VA Compensation and Pension
In addition to my private practice I work as a VA Compensation and Pension examiner. The purpose of this page is to provide basic information and resources about the United States Department of Veterans Affairs C&P program. See the bottom of the page for Resources for C&P Examiners.
United States veterans are entitled to compensation if they incurred a disease, illness, or condition while on active duty with the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, or Coast Guard. The illness or condition must currently cause impairment in the veteran's social and occupational functioning. A veteran is not eligible for the program if he or she was discharged under dishonorable conditions (a General discharge is acceptable).
The primary reason for the VA Compensation program is to compensate disabled veterans who either cannot work or cannot work as effectively as they might absent their illness or condition.
The VA Pension program is for older wartime veterans (age 65 up)--or totally disabled wartime veterans of any age--who have limited or no income. There is also a pension program, referred to as a "death pension" for surviving spouses or unmarried children of a wartime veteran who have limited or no income.
The VA Pension program also offers Aid and Attendance and Housebound benefits for pension recipients who require assistance for daily activities of living and/or who are housebound.
Remember that your military service does not need to be the cause of your illness or condition. The illness or condition simply has to have been incurred during your active military service. Also, if you had a pre-existing condition that was aggravated by your military service, you might also qualify for compensation.
You can apply for VA Compensation and Pension benefits online. When you get to the web page, click on "I Am a New VONAPP User".
Either before or after you submit a claim (apply for benefits) you can request the assistance of a Veterans Service Organization (VSO). Consult this list of accredited VSOs. You also can receive help from a state veterans agency.
Aid and Attendance - Website devoted to explaining and helping veterans obtain "Aid and Attendance" benefits.
VA Pension FAQ
A "forum" is an online community featuring "discussion boards" where you can ask questions and receive assistance from other veterans. Note that you must register for a forum before you can post a question. Look for a "Register" button or link once you are on the site. Here are some forums that discuss VA Compensation and Pension programs:
HadIt.com VA Compensation Forums - Second only to Yuku in activity.
Yuku.com VA Compensation Forums - Probably the largest, most active forum.
If you are a veteran and you're feeling overwhelmed, stressed out, suicidal, or just need someone to talk to, I highly recommend calling the Veterans Crisis Line at 1-800-273-8255 (Press "1").
You can also chat online with a counselor. Use the Veterans Chat to get online support anonymously, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year—even if you’re not registered with VA or enrolled in VA health care.
Or you can communicate via text from your cell phone by sending a text message to 838255.
More information is available at VeteransCrisisLine.net.
Resources for C&P Examiners
Here are some resources for psychologists and psychiatrists who conduct VA compensation and pension exams for veterans seeking disability benefits:
Email Discussion List - If you are a mental health C&P examiner or VBA staff member, you can request to join a listserv for mental health C&P exams. Send your request to:
webmaster1 [at] avapl dot org
Note that you must have a VA email address (i.e., it must end in "@va.gov") or you must be able to prove to the list manager that you are a licensed mental health professional.
Article -"A Practical Guide to Conducting VA Compensation and Pension Exams for PTSD and Other Mental Disorders" - published in Psychological Injury and Law. Request from your VA librarian or purchase online.
Article - "Military Service Records: Searching for the Truth" - published in Psychological Injury and Law. Request from your VA librarian or purchase online.
A Sample Informed Consent Form for Compensation and Pension exams of veterans applying for benefits based on PTSD or other mental disorders is available here. The Consent Form can be used by private practitioners conducting the evaluations for contracting companies; private practitioners who contract directly with the VA; or by psychologists or psychiatrists who work for the VA (although check to see if your VAMC requires approval of such forms). Note that this Sample Consent Form is not an official Department of Veterans Affairs form.
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