Honorably discharged veterans from every branch of service may apply for benefits from the United States Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). Many VA programs offer financial, educational, and healthcare benefits to help eligible veterans and their dependents.
However, not all veterans benefits are automatic. Many veterans have difficulties initiating the process and completing the extensive paperwork, which can feel overwhelming. If you are a veteran or a family member of a veteran, a Michigan VA benefits lawyer can help you determine which benefits apply to your situation and how to access them. A VA benefits lawyer can also help if you face a denial of benefits. Contact the Disability Law Group for a free, no-obligation consultation.
Types of VA Benefits
In return for honorably serving our country, veterans could receive several types of compensatory benefits from the VA. Not all benefits apply to each veteran, and the monetary amounts may vary. Here is an overview of VA benefits:
- Disability compensation – This is a monthly tax-exempt payment made to veterans who were disabled by an injury or illness incurred during or aggravated by active military service. The severity of the disability dictates the amount of compensation.
- Dependency and indemnity compensation (DIC) – DIC is a monetary, tax-exempt benefit that is paid to eligible surviving spouses, children, or parents of military service members who either died in the line of duty or during training or veterans whose death resulted from a service-related injury or disease.
- Special monthly compensation (SMC) – SMC is an additional benefit paid to veterans, their spouses, surviving spouses, and parents who require aid and attendance by another person or are housebound. It is tax-exempt.
- Education and training – Veterans and their dependents can receive benefits for education and training using the post-9/11 GI Bill. This benefit covers the total cost of in-state tuition and fees at public colleges and universities or up to a certain amount at private or foreign schools.
- Home loans – VA Home Loans help service members, veterans, and eligible surviving spouses to buy, build, repair, retain, or adapt a home for personal occupancy.
- Special claims – Veterans and their dependents can also apply for additional disability benefits, such as an automobile allowance for veterans whose disability is service-connected and who need adaptive devices to drive.
Disability compensation is for veterans injured or who become sick while on active duty and veterans whose service worsened an existing condition. The amount of disability compensation depends on the degree of their service-related condition and the veteran’s number of dependents.
VA disability benefits are for physical and mental health conditions, including:
- Traumatic brain injury
- Loss of limb
- Visual or hearing impairment
- Neurological issues
- Exposure to toxins, like burn pits or Agent Orange
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
Veterans disability benefits are for former service members with an honorable discharge or whose separation from active duty meets VA guidelines. If you have a different type of discharge, it is possible to apply for a discharge upgrade or request a review. A Michigan VA benefits attorney can provide further information.
Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (DIC)
Surviving spouses, children, or parents of a service member who passed away in the line of duty may qualify for a tax-free monetary benefit known as Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (DIC). This benefit is also for the survivor of a veteran who succumbed to a service-related injury or illness.
The DIC amount depends on whether you are a surviving spouse, child, or parent. The VA needs evidence of your relationship and the circumstances of the veteran’s death, which might include:
- Military service records
- Medical test results
- Doctor’s reports
- Marriage certificate
- Birth certificate
A VA benefits lawyer in Michigan can help you compile the necessary documents to apply for DIC.
Special Monthly Compensation (SMC)
The VA’s Special Monthly Compensation (SMC) is for veterans, their spouses, surviving spouses, and parents who need aid and attendance by another person are qualified because of a specific disability (like the loss of use of a hand or a leg), or are housebound due to a service-related disability. This compensation is additional to the regular VA disability compensation and requires proof of eligibility. The SMC to help cover the additional support and assistance for veterans with exceptional needs, such as:
- Caregiver services to assist with a veteran’s activities of daily living (bathing, dressing, feeding, etc.)
- Financial assistance for loss of limbs, blindness, or immobility due to a service-related condition
Like VA disability benefits, SMC compensation varies, depending on the disability, needs, and dependents (if any) of the qualifying veteran.
Claims Based on Special Circumstances
The VA recognizes that veterans and their family members might have special circumstances. Even if your disability is not linked to military service, you may still qualify for disability compensation or other benefits. Veterans with a disability resulting from an illness or injury caused or aggravated by active-duty service may be eligible for special compensation, such as:
- Automobile allowance for a specially equipped vehicle or to pay to modify your existing vehicle
- Birth defects disability benefits for children born to parents exposed to specific chemicals
- Clothing allowance for clothes damaged by a prosthetic or orthopedic device
- Temporary disability payments for those recovering from surgery or treatment resulting in immobilization
- Dental care provided through the VA
- Compensation for hospital stays for a service-connected disability at a VA or VA-approved hospital
- Individual unemployability based on service-connected disability
Contact a VA Benefits Lawyer in Michigan
Applying for VA benefits is a complex and time-consuming process. You must have the required documentation and fill out many forms. A single mistake in the application process or a missing document can lead to delays or even denial of benefits.
A Michigan VA benefits lawyer can help you understand the eligibility criteria for different VA benefits, guide you through the application process, and help you collect all the necessary documents. If the VA denies your claim, a VA lawyer in Michigan can help you appeal the decision and represent you in hearings or before the Board of Veterans’ Appeals.
Disability Law Group recognizes the sacrifices that veterans made for our country. We focus on helping disabled veterans and their dependents pursue the compensation they need. We work tirelessly on your behalf and keep you updated on the status of your case. For a free consultation about VA disability and other benefits, contact Disability Law Group today.