Navigating and understanding the range and breadth of benefits and benefit programs available through the Veterans Administration can be extremely difficult, if not mind-numbing. Over the next several weeks, I will attempt to provide an overview and definition of specific Veteran benefits and how they are categorized.

Disability Compensation:
In simple terms, the VA provides degrees of financial compensation for those Veterans who were disabled during service. Disability compensation is a monthly tax-free benefit paid to Veterans who are at least 10% disabled because of injuries or diseases that were incurred in or aggravated during active duty, active duty for training, or inactive duty training. A disability can apply to physical conditions, such as a chronic knee condition, as well as a mental health conditions, such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

Under certain circumstances, the VA may conclude that certain current disabilities were caused by service, even if there is no specific evidence proving this in your particular claim. For example, Vietnam Veterans and agent orange. Each and every Veteran who was stationed in Vietnam is considered exposed to agent orange, which has presumptive health consequences including certain forms of cancer, type II diabetes, ischemic heart disease, and Parkinson’s disease.

Presumed Disability:
Certain conditions are considered “presumed disability” by the Veterans Administration:
– Former prisoners of war
– Veterans who have certain chronic or tropical diseases that become evident within a specific period of time after discharge from service
– Veterans who were exposed to ionizing radiation, mustard gas, or Lewisite while in service
– Veterans who were exposed to certain herbicides, such as by serving in Vietnam
– Veterans who served in Southwest Asia during the Gulf War

Much more detailed information is available on the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs website:
– John D. Miller is the owner of Home Care Partners, LLC, a Massachusetts business providing private duty, personalized in-home assistance and companion care services to those needing help in daily activities and household functions. He can be reached at: (781) 378-2164; email: ; or online at: