How to Add Dependents to VA Disability

You must file a claim to VA if you want to add one or more dependents to your VA disability compensations. The process is almost similar to how you would file claims for your disability or an increased rating. But, unlike them, you must submit additional paperwork related to the dependents.

The forms you need to fill out for the claim may differ based on the dependent. For all these to be possible, you must first be eligible for VA disability compensation. Let us explain the matter.


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A Higher VA Disability Compensation for Each Dependent

You can get a higher VA disability compensation for each dependent added to your benefit. The account you sign in with on VA’s site can help you show which dependents are currently added to your VA payments.

There is a catch here, however. Your disability rating has to be at least 30% to receive high compensation for a dependent. You can check your current rating at any time on VA’s site.

Another thing to note is that the extra amount you will receive for your dependents also depends on your disability rating. For example, someone with a 50% rating with a spouse but no children or parents will get $1,141.82, while someone with an 80% disability with the same dependents will receive $2,095.15.

In the above cases, if the veteran was alone without any dependents, they would get $1,041.82 for 50% and $1,933.15 for an 80% rating. If you are having difficulty calculating the amount you should get, head to the ‘2023 Veterans Disability Compensation Rates’ page to do it quickly.

People That Count as Your Dependent by VA

Only people officially in your family are usually valid dependents to add. Here is a better elaboration of who may consider adding for VA disability compensations-

  • A parent with a net worth and income under a certain amount that you are looking after directly.
  • A spouse, regardless of an opposite sex, same-sex or common-law marriage.
  • An unmarried child under 18 years old, over but became disabled before 18, or within 18-23 but studying full time at school. It obviously includes a stepchild or adopted child.

Also, even if you have added all your dependents, but changes in your family or their dependency happens (as the list below), you may file claims for additional dependents to add or inform them about the changes to continue the compensation.

  • Getting married.
  • Adopting a child.
  • Your child reaches 18-23 and enrolls in full-time school.
  • A child reaching 18 who has become disabled before 18 (but your earlier file didn’t mention it).
  • You start caring directly for a parent or two with a certain maximum income and net worth.

Process for Adding a Dependent to Your VA Disability Benefits

As mentioned, you need to file a claim to VA in order to add dependents to your disability benefits. However, this claim will include the necessary paperwork and evidence proving that they are your dependent.

  • For a Child: Aside from some regular papers, you need to submit their private medical reports if they are over 18 now and have had disabilities from before reaching 18. As for a child within 18-23 attending full-time school, a Request for Approval of School Attendance is necessary. You may need the VA Form 21-674 for this.
  • For a Parent: If you want to add one or two parents as dependents who are eligible, mail a Statement of Dependency of Parent(s) to VA. The VA Form 21P-509 is what you need here.

Once you collect and process all the paperwork, send it to VA. The address is as below-

Department of Veterans Affairs

Evidence Intake Center

PO Box 4444

Janesville, WI 53547-4444

When to Add a Dependent to VA Disability

You can add a dependent to VA disability compensation at any point in your position as a veteran with a service-connected disability. If you are yet to file a claim for VA disability payments, add your dependents to the file alongside. The VA will evaluate the claim and add them if you are eligible with a rating of at least 30%.

If you are already receiving VA disability payments (with a minimum rating of 30%) but haven’t filed for adding dependents, you can do it at any moment.

If you want to be sure about your VA rating before you submit a claim, assistance from the VA Disability Coach can help you so much. Hiring a VA-accredited lawyer, claimant agent, or VSO when filing the claims is also ideal.

Additional Scenarios

If both you and your spouse are veterans with service-connected disability: In this case, if both have the least disability ratings of 30%, not only will you get extra compensation for each other as a dependent, but both of you will get separate compensation for any child.

If you need to remove a dependent or get divorced: You must let VA know if you get a divorce. Your former wife is not eligible for the compensation, and, in some instances, your stepchildren aren’t either. If you fail to notify VA, they may pay you compensation for your former wife or any dependents that are not eligible anymore. In that case, they may withdraw it later by cutting the amount from your own compensation.

When removing a dependent, you can request using the eBenefits portal.

When Your Child Turns 18: A child over 18 without any disability that remained before 18 and who isn’t enrolled in school full-time is not eligible for compensation. VA will track the age of your dependent child from their date of birth and automatically stop the payment.

You must notify them of any full-time school enrollment of the child to continue the compensation by updating their school information in eBenefits.

Can I Add Dependents to My VA Disability While Serving in the Reserves?

Yes, reservists can add dependents to their VA disability while serving. Reservists with a service-related disability can apply to have their dependents added to their VA disability claim. This process ensures that their dependents receive the benefits they are entitled to. Reservists and va disability aim to provide necessary support to military personnel and their families.


Filing for a claim is the step to add your dependents to your VA disability compensation. It sounds simple but can be tiresome, requiring you to need aid from a lawyer or VSO. In the same way, you can also request VA to remove any dependent. Once VA approves any claim of VA compensation or addition of dependents, it usually takes up to 2 weeks for them to start paying you.