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VA Benefits During Incarceration
If You Are Incarcerated If you are incarcerated for a felony, the VA will reduce or terminate your disability benefits after your 61st day in confinement. If you were rated at 20% or higher for a service-connected disability prior to incarceration, your monthly benefit will get reduced to 10%. If you were rated at 10%, your monthly payment will be cut in half. Importantly, it is not the disability rating itself that gets reduced, only the monthly payment. After you are released from incarceration, your benefits will be reinstated at their usual level. If you are incarcerated for a misdemeanor or a felony and have a VA pension, on your 61st day in jail or prison, your pension will be terminated for the duration of your incarceration. Veterans can notify the VA upon release to get their pension reinstated. It is recommended that individuals call the Veteran Benefits Hotline at 1-800-827-1000 upon release. If incarcerated less than 60 days, or you have completed your sentence, or been paroled, or sent to a halfway house or work release program, your disability benefits will not be reduced or terminated. Although your VA pension will be terminated or your disability compensation reduced while you are in jail, your family can apply to receive a portion of the benefits. This process is called apportionment. By applying for apportionment, your family can receive your pension while you are ineligible to receive it due to incarceration. Likewise, your family can receive any amount of your disability compensation that you are ineligible to receive while in jail. For example, if you are rated at 70% before going to jail, your monthly benefit will be reduced to 10%, but your family can apply for apportionment to receive the remaining 60%. Apportionment
The VA will consider the following factors:
• The family member's income and living expenses; • The amount of compensation available to be apportioned; • The needs and living expenses of other family members.
Additional Information: • No apportionment may be made to or on behalf of any person who is incarcerated in a Federal, State, or local penal institution for conviction of a felony. • An apportionment of an incarcerated Veteran's VA benefits is not granted automatically to the Veteran's dependents. The dependent(s) must file a claim for an apportionment.
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