Veterans’ Benefits: What a 100% Disability Rating Means
According to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), a 100% disability rating qualifies veterans with that rating for special benefits not otherwise provided to veterans with a lower or no disability rating. A veteran’s disability rating is determined once the veteran has filed a disability claim with the VA. The VA will then review all evidence and supporting documents to back this claim and assign the veteran into a priority group based on such rating.
Veterans who have two qualifying disabilities can combine their disability rating for a maximum compensation amount equal to a 100% disability rating. For example, if a veteran has one disability rated at 40% disabling and an additional disability rated at 60%, these can be combined to reach the maximum amount at 100%. If the total combined rating of all disabilities is over 100%, the VA will limit compensation rates to 100% capacity and no more. Veterans who have a certified 100% disability rating will fall into Priority Group 1, receiving the maximum amount of benefits available and required.
VA Health Care
Veterans with a 100% disability rating are completely exempt from paying copays for urgent care needs, inpatient care, and outpatient care. However, if a veteran visits urgent care more than three times in a calendar year, they will be required to pay a $30 copay for each additional visit. Veterans who fall into Priority Group 1 will also receive all necessary prescription medicines completely free of charge.
Veterans who are looking to have their disability rating reevaluated are eligible to have free exams done to assess their risk of health problems as a result of their military service, no matter which Priority Group they fall into. Laboratory tests along with EKGs or ECGs needed to diagnose illnesses such as heart disease are also free of charge to all veterans enrolled in the VA health care system.
Health Care Services Covered by The VA
Inpatient services offered to 100% disabled rated veterans can include surgeries, childbirth, extensive tests, rehabilitation programs, and other services that require the veteran to spend at least one night in the hospital. Outpatient services are typically done the same day the veteran visits a clinic and can include X-rays, MRIs, minor surgeries, physical exams, chemotherapy, and consultations to name a few. Urgent care services are needed when a veteran suffers an injury or illness and requires immediate attention. Examples of situations that may require urgent care include broken bones, acute injuries, severe chest or abdominal pain, heart attack or stroke systems, and seizures or loss of consciousness.
Housing for Veterans
The VA offers many programs to aid veterans in purchasing a home. This can include simple VA home loans to purchase a new home for reduced rates or special grants to help modify one’s home to better suit their needs. Housing options vary between people, but veterans with a 100% disability rating have specific benefit options available to them.
Special Home Adaptation (SHA) Grant & Special Adapted Housing (SAH) Grant
Veterans who are rated as 100% disabled may qualify for a Special Home Adaptation (SHA) grant or Special Adapted Housing (SAH) grant to help modify one’s home to fit their needs of everyday life. SHA & SAH grants can also be used to assist in purchasing a new home that already has been modified to fit the veteran’s needs based on their disability. To qualify for an SHA grant, a veteran or the veteran’s family must own their home or will own the home, in the case of purchasing a home, and must be able to prove their disability was brought on or worsened by their time spent in the U.S. Military.
Examples of disabilities that qualify veterans for an SHA or SAH grant can include the loss of more than one limb, specific respiratory or breathing issues, blindness, and in some cases severe burns. The maximum benefit amount that veterans can expect to receive when approved for a SAH grant is a little over $100,000 and is updated yearly by the VA. It is important to note, however, SAH grants are only issued to 120 veterans annually.
If you are denied for a SAH grant or the VA is no longer accepting new applications, an SHA grant may be for you. While not as lucrative as a SAH grant, the SHA grant offers just over $12,000 to accepted veterans to use on modifications of their homes. Both SAH and SHA loans allow the veteran to disperse the funds throughout their lives at 6 different times as circumstances develop over the years.
Property Tax Exception
Veterans who own their homes and have received a 100% disability rating through the VA have special property tax exception rules available to them. While every county within every state has its own rules and regulations regarding disabled veterans’ property tax exceptions, most states have at least some program put in place. The one factor that seemingly stays the same in all states is the requirement that the veteran must be 100% disabled to receive the property tax exceptions.
Contacting your local tax office or VA office is the best way to receive up-to-date information regarding the details of property tax exceptions in your state or county. Property tax exceptions for veterans can save many thousands of dollars each year, money that can be put towards medical expenses, health care, bills, and other everyday expenses. As with most VA benefits, regulations are subject to change annually.
Veterans who have suffered a permanent illness or injury during their service may be eligible to receive monthly tax-free payments to help with treatments and proper equipment. Post-service disabilities that can be proven to be related to the veteran’s service may also qualify the veteran to receive disability compensation.
Veterans who have a disability rating of 100% are eligible to receive disability compensation so long as they were discharged from service with any rating other than dishonorable.
Applying for Veterans Benefits
If you are a veteran looking to find more information or start the application process of receiving various benefits through the U.S. Department of Veterans Benefits, the first step is visiting your local VA office or calling their toll-free number. The application process for most VA benefits can also be done directly through the VA website.
The first step of receiving helpful benefits is to be aware of all the different programs available to veterans. For disabled veterans, there are many programs available to you.
If you qualify for VA benefits programs, you also qualify for Lifeline service. Lifeline is a federal benefit program that makes it possible for low-income consumers to receive access to free or heavily discounted communication services. Click here to find out more and apply for this valuable benefit.