VA disability compensation is not the only benefit available to 100% disabled veterans. Special benefits for 100% disabled veterans are available throughout the U.S. and state governments. Some of these are intended to make daily life easier or more secure for disabled veterans while other benefits are quality of life benefits.
In this article about benefits for veterans with a 100% VA rating:
- What are the Special Benefits for 100% Disabled Veterans?
- Limitations on Space-A Travel for 100% Disabled Veterans
- Housing Grants for 100% Disabled Veterans
- Automobile Allowance for Disabled Veterans
- Clothing Allowance for Disabled Veterans
- National Park Pass for Permanently Disabled Veterans
- State Benefits for 100% Disabled Veterans
- Eligibility for Special Benefits for 100% Disabled Veterans
- Proving Your VA Disability Benefit Eligibility
- Receiving Special Benefits for 100% Disabled Veterans
What are the Special Benefits for 100% Disabled Veterans?
The VA provides a brochure outlining many other benefits for disabled veterans in addition to disability compensation. Similarly, most states maintain a website that lists benefits available to disabled veterans who reside in that state. A few of the more significant benefits are listed below:
1. Space-A Travel for 100% Disabled Veterans
Space Available travel is not administered by the VA. Rather, this is a program provided by the U.S. Air Force’s Air Mobility Command (AMC). This program allows active service members and their dependents to travel on military aircraft for free, subject to availability.
You may be familiar with Space-A travel from your time in the service. Space-A travel is available to active duty, reserve, and guard members for both leisure and service-related travel. Under the 2019 Defense Authorization Bill, Space-A travel was also made available to veterans with permanent and total disabilities.
Using Space-A travel can be a bit more complicated than booking a commercial airline ticket. Space-A travel is only available from certain airbases as well as Baltimore/Washington International Airport (BWI) and Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (Sea-Tac). Each of these departure terminals maintains a Facebook page that lists the flights over the ensuing 72 hours. There are several groups on Facebook that you can look at just by searching “Space A flights” or BWI and Sea-Tac specifically.
To fly Space-A, you must register with the terminal by filling out AMC Form 140, Space-Available Travel Request, and faxing or emailing the completed form to the terminal. Disabled veterans are classified with priority group VI on the form.
On the day of the flight, you will check-in at the terminal and wait for your name to be called. There is no guarantee that you will get a seat on the flight even if you have registered. Seats are assigned based on priority group and once seats are filled, anyone remaining on the registration list will not board the flight. However, if your name is called, disabled veterans travel for free.
Limitations on Space-A Travel for 100% Disabled Veterans
There are a few limitations on how 100% disabled veterans can use Space-A travel, however.
- Destinations: Space-A travel for 100% disabled veterans is limited to flights between and within the continental U.S., Hawaii, Alaska, Guam, Puerto Rico, American Samoa, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
- Priority: On the day of the flight, seats for Space-A travel are assigned according to priority groups and the date and time of the travel request. Disabled veterans are placed in the lowest priority group for Space-A travel, meaning that it may be difficult to get the flight you want even if you are the first or only disabled veteran requesting a seat.
- Limits on mobility equipment: If you require mobility equipment to travel, the AMC places a limit of 100 pounds on the weight of mobility equipment.
- No dependents: The authorization for Space-A travel for 100% disabled veterans does not allow spouses or dependents of disabled veterans to travel Space-A. For your spouse or dependents to travel Space-A, they will need to be independently eligible for Space-A. For example, if your spouse is retired from the military, your spouse would be eligible to travel Space-A as a military retiree.
- Excludes Patriot Express: Patriot Express, the commercial airliners chartered by the AMC, is only available for Space-A travel to active duty service members and their dependents who are transiting for a permanent change of station. Patriot Express is not available to 100% disabled veterans for Space-A travel.
- Service and support animals: Pets are only allowed on Patriot Express flights. Regular Space-A travel does not permit pets. However, service and support animals are permitted to fly with 100% disabled veterans during Space-A travel.
Housing Grants for 100% Disabled Veterans
Another special benefit for 100% disabled veterans is the eligibility for housing grants. The Specially Adapted Housing (SAH) and Special Housing Adaptation (SHA) grants are available to veterans with permanent and total disabilities. These housing grants are intended to be used to construct, buy, or modify a house to accommodate the veteran’s disability. For example, SAH and SHA grants can be used to install wheelchair ramps, grab bars, lowered counters, and other accommodations that may be needed by the veteran as a result of the disability.
Additionally, veterans who obtain SAH or SHA grants are eligible to apply for mortgage life insurance. Veteran’s mortgage life insurance benefits are applied toward the mortgage on a modified home in the event of the veteran’s death. This helps the veteran’s spouse or dependent children remain in the home.
Automobile Allowance for Disabled Veterans
Veterans with certain service-connected disabilities, such as severe burns or the loss or impairment of one or both feet, both hands, or both eyes are eligible for a one-time automobile allowance to buy or adapt an automobile to accommodate the veteran’s disability. This allowance is paid directly to the seller of the vehicle. Automobile allowances can be obtained by applying to the VA.
Clothing Allowance for Disabled Veterans
Veterans who wear a prosthetic or use an orthopedic device can get an annual clothing allowance. This also applies to those who have skin conditions and use skin medication that damages clothing. Clothing allowances are administered and paid by the VA.
How to get VA disability if you’ve been affected by Burn Pits in Iraq or Afghanistan.
National Park Pass for Permanently Disabled Veterans
Veterans with permanent disabilities are eligible for a free National Parks pass. The Access Pass is a free, lifetime pass that allows the veteran and guests in the same vehicle to enter any U.S. National Park without payment of any entry fees. The Access Pass also includes discounts or waivers of user fees at U.S. National Parks for camping, swimming, boat launching, and paid tours.
To obtain an Access Pass, you can fill an application and mail it to the U.S. National Park Service or apply in person at a U.S. National Park. You should keep in mind that while the Access Pass is free, the U.S. National Park Service charges a fee if you apply by mail to cover the postage to mail your Access Pass back to you.
State Benefits for 100% Disabled Veterans
While they vary from state to state, most states offer benefits to residents who are disabled veterans. Some examples of state benefits include:
- Vehicle registration: Disabled veterans in some states are eligible for a reduction or waiver of vehicle registration fees. Disabled veterans in certain states may also be eligible for special license plates for their vehicles.
- Property tax: Some states reduce property tax rates or waive property taxes for disabled veterans.
- Fishing and hunting licenses: Disabled veterans may be able to obtain free or discounted fishing and hunting licenses in some states.
- Educational or vocational programs: States often offer free or discounted educational or vocational programs to disabled veterans
Since these programs are state-specific, you should consult your state’s veteran’s affairs department for a list of programs, eligibility requirements, and application procedures.
Eligibility for Special Benefits for 100% Disabled Veterans
Other articles on our website address ways to obtain a 100% VA disability rating. To briefly summarize, there are three ways to seek a 100% disability rating:
- Single disability: Some disabilities are severe enough that they are rated at 100%.
- Complementary disabilities: The disability ratings from multiple disabilities, each with its own service connection, are aggregated using VA math to reach 100%.
- Secondary service-connected disabilities: The disability ratings from a primary service-connected disability is aggregated with at least one secondary service-connected disability using VA math to reach 100%.
When a veteran reaches 100% disability, the veteran is entitled to the maximum amount of disability pay for that veteran’s family situation. A 100% disabled veteran with a spouse and dependent children will receive more than a 100% disabled veteran who is single and has no dependent children.
A veteran with a 100% disability rating is also entitled to seek a permanent and total disability rating. A permanent and total disability rating is assigned when a veteran’s total disability is not expected to improve. The VA does not grant permanent and total disability ratings on its own – you must request it. When you are granted a permanent and total disability rating, the VA will forego scheduling medical reexaminations that can result in a loss or reduction of your VA disability benefits.
Proving Your VA Disability Benefit Eligibility
Why is it important to understand the VA’s process for rating 100% disabilities? To prove your eligibility for special benefits for 100% disabled veterans, you will need some form of documentation that proves your total disability. For some programs, the Rating Decision letter from the VA assigning your disability or disabilities a 100% disability rating is enough. For other programs, the letter from the VA saying that your disabilities are permanent and total is required.
For Space-A travel for disabled vets, a Uniformed Services ID and Privilege Card, DD Form 2765, is required. This ID card is like the Uniformed Services ID and Privilege card you obtained when you were discharged from the military. However, 100% disabled veterans are given a different card specifically for their 100% disability status.
To obtain a DD form 2765 card, you must fill out an application form and go to a Department of Defense (DoD) ID card office with supporting documents. The supporting documents include:
- Two forms of ID: You can provide a passport, driver’s license, valid and unexpired DoD ID, or other state or federal government-issued picture ID. The DoD may also accept other forms of identification, such as a birth certificate, social security card, voter registration card, or certificate of naturalization with a picture ID.
- Proof of service: The DoD will need a statement of service or certificate of discharge from active duty. If documentation proving your military service is not available, the DoD may be able to verify you served if you know your dates of service.
- Proof of total disability: A VA Rating Decision letter stating that you are 100% disabled is required. If you are permanently disabled, you must also provide the letter granting permanent and total disability status. If you are not permanently disabled, you must provide the letter that gives your medical reexamination date.
- Proof of Medicare enrollment: If you are 65 or older, you must also provide proof of enrollment in Medicare Part B.
Receiving Special Benefits for 100% Disabled Veterans
The first step to receiving VA disability compensation and other benefits offered to 100% disabled veterans is to obtain a 100% VA disability rating. This can be challenging because as your disabilities come closer to 100%, the VA’s formula makes it more difficult to reach 100%. However, there are disabilities and combinations of disabilities that reach 100%.
A disability rating of 100% means that your disabilities totally impair your ability to work and severely impact your quality of life. If you believe that your disabilities render you 100% disabled, you should experiment with the VA disability calculator to determine how the VA will assign a total rating for your disabilities. Remember to include all your service-connected disabilities and all your symptoms since a few percentage points can add up when the disability ratings are aggregated.
When you file your VA disability claim, you should be prepared to fight for your 100% disability rating. You should include all medical records that support your claim of disability and service records that connect your disabilities to your military service. These records will be used by the VA to assign a disability rating and when they are missing or incomplete, you will probably not receive the rating you deserve.
If your disability claim is approved, you should request a permanent and total rating, if it is justified. Permanent and total disability ratings are not automatically assigned even if your disability is clearly permanent. As mentioned above, some of the special benefits for 100% disabled veterans require permanent disability and a permanent and total rating is the only way to secure them.
If your disability claim is denied, or you receive a VA disability rating below 100%, you can request a Rating Decision review. The VA often does not go out of its way to be generous with VA disability ratings so you may need to be prepared to use every procedure available to obtain a fair VA disability rating.
This is where a VA attorney can help obtain a 100% disability rating. VA disability lawyers are experienced with the VA’s regulations and practices. With this experience comes insight into the evidence and arguments that may persuade the VA to increase your disability rating.
Special benefits for 100% disabled veterans, like Space-A travel for disabled vets, are a sign of appreciation for your service. Regardless of where you are currently located or whether you were deployed during your service, contact a VA attorney to discuss how you can obtain a 100% VA disability rating so you can receive these special benefits.