Since the beginning of 2019, you may have noticed a nice bump in your monthly disability compensation from the Department of Veteran Affairs (also known as the VA). Obviously, it’s nice to see an increase in the rates and nobody is going to complain about more money.
The VA has a system in place to determine how much money you receive and this includes whether or not you get an increase in your disability benefits. What’s more, 2019 has been a blessing for many struggling veterans, especially if you are a disabled veteran.
Out of 12 million vets between the ages 21 and 64, almost a 3 rd have reported some type of disability.
Therefore, we’re going to go over how the VA decides compensation for ex-military service and how the process works, plus what this increase rate is for those that are already receiving disability compensation from the VA.
The 2019 Benefit Increase for VA Disability Compensation
When the Department of Veteran Affairs decides how much to increase the disability rates every year, they make this decision regarding the predicted Cost of Living Adjustment (also known as COLA) for that year.
Whether suffering from a physical disability while on active duty such as an amputation or a mental disability such as post-traumatic stress disorder, this helps vets maintain a comfortable life, despite inflation in the housing or food market.
Every year, COLA is figured out by the Social Security Administration (also known as SSA).
The Bureau of Labor Statistics calculates the Consumer Price Index for Wage Earnings and Clerical Workers (also known as CPI-W). The SSA takes these stats to determine the COLA.
Using this type of disability chart, they figure this by using the CPI-W stats reported based on the 3 rd quarter of the previous year to the 3 rd quarter of the current year.
This index is used to measure the change of price of goods and services, particularly the increase in prices in energy and shelter. But it’s not limited to just these services.
The VA then takes this information to decide how much to up disability payments for vets like you.
It’s this process that helps keep disabled veterans off the streets and in a home with their family. You’re not always able to work, depending on the severity of your disability or if you have multiple disabilities.
As of late December 2018, vet disability compensation has been boosted by 2.8%. This may not seem like much, but it’s one of the largest increases for the past seven years.
In 2011, the compensation rate increase was a massive 3.6%, whereas 2018 only saw a 2% increase.
How much is your increase in your disability compensation? Keep in mind, this list below is based on those without dependents.
- If you receive 10% in disability compensation you’ve gained $140.05.
- If you receive 20% in disability compensation you’ve gained $276.84.
- If you receive 30% in disability compensation you’ve gained $428.83.
- If you receive 40% in disability compensation you’ve gained $617.73.
- If you receive 50% in disability compensation you’ve gained $879.36.
- If you receive 60% in disability compensation you’ve gained $1113.86.
- If you receive 70% in disability compensation you’ve gained $1403.71.
- If you receive 80% in disability compensation you’ve gained $1631.59.
- If you receive 90% in disability compensation you’ve gained $1833.52.
- If you receive 100% in disability compensation you’ve gained $3057.13.
To get a better idea, Military Benefits has a great set of tables for those with spouses and children.
Different Types of Vet Disabilities
Of course, not every vet has the same disability. There’s a wide range of disabilities that vets acquire over the years. Some of these are due to service while others are from either aging or outside factors.
The VA divides disabilities into two categories:
- VA Service-Connected Disability: As stated, these types of disabilities are from your service to the U.S. military. This can be either physical disabilities or mental disabilities from combat. This kind of disability is paid to you monthly. In cases of death, the compensation is paid to the vet’s immediate family.
- Non-Service-Connected Benefits and Pensions: If you’re a vet that’s served in a war and combat, you’re able to receive a pension regardless if your disability wasn’t acquired during your service. You must be severely disabled and not able to bring income on your own at all.
Before 2004, it was illegal for vets to receive both military retirement pay and VA disability compensation. You would have to choose between the two. Thankfully, this law has changed.
Now, you may be able to receive both if these describe you:
- Concurrent Retirement Disability Pay: Concurrent Retirement Disability Pay (also known as CRDP) is for retired vets who have a VA disability rating of at least 50%. This was passed in 2004.
- Combat-Related Special Compensation: Combat-Related Special Compensation (also known as CRSC) is for retired vets who have a disability from service that has a VA disability rating of at least 10%. This was passed in 2008.
How the VA Calculates Your Compensation
When you file for disability through the VA, they decide on a percentage basis of how disabled you are and how it affects your ability to work.
They evaluate your ability to work and the severity of your disability by medical records you’ve provided with your disability claim as well as military records if your disability was acquired during service..
The VA’s rates range from 0% to 100% and in increments of 10%.
You can receive even more compensation from the VA if you have dependents relying on you (like children) or your spouse is also severely disabled.
If you have multiple disabilities, the VA uses a Combined Rating Table to determine how much disability compensation you’ll receive.
The Bottom Line
Every year, you should see at least a small increase in your disability compensation. This year was a big boost that every vet needed and fully deserves.