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Eligibility for VA disability benefits

VA disability compensation provides tax-free monthly payments. If you have a service-connected condition, you may be eligible for compensation. A service-connected condition means an illness or injury that was caused by—or got worse because of—your active military service. Keep reading to find out if you may be eligible.

The PACT Act expands benefit access for Veterans exposed to burn pits and other toxic substances

The PACT Act is a new law that expands access to VA health care and benefits for Veterans exposed to burn pits and other toxic substances. This law helps us provide generations of Veterans—and their survivors—with the care and benefits they've earned and deserve.

Learn how the PACT Act may affect your VA benefits and care

Am I eligible for VA disability compensation?

You may be eligible for VA disability benefits or compensation if you meet both of these requirements.

Both of these must be true:

  • You have a current illness or injury (known as a condition) that affects your mind or body, and
  • You served on active duty, active duty for training, or inactive duty training

And at least one of these must be true:

  • You got sick or injured while serving in the military—and can link this condition to your illness or injury (called an in-service disability claim), or
  • You had an illness or injury before you joined the military—and serving made it worse (called a pre-service disability claim), or
  • You have a disability related to your active-duty service that didn’t appear until after you ended your service (called a post-service disability claim)

Presumptive conditions

For some conditions, we automatically assume (or “presume”) that your service caused your condition. We call these presumptive conditions.

If you have a presumptive condition, you don’t need to prove that your service caused the condition. You only need to meet the service requirements for the presumption.

Find out more about these categories of presumptive conditions:

What should I do if I received an other than honorable, bad conduct, or dishonorable discharge?

If you’ve received one of these discharge statuses, you may not be eligible for VA disability benefits.

There are 2 ways you can try to qualify:

How do I file a claim for compensation?

You can file a claim online now. You can also file by mail, in person, or with the help of a trained professional.

File for disability compensation online now

Learn about other ways to file a disability compensation claim

What conditions are covered by these benefits?

You may be able to get VA disability benefits for conditions like these:

  • Chronic (long-lasting) back pain resulting in a current diagnosed back disability
  • Breathing problems resulting from a current lung condition or lung disease
  • Severe hearing loss
  • Scar tissue
  • Loss of range of motion (problems moving your body)
  • Ulcers
  • Cancers or other conditions caused by contact with toxic chemicals or other dangers

You may also be able to get VA disability benefits for conditions like these:

  • Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  • Traumatic brain injury (TBI)

Get more information

Go to our Compensation 101 videos to learn more about how VA disability compensation works:

Compensation 101: What is disability compensation? (YouTube)

Compensation 101: What is service connection? (YouTube)