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What is the difference between disability compensation and pension from the Department of VA?

Compensation is paid to a veteran with a disability that is related to military service. To qualify for a pension, a veteran must have wartime service and be permanently and totally disabled or age 65 or older. A veteran's eligibility for a pension is determined by income level and the number of his/her dependents.

What rates does the Department of Veterans Affairs pay to veterans with service-connected disabilities?

For the most up to date information, please visit the VA Administration Compensation and Pension Benefits website.

Does VA increase disability compensation rates annually?

The amounts of the benefits are set by Congress, which often approves annual cost-of-living increases for VA compensation payments.

Can a service-connected disability rating be changed?

Yes. It may be increased or deceased in accordance with medical findings of changes in the affected condition.

Is disability compensation from VA based on military pay grade?

No. Compensation rates are set according to the degree of disability, regardless of rank or pay grade.

Does the Dept. of Veterans Affairs set the interest rate on VA guaranteed home loans to veterans?

No. VA has not set interest rates since 1992. Interest rates and the payment of discount points must be negotiated between the veteran, seller and lender.

I did not serve in the U.S. Military. Can I buy a home that the VA has acquired as a result of foreclosure of a VA-guaranteed loan?

Yes. Both veterans and non-veterans may purchase the home.

If a veteran dies before paying off the VA-guaranteed loan on his/her house, will the VA guarantee pay off of the balance?

No. The surviving spouse or other co-borrower must continue to make the payments, or the loan becomes the obligation of the veteran's estate.

If a veteran has trouble repaying his VA-guaranteed loan, what should he/she do?

Talk with the lender as soon as possible. Depending on circumstances, it might be best to sell the property. VA might be able to assist in arranging a repayment plan or an alternative to foreclosure. VA also offers home loan counseling through regional offices.

Am I eligible for outpatient treatment at the VA hospital?

Due to the complexity of the qualification. You should contact your County Veteran Service Officer at (850) 595-1479, if you are outside Escambia County call 1-800-827-1000 for assistance.

Are there special points of contact at the VA Medical Centers for female veterans?

In Florida, VAMC’s have “Female Veteran Coordinators.”

Can a widow of a veteran who was drawing Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (DIC), and was terminated due to remarriage be reinstated if their current spouse dies, or they get divorced?

A widow becomes eligible to receive DIC benefits based on a previous marriage to a veteran if the remarriage of a surviving spouse is terminated by death, divorce, or an annulment. Certain evidence is required to establish the status of the surviving spouse as the date of death of the veteran. Resumption of benefits can only be made from October 1, 1998, even if the cessation of the relationship occurred prior to this date. 38 C.F.R. 3.55 (a)(i)(ii)

Can I change my address by calling the 1-800 number?

Yes. The call should be followed up by submitting a VA form 572 (change of address), VA Home Page or call Toll Free # 1-800-827-1000

Do state employees get administrative leave for appointments for their service-connected disabilities?

An employee who has been rated by the VA for a service-connected disability and who has been scheduled by the VA to be re-examined or treated for such disability shall, upon presentation of written confirmation of having been so scheduled, be granted administrative leave for such re-examination or treatment without loss of pay, benefits or efficiency rating not to exceed six calendar days in any calendar year. 60K-5.032(3)(1) F.A.C.

How can homeless veterans get help?

Please contact the local VA homeless coordinator at 727-398-6661 or 813-979-3559, Social Work Services department, VA Medical Center. A list of Homeless Veteran Coordinator offices can be found at

How can I get a copy of my DD-214, military medical or personnel records or those of a relative?

A Standard Form 180 needs to be completed and sent to National Personnel Records Center in St. Louis, MO. You can contact your County Veteran Service Officer at (850) 595-1479, for assistance or you can file yourself at The certified copy will be mailed directly to you. SF-180

How can I obtain emergency assistance with payment of my delinquent utility bills, rent, etc.?

Your local veterans service organizations, churches, and community organizations may be able to assist veterans in need. The United Way can also provide you with assistance and guide you to charitable organizations; all you have to dial is 211.

How do I enroll in the VA Medical System?

You can either visit any VA health care facility “Enrollment Section” or our Veterans Services Office. But, before you go to the facility ensure you have and bring with you your DD-214 (Military Discharge) showing the character of discharge. If you do not have the document you can request a certified copy through our Veterans Services Offices. 10-10EZ

How do I get a Florida Disabled Veteran’s ID card?

These ID cards are issued only to veterans that have been rated 100% Permanent and Total (P&T) service-connected disabled either by the VA or Department of Defense.

How do I get Certified Copies of discharge papers?

If you have the original discharge paper you can take it to the Clerk of Circuit Court, Recording Records and that office can make certified copies of your discharge papers. The only catch is that the original must stay there. Also there is a small fee involved for the copies.

How do I get my disability compensation claim reevaluated?

You may request a reevaluation of your claim anytime that you believe your condition has changed or worsened. You should contact your County Veteran Service Officer at 850-595-1479, if you are outside Escambia County call (800) 827-1000 for assistance.

I cannot find my military discharge papers. What can I do? And, how long must I wait?

I can assist you in completing the necessary form to be sent off to the National Archives. You can usually receive a copy of your papers in three to four months.

I have recently been diagnosed with Diabetes II. Will I qualify for Compensation?

Diabetes II has been linked to exposure to Agent Orange in Vietnam. If you served in Vietnam between January 9, 1962, and May 5, 1975, whether you knew it or not, you were subjected to Agent Orange. Service at any other time, or in any other area, does not qualify you for Compensation for your Diabetic condition.

I heard there was a fire at the National Personnel Records Center for Military Records. Were my records destroyed?

On July 12, 1973, a disastrous fire at the NPRC destroyed approximately 16-18
million Official Military Personnel Files. The records affected:

Army: Personnel discharged November 1, 1912 to January 1, 1960 80% destroyed

Air Force: Personnel discharged September 25, 1947 to January 1, 1964 (with names alphabetically after Hubbard, James E.) 75% destroyed

I wish to file for Agent Orange Disease. What do I do?

Call the County Veterans Office and request a consultation. You should be receiving treatment or have a diagnosis of a specific disease or disability as a result of exposure. You can take this information to your local representative and they will help you complete the forms to apply to the VA. You may want to contact the nearest VA medical center for information on Agent Orange Registry. 38 C.F.R. 3.309 (e)

If a veteran has trouble repaying his VA-guaranteed loan, what should he/she do?

Talk with the lender as soon as possible. Depending on circumstances, it might be best to sell the property. VA might be able to assist in arranging a repayment plan or an alternative to foreclosure. VA also offers home loan counseling through regional offices.

If I have questions who should I call?

You can contact the County Veterans Service Offices at 850-595-1479, if you are outside Escambia County call (800) 827-1000 for assistance.

If I get married will my pension stop?

Not necessarily. If the pension being received is the “New Law” pension, the income of the new spouse will affect the amount of pension payable unless the income is a welfare-related benefit. 38 C.F.R. 3.3(3)

If I select a Service Organization as my representative, are there any charges or meetings I must attend?

Organizations selected to represent claimants before the VA must provide a statement that no charges, fees or gratuities will be charged or accepted. Membership in the organization or attendance at meeting is not required, but is permitted. 38 C.F.R. 14.628(e)(7)

If my spouse dies while hospitalized in a VA hospital or nursing home, or nursing home under VA contract, will the VA help defray the burial and transportation expenses?

Yes: Any veteran who served in the United States Armed Forces and who dies after being properly admitted to a VA medical facility, a VA nursing home, or a private nursing home under VA contract is entitled to burial benefits. Transportation allowance is also available. 38 C.F.R. 3, 1605 (1)

Is there a listing of all the things I need to file a claim with the VA for service -connected compensation?

Due to the complexity of the VA system, the forms needed to file a claim vary. You should contact your County Veteran Service Officer at 850-595-1479, if you are outside Escambia County call 1-800-827-1000 for assistance.

My husband’s health is very bad, and he can’t leave home without assistance. Does the VA allow any extra money for pension veterans who need help?

An additional allowance for Special Monthly Pension (SMP) may be available at a Housebound or Aid and Attendance rate. The specific amount will depend on the level of disability and the total countable family income.

What percentage of disability compensation rating must I have in order to draw additional allowance for dependents?

An additional allowance for dependents is payable with a 30% or greater disability rating for compensation benefits. 38 C.F.R. 3.4(b)(2)

When I die, what benefits can my spouse apply for?

If your death is attributable to a Service-connected cause, your surviving spouse may apply for Dependency & Indemnity Compensation (DIC), which is a monthly payment compensating your spouse for your loss. Another potential benefit, the Non-service Connected Disability Pension, is payable if you served during the one of the Wartime Periods (such as WWII, Korea, etc.) and your surviving spouse’s monthly income falls below a certain amount established by the DVA. A burial benefit may be paid to a surviving spouse if at the time of your death you are in receipt of a Service-connected Disability Compensation Award; or if as the veteran, you were receiving a Non-service-connected Disability Pension, or your death occurs while you are in a VA Medical Facility.

Where can I get an application for the VA State Nursing Homes located in Florida?

Florida State Veterans Homes

Who is eligible for non-service-connected (NSC) pension?

Pension is a benefit payable by the VA to veterans discharged under honorable conditions who have at least 90 days (sometimes longer) of service during a period or periods of war and are disabled because of non-service-connected disabilities and whose income is below the allowable limit. To find out if you qualify bring your DD-214 (Military Discharge) and your finances to your appointment at our Veterans Services Office.

Am I entitled to VA health care?

Maybe, eligibility is determined by several factors.

Veterans with a service connected disability or in-country Vietnam service are entitled to enroll via VA Form10-10EZ (available at our office or any VA healthcare facility.

Other veterans may qualify based on a financial means test.

Reserve or National Guard veterans must have served on active duty for other than training purposes.

Do I need to do anything if I have a claim or an appeal pending with VA?

No action is needed on your part until you receive correspondence from VA which will identify anything needed on your part. When processing your claim for benefits, VA will send a letter to you informing you if further information is needed and outlining the evidence needed to support your claim. Upon receipt of an appeal, VA will send a letter acknowledging the receipt of your appeal and asking if you would like to follow the traditional appellate process or have a DRO review your case

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