Getting Help. Who is Eligible?

Getting Help Who is eligible?

  • Active duty uniformed service members
  • Members of Reserve/Guard military units
  • Veterans of OEF/OIF
  • Family members of the above including spouses, parents and children

Who We Serve

  • Armed Forces Veterans serves all veterans and service members who did or did not incur a physical or mental injury, co-incident to their military service. 

Operation Iraqi Freedom refers to military operations in Iraq that began March 19, 2003 and officially ended August 31, 2010. Operation Enduring Freedom refers to combat and military operations in Afghanistan. United States of America supports the Global War on Terror. Operation New Dawn is referered to the conclusion of operations in Iraq beginning September 1, 2010 and ending December 15, 2011.

Discharge Under Conditions Other Than Dishonorable

Even if a veteran meets the military service requirement above, Armed Forces Veterans will not consider a person a veteran for benefits unless they were discharged "under conditions other than dishonorable". Qualifying discharges include:

  • Honorable discharges
  • Discharges under honorable conditions, and
  • General discharges.

Veterans discharged under other than honorable conditions, with undesirable discharges, or with bad conduct discharges may not be eligible for benefits. 

Who May Apply

For a veteran to qualify for veterans disability benefits, the veteran must meet all of the following criteria:
  • The veteran must have a disability diagnosed.
  • There must have been an incident during the veteran's active service, and
  • The disability must be "service-connected", meaning that there must be a proven casual connection between the incident and the disability or the disability must be on the presumed connection list {more on this below}.

 The Service-Connection Requirement

As noted earlier, for a veteran to qualify for disability benefits, his/her disability must be service-connected, meaning that the veteran's active service (or any incident/ injury during active service) caused or helped to cause the disability.
There are three different types of service connections: direct service connection, aggravated injury connection and, presumed service connection.
Direct Service Connection
A direct service connection occurs when the disability occurred directly due to military service, such as the loss of eyesight due to an in-combat injury. In such cases, the veteran must show evidence of his current disability, evidence of the incident that caused the injury, and medical evidence that the occurrence caused the current disability.
Aggravated Service Connection
An aggravated service connection can be established in cases where a veteran entered military service with a preexisting condition that is noted in his or her entrance medical exam and can provide evidence that active military service or an incident during service aggravated that condition.
Presumed Service Connection
A presumed service connection can be established when a veteran (who has served at least 90 days) develops a disability or condition of a 10% degree or greater that is presumed to be related to active service. Federal law lists the disabilities that are presumed to result from active military service. The disability must appear within a certain amount of time after active service (the lengths of time vary by type of disability).
Veterans who were prisoners of war suffering from conditions such as frostbite, anxiety, or post-traumatic osteoarthritis are presumed to have a service connection between military service and the disability.
Rebuttal of Evidence
 For any presumed service connection, Armed Forces Veterans can bring evidence to prove that another cause exists {such as an injury that occurred after the veteran left service} that resulted in the disability.
Causes of Ineligibility for Disability Benefits
In certain circumstances, a veteran will not be eligible to receive disability benefits. These circumstances include:

  • The veteran's disability was caused by the veteran's misconduct.
  • The veteran was dishonorably discharged.
  • The injury occurred while the veteran was avoiding duty; for example, while deserting or absent without leave {AWOL}.
  • The injury occurred while the veteran/ service member was in prison or detained due to court martial or civil court felony.

Willful Misconduct

Veterans who are seeking Armed Forces Veterans benefit based on a disability whose disability was caused by their own willful misconduct will be barred from receiving benefits for that disability. Willful misconduct is "an act involving conscious wrongdoing or known prohibited action".