Providers and advocates working with incarcerated veterans have many questions related to VA care and benefits.
WHAT HAPPENS TO THE VETERAN’S DISABILITY COMPENSATION AND PENSION WHILE INCARCERATED?
The information on benefits only applies if the veteran has been convicted. If they are in jail awaiting trial, they are presumed innocent, and they are still entitled to VA benefits.
- If the veteran is receiving service-connected disability compensation, the veteran is still eligible for payment if they have been convicted of a misdemeanor.
- The veteran also remains eligible during their first 60 days of incarceration following conviction of a felony. What happens on the 61st day depends upon their disability rating. If their rating is 20 percent or higher, payments will be reduced to the 10 percent rate, starting on that day.
- Disability or death pension paid to an incarcerated beneficiary must be discontinued. Disability compensation paid to an incarcerated veteran rated 20 percent or more disabled is limited to the 10 percent rate. If the veteran’s rating is currently 10 percent, they will be paid at one-half of the ten percent rate.
- If they are receiving VA nonservice-connected pension benefits, the veteran is still eligible for payment for the first 60 days of incarceration following conviction. But they lose their eligibility altogether starting on the 61st day of incarceration. It does not matter whether they were convicted of a felony or a misdemeanor.
- Any amounts not paid to the veteran while incarcerated may be apportioned to eligible dependents.
- Payments are not reduced for participants in work-release programs, residing in halfway houses, or under community control. Failure to notify VA of a veteran’s incarceration can result in overpayment of benefits and the subsequent loss of all VA financial benefits until the overpayment is recovered.
- VA benefits will not be provided to any veteran or dependent wanted for an outstanding felony warrant.
INFORMATION FOR INCARCERATED VETERANS
What should happen to the veteran’s VA benefits when they are incarcerated? Nothing —unless they have been convicted. We explain the rules.
OVERPAYMENTS OF VA BENEFITS
What should you do when the VA claims that you’ve been overpaid? Here’s a step-by-step guide.
VETERANS JUSTICE OUTREACH (VJO) PROGRAM
The Veterans Justice Outreach (VJO) Program offers outreach and linkage to needed treatment and services to veterans involved in law enforcement encounters, seen in the court system, and/or incarcerated in local jails who may be at risk for homelessness upon their release. Visit www.va.gov/homeless/VJO.asp to locate a Veterans Justice Outreach Specialist.
HEALTHCARE FOR REENTRY VETERANS (HCRV) PROGRAM
The Healthcare for Reentry Veterans (HCRV) Program offers outreach to veterans incarcerated in state and federal prisons, and referrals and short-term case management assistance upon release from prison.