Once you have been awarded a 100 percent disability rating, whether that be a 100 percent schedular rating or TDIU, you may be wondering if there are any additional benefits that you may be entitled to through the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.
The answer to that questions is “yes!”
There are several different benefits that you may be eligible for as a disabled Veteran rated at the 100 percent rate. Today we will discuss the different Veterans benefits you may be entitled to.
What Is a 100 Percent Disability Rating?
First, you need to understand what a 100 percent disability rating is. To be 100 percent disabled by the VA means that you are totally disabled and receive the maximum amount of disability compensation each month. The VA uses disability ratings to measure the severity of your service-connected disabilities.
These ratings are on a scale from 0 percent, which is a non-compensable rating, to a 100 percent schedular rating. This is when all your service-connected conditions combined make a 100 percent rating or a single service-connected condition is assigned a 100 percent disability rating. You can also get paid at the 100 percent rate with Individual Unemployability benefits.
What Other Benefits Are You Entitled to with a 100 Percent Rating?
As mentioned above, there are several benefits that Veterans rated at 100 percent may be eligible for. Family members, including spouses and dependent children, of Veterans may also be eligible for these benefits. These benefits are in addition to your monthly payments for VA disability benefits.
Priority Group 1 for Health Care
When you sign up for VA health care, you will be assigned a priority group. These priority groups are numbered 1 through 8 and each group is used to help make sure that Veterans who need to be seen right away, will be able to be signed up quickly. Each priority group can affect each Veteran differently. The priority group you are assigned to may affect how soon you are signed up for health care and how much you will need to pay for the cost of your care.
Veterans who are already service connected, are assigned the highest priority. You may be assigned to Priority Group 1 if you have been rated at 50 percent combined rating or more; or have a service-connected disability that they have concluded makes you unemployable; or have received the Medal of Honor (MOH).
As a Veteran who is rated at the 100 percent rate, it is likely, you will be assigned to Priority Group 1 for VA health care purposes. To learn more about the different priority groups and who you can contact if you have any questions, please click this link.
Emergency Care Outside of the VA
If you must be seen at a medical facility outside of the VA for a service-connected disability, the VA may be able to pay for the care you receive. For the VA to pay for care outside of the VA on an emergency basis there is a certain criterion that must be met:
- Care or services must be provided in a medical emergency and,
- VA or another federal facility were not feasibly available, and
- You must notify the VA within 72 hours of the admission for emergency services.
In order to have the VA pay for the emergency service, you must file a claim for reimbursement as soon as possible because there are time limits that may apply.
Dental Care Benefits
VA dental care benefits are available to former armed service members who have a service-connected disability rated at 100 percent disabling, or receive Total Disability Based on Individual Unemployability (TDIU) due to their service- connected disabilities. The eligibility for dental benefits is categorized by class. The class for totally disabled Veterans is Class IV and you would be eligible for any needed dental care.
Vision Care and Hearing Aids for Veterans
The VA may be able to cover the cost for your eyeglasses, your routine eye examinations and preventative care. For the VA to cover the cost of your eyeglasses, you must have a compensable service-connected disability, or are a former prisoner of war, or were awarded a purple heart, or receive benefits under Title 38 United States Code (U.S.C.) 1151, or receive an increased pension based on your permanent housebound status and are in needs of regular aid and attendance.
The VA can pay for basic optometry services if you already have established health care benefits with the VA. You can also receive visual rehabilitation or advanced eye care services low vision and blindness.
In order to receive hearing aids other assisted hearing devices, you must first qualify for VA health benefits. You can schedule an appointment to be evaluated for your hearing and an audiologist will make a clinical determination on the need for hearing aids and/or hearing assistive devices. If hearing aids are recommended by the audiologist, if you are enrolled and eligible for VA health care, the hearing aids, repairs and future batters will be no cost to you.
The Civilian Health and Medical Program of the Department of Veterans Affairs (CHAMPVA) is a medical benefits program in which the VA shares the cost of certain health care services and supplies with eligible beneficiaries. CHAMPVA provides coverage to the spouse or widow/widower and to the children of a Veteran who is rated permanently and totally disabled due to a service-connected disability or was rated permanently and totally disabled due to a service-connected disability at the time of death, or died of a service-connected disability, or died on active duty and the dependents are not otherwise eligible for Department of Defense TRICARE benefits.
Specially Adapted Housing Program
The VA offers housing grants for Veterans with service-connected disabilities so that they can buy or change a home to meet their needs and their disabilities. Because this is a grant program, you do not have to pay back the grant you are awarded. If you need a ramp for easy wheelchair accessibility or to simply make it easier for you to get in, out and around your home, you can apply for the Specially Adapted Housing (SAH) Grant. With this grant, you can use the money to buy, build, or change your permanent home. You need to meet the following criteria:
- Own or will own the home, and
- Have a qualifying service-connected disability
A qualifying service-connected disability can include the loss of use of more than one limb, the loss of use of a lower leg along with the residuals of an organic disease or injury, blindness in both eyes, certain severe burns, the loss or loss of use of one lower extremity (foot or leg) after September 11, 2001, which makes it so you cannot balance or walk without the help pf braces, crutches, canes, or a wheelchair.
You may also be able to get a Special Home Adaptation (SHA) Grant with the same criteria as above and have qualifying service-connected disabilities such as the loss or loss of uses of both hands, certain severe burns, or certain respiratory or breathing injuries.
Dependents Education Assistance Program
The VA’s Dependent’s Educational Assistance program can provide education benefits for spouses and children of permanently disabled Veterans for up to three years and nine months. These benefits can be used by spouses and children to pursue working training programs, apprenticeship, degree or certificate. Spouses may be entitled to be reimbursed for the cost of correspondence courses.
Veteran Readiness and Employment
Veteran Readiness and Employment (VR&E), formerly Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment, provides job training and other services to eligible Veterans with service-connected disabilities to help prepare them for and maintain employment or achieve independent daily living. An eligible Veteran is one with a service-connected disability rating of at least 20 percent with an employment handicap, or rated at 10 percent with a serious employment handicap, and he discharged from military service under other than dishonorable conditions. You can learn more about this program at VA.gov.
100 percent disabled Veterans can fly Space Available flights or Space-A flights for free. The Space-A Program sills extra seating capacity on DoD aircrafts. Air Mobility Command (AMC) has an extensive network of flights throughout the continental United States, Alaska, Hawaii, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Guam and American Samoa. You will need to obtain a DD Form 2765, Department of Defense/Uniformed Services Identification and Privilege Card (TAN) before taking a flight.
If you are looking for a flight, you should review schedules at AMC passenger terminals.
Commissary and Exchange Benefits
Veterans who have a 100 percent disability rating, their dependents and unmarried surviving spouses are entitled to unlimited commissary and exchange store privileges. The VA can aid in completing a DD Form 1172, Application for Uniformed Services Identification and Privilege Card, which you will need to access these benefits.
If you have questions about your benefits, your Veterans service officer (VSO) at your VA regional office is available to help with your application.
Are There State Benefits Available?
There are multiple state benefits available to 100 percent disabled Veterans. Each state has its own set of benefits and can range from health care benefits, hunting and fishing license exemptions, free passes to state parks and property tax exemption. You can also be eligible for specialized license plates.
For more specific information on the benefits available in your state and enrollment details, please click here.
Have Questions About Your VA Benefits?
If you’re a Veteran rated at 100 percent and have questions about your eligibility for Veterans benefits, the team at Hill & Ponton is available to help. Our social security and Veterans disability attorneys are committed to helping former service members and their families obtain benefits. Contact us today for a free case evaluation.