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How Long Do VA Disability Payments Last? | A Guide for Veterans

Legally reviewed by Brendan Garcia , Owner and Lead Attorney

How long do VA disability payments last?

Many veterans wonder, “How long do VA disability payments last?” This is an important question if you receive these benefits or plan to apply for them. The VA does not place an arbitrary time limit on disability benefits. Veterans can continue to receive this compensation for as long as they meet the eligibility requirements, whether that’s for several months or a lifetime.

Understanding VA Disability Benefits: Eligibility and Application Process for Veterans

Veterans qualify for VA disability benefits if:

  • Their service caused them to develop an illness or injury; or
  • Caused an existing condition to worsen; and
  • There is a link, or a nexus, between the condition and their military service.

If you qualify, you have to apply for these monthly payments. You won’t automatically receive benefits. Veterans need to back up their claim by providing service records, medical records, buddy statements, and other documentation.

How does the VA determine disability payment amounts?

The VA disability compensation rates are based on two factors: your disability rating and if you have any dependent family members.

Your VA disability rating

VA disability ratings are expressed as percentages, from 10% to 100%. The criteria for these ratings is found in the Code of Federal Regulations (Title 38, Chapter I, Part 4: Schedule For Rating Disabilities). The VA’s assessment of your condition may differ from how another organization rates your disability.

If you have more than one service-connected disability, the VA will calculate a combined rating. Your combined rating will not exceed 100%, as you cannot be considered more than 100% able-bodied.

Dependent family members

You can receive a higher monthly benefit if (1) your disability rating meets a certain threshold and (2) your spouse, parents, or children meet the VA’s definition of “dependent.”

  • Dependent spouses. The VA recognizes common law marriages and same-sex marriages.
  • Dependent parents. Your parents are eligible if you’re “directly caring for them” and their assets and income are below a certain amount.
  • Dependent children. Your unmarried biological, step, and adopted children are eligible until they turn 18. Children may continue to qualify for benefits if:
    • They became permanently disabled before their 18th birthday
    • They are between 18 and 23 years of age and a full-time student

Certain life changes can affect your benefit eligibility or amount.

A Guide to VA Terms: VA Acronyms

When to report changes in dependent status to the VA

You should let the VA know if you experience any of these life changes:

  • Marriage or domestic partnership
  • Divorce
  • A child, whether by birth, marriage, or adoption
  • You become a caregiver for your parent and their income and net worth meets the VA’s limits

A change in your family status will likely affect your monthly benefit amount.

When do VA disability benefits increase?

The amount of your monthly benefits can go up if:

  • You add a new dependent family member
  • Your service-connected disability worsens
  • You are service-connected for an additional condition
  • There is a cost-of-living adjustment

Cost-of-living adjustments happen automatically. However, you will need to notify the VA if you add a dependent, your disability worsens, or you are diagnosed with a new disability that you believe should be service-connected.

After approval: How long do VA disability payments last?

As you can see, there is no one answer to this question. How long you receive benefits is unique to you and your situation.

When you do receive disability payments, the VA expects you to notify them if:

  • Your service-connected condition improves or worsens
  • You develop another service-connected illness or injury
  • There is a change in your dependents

In addition, the VA routinely re-evaluates disability ratings. You may be asked to submit documentation or attend a doctor’s visit. If you fail to comply, you could lose your benefits.

When to contact a VA disability lawyer

To say that the VA system is difficult to navigate is an understatement. Many veterans struggle to find answers about their eligibility, how to apply, and how to pursue an appeal. They want to contact an attorney but are concerned about the cost.

Our lawyers do not charge any upfront fees. It costs you nothing to find out if you’re eligible and to have us review your case. We only collect a fee if the VA approves your benefits. Contact our office if:

  • You are unsure if you’re eligible, and wonder if it’s worth your time to apply.
  • You received a denial and want to submit an appeal.
  • The VA re-evaluated your disability rating and you disagree with their decision.
  • Your disability benefits have stopped and you don’t understand why, or you wonder if there is a way to appeal.

As VA-accredited attorneys, we’ve represented thousands of veterans throughout the country.

VetLaw: Your nationwide VA disability benefits law firm

At VetLaw, our sole focus is to help our fellow veterans pursue their VA disability benefits. We’re here to answer your questions like, “How long do VA disability payments last?” and “Can I appeal a VA claim denial?” Give us a call today or contact us online to get started.