Whether you are seeking VA benefits or have already been receiving them, you may want to know a little more about what goes into that number on your paycheck. What affects your VA disability pay? It turns out, a whole lot, and Tabak Law can help walk you through those factors.
Are VA Benefit Amounts Different Than SSDI?
VA disability benefits work a lot differently than SSDI when it comes to determining your pay. SSDI is solely based on income. There are no disability levels and no considerations for the specifics of your living situation or your disability itself. Some disabilities do get treated differently with SSDI when it comes to how much additional income you can earn and how soon you can collect benefits, but nothing except your work history affects your actual payout.
Read More: What Does the PACT Act Mean for Veterans Seeking Benefits?
Factors That Change Your VA Benefits
In total there are six factors that work together to determine your VA benefit amount. They are disability rating, marital status, dependant parents, dependant children, children in school over the age of 18, and if you have a spouse that requires aid and attendance. We will cover each of these below.
- Disability Rating—Ranging from 30% to 100%, this is the one you are likely most familiar with and it’s by far the largest factor in determining your benefit.
- Marital Status—If you are married, you will earn a little bit more to your benefit.
- Dependant Parents—If you have one or two parents that have become your dependants, this will also increase your benefit. The number of parents that are dependent does matter.
- Dependant Children—Each dependant child will also increase your benefit amount.
- Children in School Over the Age of 18—When your children go to college, you still get to claim them for your VA benefits at least while they maintain their attendance with the school, and the amounts are different than just normal dependant children.
- Spouse Requiring Aid and Attendance—If your spouse needs help performing daily activities, then you may also qualify for an additional benefit.
What Else Can Increase Your VA Benefit?
All the factors listed above have to do with your disability and your family, but there is one more factor that exists outside of that. It’s called the COLA or cost of living adjustment. You will hear about this every year in October, and you will see it reflected on your checks in the following year. This is the same COLA that affects Social Security retirement and disability.
This is a percent increase that’s essentially based on inflation. It’s worth noting though that the COLA can never be negative so it can only either increase your benefit or make it stay the same. Since the COLA was first instituted back in 1975, it has only been 0% a total of three times, and for 2023, you will see the highest COLA increase in 40 years with an 8.7% increase.
See Our Chart of all the 2023 VA Benefit Amounts
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