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How To Add Dependents To Va Disability

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Will I Be Paid Back To The Date When My Spouse And I Married

How to Add Dependents to VA Disability Benefits: VA Form 21-686c

Possibly that all depends on how quickly after your marriage that you file your claim. If, before your marriage, you were already rated at least 30% for your disability rating, and you file to add your spouse within one year of your marriage, your chances are good to be paid back to the date of your marriage. You must be available to respond to any questions the VA sends your way while your claim is being reviewed.

Proving A Service Connection

Once you have an official diagnosis for your condition, youll need to be able to point to a specific incident in your military service that caused it. This could include an accident, injury, set of conditions you served in, or even treatment you received. In some cases, having served in certain areas during set periods of time can give you a service connection for your condition. These are called presumptive conditions.

In order to prove a service connection, youll need to get hands on your military service record. You should be able to download this through your free eBenefits account. You can also visit your local VA office for help getting a copy of this document.

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Will I Be Paid Back To The Date When My Spouse And I First Got Married

If it has been more than one year since you got married or had/adopted a child, the Department of Veterans Affairs may not pay you back to the date of the marriage, birth, or adoption. Instead, they may only pay from the date they received the claim for additional disability for the dependent, or in some cases, up to a year before this date.

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Why Va Form 21

When you join the military you have the opportunity to add your dependents and spouse to the Defense Enrollment Eligibility Reporting System or DEERS. Being listed in DEERS means your dependents and spouse are eligible for military benefits such as TRICARE, etc.

When you leave military service and file a claim with the VA for service-connected medical issues, you also have the ability to add your dependents to the claimthe Department of Veterans Affairs offers added consideration for veterans with dependents and a VA disability rating of 30% or higher.

But many people experience changes in family size along the way, and if you have a VA rating of 30% or more and you get married, divorced, had a child, or other factors you will need to complete and submit VA Form 21-686c to add or remove a dependent.

Education For Spouse And Children

Tips for Disabled Veterans: Confirm Dependents on Your VA Award  Navy ...

Survivors & Dependents Educational Assistance is an education benefit that can provide up to 36 months of full-time or equivalent benefits to the spouse and children of most 100% service connected disabled veterans for:

  • College, Business, Technical or Vocational Courses
  • High School Diploma or GED
  • Independent Study or Distance Learning courses
  • Correspondence Courses
  • Apprenticeship/On-the-Job Training
  • Remedial, Deficiency, and Refresher Training
  • The cost of tests for licenses or certifications needed to get, keep, or advance in a job

Spouses have up to 10 years from the date the VA determines that the spouse is eligible for VA Dependent Benefits. Children may use the benefit between the ages of 18 and 26.

Detailed information about DEA can be found here.

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Additional Va Dependent Benefits

There are some additional benefits available to some survivors of disabled veterans. See our Survivor and Dependents page for an overview.

We strongly recommend that you enlist the services of a Veteran Service Officer before you submit your application for any of the above benefits. They will review your application, helping ensure it has all the information the VA requires. If you do not have a VSO yet, the NVF will help you find one. Simply call us at 888-777-4443 for information or to ask us more about VA Dependent Benefits.

Why You Need Va Form 21

When you retire or separate from the military, you have the opportunity to file a claim with the VA for service-connected medical issues and other veteran benefits. You also have the ability to add your dependents, spouse, or financially dependent parents for consideration for certain VA benefits.

Whats more, the Department of Veterans Affairs offers added consideration for veterans with dependents and a VA disability rating of 30% or higher.

But before, during, or after applying for these benefits you may experience changes in family size. Do you have a VA rating of 30% or more? If you get married, divorced, have a child, or begin financially supporting a parent, you will need to complete and submit VA Form 21-686c to add the new spouse, child, etc.

If you experience a death in the family and that person was previously listed as a dependent, spouse, or parent you may be required to submit an updated VA Form 21-686c with that information.

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Assistance With Claims And Appeals

Veterans may work with an accredited attorney, claims agent, or Veterans Services Officer to file your claim or appeal. These professionals are trained and certified in the VAs claims and appeals processes, making them well-equipped to answer your questions, meet your needs, and get you the disability compensation you deserve.

VA Disability Group PLLC is ready to take on your claim to get you the compensation you qualify for. Contact us online or call us at 1-844-VET-LAWS to request a consultation now.

Effective Dates For Va Benefits Based On School Attendance


According to VA, entitlement to VA benefits for college-aged dependents is effective on the date of the childs 18th birthday, if:

  • VA receives a claim for benefits based on school attendance within one year of the childs 18th birthday and
  • The child was attending school on his or her 18th birthday or
  • Turned 18 during a school break and
  • Resumed school attendance at the end of the break

If VA receives a claim for additional benefits based on school attendance within one year of the childs 18th birthday, but the child was not attending school at that time, VA should pay the additional benefits effective the first day of the month following the month in which school attendance began.

Additionally, if VA receives the claim more than one year after a child turns 18, but before age 23, benefits should be effective the first day of the month following the month school attendance began, as long as VA receives the claim within one year of the date school attendance began.

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Can I Add A Dependent To My Va Disability Rating

Are you 30% combined service connected? Do you have a spouse and/or children? Have a dependent parent? If you answered yes to these questions, you may be eligible for additional compensation.

In order to be eligible to add dependent for additional compensation, you must have a combined total of 30% service connection or higher. Once you are eligible, you may add a child, spouse, or dependent parent. A child can be biological, adopted, or a stepchild. The child also must be 18 years of age or under, or be enrolled in school if over 18. As far as the question, Can there be back pay? The answer is yes, if you submit your claim within one year of a birth, marriage, or a parent becoming dependent. You will then receive back pay to the event.

An example of two percentages with the different type of dependents you can claim is as follows:

How To Add Dependents To Your Veteran Benefits

Joe Wallace

Changes in marital status, family size, and other factors are common, but when veterans need to add or remove someone from their VA benefits, there is a specific procedure that must be followed. Adding a new child, a new spouse or a parent who has come to depend on you financially to your military benefits is a process that requires an application and approval.

Thats why if you are a retired or separated military member with a spouse or dependents, you should know about VA Form 21-686c, the application used to add or remove dependents from your benefits.

You can use VA Form 21-686c to add those you financially support including unmarried dependent children under 18, adult children between 18 and 23 who are in school, and you can use it for a dependent parent as well as a spouse.

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Why Is It Better To File My Claim Online Versus By Mail

The VA processes electronic dependency claims much faster than paper claims because of an automatic processing system. You can often get a decision in as little as 48 hours after filing.

The online application is straightforward. Paper forms require multiple forms to be used and can be convoluted. You can also easily upload supporting documents in the same application. It also allows you to keep a record of the date you started the claim, so it can be used as the effective date for when the dependency benefits are awarded.

There are many benefits for dependents of prior active duty service members. They include everything from financial benefits to healthcare and education. If the Veteran with the service connected disability has passed away, there are additional benefits available for a surviving spouse, child or parent. These benefits are through dependency and indemnity compensation .

If you have any questions regarding your dependent benefits, the VA can be contacted at 1-800-827-1000. Hours are Monday through Friday, 8:00am to 9:00pm ET.

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Monthly Va Dependent Benefits

Va Retirement Pension

While the disabled veteran is still living, the VA increases the compensation available to veterans with more than a disability rating of at least 30% if they have a spouse and/or dependents .

Upon the veterans death, the parents, spouse and children may become eligible in their own right for Dependency Indemnity Compensation. Detailed information for Spouse and Child Dependency Indemnity Compensation can be found here, and Parents Dependency Indemnity Compensation here.

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Ssa Expedited Processing For Veterans

Veterans may qualify for programs from SSA that expedite disability decisions:

  • 100% Permanent and Total Veterans Initiative In March 2014, SSA introduced a new initiative to expedite the processing of applications from Veterans who have a 100% Permanent and Total disability rating from the VA. To receive expedited processing, Veterans should identify themselves as a Veteran rated 100% P& T when initiating the SSI/SSDI application and should provide the VA rating notification letter to SSA.
  • Wounded Warriors Veterans who received disabling mental or physical health injuries while on active duty on or after October 1, 2001, are eligible for expedited SSI/SSDI application processing. The injury does not need to have occurred during combat operations. When initiating the SSI/SSDI application, Veterans should inform SSA that their injury occurred while on active duty.
  • Can I File A Claim For Dependent Benefits By Mail

    Yes, absolutely. While the VA strongly encourages veterans to apply online, simply because of ease of use and the streamlined response time, you can submit paper forms to add dependents to your VA disability benefits.

    To add a child or spouse, you can mail in VA Form 21-686c, Declaration of Status of Dependents. To add a full-time student dependent, age 18-23, you should submit VA Form 21-674: Request for Approval of School Attendance in addition to VA Form 21-686c, Declaration of Status of Dependents. To add dependent parents, the VA requires you to submit VA Form 21P-509, Statement of Dependency of Parent. All forms can be mailed to the VAs claims processing center for review.

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    Getting A Medical Nexus

    With your diagnosis and service connection in hand, the last step to qualifying for VA disability compensation is getting a medical nexus. This is effectively a statement from your doctor certifying that your condition was at least as likely as not caused by your military service. If you have your service record with you during your diagnosing appointment, you might get this nexus the same day as your diagnosis.

    A medical nexus ensures that veterans only claim compensation for conditions related to their military service. You cant get in a car crash five years after you leave the service and claim disability for a traumatic brain injury. However, if you got a concussion while you were in the military, you may have a viable claim with the VA.

    One of our Veterans Disability Lawyers talks about the missing link in most VA disability applications that are denied: The Nexus Letter

    Medals Awards And Decorations

    Veterans Benefits at 30% Disability | VA Service-Connected Disability | theSITREP

    Provided by: National Archives: Medal Awards and Decorations

    Requests for the issuance or replacement of military service medals, decorations, and awards should be directed to the specific branch of the military in which the Veteran served. Medals awarded while in active service are issued by the individual military branch if requested by Veterans or their next of kin.

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    How Do You Add Dependents To Va Disability

    As I mentioned above, the best way to add dependents to VA Disability Claims is to do so with your original claim. When you submit VA Form 21-526, or fill out a claims form online, be sure to include the correct information.

    The VA is required to accept your statement as to marriage, birth, divorce, etc, so long as your statement includes:

    • the date and place of the event
    • the full name and relationship of the other person to the claimant
    • and, where the claimants dependent child does not reside with the claimant, the name and address of the person who has custody of the child.
    • In addition, a claimant must provide the social security number of any dependent on whose behalf he or she is seeking benefits.

    Another way to add dependents to VA Disability claims is to hop on eBenefits and add your dependent.

    I STRONGLY recommend keeping copies of everything you send to the VA via eBenefits, and if the VA doesnt acknowledge receipt of it in 2 weeks, send paper in the mail to the Evidence Intake Center.

    I dont yet trust eBenefits.

    Not only because my own claim shows a BVA Hearing was held before I ever filed the claim, but also because I have heard and seen countless stories of Veterans submitting claims or evidence via eBenefits and having it vaporize disappear into the cloud.

    So if you do use eBenefits and that is your choice entirely keep backup copies of everything!


    And knowthe million dollar question:

    Is There A Dependent Parent Income Limit

    No. However, a monthly income below $400 for a single parent and $660 for a parent and a spouse automatically qualifies the veteran for the VA disability dependent parent program as long as they are dependent on the veteran for their care. The spouse of the parent does not need to be the biological or adoptive parent of the veteran because the VA recognizes that a parent of a veteran may remarry and still qualify.

    If the parent has other family members living in the parents household, the monthly income threshold for conclusive dependency is raised $185 for each additional person. So, for example, if a veterans parents live with the veterans grandmother, the maximum monthly income to conclusively qualify would be $745 rather than $660.

    The income that is counted includes all sources of income including:

    • Wages or salary
    • Contributions by other family members
    • Social security benefits
    • Dividends and proceeds from the sale of stock
    • Interest income
    • Business income, including rent and farm income

    Here is a video explaining how the VA combined ratings table works from one of our Veterans Disability Lawyers.

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    Conditions For Adding Dependent To Benefits

    There are several criteria for adding dependents to VA benefits. They include:

  • You get married
  • You have a baby or adopt a child
  • Your child is attending school between the ages of 18-23
  • Your child becomes permanently disabled before the age of 18
  • You become responsible for a dependent parent whose income falls below a certain threshold
  • What Is The Va Disability Dependent Parent Program

    Education Assistance For Dependents Of Disabled Veterans

    The VA disability dependent parent program is a benefit that is paid to disabled veterans with a disability rating of at least 30% for parents who are dependent on the veteran. The VA is vague about the types of situations that qualify veterans to claim parents as dependents. Instead, the VA uses phrases like financially dependent, caregiver, and direct care to describe the relationship between the veteran and the veterans parents.

    However, some examples of the situations where a veteran may receive additional disability benefits for dependent parents include:

    • Dementia: If a parent has dementia and you live with your parents to take care of them, they may qualify as a dependent.
    • Mobility: If you spend a significant amount of time caring for your parents because one or both of your parents use a wheelchair or scooter, they may be dependents even if they do not live in your home.
    • Home care: When your parents are confined to your home or their home due to medical issues and you provide substantial time and effort helping them, they might be dependents.
    • Assisted living: If your parents are in a residential facility that you pay for, they may be dependent on you.
    • Financial dependence: When parents income is below the statutory threshold or their expenses exceed their income and assets, you may be eligible for VA dependent pay even if they do not have any major medical problems.

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