Are VA Disability Benefits Considered “Income” in a Divorce?
In courtrooms across the country, veterans are fighting to keep their VA disability benefits from being considered “income" in divorce court, even though federal law states that veterans’ disability payments are exempt from taxation and creditors and cannot be attached, levied or seized under any authority, either before or after the veteran receives them.
Grassroots Organization on the Side of Vets
Operation Firing For Effect, a nonprofit veterans advocacy group is working to raise awareness about this issue, which courts throughout the country are seeing. Advocates say the judges are ignoring the federal law and awarding ex-spouses large portions of the vets’ benefits when determining spousal support payments.
Attorneys for ex-military spouses say the members of the OFFE are misinterpreting the law, and that although the disability benefits are exempt, they are still part of the overall financial picture to consider. Benefits can’t be garnished, but the judge can take the sum the veteran receives into account when determining spousal support.
Vets still argue that disability benefits are not “income." Currently, OFFE is tracking 167 cases involving veterans and disability benefits through the court system.