VETERANS: VA BENEFITS

Marc Thurston

Veteran Service Representative

marcthurston@mac.com

Marc Thurston is a Southern California Chapter 14 Member and an accredited VA Service Representative.  He has undergone the training process and is recognized by VA as our VSO capable of assisting claimants with their affairs before VA. 

If you have questions or need help with a VA claim, please contact Marc at: (818) 621-9055.

Additional Benefits for 100% Disabled Veterans

Information provided by Marc Thurston / Chapter 14 Meeting on February 22, 2020

Source: CCK,LTD January 2020

What is a 100% VA Disability Rating?

VA assigns disability ratings to veterans with service-connected conditions.  A disability rating is based on how severe the veteran’s condition is and how the disability impairs their earning capacity.  VA disability ratings range from 0 to 100 percent using VA’s Schedule for Rating Disabilities (VASRD).  When a veteran has multiple service-connected conditions, each with its own disability rating, VA combines them together using “VA Math.” Importantly, a veteran’s combined disability rating determines the amount of monthly compensation they will receive.

As mentioned above, VA will assign a disability rating based on the severity of a service-connected condition.  100 percent is the highest possible schedular disability rating there is.  There are two ways in which a veteran may be assigned a 100 percent schedular disability rating.  Either the veteran has one service-connected condition that meets the 100 percent rating criteria specified for that condition, or the veteran has multiple service-connected conditions whose individual disability ratings combine to 100 percent.  As of December 2019, the compensation rate for a 100 percent VA disability rating is $3,106.04.  However, 100 percent disabled veterans may be entitled to additional benefits as well (see below).

Priority Group 1 for Health Care

When you apply for VA health care, VA will assign you to 1 of 8 priority groups.  These priority groups are based on the following:

  • Your military service history;

  • Your VA disability rating;

  • Your income level;

  • Whether you qualify for Medicaid; and

  • Other benefits you may be receiving (e.g., VA pension benefits)

 

Veterans with service-connected disabilities are given the highest priority.  Importantly, veterans with a 100 percent VA disability rating meet the eligibility requirements for Health Care Priority Group 1.  This group includes the following benefits:

  • Preventive care

  • Inpatient (hospitalization) services

  • Ancillary services

  • Mental health care

  • Home health care

  • Geriatrics and extended care

  • Medical equipment/prosthetic items and aids

  • Medications/supplies

  • Dental care

  • Nursing home placement

  • Medically related travel benefits

  • Eyeglasses

  • Hearing aids

  • Automotive adaptive equipment (under certain conditions)

  • Home improvement and structural alteration grants (under certain conditions)

  • Clothing allowance benefits (under certain conditions)

  • Dependents’ health care (if not eligible under TRICARE)

  • Emergency care at a non-VA facility (under certain conditions)

  • Foreign medical care (for service-connected and secondary conditions)

 

Dental Care Benefits for 100 Percent Disabled Veterans

If you qualify for VA dental care benefits, you may be able to get some or all of your dental care through VA.  The eligibility for outpatient dental care is somewhat different from the eligibility requirements for most other VA medical benefits.  Specifically, eligibility for VA dental care is categorized into classes.  The class you are in determines the benefits you will receive.  Veterans with 100 percent disability ratings are categorized into Class IV.  Importantly, these veterans are eligible for any needed dental care.

Specially Adapted Housing Program Benefits

The Specially Adapted Housing (SAH) program offers grants to veterans with certain severe service-connected disabilities (which are typically rated 100 percent disabling).  The grants assist with building, remodeling, or purchasing an adapted home.  This can provide independent living that might not otherwise be possible.  The current maximum grant amount is $90,364.  Again, it must be used for the purpose of constructing or modifying a home to meet adaptive needs.  To be eligible for SAH grants, veterans must be entitled to disability compensation due to:

  • Loss or loss of use of both legs (i.e., unable to move around without the aid of braces, crutches, canes, or a wheelchair)

  • Blindness in both eyes, plus loss or loss of use of one leg

  • Loss or loss of use of one leg, and:

    • Residuals of organic disease or injury or

    • Loss or loss of use of one arm, affecting balance and ability to move without aid

  • Loss or loss of use of both arms at or above the elbows

  • Severe burn injury

 

Dependents Education Assistance Program

The Survivors’ and Dependents’ Educational Assistance (DEA) program offers education and training opportunities to eligible dependents of veterans who are permanently and totally (i.e., 100 percent) disabled due to a service-connected condition, currently receiving TDIU benefits, or who died while on active duty, or as a result of a service-connected condition.  DEA benefits may be used for degree and certificate programs, apprenticeship, and on-the-job training.  Dependents may receive up to 45 months of education benefits, if they began using the program before August 1, 2018.  If they began the program on or after August 1, 2018, they have 36 months to use the benefits.

Space-A Flights for 100 Percent Disabled Veterans

In 2018, Congress signed the John S. McCain National Defense Authorization Act, in which 100 percent disabled veterans became eligible for Space Available Travel (Space-A flights).  Veterans and their families can use Space-A flights to travel around the country and world at little to no cost.  To be eligible for Space-A flights, veterans must have a permanent and total service-connected condition.  These veterans must also obtain a DD Form 2765, “Department of Defense/Uniformed Services Identification and Privilege Card (TAN)”.  The Space-A Program fills surplus capacity and seating on Department of Defense aircraft.  Disabled veterans are in priority group 6, meaning active duty service members on emergency leave, post-deployment respite, and other important transportation needs will have priority.  As such, disabled veterans should have a contingency plan in case of a scheduling change or sudden unavailability.  Nonetheless, the Space-A program offers 100 percent disabled veterans the chance to travel with ease.  Eligible veterans looking for flights should review schedules through Air Mobility Command (AMC).  Most AMC terminals, on military bases or at commercial airports, have a Facebook page that posts flight schedules and seat availability.  Once a flight and destination are selected, the veteran can register in person at the terminal, or by email/fax.

Commissary and Exchange Benefits for 100 Percent Disabled Veterans

100 percent disabled veterans can present their Veteran Health Identification Card to gain entry to Department of Defense (DoD) and Coast Guard installations, some commissary stores, and at the point of sale at commissaries, exchanges, and Morale, Welfare, and Recreation (MWR) retail activities to complete their transactions.  This allows veterans to access tax-free shopping and added discounts when shopping on-post.  Shopping at base commissaries for important food items can be a money-saving experience for veterans.  Some shoppers and military websites claim savings as high as 30 percent over civilian grocery chains.

Other State-Offered Benefits for Veterans with 100 Percent Disability Ratings

100 percent disabled veterans should also look into other state-offered benefits, such as those associated with property taxes and vehicle registration.  Veterans with 100 percent disability ratings may request a property tax waiver, although each state may have different qualification requirements.  Veterans may also qualify for free vehicle registration depending on where they live.

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Veterans Benefits Administration Home

https://www.benefits.va.gov

Veterans Benefits Administration provides financial and other forms of assistance to veterans and their dependents. This page provides links to benefit information and services.

SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA CHAPER 14

173rd Airborne Brigade Association

PO Box 5482, El Monte, CA 91734

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