Should You File a VA Disability Claim?

Should You File a VA Disability Claim?


For many transitioning from active duty to post-military-service life, filing a disability claim with the VA is one of the furthest thoughts from our minds. There are many reasons for this: not wanting to be viewed as a “disabled veteran” at a young age; the feeling that other servicemembers are more deserving of disability pay than someone who does not have visible or obvious injuries; or even the fact one might not need the additional pay because retirement pay or post-service salary is more than adequate. However, there are so many reasons to set aside those biases and file a VA disability claim as soon as possible when transitioning. 

To obtain a VA disability rating, the VA must find a veteran has a current disability that either began in military service or was the result of some incident or injury in service. The longer a veteran takes to file a disability claim with the VA, the more difficult it is to prove a current disability is related to service, due to the time elapsed. The closer in time to service a VA disability is claim is filed, the easier it will be to prove the connection to service, because there will be fewer potential intervening causes to which a condition might be attributed. ( Read more about the process for filing a claim.)

Besides the potential benefit of tax-free disability compensation, a VA disability rating also might carry other important benefits such as:

  • medical care for service-connected disabilities;
  • veteran’s preference in federal hiring;
  • not funding fee for the VA Home Loan Guaranty benefit; and
  • tax exemption in some states and localities and offering of in-state college tuition to children of disabled veterans.

MOAA offers information and advice on the VA disability compensation and appeals processes as well as other benefits offered by the VA. Check out MOAA archived webinars.