The repercussions of service-related disabilities may echo for decades, and former members of the armed services may require surgery or hospitalization years after the original disability. If eligible, you may receive a 100 percent temporary disability rating and benefits if your medical situation warrants it.
Many veterans with service-related disabilities already have a permanent disability rating of under 100 percent. For example, if a veteran has a 40 percent permanent disability rating, he may receive a temporary 100 percent disability for the time allowed.
Once the time period for the 100 percent temporary disability is over, the permanent disability rating reverts back to 40 percent. In most cases, veterans may apply online at eBenefits for 100 percent temporary disability benefits, but there are other application options.
Length of Hospitalization
If you are hospitalized for more than 21 consecutive days, you may qualify for 100 percent temporary disability benefits if you are there because of a service-related disability. The hospital must be either a VA facility or one approved by the VA.
Reasons for Convalescence
If you are convalescing from a service-related surgery or joint immobilization and you must recuperate for at least 30 days, you may qualify for up to three months of 100 percent temporary disability. For severely injured veterans requiring longer convalescence, it is possible to extend 100 percent temporary disability for an additional three months. The surgery or treatment must be performed at a VA hospital or an approved facility.
Applying for VA Temporary Disability Benefits
Apply online for disability benefits or work with an accredited VA agent. The latter can take you through the entire process and answer any questions you may have. You may also visit a regional VA office and have a VA employee assist you in the process.
No matter where you apply, you must fill out Form 21-4138, the Statement of Support of Claim, and explain in detail why you are requesting a temporary 100 percent disability claim. You must provide evidence that the issue is service related as well as documentation backing up your claim. For example, if you are requesting 100 percent temporary disability based on a prolonged hospital stay over three weeks in duration, you must have a discharge summary or similar evidence available. Make sure to write either your VA service number or Social Security number on each document for identification purposes. Mail your claim form and related documentation to the VA regional office that is nearest to your residence.
If the procedure was performed at a VA facility, you need only give the VA that information, and they will obtain your records. If the procedure was done at an approved non-VA facility, give the VA as much information as possible about the facility and doctors, and they will make every reasonable effort to obtain these records.
Items you will need
- Veterans Administration Form 21-526
- Discharge or separation from service papers (Form DD-214)
- Medical records
- You can also apply for temporary disability online at the Veterans On-Line Application (VONAPP).
- You may qualify for Social Security disability benefits, so you should also contact the Social Security Administration to apply for their program as well.
- Disability payments from the Veterans Administration are not subject to federal or state income tax.
- At the end of the required period of convalescence or the end of treatment, the Veterans Administration Regional Office will review the whether the temporary 100 percent disability should be continued. Attend any follow-up evaluations that are scheduled.