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 able to get VA disability benefits or compensation if you have a current illness or injury (known as a condition) that affects your body or mind and you meet at least one of the requirements listed below.
Both of these must be true. You:
- Served on active duty, active duty for training, or inactive duty training, and
- Have a disability rating for your service-connected condition
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
- Had an illness or injury before you joined the military—and serving made it worse (called a preservice disability claim), or
- 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 disabilitiesIf you have a disability that’s been diagnosed by a doctor and that we consider to be related to your military service because of a specific aspect of that service, you may be able to get disability benefits based on this presumed disability. This usually applies to:
- A chronic (long-lasting) illness that appears within one year after discharge, or
- An illness caused by contact with contaminants (toxic chemicals) or other hazardous materials, or
- An illness caused by your time spent as a prisoner of war (POW)
- 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:
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)
- 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)
Get more information
Watch our Compensation 101 videos to learn more about how VA disability compensation works: