VA monthly disability payments
There are two types of monthly monetary awards available to veterans through the VA, service-connected compensation and VA pensions.
1) Service-connected Compensation
The most generous is service-connected compensation. It is pro-rated based on the veterans' disability rating, and the amount awarded may also vary based on the number of dependents a veteran has. The amount of compensation will not be reduced by what the VA calls "countable" income. A veteran must have been discharged under conditions other than dishonorable to be eligible for service-connected compensation. If your discharge does not meet these criteria an advocate or attorney can seek to upgrade your discharge status so that you can meet eligibility requirements. In addition, the disease or injury must have occurred or worsened during service, and the disability cannot be a result of willful misconduct or the abuse of alcohol or drugs.
2) VA Pensions
The other type of monetary benefits available through the VA is a VA pension. Pensions are less generous than service-connected compensation and are reduced based on other income that the VA considers "countable". Disabled veterans with very low incomes who are age 65 or older and who are permanently and totally disabled may be eliible for a pension. Eligibility requires ninety (90) days or more of active military service of which at least one day was during a period of war, and a discharge under conditions other than dishonorable. Likewise the disability must not have been incurred by willful misconduct.
Social Security Monthly Disability Benefits
Disabled veterans may also be eligible for monthly cash benefits through the social security program, social security disability income (SSDI) and/or supplemental security income (SSI). Social Security uses a different system than the VA for determining disability. Rather than applying a disability rating, Social Security awards benefits only to those who are deemed totally disabled.
1) Social Security Disability Income (SSDI)
Disabled veterans who have worked and paid into the social security system may be eligible for monthly SSDI payments (until retirement age when disability checks are replaced by retirement checks). Unlike service-connected compensation, SSDI is not awarded based on a disability rating, rather it is awarded to those who are deemed totally disabled. Payments are not reduced based on other income. SSDI payments vary based on an individual's previous income and the amount of Social Security (or FICA) taxes he or she has paid into the system.
2) Supplemental Security Income (SSI)
SSI is available to the elderly, blind and disabled who have low income and limited resources. Unlike SSDI, SSI payments will be reduced based on other available income.