HVRP: Understanding the VA and DoD Disability Benefit System
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The U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) awards and administers some disability benefits provided to veterans, while the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) governs others. A successful return-to-work or community reintegration initiative focused on veterans with disabilities must include an analysis of the impact of paid employment or self-employment on DoD and VA disability benefits, as well as any other public benefits veterans may receive based upon disability.
To the extent that earnings from employment may jeopardize a veteran’s program eligibility or cash benefit amount, it will make it far less likely that an individual will choose to pursue employment. If veterans with disabilities perceive employment as risky, in terms of its adverse impact on essential cash benefits, rental assistance, health insurance, or other special programs, they may elect to protect their benefits instead of pursuing employment.