Your classification as a veteran is what entitles you to recover VA disability benefits. Although our firm does not talk about this criterion often because it largely goes without saying, to recover VA disability benefits, you must be a veteran of the U.S. Armed Forces. That, then, begs the question: What precisely is a veteran of the U.S. armed forces?
In this article, we will answer that question.
There are three criteria for determining whether or not an individual is a veteran. The first is obvious. You must be able to establish that you served in the U.S. Armed Forces. This includes the Coast Guard, National Guard, and even commissioned officers who fulfill civilian roles in the healthcare industry. In some cases, civilians who worked alongside the military will also qualify as a “veteran.” Lastly, those who attended a military academy will qualify as a veteran.
Nonetheless, there is a second criterion. You must not have been dishonorably discharged. Those who were dishonorably discharged cannot qualify for VA benefits.
Lastly, you must be able to establish that you were “active duty” military at the time of your injury. In other words, if you fall out of bed on your way to the coffee maker while acting as a reserve, the VA disability fund will likely not honor that claim. Active duty means full-time duty. Reservists will qualify after they have been called to active duty. Training exercises will also likely be considered active duty. There is limited leeway for those who are not on active duty to file claims if they are injured during exercises or as part of their military duty.
The term “other than dishonorable” does not tell you much about what prevents veterans from seeking VA benefits. To simplify, there are discharge conditions that will disqualify an individual from VA benefits. Those are:
Further, a veteran who accepts an undesirable discharge to avoid court-martial will likely not qualify for benefits. These can include mutiny or spying, or an offense involving moral turpitude. It used to be that homosexual acts also could disqualify a veteran for benefits, but that provision has since been rescinded.
Retroactive pay regarding the failure to account for all the veteran’s medical conditions.
Military Sexual Trauma case
Disability associated with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
Retroactive pay regarding a PTSD misdiagnosis.
PTSD resulting in Unemployability
Traumatic brain injury case
Wrongfully denied SSA claim
Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
Non-presumptive cardiac impairment linked to Agent Orange
Agent Orange exposure case that led to Parkison’s disease.
ERISA long term disability benefits.