2018 VA Disability Compensation RatesDisabled veterans can qualify for monetary payments, known as service-connected disability benefit, through the VA if they were wounded or diagnosed with a disease or illness stemming from their time during active duty with the US military. Depending on their situation, there are many different compensation rates that one could gain.

Every single veteran has a different story—and that’s something the VA knows. That’s why every single service-connected disability case the VA who has given military service qualifies for their disability compensation program is different and unique. Each one is said to be chosen based off of the veteran’s experience and disability while also taking into consideration their health and lifestyle living with their disability. With that said, the compensation rates do reflect the different levels of disabilities that veterans face on a daily basis, with a rating system that shows what those who are severely disabled from their active duty can gain in compensation for their heroic service.

For the purposes of the percentages and monetary amounts in this article, the figures that are being used are relative to the 2018 data, which took effect on December 1, 2017. In 2018, the compensation rates have raised slightly than in earlier years, bringing new numbers and monthly payments to the VA disability benefits system.

In this article, we’re going to break down everything about the VA disability benefits system while also talking about the new compensation rates for 2018.

The benefits

The VA offers many different benefits and benefit systems, depending on a veteran’s given situation and dependency status. We will talk about the primary benefit systems here: The Disability Compensation, the Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (DIC), the Special Monthly Compensation (SMC), and other benefits that VA members may be eligible to apply for.

First, let’s discuss the Disability Compensation.  This benefit system is available to veterans who qualify. To qualify, one must be a veteran who has a disability, injury, or disease that resulted from an event or their overall time being an active military member. This compensation is paid after service is completed in a tax-free monetary payment. Usually, the amount of financial paymentmade to disabled veterans depends on the injury and disability itself, as well as the degree of impairment. This compensation is also made to amount for loss of work and potential illnesses that may later arise from this disability.

Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (DIC) is a monetary benefit system. This system sends financial payments to the surviving family (either surviving child, spouse, or parent) of a servicemember who died while they were on active duty (in any capacity) while they were in the military. This also includes the surviving family of a military service veteran that died from service-connected disabilities. This benefit system is also a tax-free monetary payment system.

The Special Monthly Compensation (SMC) is a benefit system available for veterans who are in need of aid because of exceptional circumstances, such as the loss of use of a hand or a leg. This monetary compensation is higher than the average disability compensation and can be paid to veterans, their children, their spouses, or their parents.

Other benefits provided to veterans through the VA include (but are not limited to) mortgage and life insurance, adapted housing grants to help those with disabilities, and disabled servicemembers insurance.

2018 VA Disability Compensation Rates

Rates (No Dependents): 10% – 20%

Basic Rates – 10%- 100% Combined Degree Only
Effective 12/1/17

Without Children With Children
30% – 60% 30% – 60%
70% – 100% 70% – 100%


10% – 20% (No Dependents)

Percentage Rate
10% $136.24
20% $269.30


30% – 60% Without Children

Dependent Status 30% 40% 50% 60%
Veteran Alone $417.15 $600.90 $855.41 $1,083.52
Veteran with Spouse Only $466.15 $666.90 $937.41 $1,182.52
Veteran with Spouse & One Parent $505.15 $719.90 $1,003.41 $1,261.52
Veteran with Spouse and Two Parents $544.15 $772.90 $1,069.41 $1,340.52
Veteran with One Parent $456.15 $653.90 $921.41 $1,162.52
Veteran with Two Parents $495.15 $706.90 $987.41 $1,241.52
Additional for A/A spouse (see footnote b) $46.00 $61.00 $76.00 $91.00


70% – 100% Without Children

Dependent Status 70% 80% 90% 100%
Veteran Alone $1,365.48 $1,587.25 $1,783.68 $2,973.86
Veteran with Spouse Only $1,481.48 $1,719.25 $1,932.68 $3,139.67
Veteran with Spouse and One Parent $1,574.48 $1,825.25 $2,051.68 $3,272.73
Veteran with Spouse and Two Parents $1,667.48 $1,931.25 $2,170.68 $3,405.79
Veteran with One Parent $1,458.48 $1,693.25 $1,902.68 $3,106.92
Veteran with Two Parents $1,551.48 $1,799.25 $2,021.68 $3,239.98
Additional for A/A spouse (see footnote b) $106.00 $122.00 $137.00 $152.06


30% – 60% With Children

Dependent Status 30% 40% 50% 60%
Veteran with Spouse and Child $503.15 $714.90 $998.41 $1,255.52
Veteran with Child Only $450.15 $644.90 $910.41 $1,149.52
Veteran with Spouse, One Parent and Child $542.15 $767.90 $1,064.41 $1,334.52
Veteran with Spouse, Two Parents and Child $581.15 $820.90 $1,130.41 $1,413.52
Veteran with One Parent and Child $489.15 $697.90 $976.41 $1,228.52
Veteran with Two Parents and Child $528.15 $750.90 $1,042.41 $1,307.52
Add for Each Additional Child Under Age 18 $24.00 $32.00 $41.00 $49.00
Each Additional Schoolchild Over Age 18 (see footnote a) $79.00 $106.00 $133.00 $159.00
Additional for A/A spouse (see footnote b) $46.00 $61.00 $76.00 $91.00


70% – 100% With Children

Dependent Status 70% 80% 90% 100%
Veteran with Spouse and Child $1,566.48 $1,816.25 $2,041.68 $3,261.10
Veteran with Child Only $1,442.48 $1,675.25 $1,882.68 $3,084.75
Veteran with Spouse, One Parent and Child $1,659.48 $1,922.25 $2,160.68 $3,394.16
Veteran with Spouse, Two Parents and Child $1,752.48 $2,028.25 $2,279.68 $3,527.22
Veteran with One Parent and Child $1,535.48 $1,781.25 $2,001.68 $3,217.81
Veteran with Two Parents and Child $1,628.48 $1,887.25 $2,120.68 $3,350.87
Add for Each Additional Child Under Age 18 $57.00 $65.00 $74.00 $82.38
Each Additional Schoolchild Over Age 18 (see footnote a) $186.00 $212.00 $239.00 $266.13
Additional for A/A spouse (see footnote b) $106.00 $122.00 $137.00 $152.06


What are service-related disabilities?

To qualify for any type of VA disability compensation program, you need to have proof or evidence that you have become disabled or acquired a disease through your time as an active US military member.  Service-related disabilities are just that—disabilities that were gained while one was in service.

If you qualify for disability benefits, you’ll get monthly monetary checks to help with your disability and overall health. Every disability and every veteran receives a different amount, as there are some situations that are worse and more difficult than others. You’ll get a higher compensation if your disability rank is 30% or above, if you have missing limbs, if you have dependents (such as a spouse or children), or if you have a severely disabled spouse or dependent.

It should be worth noting that disabilities and disability compensation are made on a case by case basis. You’ve more than likely heard about the wait time it takes for the VA to approve one of joining their disability compensation benefits program, even if that person is quite obviously disabled from their time in active duty. This is because the VA assesses each person who puts into the programin order to make sure they get the best coverage that is specific to them.

However long it takes for the VA to decide whether a veteran is qualified or not ends up being returned to the vet on a backpaycheck, once they are approved. The money that one would’ve gained during the time they were waiting to be approved by the VA is given to them once they are officially approved, meaning there is no money lost at all.

Disability ratings by the VA

Because each case is made on a case by case basis, there is a rating system that goes from 0% to 100%, based off of the specific disability and situation each individual veteran finds themselves in. The higher the ranking one receives, the more compensation they will receive monthly.

You can, actually, be assigned a 0% disability rate but yet still be qualified for the disability program. A 0% rating means that it has been proven that you have been injured or affected by something that happened during your time as an active military member, there just isn’t any compensation that you will get during this time. Getting a 0% disability rating is still better than not qualifying for the program, though. If in the future, your illness, disease, or injury worsens, you may be able to qualify to move your percentage up and gain monetary compensation for your pain. If you are denied this in the beginning, chances are you’re not going to get any compensation in the future for the same problem.

It should also be noted that the VA, at any time, can decide to reexamine your case and your disability. Disability ratings are temporary and can change over time for a variety of reasons. If the VA decides to review your case and make sure that you’re getting the most accurate of compensations, you’ll get a letter in the mail stating an appointment that you have to attend. It is vital that you visit this appointment, as the VA can lessen, reduce, or even terminate the benefits you receive if you don’t show up. However, if you have an injury or illness that hasn’t gotten better—and instead has gotten worse in all ways—you can mention this in the appointment and possibly even get your rating raised.

Always keep the VA up to date

VA up to date with your healthAlways keep the VA up to date with your health, as it could help you get more compensation and benefits later on in your life. However, you should also make sure to keep the VA up to date with your family, as it may change.

The more dependents you have in your family, such as a spouse and children, the more there is a possibility that your monthly compensation will change. If, when you first applied for the VA disability compensation program, you were single and had no dependents, your rating may be lower than when you marry and have children. If you get married and have children, make sure you notify the VA about these new dependents so they can keep your monthly compensation as accurate to your specific situation as possible.This also means your payments could decrease over time if your dependents decrease as well.

It should be noted that, for the most part, if your disability rating is lower than 20%, the number of dependents you have doesn’t necessarily matter because it more than likely won’t change.

How to apply

If you’re looking to apply and see if you qualify for the VA disability compensation system, the first thing you need to do is apply online. You’re going to need your discharge or separation papers (DD214 or equivalent documents), you’re going to need medical reports and medical evidence of your disability in whatever form that may be, and you’re going to need all of your dependency records, such as your marriage license and children’s birth certificates (if applicable). You’re then going to need to mail in your claim that you are asking for compensation because you are a disabled veteran from your military career.

In order to get the fastest response and to make sure that you get the most amount of money in back pay (when the VA pays you for the time it spent to examine your case and ultimately qualify you for VA disability benefits), make sure that you apply and file a claim before the one year mark of your discharge or separation. When you submit it before this one-year mark, you’ll be able to gain disability benefits from the day of your discharge instead of the day you registered. If you don’t do this and instead submitafter your one-year mark, you’ll instead only get back pay from the first day of the month after you registered. Obviously, you’ll be able to collect more back pay and gain more benefits if you apply and submitbefore that one-year discharge mark.

Filing for VA disability compensation can seem a little hectic but it’s well worth it in the end. While you’re learning more about VA disability benefits, make sure you also check out the VA health care system to help you get the best care possible.