentially assist with staple items such as rent or mortgage, utilities and food.
The Veterans Service Commission (VSC) does not consider the following to be emergencies issues for the purpose of financial assistance.
- Rental, lease or mortgage deposits
- Rent or mortgage or land contracts to any relative of the veteran
- Personal taxes
- Cable television/Direct TV
- Personal loans
- Purchase of school clothes for children
- The expense of school projects or graduation expenses
- The expense of Christmas or other holidays
- Bills in a name other than the veteran, their spouse or a payee for the applicant
- The VSC does not pay the landlord if the veteran is living with the landlord
- Legal fees to include court-ordered fines, penalties, bail and child support payments
No financial assistance will be granted to incarcerated claimants after release who were not residents of Clermont County prior to incarceration.
Current residency of the veteran in Clermont County for three prior months (90 days) must be proven each time a client applies for Emergency Financial Assistance.
The Clermont County Veterans’ Service Office (VSO) will provide assistance one time when the applicant moves from Clermont County to another county, recognizing the applicant most likely will not qualify for assistance in that county for 90 days. Residence will be verified through the county Auditor site by personnel prior to appointment date.
The client must provide proof of three (3) months’ residency, other than a handwritten item. The proof must have the client’s name; address and a date that is at least three (3) months prior to the date of the current EFA. The VSC does not accept a hand-written statement from a landlord as proof of residency. Driver’s licenses may be accepted as proof of residency if the date of issue of the license complies with the current residency timeframe and the address is the current address of the applicant.
The VSC does not consider being in the Veterans Administration Medical Center, or a place of incarceration, e.g., county jail, state prison or state mental facility as proof of residency in Clermont County. The client must submit proof of residency for Clermont County for three months prior to the client’s being at the Veterans Administration Medical Center or any other transient rehabilitation centers.
Homeless veterans may qualify for Emergency Financial Assistance only after enrollment into or completion of a work program, e.g., Good Will Industries or comparable programs or homeless programs. The VSC’s first priority shall be contacting support programs equipped to deal with homeless issues.
All applications for assistance are made on the forms provided by the Veterans’ Service Commission (VSC). This form is called the Emergency Financial Assistance form (EFA). Each EFA includes statements from the client on household income, assets, property, bank accounts, and monthly expenses. The veteran, spouse, power of attorney or payee must complete an application in person unless the applicant is found to be housebound. Only EFA for the veteran, spouse, widow, dependent children and wards of dependent parent’s expenses will be considered.
Emergency Financial Assistance must also include a legible copy of the veteran’s Certificate of Release or Discharge from Active Duty, DD-214 or Certificate of Service, WD-53-55 form, or confirmation through Department of Veterans’ Affairs database.
Sudden unexpected unemployment constitutes a well-grounded claim for EFA. In these cases the applicant must demonstrate that he or she has applied for or is in receipt of unemployment compensation benefits.
Conversely, a pattern of chronic unemployment may be grounds for denial of an EFA application.
All persons who apply to the VSC due to unemployment shall be required to register with the Ohio Means Jobs and provide verification of enrollment.
An applicant who claims to be self-employed must provide their previous year’s Federal Income Tax statement and their previous month’s bank statement. Refusal to do so could result in a denial of the claim.
In those cases where the Service Officer makes a partial award or denies EFA, the Service Officer will notify the applicant of the applicant’s right to appeal this decision to the Senior Service Officer. An applicant who wishes to exercise the right to appeal must, before he or she leaves, make an appointment with the Senior Service Officer.
In cases where the application has been initially processed by the Senior Service Officer, the applicant may appeal the decision of the Senior Service Officer directly to the Executive Director. In all cases the applicant must make an appointment for review with the Director before leaving the VSC Offices.
At the scheduled review meeting with the applicant, the Senior Service Officer will discuss the application with the applicant. The Senior Service Officer may reverse, uphold or modify the decision of the Service Officer. If the applicant is dissatisfied with the decision of the Senior Service Officer, the Senior Service Officer will notify the applicant the he or she may request a reconsideration of decision from the Executive Director. If the applicant wishes to appeal to the Executive Director, the applicant must, before he or she leaves the VSC Offices, make an appointment to meet with the Executive Director. If the applicant seeks a quicker decision, he may request only that the Executive Director review the application packet.
At the scheduled review meeting with the applicant, the Executive Director will discuss the application with the applicant. The Executive Director may reverse, uphold or modify the decision of the Senior Service Officer. If the applicant is dissatisfied with the decision of the Executive Director, the Executive Director will notify the applicant he or she may request to be heard at a meeting of the VSC, generally held the first Wednesday of every month. If the applicant wishes to appeal the decision of the Executive Director, the applicant must, before he or she leaves the VSC Offices, meet with the Administrative Assistant to be placed on the next VSC agenda.
At the VSC meeting, the members will review summary information regarding the application. The members will also have the application packet available. The applicant will be permitted to address the VSC members for fifteen minutes. The VSC members will discuss their decision in Executive Session and will, thereafter, vote on their decision in Public Session. The VSC may uphold, reverse or modify the decision of the Executive Director. In cases where the applicant chooses not to wait to hear the results of the vote of the VSC, the applicant will be notified of the decision of the VSC by mail. All decisions of the VSC are final.