Can I Get Disability Other Than Honorable Discharge for Addiction Treatment?
Is Addiction Treatment a VA Disability?
VA disabilities refer to financial assistance veterans may qualify for if they have a medical condition that is made worse or developed as a result of their service. Disability benefits can come in the form of VA health insurance or monthly payments. Certain mental health conditions, such as substance use disorder are included as part of VA benefits. The VA recognizes substance use disorder as an eligible benefit due to the prevalence of substance abuse among veterans. In addition, addiction can often be the result of untreated mental health conditions (or dual diagnosis) which are also common in those who have served in the military.
VA Disability Eligibility & Requirements
In order to qualify for VA Disability, there are certain criteria that have to be met. Disability benefits are reserved for people who have a condition that affects their mental or physical health, as well as one or more of these:
- They served on active duty, activity duty training, or inactive training duty.
- They have been awarded a disability rating for their service.
- The disability was related to their time in the military but did not appear until after their discharge.
- Serving in the military made an existing condition worse.
- They can connect their condition to their time in the military.
Compensation amounts are determined by a rating system the VA uses, that is based on the severity of the disability. Disabilities that greatly impact overall ability to function typically receive the most benefits. Ratings are based on medical evaluations, lab tests, collateral information from federal agencies, and results of Compensation and Pension (C&P) exams. The sum of the disability rating percentages will not exceed 100% according to their “whole body theory”.
Can You Lose VA Disability Benefits from Addiction?
Substance Used Disorder is a complex disease of the brain and body and requires the collaboration of a care team, medication, and therapies as with any other disease. For this reason, the VA will not stop your disability benefits due to addiction. However, there are instances when Veterans’ Affairs could terminate disability benefits. If there is evidence of fraud on behalf of the veteran or if the VA made a mistake when the benefit was initially granted, benefits could be terminated. In some situations, the amount of the monthly payment could be decreased. This would include if you are receiving separation, retirement, or severance pay, or if you are convicted of a felony and spent more than 60 days in federal or state prison. Decisions about disability benefits ultimately lie in the hands of the VA, however, veterans have rights. Don’t be afraid to advocate for yourself if you feel the VA has made an error. At minimum, you must be given advance, written notice of the termination of your benefits, and you must be given the opportunity to appeal the decision.
Addiction Treatment for Veterans at Quantum
If you or a veteran you love are ready to start your journey to recovery, Quantum Behavioral Health can help. Quantum is New Jersey’s premier addiction treatment center. They believe in fostering an environment where you feel safe, welcomed, and supported. They offer Intensive Outpatient Programs, Partial Hospitalization Programs (PHP), and Partial Care (PC). Each program will provide you with a personalized treatment plan that will be the foundation for the care you receive and goals you have in treatment. Addiction treatment relies heavily on group therapies led by compassionate therapists and will help you find support in your peers and provide an opportunity to share your experiences with others. For more information on starting your journey at Quantum, you can call (609) 993-0733.