Did you know if you have a 30% or higher disability rating from the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), you can receive additional tax-free benefits for your eligible dependents?

Families around the nation are getting ready for the new school year with some children heading off to college for the first time. This brings up a perfect opportunity for veterans to check whether their dependency information is up to date.

Veterans with VA disability ratings of 30% or more may not have added eligible dependents at the time of their original award or may not have had eligible dependents at the time benefits were first awarded. We encourage these veterans to take a few moments to confirm the dependents listed on their VA award.

Veteran eBenefitsHow do I check dependents?

eBenefits (Premium Accounts)

By logging on to eBenefits.gov, Veterans can easily confirm which dependents are on their award — and ensure they are receiving their full compensation entitlement from the Department of Veterans Affairs.

If you don’t have a premium eBenefits account, you can find instructions on how to register for an account here. Once you are logged in, select Dependents to see a list of all dependents currently on your award.

If any of the information on eBenefits is incorrect, select Add or Remove Dependents to edit.[1] Follow the prompts and save your changes before closing out. For step-by-step instructions on how to add dependents on eBenefits, we encourage you to check out the VA’s instructional video here.

VA Hotline

If you’re unable to register for a premium eBenefits account, you can call the VA Hotline at 800-827-1000 to request confirmation of the dependents on your award. If any of the information is incorrect, the VA can mail you a copy of form needed to add your dependents.

Who is eligible to be added as dependents?

Veterans with VA disability ratings of 30% or more can add eligible dependents to their award, increasing their overall monthly tax-free benefit. Eligible dependents include:

  • A spouse (including spouses in same-sex marriages and common-law marriages)
  • Children (including biological children, stepchildren, and adopted children) who are unmarried and either under the age of 18, between the ages of 18-23 and enrolled in school full time, or those who were seriously disabled before the age of 18
  • Parents, whose income and net worth are below the limit set by the law

Request for Approval of School Attendance

You should consider submitting VA Form 21-674, Request for Approval of School Attendance, to the VA if the following apply:

You do not see your child on your award, and your child recently turned 18 and is enrolled in:

  • high school
  • about to enter college, or
  • about to enter another education program

How much am I entitled to?

Your monthly entitlement depends on your combined disability rating, service-connected conditions, and number and type of eligible dependents.

For example, a veteran with a 30% combined disability rating and no dependents is entitled to $476.35 per month. However, if that same veteran is married with one child, they would be entitled to $574.35 per month.

To confirm what your monthly entitlement should be, we encourage you review the Veterans Compensation Benefits Rate Tables (effective 12/1/20) on the VA’s website.

If you have questions on adding eligible dependents to your award, contact our Veterans Services team.

[1] Parents and spouses in common-law marriages cannot be added to your benefits online through eBenefits. To add a parent as a dependent, use VA Form 21-509, Statement of Dependency of Parents. To add a spouse from a common-law marriage, submit VA Form 21-686c, Declaration of Status of Dependents.