VA Claims

VA Claims

Learn More About VA Benefits

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Veterans may be eligible for certain benefits based on their military service. The NYC Department of Veterans' Services (DVS) empowers veterans and their families by ensuring that they get the financial benefits they have earned.

Learn How DVS Can Help with Your Benefits

See below for a list of VA benefits you may be eligible for:

Click a topic, or press the enter key on a topic, to reveal its answer.

The PACT Act

The Pact Act is a new law that expands VA health care and benefits for Veterans exposed to burn pits, Agent Orange, and other toxic substances.

All Things Pact Act 101 (PACT Act Overview)

Preventing PACT Act Fraud and Predatory Practices – A Letter from the Department of Veteran Affairs VSO Liason

The PACT Act will bring these changes:

Expands and extends eligibility for VA health care for Veterans with toxic exposures and Veterans of the Vietnam, Gulf War, and post-9/11 eras

  • Adds 20+ more presumptive conditions for burn pits, Agent Orange, and other toxic exposures
  • Adds more presumptive-exposure locations for Agent Orange and radiation
  • Requires VA to provide a toxic exposure screening to every Veteran enrolled in VA health care
  • Helps us improve research, staff education, and treatment related to toxic exposures

The Department of Veteran Affairs has added more than 20 burn pit and other toxic exposure presumptive conditions based on the PACT Act. This change expands benefits for Gulf War era and post-9/11 Veterans.

These cancers are now presumptive:

  • Brain cancer
  • Gastrointestinal cancer of any type
  • Glioblastoma
  • Head cancer of any type
  • Kidney cancer
  • Lymphatic cancer of any type
  • Lymphoma of any type
  • Melanoma
  • Neck cancer of any type
  • Pancreatic cancer
  • Reproductive cancer of any type
  • Respiratory (breathing-related) cancer of any type

These illnesses are now presumptive:

  • Asthma that was diagnosed after service
  • Chronic bronchitis
  • Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)
  • Chronic rhinitis
  • Chronic sinusitis
  • Constrictive bronchiolitis or obliterative bronchiolitis
  • Emphysema
  • Granulomatous disease
  • Interstitial lung disease (ILD)
  • Pleuritis
  • Pulmonary fibrosis
  • Sarcoidosis

Learn about other hazardous materials presumptive conditions that may make you eligible for care or benefits

If you’re a Veteran or survivor, you can file claims now to apply for PACT Act-related benefits.

Toxic exposure screenings are available at VA health facilities across the country. Ask about the screening at your next VA health care appointment. If you don’t have an upcoming appointment, or if you want to get the screening sooner, contact your local VA health facility. Ask to get screened by the toxic exposure screening navigator.

Dependency and Indemnity Compensation

Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (DIC) is a tax-free monthly benefit that the United States Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) pays to eligible surviving spouses, children, and dependent parents of veterans. Survivors become eligible for DIC if they can prove that the veteran:

  • Passed away from a disability that was at least as likely as not caused or worsened by the veteran's military service; or
  • Passed away while on active duty; or
  • Had a VA disability compensation rating verifying that their condition was totally disabling for at least 10 years prior to death (or for 5 years between their military discharge date and their date of death)

Disability Compensation

Disability Compensation is a tax-free monthly benefit that the VA pays for disabilities caused or worsened by a veteran's military service.

There is no time limit to file a claim for disability compensation. You can be several decades removed from your date of discharge from the military, but you can still be awarded disability compensation from the VA if you can prove that a current disability was at least as likely as not caused or worsened by your military service.

There is no income limit to file a claim for disability compensation.

If you already have disability compensation from the VA but your medical condition has worsened DVS can represent you in a claim for a higher monthly payout.

Veterans with particularly severe disabilities caused by or worsened by their military service can be eligible for a heightened monthly payout known as Special Monthly Compensation. For example, veterans whose service-connected disability causes them to require assistance with activities of daily living can be found eligible for a heightened monthly benefit known as "Aid and Attendance." 

Education Benefits

  • The Post 9/11 GI Bill provides education benefits for those who have served on active duty for 90 or more days after Sept. 10, 2001. Individuals must meet at least one of the requirements listed below:
    • Served at least 90 days on active duty (either all at once or with breaks in service) on or after September 11, 2001, or
    • Received a Purple Heart on or after September 11, 2001, and were honorably discharged after any amount of service, or
    • Served for at least 30 continuous days (all at once, without a break in service) on or after September 11, 2001, and were honorably discharged with a service-connected disability, or
    • Are a dependent child using benefits transferred by a qualifying veteran or service member
  • The Forever GI Bill expanded eligibility for GI Bill benefits by including:
    • Reserve duty that counts toward post-9/11 eligibility: The time that a Reservist was ordered to active duty to receive authorized medical care, be medically evaluated for disability or complete a Department of Defense (DoD) health care study on or after September 11, 2001, now counts as active duty toward eligibility for the Post-9/11 GI Bill program. An individual may use this entitlement to pursue a course of education beginning on or after August 1, 2018.
    • Purple Heart Recipients: Servicemembers and honorably discharged veterans who were awarded a Purple Heart on or after September 11, 2001, will be entitled to Post-9/11 GI Bill benefits at the 100-percent benefit level for up to 36 months. This was effective on August 1, 2018.
  • Montgomery GI Bill is available to active-duty members who served at least two years on active duty. You can get benefits through MGIB-SR if you're a member of the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps or Coast Guard Reserves, Army National Guard, or Air National Guard, and you meet all of the requirements listed below:
    • Have either a six-year service obligation (you agreed to serve six years) in the Selected Service, or
    • Are an officer in the Selected Reserve who agreed to serve six years in addition to your initial service obligation, and meet other requirements

Non-Service-Connected Pensions

Non-Service-Connected Pensions are a tax-free monthly benefit that the United States Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) pays to Veterans who served during a wartime era, currently has a total and permanent disability (which does not have to be related to military service), and has a low income and limited personal assets.

Wartime era service does not require service in a combat zone. Instead, wartime era service means that the Veteran served on active duty somewhere in the world during a time period when the United States was deemed to be at war. Those specific time periods are:

  • World War II: December 7, 1941, to December 31, 1946
  • Korean War: June 27, 1950, to January 31, 1955
  • Vietnam War [with service in Vietnam]: February 28, 1961, to May 7, 1975
  • Vietnam War [without service in Vietnam]: August 5, 1964, to May 7, 1975
  • Gulf War: August 2, 1990, through the present day

Income and assets for pension eligibility are calculated using established unique rules. For example, certain high-value assets, such as a house and any vehicles necessary for household use, are not counted against you in determining the value of your personal assets. You can also receive a higher pension payout if you meet all of the basic criteria for pension eligibility and you also are housebound or you require assistance with at least two activities of daily living. 

Burial Benefits

Burial benefits include a gravesite or columbarium at any National Cemetery throughout the country, a government headstone or marker, burial flag, Presidential Memorial Certificate, Military Honor Guard, and perpetual care. Benefits also include burial allowances of up to $2,000 for eligible veterans to help cover burial, funeral, and transportation costs. Benefits may include burial allowances of up to $2,000 for indigent families of eligible service members.

VA Benefits for Presumptive Exposure

If you feel you have a chronic condition attributed to an in-service exposure, the VA highly encourages you to file a claim.

The VA is now processing service-connected disability claims for new presumptive conditions related to exposure to hazardous materials, including the following conditions presumptively associated with exposure to Agent Orange:

  • bladder cancer
  • hypothyroidism
  • Parkinsonism

The VA is also processing service-connected disability claims for the following conditions on a presumptive basis based on particulate matter exposures during military service in Southwest Asia and certain other areas:

  • asthma
  • rhinitis
  • sinusitis (to include rhinosinusitis)

The VA also encourages veterans to file a claim for benefits they've earned and deserve even if the illness or injury is not presumptive.

Veterans’ Mortgage Life Insurance (VMLI)

Veterans' Mortgage Life Insurance (VMLI) provides mortgage protection for families of veterans with severe service-connected disabilities. VMLI pays up to $200,000 in mortgage life insurance directly to the bank or other lender that holds your mortgage. To learn if you are eligible and to apply, visit the VMLI page on the VA website.

Appeal Your VA Claim

Veterans and other claimants who disagree with the VA's decision on their claim can choose from three decision review options:

Read about your appeal options at the VA’s Decision Reviews and Appeals webpage.