How to Claim a Dependent for VA Disability Compensation

If you are rated permanently and totally disabled (P&T) by the Department of Veterans Affairs, and you qualify to sponsor your loved ones for CHAMPVA benefits, you should claim them as dependents before enrolling them in CHAMPVA.  Eligible veterans are entitled to monthly disability compensation as determined by the VA.  This compensation is tax-free and income-independent (unless one is assigned 100% status due to “individual unemployability”, in which case your income may impact your status).  To claim a child or spouse, you must submit a form listing all of your current family dependents to your VA regional office.


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To Add Or Remove a Dependent Spouse or Child

To update your VA record of dependents, you can either:

  • Submit VA Form 21-686c: Declaration of Status of Dependents (download from VA website)
  • Use VONAPP to submit your application online

When filling out the form, you must provide information such as:

  • Veteran’s (or claimant’s if other then the veteran)  name, address, C-file number and Social Security Number
  • Marital status
  • Name and Social Security Number of present spouse
  • Dates and places of current and previous marriages
  • Name, birth date and Social Security Number of each child
  • Whether the child is a biological child, stepchild, 18-23 years old, “seriously disabled” (medical evidence required), etc.
  • Address of child if one does not live with you

You use the same VA form to either add or remove a dependent from your record.  That means you must update your status of dependents to reflect a marriage, a divorce or death of spouse, a birth, adoption, etc. and other changes that may impact your dependents’ status.

Once your record is updated, you should receive a written notice from the VA informing you of the change, and when your new VA disability compensation rate will take effect.  You may get a back pay from the time the change took effect, or you may get over-compensated, which of course, must be adjusted.  It’s a good idea to submit your paperwork as soon as possible.

Having claimed your dependents, you can then apply for CHAMPVA benefits.  You might also want to shop around for a good CHAMPVA supplemental health insurance plan.

Information on Claiming Parents as Dependents in VA Compensation

For information about adding parents as dependents, see VA Dependent Benefit for Parents and also the rates table here.

Parents are NOT eligible for CHAMPVA health coverage.


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This website,, is NOT affiliated with the Department of Veterans Affairs or any part of the U.S. government. Please DO NOT send us information about yourself such as your SSN, name, address, etc. for help with CHAMPVA…. The pharmacy network for CHAMPVA now is Catamaran (formerly SXC)…. Further, we cannot guarantee that the information here is accurate and up-to-date. To ensure you have the latest information, please visit the official CHAMPVA home page at Your use of this site means you agree to and understand this disclaimer. Thank you!

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