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Claims Assistance

Our Veterans Benefits Advisors, all Veterans themselves, will gladly prepare and file your claim.

Overview

The Division provides free benefits advising. Experienced and dedicated Veterans Benefits Advisors — each a Veteran — work in a network of field offices across the state and offer veterans and their families professional help to resolve social, medical, and economic matters. 

Veterans Benefits Advisors assist the claimant — whether a Veteran, spouse, child, or parent — in completing applications, obtaining necessary documentation, and filing claims for a broad spectrum of federal, state, local, and private Veterans’ benefits.  Veterans Benefits Advisors also assist by responding to follow-up correspondence and appealing an unfavorable ruling. 

Examples of what a Veterans Benefits Advisor can help with include: 

  • Help you gather supporting documents (like your military records or VA health records) 
  • File a claim or appeal on your behalf 
  • Assist in applying for local and state veterans’ benefits such as the Lifetime Liberty Pass or the Blind Annuity 
     

Upon the claimant’s first appointment with a Veterans Benefits Advisor, gather as much documentation as possible  (military records, medical records, buddy statements, doctors' notes.) Your Veterans Benefits Advisor will review these documents and determine what benefits the claimant is eligible to apply for. The Veterans Benefits Advisor will take notes during the visit and will begin filling out the necessary paperwork to file a claim. Upon the completion of the visit, the Veterans Benefits Advisor may reach out via telephone or email to clarify or gain additional information before submitting the claim on the claimant’s behalf. The Veterans Benefits Advisor will assist in submitting the requests and paperwork for any additional information that may need to be obtained. The Veterans Benefits Advisor will follow up with the claimant when the claim is successfully submitted. Once a decision is rendered, the Veterans Benefits Advisor and the claimant can discuss and review whether further action (such as an appeal) is necessary or warranted.

There are many different types of benefits that you may be eligible for. The major types of claims are listed below. 

Disability Compensation

  • You have a current illness or injury (known as a condition) that affects your mind or body, and
  • You served on active duty, active duty for training, or inactive duty training

    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, or
  • You had an illness or injury before you joined the military—and serving made it worse, or
  • You have a disability related to your active-duty service that didn’t appear until after you ended your service 
     

Program Details

 

Non-Service Connected Pension

Both of these must be true:

  • You didn’t receive a dishonorable discharge, and
  • Your yearly family income and net worth meet certain limits set by Congress. Your net worth includes all personal property you own (except your house, your car, and most home furnishings), minus any debt you owe. Your net worth includes the net worth of your spouse.

       And at least one of these must be true about your service:

 You started on active duty before September 8, 1980, and you served at least 90 days on active duty with at least 1 day during wartime, or

  • You started on active duty as an enlisted person after September 7, 1980, and served at least 24 months or the full period for which you were called or ordered to active duty (with some exceptions) with at least 1 day during wartime, or
  • You were an officer and started on active duty after October 16, 1981, and you hadn’t previously served on active duty for at least 24 months

      And at least one of these must be true:

  • You’re at least 65 years old, or
  • You have a permanent and total disability, or
  • You’re a patient in a nursing home for long-term care because of a disability, or
  • You’re getting Social Security Disability Insurance or Supplemental Security Income
     

Program Details

Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (DIC)

As a surviving spouse -

One of these must be true:

  1. You lived with the Veteran or service member without a break until their death, or
  2. If you’re separated, you weren’t at fault for the separation

And one of these must be true:

  1. You married the Veteran or service member within 15 years of their discharge from the period of military service during which the qualifying illness or injury started or got worse, or
  2. You were married to the Veteran or service member for at least 1 year, or
  3. You had a child with the Veteran or service member

Note: If you remarried, you can receive or continue to receive compensation if one of these describes you:

  1. You remarried on or after December 16, 2003, and you were 57 years of age or older at the time you remarried, or
  2. You remarried on or after January 5, 2021, and you were 55 years of age or older at the time you remarried
     

As a surviving child - 

All of these must be true:

  1. You aren’t married, and
  2. You aren’t included on the surviving spouse’s compensation, and
  3. You’re under the age of 18 (or under the age of 23 if attending school)

Note: If you were adopted out of the Veteran’s or service member’s family, but meet all other eligibility criteria, you still qualify for compensation.


As a surviving parent - 

Both of these must be true:

  1. You’re the biological, adoptive, or foster parent of the Veteran or service member, and
  2. Your income is below a certain amount

Note: VA defines a foster parent as someone who served in the role of a parent to the Veteran or service member before their last entry into active service.

Special Monthly Compensation (SMC)

VA special monthly compensation (SMC) is a higher rate of compensation paid to Veterans as well as their spouses, surviving spouses, and parents with certain needs or disabilities. 

VA may increase your monthly payments if one or more of the below is true: 

  1. You have a very severe disability or loss of limb, or
  2. You have a spouse, child, or dependent parent and your combined disability rating is 30% or greater, or
  3. You have a spouse with a serious disability
     

Program Details 

Pre-discharge Claim

If you have an illness or injury that you believe was caused—or made worse—by your active-duty service, you can file a claim for disability benefits 180 to 90 days before you leave the military through the Benefits Delivery at Discharge (BDD) program.

 

All of these must be true:

  1. You’re a service member on full-time active duty (including a member of the National Guard, Reserves, or Coast Guard), and
  2. You have a known separation date, and
  3. Your separation date is in the next 180 to 90 days, and
  4. You’re available to go to VA exams for 45 days from the date you submitted your claim, and
  5. You can provide a copy of your service treatment records for your current period of service when you file your claim

Contact Assistance

If you need assistance, or just want to learn more about the benefits and services you may be eligible for, schedule an appointment with one of our Veterans Benefits Advisors, all Veterans themselves.

  • Call 1-888-838-7697 to speak to an advisor.
  • Schedule a phone or video consultation online.
  • Use our search to find a Services Office near you.