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Monday, November 23, 2009

A-Z Veteran Benefit Information Index

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A-Z Benefit Information Index
Know what you are looking for? Then jump to it by clicking on its first letter in the alphabet shown here: A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M
N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | X Y Z

Apply On-Line | C&P Home Page
References | Fact Sheets | Forms | Military Services | Rate Tables |
Site Map of Compensation & Pension Benefits
Federal Benefits for Veterans and Dependents Pamphlet | VBA Home Page |

Most of our linked documents are in Microsoft Word 6.0.
If you need a free viewer to read those documents, it is available here.

A

Agent Orange
Agent Orange was a defoliant used during the Vietnam War. Some known effects are listed in 38 CFR §3.309(e).

For more detailed information and new changes see: Agent Orange Home Page
See also Spina Bifida below.

AIDS (Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome)
AIDS can qualify as a service connected disability. Improved Pension may also be paid if AIDS is the disability preventing the veteran from working.

For more information see the Veterans Health Administration web site on Public Health Strategic Healthcare Group

Aid & Attendance Allowance
An additional benefit paid to veterans, their spouses, surviving spouses and parents. This allowance is paid in all Compensation, Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (DIC) and Pension Programs. It is paid based on the need of aid and attendance by another person or by specific disability. Special Monthly Compensation (L) can at times be designated an aid & attendance benefit.

Eligibility criteria, see 38 CFR §§3.350 (Special Monthly Compensation), 3.351 (Special monthly Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (DIC), death compensation, pension and spouse's compensation ratings), 3.552 (Determining need for aid & attendance, housebound).
See also Special Monthly Compensation (SMC) below.
Rates, see Special Monthly Compensation (SMC), Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (DIC) - Surviving Spouse or Parents, Improved Pension - Disability or Death.

Appeals
If you do not like a VA decision, most can be appealed. Start by contacting your nearest office.

Appeals are first made to the office that made the decision. A hearing officer or decision review officer usually handles these cases. If the case is still in dispute it is then sent to the Board of Veterans Appeals (BVA). If it is not resolved there, it can be appealed outside the Department of Veterans Affairs to the Court of Appeals for Veteran Claims (CAVC).

VA does not handle CAVC appeals. You must contact CAVC within 120 days from your BVA decision.

Application
OnLine Application's are available for Compensation, Pension and Vocational Rehabilitation & Employment benefits. Your application may need supporting evidence and/or documents. (If any of the evidence is not immediately available, send in the application anyway. The date VA receives your application is important to you, if VA grants your claim. VA benefits payments usually will begin from that date regardless of when the claim is approved.)

See also Forms or contact your nearest office.

Automobile Allowance & Adaptive Equipment
One automobile allowance is payable to certain very disabled veterans. Some reimbursement is possible for adaptive equipment. Check with your nearest office before making any purchases.

Eligibility criteria, see 38 CFR §3.808
Rates, see Special Benefit Allowances Rate Table

B

Birth Defects
There is a monetary allowance under 38 U.S.C. chapter 18 for an individual with disability from covered birth defects whose biological mother is or was a Vietnam veteran.

Eligibility criteria, see 38 CFR §3.815 and TITLE 38, PART II, CHAPTER 18, SUBCHAPTER II, §1812

Burial
Burial benefits include a gravesite in any of our national cemeteries with available space, the opening and closing of the grave, perpetual care, a Government headstone or marker, a burial flag, and a Presidential Memorial Certificate, at no cost to the family.

See the National Cemetery Administration's site.
See also our Fact Sheets for more information.

Eligibility criteria, see 38 CFR §§3.1600 (Table of Contents & Burial), 3.1601 (Claims & Evidence), 3.1602 - 3.1603 (Special conditions governing payments /Authority for burial of certain unclaimed bodies), 3.1604 (Non VA), 3.1605 (VHA), 3.1606 (Transportation), 3.1607 - 3.1609 (Cost of flags /Nonallowable expenses /Forfeiture), 3.1610 - 3.1611 (Burial in National cemeteries /Official Department of Veterans Affairs representation at funeral), 3.1612 (Marker).

Rates, see Burial, Headstone & Plot Rate Table

C

Cemetery
See the National Cemetery Administration's site or Burial above.

CHAMPVA
A health insurance is available from the Veterans Health Administration. See their CHAMPVA website for more information.

Children
Children of veterans receive benefits based on two eligibility factors: (1) whether the benefit program allows for payment for or to children and (2) whether the veteran's relationship to the child can be proven.

Eligibility criteria, see 38 CFR §§3.57 (Child), 3.58 (Child Adopted out of Family), 3.204 (Evidence Requirements), 3.210 (Relationship).
See the specific Benefit Programs for more information: Compensation, Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (DIC), Pension, and Spina Bifida and Children of Vietnam Veterans.
Rates, see the Compensation, Special Monthly Compensation (SMC), Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (DIC), Improved Disability or Death Pension, and Spina Bifida Rate Tables.

Clothing Allowance
Prosthetic appliances and medications have an effect on clothing. If qualified, a veteran can receive a one time or yearly allowance for reimbursement.

Eligibility criteria, see 38 CFR §3.810.
Rates see Special Benefit Allowances Rate Table.

Compensation
This benefit program evaluates disability resulting from all types of diseases and injuries encountered as a result of military service. The degrees of disability that are determined by VA represent, as far as can practicably be determined, the average loss in wages resulting from such diseases and injuries and their complications in civil occupations. Generally, the degrees of disability specified are also designed to compensate for considerable loss of working time from exacerbations or illnesses.

See the Fact Sheets for more information.
Eligibility criteria, see 38 CFR §3.4.

Congressional Medal of Honor
See: Medal of Honor

D

DD Form 214
See Military Discharge below.

Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (DIC)
This benefit program pays a monthly payment to a surviving spouse, child, or parent of a veteran because of a service-connected death of a veteran.

See the Fact Sheets for more information.
Eligibility criteria, see 38 CFR §§3.5, 3.22 (Benefits at Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (DIC) rates in certain cases when death is not service connected).
Restoration of Entitlement

Diabetes Mellitus (Type II)
As a presumptive condition for in-country Vietnam veterans see: Agent Orange Home Pagefor more detailed information.

Disability Compensation
See Compensation above.

Disability Examinations Worksheets
See Examinations below.

Disability Severance Pay
By law, payment of VA compensation and military disability severance pay for the same medical condition or disability is prohibited. VA compensation will be withheld on a monthly basis until the total amount of military severance pay has been recovered.

See Concurrent Benefit and Elections, 38 CFR §3.700.

Drill Pay
See Selected Reserve and National Guard.

E

Education
VA has many educational assistance programs.

See the Fact Sheets for more information.
Or visit the GI Bill web site.

Examinations
Physical examinations, when made by the VA, are done under criteria worked out by both the Veterans Health Administration and Veterans Benefits Administration.

See Disability Examination Worksheets (55 disability examination worksheets).

F

Filipino Veterans
New Philippine Scouts or Commonwealth Army (USAFFE) and Recognized Guerillas

See the Fact Sheets for more information.

Flag
A United States Flag is available at the death of a veteran.

See the Fact Sheets for more information.

Foreign Services Program
See the Foreign Services Homepage

Former Prisoner of War (POW)
Former POWs often underwent experiences that severely affected their lives. VA works with this group of veterans to ensure that their needs are met.

Former POW & their Survivors Home Page
See the Fact Sheets for more information.
Also see 38 CFR §§3.307 (Presumptive service connection for prisoner-of-war related diseases) and 3.309(c) (Disease subject to presumptive service connection)

Forms
VA forms have been organized for your use. Some are available via the web.

An application for benefits is now on-line.
See also Forms or contact your nearest office.

G

Gulf War
The "Gulf War" began on August 2, 1990. Since an end of the conflict has not been declared by Congress, everyone who has been on active duty since it began may qualify as wartime veterans, regardless of duty assignment, when seeking VA benefits.

See Gulf War Veterans' Health.
Also see GulfLink, Defense Technology Information Center.
For undiagnosed illness, see 38 CFR §3.317.

H

Headstone
See the National Cemetery Administration's site or Burial above.

Health Care
For health care and health care issues see the Veterans Health Administration's website.

Also see our Fact Sheets for more information.

Health Care Programs for Elderly Veterans
The Veterans Health Administration offers many health care programs for elderly veterans. See the VHA web site on this issue.

Health Insurance
See CHAMPVA above.

Home Loan
For home loan information see the Loan Guaranty Service's website.

Also see our Fact Sheets for more information.

Homeless
Veterans can be homeless too. We have special programs to help.

See the Fact Sheets for more information.
Also see VA Homeless Program and 3-9-00 Testimony before the Committee on Veteran’s Affairs

Housebound
An additional benefit paid to veterans, their surviving spouses and parents. This allowance is paid in all Compensation, Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (DIC) and Pension Programs. It is paid based on specific disabilities and conditions. It is a lesser additional benefit than Aid & Attendance. Special Monthly Compensation (S) can at times be designated a housebound benefit.

Eligibility criteria, see 38 CFR §§3.351 (Special monthly Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (DIC), death compensation, pension and spouse's compensation ratings), 3.352 (Determining need for aid & attendance, housebound).
Rates, see Special Monthly Compensation (SMC), Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (DIC) - Surviving Spouse or Parents, Improved Pension - Disability or Death.

I | J | K | L

Insurance
For insurance information see the Insurance Service's website.
See also RH Insurance on the Fact Sheet page.
See also CHAMPVA above.

M

Medal of Honor
The Medal of Honor award is paid by Compensation & Pension Service.

Eligibility Criteria, see 38 CFR § 3.802.
Rates see Special Benefit Allowances Rate Table.
U.S. Army Center of Military History Medal of Honor Citations

When clicking the link below, you are now leaving the Department of Veterans Affairs Website
VA does not endorse and is not responsible for the content of the linked website.

The Congressional Medal of Honor Society

Medals
See: Military Awards and Decorations

Medical Records (Other than Service Medical Records)
Those applicants who have medical records to substantiate any and all treatment by private doctors and hospitals are encouraged to submit them with their application to expedite processing.

Merchant Marine
Members of the Merchant Marine are considered veterans.

Eligibility Criteria, see 38 CFR § 3.7.
See: Benefits for Merchant Marines

Website for U.S. Merchant Marine, U.S. Maritime Service, Army Transport Service, Military Sea Transport Service, and Military Sealift Command.

Military Discharge/DD Form 214 - (Copy 4 - Member Copy)
Those applicants who have a copy of their DD-214 are encouraged to provide a copy with their claim to expedite processing. Otherwise, VA will attempt to obtain verification from the service department.

Copies of missing DD Forms 214 may be obtained from the National Personnel Records Center in St. Louis, MO through the NARA web site.
Evidence requirements, see 38 CFR §3.203.

Military Retired Pay
By law, the payment of VA compensation benefits is affected by the receipt of military retired pay. If you receive military retirement, you may initiate a waiver of your retired pay to receive the full amount of VA compensation. Until the waiver takes effect, your compensation will be adjusted or withheld depending on the amount of military retired pay you are entitled to. The advantage of waiving military retired pay for VA compensation is that while VA benefits are reportable for Federal tax purposes, they are not taxable. Check with the IRS web site for more tax information.

See Retirement Pay, 38 CFR §3.750.

Military Services
See our Military Services page for more information.

N

National Guard-Reservist Benefits
See Fact Sheet

O

Outreach
See our Military Services page for more information.
See also the Veterans Health Administration's website.

P

Parent
Parents who are dependent on a veteran with a service-connected disability, or whose child died in-service or from a service-connected disability, may be entitled as dependents on the veterans compensation award or to Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (DIC) if they are in financial need. Parents may be biological, step, adopted, or in loco parentis.

Eligibility criteria, see 38 CFR §§3.5 Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (DIC), 3.59 (Parent), or 3.209 (Birth).
Rates, see Compensation and Parents Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (DIC) Rate Tables.

Pension
Pension is available to veterans, surviving spouses and children, if the veteran has qualifying service and there is financial need. Veterans must also have a qualifying disability which need not be service-connected.

Three pension programs are currently being paid. Only one program is still accepting applications - Improved Disability or Death Pension. Old Law and Section 306 Disability or Death Pensions recipients are protected at the rate they were receiving when their program was superceded by Improved Pension on January 1, 1979.

See Fact Sheets for more information.
Eligibility criteria for Improved Pension, see 38 CFR §§3.3 Pension, 3.23 Improved Pension Rates, 3.342 Permanent and total disability ratings for pension purposes.
Rate Tables, see Improved Disability or Death Pension, Protected Pensions.

Philippines, Veterans from the
See Filipino Veterans

Plot
See the National Cemetery Administration's site or Burial above.

Preference for Employment in the Federal Government
See Veterans' Preference Advisor web site.

Prisoner of War (POW)
See: Former Prisoner of War (POW)

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
PTSD can be a service connected disability. PTSD also qualifies as a disability for entitlement to Improved Pension. For health care information see the Veterans Health Administration website on PTSD.

Q

Qualifying Service
Service is considered qualifying when it meets the requirements set down for each benefit. (See the eligibility criteria in Burial, Compensation, Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (DIC), Pension, or Spina Bifida.) Service may have length, character of discharge, wartime or other requirements.

Eligibility requirements, as above and see also 38 §§CFR 3.1 (Definitions), 3.2 (Periods of War), 3.6 (Duty Periods), 3.7 (Individuals and groups considered to have performed active military,naval, or air service), 3.12 (Character of Discharge), 3.12a (Minimum active-duty service requirement), 3.13 (Discharge to change status), 3.14 (Validity of enlistments), and 3.15 (Computation of Service).

R

Regulations
Our Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) are written based on the United States Code (U.S.C.). The Department of Veterans Affairs is governed by Title 38 in both Codes. Title 38 U.S.C. is precedential, superceding any Title 38 CFR section should either appear to contradict the other. Title 38 CFR can be searched at our WARMS1 website or through the GPO2 website. Title 38 U.S.C. has its own website.

Footnotes: 1Web Automated Reference Materials System; 2Government Printing Office

Reservist-National Guard Benefits
See Fact Sheet

Restoration of Entitlement
Restoration of Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (DIC) Entitlement

Retired Serviceperson's Family Protection Plan (RSFPP)(10 U.S.C. §1431)
Payments received under this plan do not bar concurrent payment of Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (DIC), death compensation or pension and are excluded as income in such cases (38 CFR §3.261 (a)(14)). Contact the respective military payment center.

(RSFPP) Retired Serviceperson's Family Protection Plan
See Retired Serviceperson's Family Protection Plan (RSFPP)

S

SBP (Survivor Benefit Plan)
See Survivor Benefit Program (SBP)

SBP-MIW (Survivor Benefit Plan - Minimum Income Annuity)
See Survivor Benefit Program (SBP)

Selected Reserve and National Guard
By law, if you are an active member of the Selected Reserve or National Guard, your VA compensation will be withheld at the rate of one day of pay for each drill period served. Also, VA compensation is not payable while serving full-time on active duty.

See Concurrent Benefit and Elections, 38 CFR §3.700.

Service Connection
Service connection for a disability or death is established through many ways. The four most common are:

1. Disability or death was incurred in military service. 38 CFR §§3.303, 3.304
2. Aggravation of a before service disability during service. 38 CFR §3.306
3. Presumption that the disease or disability was incurred in military service. 38 CFR §§3.307, 3.308, 3.309
4. Because of a service-connected disability, a secondary condition has occurred. 38 CFR §3.310

Service connection of a disease or disability is necessary before disability compensation can be paid.

Service Medical Records
Those applicants who have their service medical records are encouraged to submit them with their application to expedite processing. Otherwise, VA will contact the service department to obtain them.

Sexual Trauma
See Women's Issues below. This information is stored under "women", but it applies to both sexes.
Also see Compensation Benefits for Sexual Trauma Fact Sheet

Social Security Administration
Social Security Administration (SSA) and VA often serve the same people at the same time. To prevent mispayment (under payment as well as overpayment), the VA works closely with SSA.

We also share medical information but only with the person's permission.
SSA benefits (retirement or disability) are counted as income for VA purposes (IVAP). But SSI (Supplemental Security Income) benefits are not.
It is mandatory that anyone placing a claim with VA provides their Social Security number (if they have one) (38 CFR §3.216).

Links to Social Security Administrations web sites are listed below:

* Disability Information (SSA)
* Employment Support (SSA)
* How to Apply for Disability Social Security
* How to Apply for Retirement Social Security
* How to (do anything with SSA)
* Supplemental Security Income (SSI)

Social Security Number - Mandatory Disclosure
See 38 CFR §3.216 and 38 U.S.C. §5101.

Specially Adapted Housing/Special Home Adaptions
A veteran may be entitled to a Specially Adapted Housing or Special Home Adaptions based on a service-connected disability.

Eligibility criteria, see 38 CFR §§3.809 Specially Adapted Housing, 3.809a (Special Home Adaptions).
See also the Loan Guaranty Service's website.

Special Compensation for Severely Disabled Uniformed Services Retirees
Special compensation for severely disabled uniformed services retirees is authorized by Section 658, PL 106-65. This benefit will be administered by the Department of Defense (DoD). This benefit is not paid by VA.

More information, see Compensation & Pension Service's Fast Letter 99-124.

Special Monthly Compensation (SMC)
Special Monthly Compensation (SMC) is a rate paid in addition to (i.e., SMC (K)) or in place of 0% to 100% combined degree compensation. To qualify, a veteran must be disabled beyond a combined degree percentage or due to special circumstances (i.e., aid and attendance, loss of use of one hand, etc.). SMCs are referred to by the letters (K) through (R.2). These alphabetic designations follow the paragraph numbering system in 38 U.S.C. §1114 (also see references to that in 38 CFR §3.350 below).

Eligibility criteria, see 38 CFR §3.350 (Special Monthly Compensation)
Rates, see Special Monthly Compensation (SMC)

Special Monthly Pension (SMP)
Special Monthly Pension (SMP) is either the aid and attendance or housebound allowance.

Rates, see Improved Disability or Death Pension.

Special Separation Benefit (SSB)
VA compensation will be withheld in full until the amount of the SSB has been recovered.

See Concurrent Benefit and Elections, 38 CFR §3.700

Spina Bifida
The Veterans’ Benefits Act of 1997 granted benefits for children of Vietnam veterans who were suffering from spina bifida (38 U.S.C. §1805).

Eligibility criteria, see 38 CFR §3.814.
See also the Veterans Health Administration web site for Spina Bifida and our new Agent Orange Home Page.

Spouse/Surviving Spouse
The veteran or parent may receive benefits for a dependent spouse. The surviving spouse of a veteran may be entitled to benefits.

Eligibility criteria for Spouse, see 38 CFR §§3.1(j) (Marriage), 3.50 (Spouse and surviving spouse), 3.204 (Evidence of dependents and age), 3.205 (Marriage), 3.206 (Divorce), 3.207 (Void or annulled marriage), 3.211 (Death), and 3.213 (Change of status affecting entitlement)
Eligibility criteria for Surviving Spouse, see all of the above and 38 CFR §§3.52 (Marriages deemed valid), 3.53 (Continous cohabitation), 3.54 (Marriage dates), 3.55 (Terminated marital relationships), 3.60 (Definition of "living with"), 3.214 (Court Decisions; unremarried widows), and 3.215 (Termination of marital relationship or conduct).
See the specific Benefit Programs for more information: Compensation, Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (DIC), and Pension. See also Survivors and Eligible Dependents VA Benefits
Rates, see the Compensation, Special Monthly Compensation (SMC), Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (DIC), and Improved Disability or Death Pension Rate Tables.
Restoration of Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (DIC) Entitlement

Survivor and Eligible Dependents VA Benefits
Please see Survivors and Eligible Dependents VA Benefits

Survivor Benefit Plan (SBP)
Since September 21, 1972, the Survivor Benefit Plan has been available for retired service personnel and commissioned officers of the Public Health Service. Eligible persons designate all or a part of retired pay as a basis for survivor's annuity. Eligible surviving spouses of military retirees who did not participate in the plan and who died prior to September 21, 1973 are eligible for SBP-MIW (Survivor Benefit Plan - Minimum Income Annuity). To be eligible the surviving spouse must not be remarried, must be eligible for VA death pension, and must have income for VA purposes, excluding any SBP annuity, of less than the MIW-SBP annuity limitation.

Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (DIC): SBP survivor's annuity to a surviving spouse is subject to reduction or discontinuance if the spouse becomes eligible for Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (DIC). Concurrent payment of SBP and Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (DIC) to children or parents is not prohibited. Contact the respective military payment center.

Pension: Any payments under MIW-SBP is income for VA purposes. See 38 CFR §3.261 (a)(14) and §3.271.

T | U

Transition Assistance Program
See Seamless Transition.

Transportation
See the National Cemetery Administration's site or Burial above.

V

Vocational Rehabilitation
When a veteran is found to be disabled we offer vocational rehabilitation as one of the additional benefits.

See the Vocational Rehabilitation & Employment Service's website for more information.

Voluntary Separation Incentive (VSI)
Your annual VSI payment will be reduced by an amount equal to the amount of VA compensation paid for the same period.

See Concurrent Benefit and Elections, 38 CFR §3.700.

W | XYZ

Wartime
See Qualifying Service above.

Women's Issues
See our Women Veterans Issues Homepage
See VA's web site Programs & Initiatives for Women Veterans

Return to Top

To inquire concerning the status of your compensation, Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (DIC), pension, burial, clothing allowance, automobile, specially adapted housing, or spina bifida claim or to ask any general Compensation & Pension (C&P) benefit question, you may call our toll-free number:

1-800-827-1000

For an answer to a benefits question go to:
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Reviewed/Updated Date: November 8, 2009

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