You may be eligible for a VA clothing allowance.
Do you wear a prosthetic, use a particular medicine for a skin condition, or use an orthopedic device? VA clothing allowance money is available on an annual basis, and it helps offset the cost of replacing ruined clothing.
You must have already applied for a service-connected disability and be receiving reimbursement for it.
In this article about the annual VA clothing allowance:
- What Is a VA Clothing Allowance?
- What Items Are Included?
- What Items Aren’t Included?
- What Are the Eligibility Requirements for VA Clothing Allowance?
- Can I Receive More Than One Clothing Allowance per Year?
- How Do I Apply for VA Clothing Allowance?
- When Is the Payment for Clothing Allowance Sent?
- Do I Need to Reapply Each Year?
- What Other Special Claims Are There?
- Automobile Allowance and Adaptive Equipment
- Recovery From Surgery or An Immobilizing Disability
- Dental Care
- Time Spent in Hospital
- Individual Unemployability
- Immediate Help For Temporary Disability Needs
- Ready to Apply for Your VA Clothing Allowance?
The allowance is a little-known benefit for particular veterans. But, it only applies to those whose service-connected disability causes permanent damage to clothing. Because of this damage, more frequent replacement is required for clothing.
VA clothing allowance is one of those benefits that the VA points to as ‘special claims.’ This is alongside automotive and adaptive equipment allowance and adapted housing. Like such claims, it’s difficult to determine if you qualify for such benefits.
Don’t worry, that’s where we come in to help. Here’s everything you need to know about VA annual clothing allowance.
What Is a VA Clothing Allowance?
The VA clothing allowance is a single, annual benefit offered to service members. Their clothing must be worn or spoiled due to the prescribed skin medications or the use of prosthetic or orthopedic devices. These devices and skin medication must be required for a service-connected disability.
The amount that veterans qualify for changes, but as of 2022 it was up to $891 a year.
Veterans who wear or use qualifying prescribed prosthetic or orthopedic applications or prescription medication for the skin may be qualified for an annual clothing allowance. The benefit is designed to replenish worn or destroyed clothing by the continued use of prosthetic or orthopedic devices or garments ruined because of necessary skin medications.
Damages from clothing must be permanent, and not something that can be cleaned or removed. For example, a stain or tarnish that can be cleaned through washing and dry cleaning doesn’t count.
Most payments of VA clothing allowance are between September 1st and October 31st of the current year.
The Clothing Allowance also includes appliances that have been approved by a physician to treat or compensate for the loss of a limb like an arm or a leg, or a skin condition. Appliances and equipment that lead to wear and tear include artificial legs, a rigid brace, a wheelchair, and crutches.
Some other needs may be covered by SMC, or Special Monthly Compensation. One of our VA disability lawyers talks about that here:
What Items Are Included?
VA clothes included in the benefit are:
- Any similar items that are permanently damaged by qualifying appliances or medications
What Items Aren’t Included?
Not all items of clothing are included in the VA clothing allowance. Garments not included are:
- Similar garments
What Are the Eligibility Requirements for VA Clothing Allowance?
As mentioned, service members who use a prescribed prosthetic or skin medication to help with a service-related condition may qualify for a VA clothing allowance.
For eligibility, a veteran’s prosthetic or orthopedic equipment must result in wear and tear of clothing or their skin medication must lead to irreparable staining to clothing.
According to the VA, ‘Irreparable damages do not include stains that are removable through regular laundering or dry cleaning.’ Frequent examples include the wearing of a prosthetic or orthopedic mechanism, artificial limb, rigid brace, back brace, wheelchair, or the necessary application of skin cremes or other medications that may affect clothing.
Once you’ve applied for the for clothing allowance, the VA will determine the following:
- If the veteran is qualified to apply for the benefit
- Whether the veteran meets specific service-connected disability principles certified by VBA’s Compensation Service Outlined in 38 CFR 3.810
- If your orthopedic or prosthetics appliance usually affects outer garments
- Whether the medication for the service-related skin condition leads to irreparable staining to the veteran’s clothing
- How many locations and clothing pieces are affected (e.g., shirt, pants, skirt, blouse, entire arm vs. part of one arm, etc.)
Can I Receive More Than One Clothing Allowance per Year?
Usually, a VA clothing allowance is only granted once a year. But, some veterans may qualify to receive more than one annual allowance if they meet the following principles:
- The veteran must have more than one service-related disability or skin condition that necessitates the use of more than one prosthetic or orthopedic device or prescribed medication
- These service-related disabilities or skin conditions must impair separate articles of clothing
For example, let’s say that a service member lost his right leg below the knee while working in the military. Today, he uses a prosthetic leg, which can easily ruin his pants. The same veteran also has a skin condition on his left arm, which is treated with a powerful ointment that stains his shirts.
In this case, the veteran has two different yet distinct service-linked conditions. Both cause damage and wear to two separate articles of clothing, so the veteran qualifies to two annual clothing allowances.
As usual, multiple awards are made on a case-by-case basis.
These allowances can reach up to a maximum of $1,506 in total (the amount in 2020) if you have more than one qualifying condition.
Here one of our VA disability lawyers talks about how your combined ratings go together with VA Math.
How Do I Apply for VA Clothing Allowance?
Veterans who’d like to apply for a clothing allowance VA must first have their condition service-connected via the Veterans Benefits Administration. Then, you must fill in the VA form 10 8678.
This form is sent to the Prosthetic and Sensory Aids Service at your local VA Medical, and not the regional department. To be eligible for the same year, you must send it by August 1st of that year. The annual benefits are often given to veterans between September 1st and October 31st.
Before you apply, be sure to collect all the relevant paperwork and supporting information that’s required for the application form. Print out the form and review it to help you gather all the essential information.
The relevant information requires your medical records and history. You should also provide supporting documents to file.
When you fill out the form, you’ll need to list the items of clothing that become ruined by your prosthetic, medical device, or skin medication. You’ll also need to write down your related disability, when it was issued, the VA department that issued it, and how it affects your life.
Like all forms submitted to the VA, you must sign and confirm that the information is correct. As you work with us, we’ll identify all of the needed forms for your application and we’ll keep track of their progress at the VA. This is just one of the benefits of working with a VA disability law firm that has handled thousands of these kinds of cases.
You can submit your application either by emailing, mail, faxing, or distributing it to your nearest VA hospital or clinic. Please contact your local service to check if in-person submissions are expected or recommended.
When Is the Payment for Clothing Allowance Sent?
As mentioned, VA clothing allowance is paid out annually. The date paid always sits between September 1st and October 31st. If a veteran applied for and was awarded clothing benefits by August 1, that person would receive payment the same year.
If a service member applies for the VA clothing allowance after August 1, they would receive payment the following year.
Do I Need to Reapply Each Year?
Veterans who receive reimbursement for the loss of an extremity and who permanently wear or use prosthetic equipment don’t need to reapply for the VA clothing allowance. Each year, you’ll automatically receive the grant.
If you are in a recurring position for one clothing allowance and you don’t intend to claim for more than one clothing allowance, you don’t need to reapply annually.
Veterans who don’t receive VA payment and those wearing or using prosthetic or orthopedic equipment temporarily must apply for the grant each year.
One of our past clients gives a review of his experience with Woods and Woods and his VA disability claim.
What Other Special Claims Are There?
VA clothing allowance isn’t the only special claim veterans can apply for. If you’re a service member with a disability that the VA has agreed is the result of an illness or injury caused or worsened by your time during service, you may be able to gain special compensation such as one of the following.
Automobile Allowance and Adaptive Equipment
You could also qualify for a vehicle allowance. If you have had a limb loss or a severe physical disability, you could be eligible for a one-time vehicle allowance. This is to help pay for a specially equipped vehicle. In 2022, it was a one-off sum of no more than $22,355.72.
Recovery From Surgery or An Immobilizing Disability
If you’re recovering from surgery or a disability linked to service that’s left you unable to move, you may be able to receive disability payment or benefits.
To be eligible, you must have received surgery that necessitated a recovery time of at least one month or offered detail to show that the operation or treatment was for a service-connected disability. You must have had one or more critical joints restrained by a cast if you didn’t receive surgery.
If you’re a veteran, you may be eligible for VA dental care. But, dental benefits are different from other VA medical benefits.
The VA assesses various factors to decide who is eligible for dental care. They also decide which dental care benefits each veteran can receive.
The Veterans Benefits Administration (VBA) and the Veterans Health Administration (VHA) will determine dental benefits and treatment for service members.
Time Spent in Hospital
Veterans that spend time in a VA hospital or a VA-approved facility for a disability relating to their time spent in the military may receive extra disability compensation.
To be eligible, veterans must have spent more than 21 days in a VA hospital or other approved facility for a service-connected disability. Or, they must have been under hospital surveillance for more than 21 days at the VA’s expense for a service-connected disability.
The disability benefits that are offered include health care and increased payment spent in the hospital.
If a veteran cannot work because of a service-related disability, they may be eligible for ‘individual unemployability.’ This means the veteran may be able to receive disability payment or benefits at the same level as an ex-service member who has a 100% disability grade.
Veterans can receive healthcare and compensation if they are eligible for individual unemployability.
Here are answers to Veterans’ most common questions about VA disability claims.
Immediate Help For Temporary Disability Needs
If you recently finished your military service and have a disability-related to your experience, you may get temporary disability compensation or benefits immediately. To be eligible, you must have a severe service-connected disability that is unstable. Your disability must also be expected to continue indefinitely.
Ready to Apply for Your VA Clothing Allowance?
So, after applying for your VA compensation allowance, if a service-linked prosthetic or medication damages your garments, you may qualify for a VA clothing allowance.
If you have trouble applying for your VA clothing allowance or your request was rejected, it can be useful to talk to a disability lawyer about your options.
The right attorney can help you fill in the forms correctly, or help you argue your case should your application be denied.
Here at Woods and Woods, our attorneys have years of experience and understanding working with veterans to help you gain the benefits you deserve.
If you have questions about the VA clothing allowance and your chance to receive these benefits, get in touch with our team here at Woods and Woods. Contact us for a free legal consultation today, and we’ll help you get the results you deserve.
Yes, the VA clothing allowance is linked to the VA approving your service-connected disability.
No, there is no such thing as an automatic disability. You might have a strong case, though, if you have proof in your medical records that an IED blew off your leg. Any kind of medical record linking your disability to your service is the start of a strong case.