By Nicholas Liermann, Esquire | Veterans Affairs Accredited

Veterans are one of our Nation’s most cherished assets. They have put their lives on the line to protect us at home and abroad, but for many veterans, the battle doesn’t end when they leave the combat zone. Fortunately, there are programs in place to assist veterans who are suffering from physical or mental disability, such as lost limbs and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) resulting from their service.

Who is eligible for VA benefits?

Compensation is available to service members injured while on active duty. Generally, to be eligible for benefits, veterans must have received a general discharge or higher, though exceptions exist. There must also be medical evidence of a current physical or mental disability related to an event that occurred during military service, and the veteran has to have a minimum disability rating of 10%.

How are VA benefits determined?

The benefit amount available to veterans is based on a graduated scale from 10%-100%, with the doctor assigning disability rating in increments of 10% during their assessment. Veterans may also receive compensation for secondary disabilities that occurred during active duty, even if they may arise after their service. The degrees of disability specified are designed to compensate for considerable loss of working time from injury or illness. If the veteran’s disability is more than 30% and he/she has dependents, the veteran becomes eligible for an additional allowance. Disability compensation may be offset by some other military benefits received.

Who is eligible for VA benefits versus workers’ compensation?

Receiving VA benefits does not disqualify you from receiving workers’ compensation benefits. The two systems are distinct from one another in the source of the benefits and in the assessment of how much you are eligible for. VA benefits come from federal funds paid to disabled veterans as a way of thanking the men and women who have helped defend the country’s liberties. Workers’ compensation benefits, on the other hand, come from an injured worker’s employer to compensate the worker if he or she should get hurt on the job. Both systems have their own method of assessing a person’s level of disability; veterans programs us the VA’s Schedule for Rating Disabilities, whereas workers’ compensation programs are based on wage loss and required medical treatment.

How do VA benefits interact with workers’ compensation?

One of the most important differences between programs is who is eligible for benefits: veterans of the armed forces can get VA benefits, and workers are eligible for workers’ compensation programs. These two groups are not mutually exclusive, however; being one does not preclude being part of the other. Veterans often return to civilian life and in that time they are deserving of the same protections any other civilian worker receives. The only caveat is that should you be injured on the job, workers’ compensation benefits may be offset by your VA benefits; you still qualify for the same amount, but the source of payment differs.

How do I apply to receive VA benefits?

Veterans applying for disability compensation may do so online, in person at a VA regional office, or by working with an accredited representative or agent.

If you are a veteran and believe you are entitled to veterans’ or workers’ compensation benefits, contact Pond Lehocky today. Veterans have served us honorably, and we are proud to serve them. Please fill out the free evaluation form below to get started.

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