Life can change in an instant for Georgia residents. Things that may be taken for granted one day can be drastically changed without notice, causing individuals to rearrange their life and deal with issues they never dreamed they would be dealing with before.

These issues often confront our nation’s veterans, who put their lives on the line in service of their country. Last week, this blog discussed the recent visit to Georgia by VA Secretary Robert McDonald. The visit was intended to address a number of issues confronting local veterans, including access to care and financial assistance.

One of the most important issues veterans around the area face is the aftermath of an injury or disease suffered during their service. Whether it be head injuries, mental illness or other conditions that were suffered while on active duty, veterans can have their lives changed drastically because of the illness or injury.

In these circumstances, veterans may be able to file a “service connected” disability claim. If a veteran suffers a service-related disability and was discharged under other than dishonorable conditions, the veteran is typically eligible for disability compensation.

The amount of compensation that will be paid varies from case to case. One key contributing factor is the nature of the disability at issue. For example, if a veteran suffered a very serious injury like a loss of limb or head injury, the veteran may be eligible for additional amounts of compensation. The veteran may also be entitled to a higher benefit amount if he or she has a spouse, children or dependent parent. The idea is that all of these circumstances increase the need for the disability compensation.

The tax-free benefits received by the veteran can be vital to dealing with the changes in the person’s life. Accordingly, veterans should not hesitate to determine whether they are eligible for benefits, and what the process is for obtaining those benefits.

Source: Veterans Administration, “Disability Compensation,” accessed on July 11, 2015