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It is very common for people filing for disability with the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to wonder, How long does VA disability last? Do VA benefits expire? Or do I get VA benefits for life? 

The simple answer is that your VA disability benefits will continue as long as your medical condition receives a disability compensation rating from the VA. But the truth is that VA benefits rarely last a lifetime, given that the VA consistently reviews your medical status to see if your situation has improved. 

That said, every VA recipient’s case is unique. So it is possible that your VA disability benefits are safe for the rest of your life. It is also possible that you will only receive disability for a few years.

But you’ll need a legal expert’s advice if you want a more specific answer to the question, When do my VA disability benefits expire? Contact a qualified VA disability lawyer today to get the answers you need. 

First Things First: Understanding VA Disability Benefits

The VA offers a monthly tax-free payment to any United States veteran who suffered a chronic illness or injury while serving in the Armed Forces.

This benefit attempts to compensate eligible veterans for the reduction of their health resulting from their service in the military. To obtain VA disability benefits, you must first demonstrate to the VA that you are eligible by meeting a few requirements.  

Eligibility Requirements

There are three basic requirements to receive VA disability benefits:

  • Service in the United States Armed Forces: All branches, including the National Guard, Coast Guard, and the Space Force are eligible. 
  • A current illness, injury, or disability that affects the recipient’s quality of life: Both mental and physical conditions qualify for the VA. 
  • The recipient’s condition was either caused by or worsened by their service: It does not matter whether you were on active or reserve duty when the event that triggered or exacerbated the condition happened. 

A veteran’s qualified dependents—i.e., your spouse, partner, or children—can also be eligible for VA disability benefits.

However, veterans who received certain kinds of discharges, like “other than honorable,” “bad conduct,” and “dishonorable” discharges, may not be able to qualify for VA disability benefits.

Obtaining VA Disability Benefits

Once you have determined you are eligible for VA benefits, you can file a claim with the VA.

Generally, the VA requires that you include your military service record and medical documentation demonstrating the nature and severity of your current disability. Finally, the VA  requires evidence linking your disability with an injury or disease suffered during your time in the military. 

After you submit your claim, the VA will assess the severity of your condition and assign you a disability rating. This rating ranges from 0% to 100%. The more serious the condition, the higher the rating.

A veteran with a 100% disability rating is considered totally disabled. The disability rating affects the benefits you will receive and the length of time you’ll receive these benefits. 

Do VA Disability Benefits Expire? 

Contrary to popular belief, VA disability benefits cannot expire. If you get benefits, they will continue until you die or your condition improves. Because VA disability benefits depend on your condition, they do not necessarily last forever.

Yet the VA can designate you as totally and permanently disabled if your condition is especially severe. In that case, VA benefits continue for life unless evidence of VA claim fraud arises. 

So How Long Do VA Benefits Last?

Assuming that you do not have a total and permanent disability, your VA benefits will last for as long as your condition continues. But the VA often checks in to assess the state of your disability. There is no set time period between these check-ins.

Instead, it depends on the VA and the nature of your condition. You might receive benefits for a few months or one or two years before the VA contacts you to verify your condition. 

When the VA contacts you, they may order you to undergo a Compensation and Pension exam (C&P). The C&P exam includes a review of your medical history and a basic physical exam. Depending on the outcome of the exam, the VA may continue to pay your disability benefits.

The VA may also decide that the condition has improved and terminate your VA benefits. If the VA terminates your benefits, they need to clearly state the reasons for the termination. You can also appeal VA decisions.

It is best to obtain an experienced VA disability lawyer immediately to maximize your chances of prevailing against the VA. 

Let an Outstanding Attorney Help You Receive the Benefits You Deserve

If the VA has lowered or terminated your VA disability benefits, you don’t have to simply give up. Like any other agency, the VA makes erroneous decisions all the time.

Take advantage of the rights you have under the law by hiring a VA disability attorney. Having an attorney who is familiar with VA disability can make the difference between lifelong benefits and no benefits at all. 

Here at Gerling law, we are passionate about the men and women who dedicated their lives to our country. We want to ensure all disabled veterans receive the benefits they deserve. We care about you as an individual and want to fight for your rights.

Aside from being committed to veterans’ welfare, we have decades of experience with these kinds of claims. We also have an outstanding track record of success and incredible client reviews. But don’t take our word for it. Take a moment to learn about some of the amazing successes we’ve had for our clients. 

Even if you’re still not sure about hiring a lawyer, we offer a free initial consultation to all potential clients. Come on in and tell us your story today. Give us a call or reach out online to set up your free initial appointment. Go with Experience. Go with Gerling.®

Author Photo

Gayle Gerling Pettinga

Born and raised in Evansville, Gayle is a respected, experienced lawyer and a valued community leader. She graduated near the top of her class at Indiana University’s prestigious Maurer School of Law. She’s practiced law with one of the largest firms in Indianapolis as well as one of the largest pharmaceutical companies in the world. And that means she knows how big law firms and big companies think and how they operate – and she will put that knowledge to work for you.

Gayle has received numerous awards and honors including Martindale-Hubbell — Peer Review Rated: AV®, American Institute of Personal Injury Attorneys 10 Best Attorneys in Indiana for Exceptional and Outstanding Client Service, and YWCA Evansville 100 Years, 100 Women Honoree, 2011.

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Gerling Law's Guide to VA Disability Benefits

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