Disabilities That Appear Within 1 Year After Discharge

You may be able to get disability benefits if you have signs of an illness like hypertension (high blood pressure), arthritis, diabetes, or peptic ulcers that started within a year after you were discharged from active military service.

If your symptoms appear within 1 year after discharge—even if they weren’t there while you were serving—we’ll conclude that they’re related to your service. See the complete list of covered illnesses.

Can I get disability benefits from VA?

You may be able to get benefits if you have an illness that’s at least 10% disabling (a rating that measures how severe your disability is) that appears within 1 year after discharge and:

  • The illness is listed in Title 38, Code of Federal Regulation, 3.09(a), and
  • You were discharged under conditions other than dishonorable

See Title 38, Code of Federal Regulation, 3.09(a).

Who’s covered?

Veterans

What kind of benefits can I get?

  • Health care
  • Compensation (payments)

How do I get these benefits?

You’ll need to apply for benefits. When you apply, you’ll have to show that your illness is at least 10% disabling. (For example, you may include a doctor’s report showing that you’re taking medicine for your high blood pressure.) You’ll also need to show that the illness appeared within 1 year after being discharged from active service. Apply for benefits.

Exception:
The following diseases are covered, even if they appear more than 1 year after you separated:

  • Hansen’s disease (a long-lasting infection that affects your skin, nerves, and mucous membranes) can appear within 3 years after discharge.
  • Tuberculosis (an infection that attacks your lungs and sometimes other areas of your body) can appear within 3 years after discharge.
  • Multiple sclerosis (a long-lasting illness that can cause numbness, weakness, and many other symptoms) can appear within 7 years after discharge.
  • Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), also known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease (a long-lasting illness that affects muscle control), can appear any time after discharge.