Veterans Disability Benefits

Learn about types of benefits available to some veterans with disabilities. These include compensation, pensions, and grants for veterans with certain service-connected disabilities as well as pensions for some veterans 65 and older and grants for vets with age-related disabilities.

VA Disability Compensation Benefits

Veterans who are disabled due to service-related injury or illness may be entitled to VA disability compensation. It’s a tax-free monthly benefit. 

Survivors of veterans may receive compensation benefits in certain situations. 

Visit VA.gov to learn:

  • Which conditions qualify you for benefits
  • How the claims process works
  • Where to file your claim
  • The way to appeal a decision you disagree with 
     

If you're currently receiving disability benefits, you may be interested in downloading the free publication How to Save and Invest Your Disability Benefits: A Guide for Warriors in Transition.

VA Pensions for Veterans and Survivors

Low-income wartime veterans and their survivors may qualify for Veterans Pension or Survivors Pension benefits, tax-free monthly payments from the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).

Veterans Pensions and Survivors Pensions Eligibility Criteria

Both pensions base eligibility on three requirements:

  1. The veteran’s service time

    • Veterans who entered active duty on or before September 7, 1980, must have served at least 90 days of active duty with at least one day of wartime service.

    • Veterans who entered active duty after September 7, 1980, must have served at least 24 months or the full period for which ordered to active duty, with at least one day of wartime service.

  2. Financial need The veteran’s or survivor’s "countable" family income must fall below the yearly limit set by law. See the maximum yearly income for veterans for 2018.

  3. Age/status of the veteran or survivor(s)

    • The veteran must be either: age 65 or older; totally and permanently disabled; a nursing home patient receiving skilled nursing care; or receiving Social Security Disability Insurance or Supplemental Security Income to be eligible for a pension.

    • The surviving spouse must be un-remarried, of any age, to receive a survivors pension. For dependent children to be eligible, they must be under 18, or under 23 if attending a VA-approved school, or incapable of self-support due to a disability before age 18.

How to Apply for and Calculate VA Pensions

For both types of pensions, the benefit amount is the difference between the recipient’s "countable" income and the annual pension limit set by Congress.

Visit explore.va.gov/pension for forms and instructions for applying for a veterans or survivors pension.

Aid & Attendance and Housebound Benefits

Veterans and survivors who are eligible for a VA pension may qualify for additional benefits if they require the aid and attendance of another person, or are housebound. Since these allowances increase the pension amount, people who are not eligible for a basic pension due to excessive income may be eligible for pension at these increased rates.

Visit the VA’s Aid & Attendance and Housebound web page or watch this short video on Aid & Attendance to learn more about eligibility requirements and how to apply.

Infographic: Adaptive Housing Grants for Veterans

Veterans with service-connected disabilities may qualify for adaptive housing grants to build or modify their home to meet their needs.

Ways that VA adapted housing grants can be used to modify veterans' homes.

Ways that VA adapted housing grants can be used to modify veterans' homes. View a larger version of the infographic.

  • Make Yourself at Home: VA’s Adapted Housing Grants for Disabled Veterans

    Did You Know?

    VA offers monetary assistance to veterans with specific service-connected physical disabilities, so they can construct or modify a home to best meet their needs.

    What Renovations Qualify?

    • Bathrooms, kitchens, and bedrooms

    • Covered porches, ramps, and walkways

    • Garages, carports, and passageways

    • Doors, windows, and flooring materials

    • Security items

    • Concrete or asphalt walkways

    • Sliding doors, handrails, and grab bars

    For a full list, contact: sahinfo.vbaco@va.gov

    Who is Eligible?

    Veterans or servicemembers, with a permanent and total service-connected disability, who have experienced one or more of the following conditions:

    • Loss of or loss of use of both arms and/or both legs

    • Blindness in both eyes or only light perception

    • Certain severe burns

    • Certain severe respiratory injuries

    For additional eligibility information, contact: sahinfo.vbaco@va.gov

    How to Apply

    Fill out and submit VA Form 26-4555 at www.eBenefits.va.gov or call 1-800-827-1000 to have a claim form mailed to you.

    To learn more, visit www.benefits.va.gov/homeloans or call 1-800-827-1000

    U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs

    Veterans Benefits Administration

Adapted Housing Grants for Veterans with Disabilities

Veterans with certain service-connected disabilities and disabilities resulting from aging can apply for special housing grants from the Department of Veterans Affairs.

  • If you have a severe, service-connected disability, you may qualify for a Specially Adapted Housing (SAH) or a Special Housing Adaptation (SHA) grant to build an adapted home or install ramps, widen doors, or make other modifications to live more independently.

    • If you qualify for an SAH or SHA grant but are living temporarily in a family member’s home, you may be able to get a Temporary Residence Adaptation (TRA) grant to make necessary changes to your relative’s home.

  • You may be eligible for a Home Improvements and Structural Alterations (HISA) grant to make medically necessary home improvements and structural alterations whether your disability is service-connected or not.

Vehicle Modifications and Training for Veterans with Disabilities

The Department of Veterans Affairs helps eligible veterans with disabilities modify their vehicles.

  • If you’re a service member or veteran with a service-connected disability, you may qualify for an automobile allowance. The allowance can pay for automobile adaptive equipment (AAE) and a one-time automobile grant to help pay for a vehicle.

  • If you’re a veteran with a non-service connected disability, you may be eligible for the Vehicle Modifications program. This program helps pay for equipment such as vehicle lifts and wheelchair tie-downs. It does not cover operational equipment like hand controls.

Find answers to specific questions about the Automobile Adaptive Equipment (AAE) and Vehicle Modifications programs.

Learn more about modifying a vehicle for a disability.

VA Driver Rehabilitation Program

Veterans who are eligible for either program are also eligible for driver training at VA locations around the country. Instructors use specially-adapted vehicles to train vets and service members with various disabilities.

Other services may include a pre-driving assessment, a behind-the-wheel assessment, and an equipment evaluation.

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Last Updated: November 19, 2018