How to Add Spouse to VA Disability

When adding your spouse to VA disability, file a claim to the VA first. You can file through the eBenefits portal, which is the fastest way to get a response and also the easiest.

It is no doubt necessary for your spouse to get VA disability compensation as your dependent. Their status in the job field, income, or net worth doesn’t matter here as they are qualified dependents you can add without many rules.

Whether you have already filed a claim for your VA disability compensations or still haven’t done it, adding spouses as a dependency is possible anytime. You only have to be eligible for the compensation yourself first and foremost.


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Who Counts As Your Spouse?

Officially, your better half by marriage is considered a spouse by VA. The following count as your spouse-

  • A person you married.
  • A person with whom you have common-law marriage.
  • Same-sex marriages fall within these categories.

If you want to check whether you have already added your spouse as a dependent, you may check it on VA’s site by signing in with your account.

If you have already divorced someone, that former spouse won’t count as eligible for dependent compensation. Let’s discuss this matter more.

Regarding a Former Spouse

Your former spouse(s) don’t count as valid dependents. Under certain scenarios, even your stepchildren won’t be dependents either. So, as soon as you get a divorce, you must notify the VA so that they can stop paying additional compensation to the former spouse. Why is it important, you may wonder?

If the VA pays you for a former spouse without you notifying them (or for any changes in the dependencies that don’t keep them eligible anymore), VA will cut money from your own payment.

Steps to Add Your Spouse to VA Disability

You basically have to file a claim to VA when adding a spouse to VA disability compensation. There are two ways you can do it.

The first one is to file a claim via paper. You can do it at the same time as you are filing for your own VA disability compensation. Otherwise, you can do it at any moment. If you are eligible for VA disability benefits and have a minimum VA rating of 30%, VA should add your spouse for compensation.

If you have already filed your claim for VA disability payments but haven’t added the matter of your spouse in it, you can do it later too. Instead of going for paperwork, the quickest and least complex way is the eBenefits portal. Using it, VA can respond as fast as 48 hours! So, how do you do it?

  • First, sign into your eBenefits account.
  • Get a premium eBenefits account.
  • Select ‘Add or Remove Dependent’.
  • Follow the instructions there to submit your claim. You may need to upload certain documents or files when necessary.

You cannot add a spouse through common-law marriage using the eBenefits portal as of writing. It is the same when adding parents. So, your only option is to file a claim using the VA Form 21-686c. When claiming through papers, submit them to this address-

Department of Veterans Affairs

Evidence Intake Center

PO Box 4444

Janesville, WI 53547-4444

If the process feels complex, you can hire a VA-accredited VSO, lawyer, or claimant agent to help you.

What Types of Benefits Can Your Spouse Get from VA?

A spouse can get various types of benefits, given their eligibility. Here are the different compensations a spouse may receive-

  • Healthcare
  • Education and training
  • Home loans or financial counseling
  • Survivor’s pension
  • Employment
  • Life insurance
  • Burial and memorials
  • Tax-free monetary benefits
  • Supports for any caregiver of a veteran and many more.

Head to this site to learn more about each benefit type and whether you are eligible for them as a spouse.

Amount of VA Disability Compensation

After you add your spouse to VA disability compensation as a dependent, you may get the following additional amounts depending on your VA rating.

VA Rating30%40%50%60%70%80%90%100%

You need a minimum VA rating of 30% to add any dependent. So, you can’t add a spouse with a 10% or 20% rating. Visit the ‘2023 Veterans Disability Compensation Rates’ page for detailed information.

Regarding Any Back Pay

If you married your spouse earlier but are claiming to add them as your dependent now, you can get back pay from your marriage date. Although, it needs to match three criteria-

  • Your disability rating must be at least 30% on your marriage date.
  • Your claim to add your spouse for VA disability must be within a year of the marriage.
  • If VA asks you for additional information or evidence, you must respond within a year.

If any of these criteria are not matched, you may get compensation for your spouse from the date of filing the claim. It is the same when you adopt or give birth to a child. In that case, instead of the marriage date, count the birth date.

Usually, VA starts paying you within 2 weeks after approving your claim. Since back pay is a lump sum, you should get all of it with your first payment.

If Both Spouses Are Veterans with Disability

If both you and your spouse are veterans with a minimum 30% disability, you both can get your original VA disability compensation. Meanwhile, you can add each as the dependent of the other, and VA will pay for both. The payment can differ based on your disability rating still and whether you have an approved pact act claim.

Final Note

By adding a spouse as your dependent, you can get additional compensation for the dependent. Usually, filing a claim for spouses is the same as for children. But we highly recommend claiming online since the difference in complexity is high, and it is fairly easy to do it on eBenefits. Whenever you want to file a claim, taking the service from VA Disability Coach will be ideal to reduce the hassle.