Benefits for Veterans and Survivors

Veterans Benefits

Disability Compensation

Disability compensation is a monthly monetary benefit paid to veterans who suffer from an injury or disease that was incurred or aggravated during active military service. The following paragraphs details four ways to accomplish service connection for a disabling condition:

  • Direct: The claimed disability was directly caused by military service (e.g., shoulder injury while conducting martial arts training, combat wound); or it may have resulted from an in-service incident (e.g., cancer due to asbestos exposure), or from a condition that simply began on active duty (e.g., diabetes, hypertension).
  • Aggravation: A disability that existed prior to the veteran's entrance into active duty and becomes permanently worse during service (not as a result of the condition's natural progress).
  • Presumption: Specified chronic and tropical diseases are automatically presumed to have begun during service if they become evident to a compensable degree within certain time limits. Additionally, some diseases are presumed to have resulted from certain incidents of service (herbicide exposure) if they present themselves at any time after service. Other presumptive periods are set out for undiagnosed illnesses associated with service in the Persian Gulf area, and for other diseases associated with herbicide exposure.
  • Secondary: Service connection under this category may be established for a new condition that is directly and proximately caused by an established service-connected condition (e.g., the veteran is service-connected for hepatitis C and subsequently develops cirrhosis of the liver).

Nonservice Connected Pension

A disability pension is also a monthly monetary benefit aimed at providing financial support to wartime veterans who have limited household income as established by the Department of Veterans Affairs. To be eligible, if, under 65 years of age, the veteran must be permanently and totally disabled. If over 65 years of age, there is no disabling requirement.

For additional information and to find out if you may be eligible for disability compensation or nonservice-connected pension, please contact our office.

View the Department of Veterans Affairs website.

View the State Benefits website.

Survivor Benefits

Death Pension

This is an income supplement program for the low-income surviving spouse and/or children of a veteran. To be eligible, the deceased veteran must have served during wartime, the surviving spouse and or children must have income and net worth within specified limits and the veteran's death must not have been related to military service.

Dependency and Indemnity Compensation

Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (DIC) is paid to surviving spouses when the veteran dies as a result of one of the following conditions:

  • A service-connected disability or a condition directly related to a service-connected disability.
  • An injury incurred or aggravated in the line of duty while on inactive duty training.
  • A disease or injury incurred or aggravated in the line of duty while on active duty or active duty for training.

Survivors are also eligible for DIC if the veteran was totally disabled from service-connected conditions at the time of death, even though their service-connected conditions might not have caused their deaths. In this example the survivor qualifies if the veteran was:

  • Continuously rated for a period of 10 years immediately preceding death.
  • Continuously rated totally disabled from the date of military discharge and for at least 5 years immediately preceding death.
  • A former Prisoner of war (POW) who died after September 30, 1999, and who was continuously rated for at least 1 year immediately preceding death.

For additional information and to find out if you may be eligible for death pension or DIC, please contact our office or visit the US Department of Veterans Affairs Veterans Benefits website.