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Eligibility for VA disability benefits

Review VA disability benefits eligibility criteria to find out if you can get disability compensation for an illness or injury that was caused by—or got worse because of—your active military service. Compensation may include financial support and other benefits like health care.

Am I eligible for VA disability compensation?

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

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 inservice disability claim), or
  • You had an illness or injury before you joined the military—and serving made it worse (called a preservice 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 postservice disability claim)

Presumed disabilities

Who’s covered?

  • Veterans
  • Qualified dependents

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:

Find out how to apply for a discharge upgrade
Learn about the VA Character of Discharge review process

Checking your application status.

What conditions are covered by these benefits?

You may be able to get VA disability benefits for conditions such as:

  • 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 caused by contact with toxic chemicals or other dangers

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

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

Get more information about conditions that may be covered

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)

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