Serving in the military can involve traveling and moving from country to country. Subsequently, it is not uncommon for many veterans to move out of the country.
Settling overseas is exciting, but it has its fair share of challenges (language barrier, culture shock and a different form of governance.) Things don’t get easier, especially when you have a disability. That said, it’s possible for veterans with disabilities to receive monetary compensation abroad — if they’re eligible. Non-monetary benefits, on the other hand, aren’t so easy.
Before a veteran receives any medical service while living overseas, the Foreign Medical Program Office has to approve it. The medical request will only be approved if it treats a service-related injury or disability.
You need to get Veterans Affairs (VA) approval if you’re living outside the United States and want to use your benefits to get an education. This is, in part, to ensure that the institution you choose meets their standards.
How do you file for disability as a veteran overseas?
If you’re a veteran who lives abroad, you can receive VA benefits by applying and uploading supporting evidence from any internet-enabled location around the world.
After submitting your application, you are be required to attend a Compensation and Pension (C&P) exam. Disabled veterans residing in a different country can do any of the following:
- Take part in an exam with a local doctor: The VA has agreements with doctors in various countries. Therefore, you can often find one in your country of residence to perform the exam.
- Find a military doctor to perform the exam: Countries like South Korea, Japan and Germany, among others, have US military bases. Therefore, a veteran living in those countries can usually find an army doctor on-site to execute the exam.
- Request a traveling VA doctor to carry out the exam: The VA sends doctors overseas from time to time to conduct these exams for veterans.
Working and receiving benefits
Generally, you can work and receive VA disability benefits, and this is still the case for veterans who are no longer living in the United States. Additionally, you can apply for Total Disability Individual Unemployability (TDIU) benefits, but you must prove you cannot sustain gainful employment. In addition, if your salary is very low, you work part-time or you have a protected work environment, you can apply for TDIU.