At the Veterans Benefits Administration, we often come in contact with people who ask, What are my benefits? What am I eligible for? Or, I receive X benefit, but what other benefits can I use?

Those are hard questions to answer because in many cases, it depends. VA benefits eligibility is based on your character of discharge. And some benefits connections are equally hard to explain without further personal information. But some Veterans become eligible for additional benefits based on a number of different situations. The additional benefits that open up from a given situation is what we call “derivative” benefits.

To better explain this, to ease the understanding between a primary benefit and its derivative benefit(s), we built a Derivative-Benefits Eligibility Matrix on our website. On this webpage, there are three matrices and, depending on which one you click, will lead you to a table where you identify your situation.

The three matrices are very basic: Service-Connected, Non-Service Connected and Circumstance. They’re as simple as they sound. Under Service-Connected, you scroll down the table until you find your service-connected disability rating. The corresponding column that matches with your row lists to a number of VA benefits. These are the derivative benefits. Under Non-Service Connected, you follow the same procedure based on your receipt of a non-service-connected benefit, like Aid & Attendance or Housebound. Examples of situations under the Circumstance matrix include Veteran statuses like Medal of Honor recipient, former prisoner of war and others.

Most Veterans we talk to are aware that, with a 30-percent disability rating, you can add your dependents to your award to increase your monthly payment. Your monthly, 30-percent disability compensation payment would be the primary benefit, and the dependent pay added to your rate would be the “derivative.”

But let’s create another scenario to illustrate a different example, one from the “Circumstance Matrix.” Say that you’re the spouse or dependent child of a Veteran who died from a disability related to military service. If this is your circumstance, then you may be eligible for Dependency and Indemnity Compensation, Dependents Educational Assistance, Civilian Health and Medical Program, and the VA Home Loan Guaranty (surviving spouse). These benefits are “derivative” to the situation.

The derivative, or additional, benefits listed next to your situation in the matrix are hyperlinked to another page on the VA website. This makes it easy for you to find more information, as well as instructions on how to apply. 

That said, the three matrices only list federal benefits derived from VA decisions. After all, we administer your federal VA benefits. But there could be some benefits from outside VA that you may be eligible for, such as state benefits, or those connected to membership with Veterans Service Organizations or private charities and non-profits.

Now that you have a better understanding of derivative benefits, the only thing left to do is give the eligibility matrix a try. See what pops up for your own situation!

Disclaimer reminder: The internet, this blog and social media are not the places to share sensitive information, and I’m unable to answer complex or overly personal questions. As always, IRIS is the best place to ask specific questions with personal information.

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Published on Sep. 15, 2017

Estimated reading time is 2.7 min.

Views to date: 395


  1. patricia sowders September 30, 2017 at 6:36 am

    A disabled vet , my husband of 56 years. He has both legs and feet, but can not walk but a few steps at a time, has no balance. He has both arms and hands but can barely dress himself, sometimes. He has his ears,but even with aides but usually does not understand words. Has not been able to handle finances for 20 years. without more examples of his disabilities, they have destroyed our life and our financial security. When he retired from the army neither of us ever considered there would come a day we would have to pay someone else to do the work we both did everyday , like shovel snow, repair broken steps, replace worn out faucets. I suspect there are many wives of veterans that fear the day they lose their husband, will also mean they lose their home and the means to survive.

  2. James A Gerber September 22, 2017 at 1:48 pm

    What is the address of New Web matrix so I can check for additional benefits

  3. Herbert Keith Wood September 22, 2017 at 1:05 pm

    Where the hell do you access the web matrix. No where in this article does it tell you this information. Guess we are supposed to figure it out ourselves! It would be too easy to furnish a link to it. The VA says it does not have my medical records. The Navy says they are on loan to the VA.
    The short of it is that all I have is a DD 214. I am unable to get any help. Frustrating! This has been going on since 1969.

    • Megan Moloney September 22, 2017 at 2:48 pm

      Herbert — there’s an embedded link in the article above — the blue line that says Derivative-Benefits Eligibility Matrix. You can also click on this link:

      • Gerald Lynch September 23, 2017 at 12:37 am

        Apparently not everyone is computer savvy and some older people might need a bit more of an explanation when they might not know that those blue letter lines are actually links. Some people might not be able to see the difference in the script so maybe some better explanation would be in order in the future.

  4. Jermaine Simpkins September 22, 2017 at 12:56 pm

    I had a question I had a heart attack on June 21st 2017 I was working at the time I was out of work for 9 weeks we’re turning on August 22nd 2017 but I light duty I’m a security guard. Since then I have to go to cardiac rehab 2 days a week my wife takes care of my eight-year-old daughter and me she drives me back and forth to work my daughter to school and back and to my cardio rehab appointments, plus doctor appointments aa well. I don’t make enough $ to handle all things needed. I am a Vet served in USMC my EAS,9/30/2003. Is there a way I can receive any $ or help with my bills, or help for expenses? Thank You.

  5. Mary Katherine Long September 16, 2017 at 2:23 pm

    I want to see if my daughter in law is eligible to compensation for taking care of me. She does my laundry and helps me with my showers and prepares my meals. She also takes me to my doctors appointments since I am unable to drive anymore. I am totally depended on her and she reminds me to take my medicine.

  6. Mary Katherine Long September 16, 2017 at 2:17 pm

    I am a Veteran and I had a heart attack in June of 2009. I am not able to live by myself since my health has deteriorated to the point I had to move in with my son and his wife. She has to do my laundry and help me with taking a shower and prepares my meals and take me to Doctors appointments. I wanted to know if I could be eligible for compensation for all she does for me or she would be eligible for all she does for me.

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