There are a wide variety of benefits that we have found, which every veteran should know about. These range from priority health care to VA loan reductions.
What’s disappointing is the fact that the VA doesn’t do a great job letting service members know what kind of additional benefits (especially some life changing 100 percent disabled veterans benefits) are out there.
Getting to 100% isn’t the only way to take advantage of most services, but it does provide some serious help. That’s why reviewing your current rating and determining if you deserve an increase is always worth it.
In this blog post, we will cover:
- The top benefits you qualify for in 2023 (and how to obtain them):
- Educational Benefits
- Other Benefits
- Little known “extra” benefits
- What does it mean to be 100 disabled? (and how to receive or increase your rating)
Breaking Down the Numbers: How Many Veterans Receive Disability Compensation?
As of 2021, there were approximately 4.3 million disabled veterans in the United States, with over 3.9 million of them receiving disability compensation from the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).
This number includes veterans with a wide range of disabilities, including physical disabilities, mental health conditions, and other medical conditions related to their military service.
The amount of compensation a veteran receives depends on the severity of their disability and the degree to which it affects their ability to work and function in daily life.
Top VA Disability Claims
|Type of Disability||Percentage of Veterans with Disability|
|Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)||23.2%|
|Limitation of Knee Flexion||8.8%|
|Lumbosacral or Cervical Strain||7.7%|
|Limitation of Motion of Ankle||7.3%|
|Limitation of Motion of Hip||6.8%|
|Degenerative Arthritis of the Spine||6.1%|
The Comprehensive List of VA Disability Benefits in 2023
The following is a list of all of the available VA disability benefits for 2023. Those benefits which have special benefits for individuals with a 100 percent disability rating, will be indicated.
The #1 Benefit Available to 100 Percent Disabled Veterans
VA disability compensation pay at the maximum rate available.
- Health care Priority Group 1
- No Cost Healthcare and Prescription Medications
- Travel Allowance for Medical Appointments
- Dental Care, Vision Care and Hearing Aids
- Total Disability Individual Unemployability Benefits
- 10-point Veteran preference in federal hiring
- Direct Hire Authority
- Survivors Pension
- CHAMPVA for Dependents
- TRICARE Program
- Survivors’ and Dependents’ Educational Assistance Program (Chapter 35)
- Up to $5,000 Per Year Folds of Honor Educational Scholarship
- Employment and Training Programs
- Home Loan and Financial Counseling
- Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment
- Special Restorative Training
- Disabled Veteran Student Loan Forgiveness
- Property Tax Exemptions (state specific requirements)
- Waiver of VA funding fee for home loan
- Burial and Plot Allowance
- Use of commissaries, exchanges and morale, welfare and recreation (MWR)
- Aid and Attendance Benefit
- Life Insurance for Disabled Veterans and Survivors
- Free Tax Preparation and Filing
- Free Space-A Travel
“Lesser Known” Additional Benefits
- U.S. Department of Defense/Uniformed Services Sponsor ID and Privilege Card
- Disability Housing Grants (Special Adapted Housing and Special Home Adaptation)
- Temporary Residence Adaptation (TRA)
- Automobile Allowance and Adaptive Equipment
- Clothing Allowance
- Service members Group Life Insurance Traumatic Injury Protection (TSGLI)
- National Parks Pass
- Urgent Care/Emergency Care
- Shades of Green Resort (Walt Disney World, Florida)
Additional Information About the Benefits Available
VA Disability Compensation Pay at the Maximum Rate
100 percent disability ratings provide the highest amount of disability compensation. See the table below, with current VA disability rate benefit amounts for each rating for 2022. Read updated information about the huge 8.7% benefit increase for 2023.
Combined VA Ratings - 2023/2022 Compared
|wdt_ID||VA Disability Rating||2023 Disability Pay (8.7% increase)||2022 Disability Pay|
When you apply for VA health care through the VA health care system, you are assigned to 1 of 8 different priority groups, based on the following criteria:
- Military service history
- Income level
- VA disability rating
- Whether or not you qualify for Medicaid
- Other benefits (e.g. VA pension benefits)
100 percent Disabled Veterans meet the eligibility requirements for Health Care Priority Group 1, which is the highest priority group available. There are a number of benefits that come with this group such as:
- Preventative care
- Hospitalizations and some inpatient services
- Dependent health care
- Medically related travel benefits
- Dental care
- Vision care and hearing aids
No Cost Healthcare and Prescription Medications
This is a huge benefit for 100 percent disabled veterans, which includes free health care within the VA health care system for disability conditions related to military service. This applies to disabled veterans with at least a 50% rating. 100% disabled veterans receive completely free VA care, with services including and not limited to:
- Emergency care
- Preventative care
- Primary care
- Speciality care
- Mental health services
- Home health care
- Dental and vision care
- Geriatrics and extended care
- Medical equipment
- Nursing home placement
- Medically related travel benefits
- Hearing aids
See the following sections for further information about some of these benefits.
The Civilian Health and Medical Program of the Department of Veterans Affairs (CHAMPVA) is a health insurance benefits program where the VA shares the cost of certain health care supplies and services with eligible beneficiaries. If you are 100 percent permanently and totally disabled according to the VA, then your dependents qualify for completely free civilian healthcare.
The VA is authorized to provide eligible disabled veterans and other beneficiaries related to those veterans, travel coverage for:
- Mileage reimbursement
- Common Carrier costs (i.e, plane, train, bus, etc.)
- Medically-necessary transportation (i.e. ambulance)
- Transportation to and from the VA or a non VA health care system facility for medical examinations, treatment and care
In 2022, the current VA travel pay reimbursement rate is 41.5 cents ($0.415) per mile for approved, health related travel.
Dental care benefits are available to those with a service-connected disability rated at 100 percent, or receive Total Disability Based on Individual Unemployability (TDIU) due to their service-connected disabilities.
The eligibility for dental benefits is categorized by class. The class for totally disabled veterans is Class IV, and you would be eligible for any needed dental care.
The VA is also able to cover the cost for eyeglasses, routine eye examinations and preventative care. In order to receive these benefits, you must have a compensable service-connected disability, or a former POW, or were awarded a purple heart, or received an increased pension due to current housebound status.
The VA can pay for basic optometry services if you already have established healthcare benefits with the VA. You can also receive visual rehabilitation or advanced eye care services for low vision and blindness.
In order to receive hearing aids or other assisted hearing devices, you must qualify for VA healthcare benefits. You can schedule an appointment to be evaluated by an audiologist. The audiologist will make a clinical determination on the need for hearing aids/devices.
If you have a 100 percent disability rating (not temporary or IU), you will qualify for FREE VA dental care, vision care and hearing aid services.
VA Total Disability Individual Unemployability (TDIU), is an extra scheduler benefit for qualifying disabled veterans to be paid at the 100% disability rate, even if they may be below 100 percent. While this isn’t a “traditional” 100 VA disability benefit, we listed this as a 100 VA Disability benefit because it basically acts as such.
Generally, you must be unable to maintain “substantially gainful employment” to qualify for TDIU. You may be able to qualify for this regardless of your VA disability rating.
Disabled veterans may be eligible for 0, 5, or 10-point Federal hiring preference in competitive appointments. They may also be scheduled for non competitive appointments when they are eligible by law.
A Direct-Hire Authority (DHA) is an authority that the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) can give to federal agencies for filling vacancies during critical hiring times/shortages. Veterans preference does not apply when selecting candidates under DHA.
Some companies also offer what is called Expedited Hiring Authority (EHA) for critically manned career fields, such as Defense Federal Acquisitions positions.
When a veteran passes, the surviving disabled veterans family members are entitled to survivors pension, also referred to as “death pension.”
The VA calculates this pension according to countable family income, but also disability and retirement payments, therefore a 100 percent disabled veteran would be getting the maximum benefit, and subsequently a higher survivors pension.
The TRICARE program provides comprehensive health care coverage, including health care plans, prescription medications, dental plans and programs for people with special needs for dependents. The program may also reimburse inpatient and outpatient services, medical equipment, nursing care, and mental health care.
The Chapter 35 benefits program, also known as the Dependents Educational Assistance (DEA) program, offers benefits to eligible dependents of disabled veterans who are permanently and totally (100 percent) disabled due to a service-connected condition, and who are currently receiving TDIU benefits or died while on active duty.
These dependents can receive up to 35 months of full-time or equivalent benefits for:
- Technical or vocational training
- Independent study
- Online distance learning
- Correspondence courses
- High School diploma or GED programs
- Educational and career counseling programs
The Folds of Honor foundation offers two scholarship programs for dependents of disabled veterans.
- The Children’s Fund Scholarship serves K-12 students
- Higher Education Scholarship (first bachelor degree or post-secondary certification)
Both of these scholarships are based on “unmet need” and can be valued up to $5,000. The scholarship can be used to fund any educational expenses, from tuition to books and other fees.
Veteran Readiness and Employment (VR&E), provides job training and other services to eligible veterans with service-connected disabilities to help prepare them for and maintain employment or achieve independent daily living.
An eligible veteran is one with a service-connected disability rating of at least 20 percent with an employment handicap, or rated at 10 percent with a serious employment handicap.
Disabled Veterans with a VA disability rating of 10 percent or higher, qualify for a waiver of the VA home loan funding fee.
The VA funding fee applies to the VA loan amount, NOT the purchase price of the home.
But, if you have a service-connected disability rating of 10% or higher, you are exempt from the VA home loan funding fee.
Veterans may also use the Veterans Benefits Banking Program (VBBP) to identify and open an account at a participating bank or credit union, available to help find a financial institution easier. They can ensure you get paid faster, safer and with fewer fees.
Special Restorative Training or Special Vocational Training, helps dependents of the Chapter 35 benefits overcome or lessen the effects of physical or mental disabilities. This is to help work toward goals that are educational or training related.
This relatively new program, discharges the Federal Student Loan debt of veterans who are totally and permanently disabled with a 100 percent P&T VA rating, or who have a 100 percent Total Disability Individual Unemployability (TDIU) status.
Note: If you are a veteran with a 100 percent scheduler VA disability rating (neither P&T or TDIU status apply), you may still be eligible for the Disabled Veteran Student Loan Forgiveness.
Property Tax Exemptions (state specific requirements)
Most states offer property tax exemptions for disabled veterans. Some states even have a full waiver of property taxes for 100 percent disabled veterans. Not all states offer the same tax breaks, but it’s good to check with your state county tax assessor’s office to see if you qualify for any benefits. You may end up saving a lot of money every year.
A surviving dependent can qualify for allowances to help pay for burial and funeral costs for a disabled veteran. If the veteran died of a service-connected disability ON or AFTER September 11, 2001, the maximum VA burial benefit allowance is $2,000 or $1,500 for a Veteran who died BEFORE September 11, 2001.
Veterans who have a 100 percent disability rating, their dependents and unmarried surviving spouses are entitled to unlimited commissary and exchange store privileges. The VA can aid in completing a DD Form 1172, Application for Uniformed Services Identification and Privilege Card, which you will need to access these benefits.
The Aid and Attendance Program is a VA pension program that covers the cost of daily living for housebound veterans or those who may be in nursing homes. These benefits are a part of the special monthly compensation, added to the monthly VA Pension for qualified veterans and their survivors.
This program provides insurance for disabled veterans who have service-connected disability ratings from zero to 100. Totally disabled veterans who are unable to work may be able to apply for additional coverage, outside of the up to $10,000 RH insurance program, of up to an additional $30,000.
The Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program is a FREE resource for veterans who generally make $56,000 a year or less. These volunteers help with free basic income tax return preparation with electronic filing.
100 percent disabled veterans can fly Space Available flights or Space-A flights for free. The Space-A Program sills extra seating capacity on DoD aircrafts.
Air Mobility Command (AMC) has an extensive network of flights throughout the continental United States, Alaska, Hawaii, Puerto Rico, the US Virgin Islands, Guam and American Samoa.
You will need to obtain a DD Form 2765, Department of Defense/Uniformed Services Identification and Privilege Card before taking a flight.
Special Adapted Housing (SAH)
You may be able to get an SAH grant if you are using the money to buy, build or change your permanent home (a home you plan to live in for a long time) and you meet these requirements:
- Own or will own the home, and
- Have a qualifying service-connected disability
Current grant offered: up to $100,896
Special Home Adaptation (SHA)
You may be able to get an SHA grant if you’re using the grant money to buy, build or change your permanent home (a home you plan to live in for a long time) and you meet these requirements:
- You or a family member will own the home, and
- You have a qualifying service-connected disability
Current grant offered: up to $20,215
This grant program is available to veterans and service members who have been rated eligible for the Specially Adapted Housing section (SAH) or the Special Home Adaptation section (SHA) grant on a one time basis.
The grant is intended to assist eligible veterans adapt a family member’s home to meet the veteran’s special needs.
Veterans may us up to $14,000 of the maximum loan amount for a SAH grant and $2,000 of the maximum amount for an SHA grant.
The VA may provide a one-time payment of no more than $21,488.29 to help you purchase a specially-equipped vehicle.
In special circumstances, one or more adaptive equipment grants to change a vehicle may be awarded.
You must be a service-connected disabled veteran to receive this payment.
If your clothing has been damaged by a medical device or by medications you may be taking, you may be able to get money every year to help purchase new clothes. This is a disability compensation benefit known as an annual clothing allowance.
Both of these must be true in order to receive this benefit:
- Your device or medication must cause damage to your clothes, and
- You need this device or medication because of an injury or illness related to a service-connected event
Short-term financial support to help eligible service members recover from a severe injury. If you were covered by SGLI and experienced a traumatic injury while in active military service, you can file for TSGLI or appeal a past decision.
One of the unique perks on this list, is a year-round National Parks pass that will get you into any National Park in the United States. Here’s some more information about the pass:
- A free, lifetime pass, plus a $10 handling fee.
- May also be obtained free in person at a federal recreation site.
- Provides entrance or access to pass owners and accompanying passengers in a single, private, non-commercial vehicle at Federal operated recreation sites across the country.
- Photo identification may be required to verify ownership.
- Passes are NON-REFUNDABLE, NON-TRANSFERABLE, and cannot be replaced.
- The cost of obtaining an Access Pass through the USGS is ten dollars ($10).
- At many sites the Access Pass provides the pass owner a discount on Expanded Amenity Fees (such as camping, swimming, boat launching, and guided tours).
The VA offers urgent care services to eligible veterans at a VA medical center or at in-network urgent care clinics.
Another unique benefit that made this list, is the Shades of Green Resort in Walt Disney World, Florida. This resort offers the opportunity for veterans who have received an honorable discharge to have an opportunity to vacation at the resort between January and September.
Additional State Benefits Available
There are multiple state benefits available to 100 percent disabled veterans. Each state has its own set of benefits and can range from health care benefits, hunting and fishing license exemptions, free passes to state parks and property tax exemption. You can also be eligible for specialized license plates.
For more specific information on the benefits available in your state and enrollment details, please click here.
What does it mean to be “100 Percent Disabled?”
A 100 percent disability rating, otherwise known as a total disability rating, is the highest percentage that can be given for service-connected compensation.
This rating is reserved for veterans who have debilitating service-connected disabilities that make them unable to maintain gainful employment and potentially unable to care for themselves or maintain quality of life.
How to Receive a 100% VA Disability Rating
The highest percentage that can be given for service-connected compensation purposes is a 100 percent VA disability rating, or total disability rating. This rating is only available to veterans with extremely debilitating service-connected ailments that make them unable to work and mostly unable to care for themselves. You start by filing a service connected claim. You may also want to consider VA unemployability with VA Form 21-8940.
If you are unable to work and need someone to help take care of you, then a 100 percent rating may be appropriate.
Disability ratings range from 10% to 100%. The idea behind these ratings is that the veteran should be compensated according to the impairment that the disability would cause to the average person’s ability to earn a living. This compensation generally comes in the form of monthly payments.
When a service-connected disability, or disabilities, prevents a veteran from being able to secure and follow substantially gainful employment, he is entitled to a total disability rating based on individual unemployability (TDIU or IU).
In determining whether a veteran qualifies for TDIU, the VA should consider whether a veteran is capable of getting a job and whether he is capable of keeping a job. Any job that the veteran can secure and follow must also be a job that is “substantially gainful.
How to Increase Your Rating to 100% VA Disability
Many factors affect the VA benefits that a veteran receives, so it’s essential to seek help with your VA disability claim. You can get help at va.gov or an experienced law firm like Hill and Ponton can help you navigate your disability rating and to secure as many benefits as possible. Our team offers a free consultation.
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