VA Benefits Eligibility Checklist

| July 19, 2011

If you’re wondering whether or not you qualify for certain VA benefits you’re certainly not alone. Don’t feel bad though, understanding the VA rating system can get confusing and downright frustrating. We hope the checklist below helps keep you ahead of the learning curve on a variety of VA benefits and their eligibility requirements.

When the Department of Veterans Affairs issues a rating decision, it is comprised of two main factors. The first part of the decision is establishing whether or not the claimed condition(s) is/are related to military service. The second part of the decision assigns a percentage evaluation or rating to assess the severity of the claimed condition(s). This percentage is what is used to determine how much monetary compensation a veteran will then receive on a monthly basis.

In addition to the monetary award, certain percentages also establish entitlement to various ancillary benefits. This outline serves as a basic reference checklist as to what additional benefits are potentially available to a veteran who has a 100 percent or “total” rating. In some cases, where noted, eligibility of these benefits is based on specialized total ratings.

  • Home Loan Guaranty
    Veterans who can provide proof of service in the military during applicable wartime and peacetime periods, who meet established active duty time requirements and were honorably discharged, may be entitled to a Certificate of Eligibility for a VA – Backed home loan. There is no minimal service-connection rating necessary to determine eligibility.

  • Possible Eligibility for Veterans’ Mortgage Life Insurance (VMLI)
    This is a specialized benefit available only to veterans determined to be eligible for a Specially Adapted Housing Grant. VMLI provides payment of home mortgages of severely disabled veterans upon their demise.

  • Service Disabled Veterans Life Insurance
    A veteran who is granted service-connection for their disability(ies) at any percentage can apply for life insurance. The application must be filed within two years from the date of the Rating Decision from the Department of Veterans Affairs.

  • Possible Waiver of Premiums for VA Life Insurance
    A Veteran who is rated at 100%, is under the age of 65, and whose service-connected disability(ies) prevents them from working may be eligible for a waiver of payment of premiums for their VA life insurance.

  • Concurrent Retirement and Disability Pay (CRDP)
    If you are entitled to Retirement Pay, based on recent changes to the regulations for Concurrent Retirement and Disability Pay (CRDP) if applicable; if you have been assigned a rating of at least 50 percent; and have met certain other criteria requirements you will receive your full CRDP entitlement––with an effective date of your eligible rating.

  • Eligibility for Additional Allowance for Dependents
    A veteran in receipt of VA benefits may receive an additional allowance for eligible dependents. This can include a spouse, dependent children (children under the age of 18, or an unmarried child under the age of 23 if considered a school child, or a child deemed to be a helpless due to a disability or disabilities and incapable of self support.) It can also include dependent parents in certain circumstances. Eligibility for this additional allowance begins at ratings of at least 30 percent.

  • Eligibility for Additional Aid and Attendance Allowance for Disabled Spouse
    If a veteran in receipt of VA benefits who has a spouse who is also living with a disability and is in need of aid and attendance with activities of daily living, an additional allowance may be applied for. Eligibility for this additional allowance begins at ratings of at least 30 percent.

  • Eligibility for Health Care Coverage for Spouse under CHAMPVA
    If a veteran has been in receipt of VA Rating Decision that has established a permanent and total rating, his or her eligible dependents may be entitled to health care services through the CHAMPVA program.
  • Eligibility for Survivors’ and Dependents’ Education Assistance.
    If a veteran has been in receipt of VA Rating Decision that has established a permanent and total rating, his or her eligible dependents may be entitled to Educational Assistance benefits.

  • Eligibility for Education or Training under VA Vocational Rehabilitation
    A veteran rated at least 10% for a service-connected disability may be entitled to education and rehabilitation services through the VR&E Program offered by the DVA.

Certain percentages can also have an effect on entitlement to certain Veterans Health Administration benefits:

  • VHA Medical Treatment
    A veteran may receive medical treatment for any of his / her service-connected disabilities regardless of the rating percentage assigned. A service-connected rating of 50 percent or more, or are determined to be unemployable due to their service-connected disabilities qualifies a veteran to treatment for any condition at a VA Medical Center whether or not the treated condition is service-connected. Additionally, the veteran is eligible for enrollment in VHA Priority Group 1 where co-payments for treatment or prescriptions are waived. A more detailed account of VHA Priority Groups can be found at
    http://www.va.gov/healtheligibility/Library/pubs/EPG/EnrollmentPriorityGroups.pdf

  • VA Fee Basis Outpatient Medical Treatment
    In some cases the VAMC may not have necessary care and / or services available at their location to treat a service-connected condition. The VA may authorize veterans to receive treatment at a private health care facility in this case, or if the veteran is unable to travel the distance to the VA health care facility. Fee basis can pay for many treatments a veteran needs as long as it is related to a service-connected condition. In the case of special circumstances and with prior authorization, they may also pay for nonservice-connected care. Non-VA care must be authorized by the VA in advance. Should you wish to utilize this benefit, you should speak with your primary VA physician first. In some cases there is not a minimal rating percentage requirement.

  • Eligibility for Dental Care
    Dental treatment is available for service-connected dental conditions. For veterans who are rated at 100 percent are eligible to receive all dental treatment at a VA Medical Center regardless of service-connection status of the dental condition.

  • Eligibility for Sensorineural Aids
    The VAMC will provide hearing aids, eyeglasses, and contact lenses whether the condition causing the vision and / or hearing loss is service-connected or not.

  • Eligibility for Long-Term VA Nursing Home Care for Any Condition
    All Veterans enrolled in the VA Health Care system are eligible for long-term VA Nursing Home care. Various rating percentages will establish different levels of care and payment coverage. For a more detailed account of these benefits please visit
    http://www.va.gov/geriatrics/

  • Eligibility for Prosthetic Appliances, Equipment and Devices
    Veterans rated 50 percent or more for service-connected disabilities are entitled to prosthetic equipment and other various durable medical equipment items that are medically necessary. Your physician along with the Prosthetic Department will assist you with ordering these items.

  • Clothing Allowance
    The VA Medical Center provides a yearly monetary benefit to veterans with a service-connected condition that requires the use of a prosthetic or orthopedic appliance or topical prescribed medications that lead to additional wear and tear on clothing. There is no minimal service-connection percentage rating necessary to determine eligibility.

  • Beneficiary Travel
    The VAMC will reimburse you at a designated rate per mile for your transportation to and from VA facility or VA authorized health care facility with regards to your service connected disability.

  • Possible Eligibility for Home Improvement and Structural Alteration (HISA) Home Modification Grant
    This grant is issued by your area VA Medical Center. HISA grants are available to veterans with service-connected disabilities, or veterans with disabilities not related to their military service. These grants provide assistance for any home improvement necessary for the continuation of treatment, or for purposes of allowing access to the home or modifying a bathroom. Eligibility requires a medical determination that improvements and structural alterations are necessary or appropriate for effective and economical treatment of the veteran’s disability. A veteran may receive a HISA grant concurrently with either a SHA or SAH grant. The maximum HISA grant amounts are $6,800 for service-connected veterans and $2,000 for non service-connected veterans. There is no minimal service-connection percentage rating necessary to determine eligibility.

As this is just a generalized list of the main benefits offered by the Department of Veterans Affairs there could possibly be additional benefits that you are entitled to. For further information on these benefits and for assistance with applying for these benefits please be sure to consult your VetsFirst Service Representative.

In addition to these benefits offered by the Department of Veterans Affairs, many States offer their own specific benefits for disabled veterans such as reduced fees on hunting licenses and fishing permits, state park access, property tax exemptions, vehicle license and registration fees, etc. These benefits vary by state and therefore you should contact your local State Agencies for assistance.

Melanie Cercone
Veterans Service Representative

Category: Health Care & Benefits

Comments are closed.