The Veteran's Administration (VA) provides disability benefits to eligible and disabled military personnel. VA disability benefits include compensation benefits or pension benefits. Compensation benefits provide monthly checks for a disability acquired or made worse in the military. Pension benefits are based upon income and employability due to a disability whether or not is was acquired or made worse by military service. If your disability has worsened or you do not receive the full entitlement to benefits, schedule a reevaluation on a disability by filing the claim again.

Navigate to the VA website and download VA Form 21-256. Either print the form and type in your information in black ink or type your information into the form before printing it.

Complete the general information section, which asks for basic information that includes name, address, military duty information and current VA benefits. Attach a copy of your DD214 separation papers as well as proof of current VA benefits to this section.

Complete the compensation section if applying for VA compensation. List all the disabilities claiming in this section as well as treatment dates for them. Attach medical records supporting the claims to this section.

Complete the dependency section, by listing any dependents as well as marriages and divorces. Attach copies of marriage and divorce records as well as any dependents’ birth certificates to this section.

Complete the pension section if applying for VA pension benefits. List all financial information as well as employment information, disabilities and any nursing home information. Attach copies of medical records documenting disabilities as well as nursing home records to this section.

Mail the application to your closest VA office (see Resources).

Items you will need

  • VA Form 21-256

  • DD214 separation papers

  • Medical records

  • Marriage and divorce records

  • Dependents’ birth certificates

  • Nursing home information

Tip

  • You can also submit an application electronically through VA’s VONAPP service. If you need assistance filling out your VA application, visit your nearest VA office and a representative can assist you.

Tip

  • The time it takes VA to process the claim varies depending upon how many claims they have received. Always make sure that the information submitted is accurate because submitting false information to a government agency is illegal.