How Are Va Disability Rates For Conditions Determined
October 8, 2021 By Jeremy Schooley
The Department of Veterans Affairs assigns VA disability rates for conditions that are service-connected. The VAs disability benefits program covers a diverse range of physical and mental conditions. Each condition is rated based on severity, according to the Schedule for Rating Disabilities.
The overall rating you receive plays a big part in how much monthly compensation youll get. With countless medical conditions affecting hundreds of thousands of veterans, what does a VA claims processor look for, to be able to rate conditions accurately?
Today we highlight key factors the VA considers when reviewing disability claims. With a clearer idea of what VA rating authorities are looking for, you can produce the right information and build a competent, strategic claim and maximize the benefits you deserve.
About Va Disability Compensation
According to the Department of Veterans Affairs, VA disability pay is a monthly tax-free monetary benefit for veterans who have service-connected disabilities that limit their participation in work or daily activities.
Veterans who have post-service disabilities related to an injury that occurred during service may also be eligible for disability benefits.
Cost-of-Living-Adjustments determine VA disability rate increases.
2022 VA disability rate increase calculations compare the average of the July, August and September 2021 COLA with the 2020 third-quarter average.
See our COLA increase watch for more information on how 2023 VA disability rates will be determined.
Va Ratings For Cancer: Temporary Total
If you are service-connected for an active cancer, VA should automatically assign a 100 percent disability rating. This rating continues for as long as your cancer is active, and then for another six months following the successful completion of a treatment program, such as chemotherapy, radiation, or surgery. Six months after your cancer treatment ends, VA will schedule you for a Compensation & Pension examination to evaluate the current status of your condition.
If the examination shows that your cancer is no longer active and is in remission, VA will evaluate the cancer based on its residuals. For example, erectile dysfunction and urinary incontinence are common residual symptoms of prostate cancer. If prostate cancer is no longer active, VA will likely reduce the disability rating for that condition and assign new ratings based on the severity of the veterans erectile dysfunction and urinary incontinence if present.
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Factors That Impact Va Disability Rates For Various Conditions
It helps to know what clinical and functional factors the VA claims processors are instructed to apply to rate diverse conditions consistently and fairly. The following are just a few factors they must consider:
- Limitation of range of motion, extension, and flexion in many musculoskeletal conditions
- Evaluation of painful motion
- Number and frequency of incapacitating episodes the veteran experiences
- Bilateral factor When disability results from disease or injury of both arms, or of both legs, or paired skeletal muscles, VA combines the ratings for the disabilities of the left and right sides, and 10% of this value is added before continuing with further ratings
- Chronic, progressive conditions
- Impairments of dominant vs. non-dominant hands
- Presumptive conditions Veterans suffering from chronic diseases connected to their active service may be able to win their VA claims by using the service connection by legal presumption.
- Location and percentage of body area affected such as with skin disorders, scarring, and nerve disorders
In most cases, VA disability rates for conditions that have stabilized over time are not re-evaluated.
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Can Veterans With Schedular 100% Va Disability Ratings Work
If a veteran has a schedular 100 percent disability rating for one or more service-connected conditions, they are fully entitled to continue working. However, veterans should keep in mind that the VASRD is based on average impairment to earning capacity. This means that a veterans ability to work is one of the factors VA considers when trying to determine whether there has been an actual material improvement to a service-connected condition.
Who Can Receive Veteransdisability Benefits
Veterans disability benefits are administered by the Department of Veterans Affairs and consist of tax-free monthly payments to veterans who became disabled due to service-related injuries or illnesses.
Disability benefits are also available to veterans who suffer from a pre-existing condition that was made worse by their military service.
There are different types of veterans disability benefits, and eligibility varies based on the specific type of benefits sought.
However, to receive any VA disability benefits you must meet both of the following requirements:
- You must have served on activeduty, active duty training, or inactive duty training
- Your service-connected injury orillness must have received a disability rating from the VA
Along with meeting each of the aboverequirements, one of the following statements must also be true:
- You became sick or injured duringyour service and can link this condition to your military service
- You had a pre-service injury orillness that was made worse by your military service
- You were diagnosed with an injuryor illness after your service that was related to your active-duty service
The VAs disability benefits programs cover awide variety of physical and mental conditions. Qualification for benefits isbased on a number of factors, including the numerical disability rating assignedby the VA, your financial needs, and your time of service.
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How Do I Determine My Va Disability Compensation
To determine your disability compensation, you need to file a claim with VA. The VA rates your disability by severity after reviewing every piece of evidence in your claim.
You may only receive compensation for a single diagnostic code per condition, even if that condition satisfies more than one diagnostic code. However, those with more than one condition may receive additional compensation based on the combined rating system.
You may receive additional compensation if:
- You have very severe disabilities or loss of limb
- you have a spouse, children, or dependent parents
- you have a seriously disabled spouse
Note: If you have more than one child or your spouse receives Aid and Attendance benefits , be sure to include the figures from the “Add” row.
Did you know: Veterans can use their disability income in conjunction with their VA loan benefits. Speak with a home loan specialist to see how much you can afford.
How Muscle Injuries Are Rated
The VA is required to rate a muscle injury on the basis of each muscle function that has been impaired. Under the Schedule for Rating Disabilities, traumatic muscle injuries are evaluated under the musculoskeletal section as one of the following:
- injury due to gunshot or shrapnel wounds
- loss of function and/or feeling in the muscle
- limited motion or stiffened joints.
If more than one muscle, nerve, or joint function is impacted, a veteran can potentially receive more than one rating for conditions stemming from a single injury. However, complex rules govern when more than one condition resulting from a muscle injury can receive an independent rating. In this case, it can be worthwhile to enlist the help of a veterans disability attorney for assistance.
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Calculating Multiple Va Disability Ratings
The VA uses a special method for calculating multiple disabilities.
Here is a simplified example:
Example: If you have a 30% disability rating, the VA would multiply that against 100%, which is assumed to be good health. This gives you 30%. Subtract that from 100% which leaves you with 70% . Then subtract 70% from 100% and you are left with 30%. If that is your only disability, then your final VA Service-Connected Disability Rating is 30%.
If you have multiple ratings, you continue with the process, using your final number each time as your starting point. Continuing with our example, if your next rating is 10%, you would multiply 10% against 70%, which is 7%. You subtract that from 70%, which leaves you with 63%. Subtract 63% from 100% and you get 37%. Your disability rating is 37%, which rounds up to 40%.
It can get complicated quickly, so I have an in-depth article and podcast that explain how the VA calculates combined disability ratings. I highly recommend reading and/or listening to get a good idea of how the process works!
Examples Of Combining Two Disabilities
If a Veteran has a 50 percent disability and a 30 percent disability, the combined value will be found to be 65 percent, but the 65 percent must be converted to 70 percent to represent the final degree of disability.
Similarly, with a disability of 40 percent, and another disability of 20 percent, the combined value is found to be 52 percent, but the 52 percent must be converted to the nearest degree divisible by 10, which is 50 percent.
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How The Combined Disabilities Rating Calculation Works
To determine a veterans qualification for benefits, the VA rates the extent of that veterans service-related disability in 10% increments, going from 0% to 100% . Many veterans, especially as they age, have multiple disabilities, which the VA rates as combined disabilities.
However, the combined disabilities rating calculation is not a straightforward system. For example, a disability rated at 20% and a second disability rated at 30% yield a combined rating of 44%, according to the VAs Combined Ratings Table not 50%, as you might expect. Further, once you reach a disability rating of 80%, each additional disability then increases the combined rating by only 2% for each additional 10% rating.
In other words, ratings of 80% and 10% combine to make 82%, ratings of 80% and 20% combine to make 84%, and so on.
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Getting Ready To Buy A Home Find A Trusted Va Lender In Just A Few Minutes
Some VA lenders are tailored for borrowers with weaker credit, while others offer a larger variety of VA loan types. The best way to determine if you are eligible is to start by connecting with a lender. Lenders can pull your Certificate of Eligibility in minutes to see if you meet the basic service requirements and have VA loan entitlement. Additionally, a lender can review your financial information to determine if you meet credit and income guidelines.
Va Disability Percentages For Presumptive Disorders
A presumptive disorder is one that the VA presumes to be service-connected, even if theres no specific evidence or chain of causation that they normally require to form a nexus with military service. A presumptive disorder is a term that the VA uses to describe medical conditions that were so common among veterans in certain situations that they are considered undoubtedly to be due to active duty, exposure or service.
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Va Disability Rates For Conditions Are Based On Major Body Systems
The VA uses a collection of federal regulations called the VA Schedule for Rating Disabilities . The Rating Schedule is broken down into 15 human body systems:
- Musculoskeletal System
- Neurological Conditions and Convulsive Disorders
- Mental Disorders
- Dental and Oral Conditions
The VASRD schedule is a massive disability rating chart hundreds of pages long that instructs VA claims processors on how to evaluate the severity of disabilities and assign disability ratings.
You can find the complete Schedule for Rating Disabilities at 38 CFR Part 4.
Whats Va Disability Rate
VA disability pay is actually a tax-free monetary advantage offered for military veterans on monthly foundation because of for their service-related disability. The purpose is to compensate them to the decreased life quality as well as civilian employability.
The compensation may be assigned for post-service disabilities also if they are regarded as to become secondary or connected to through the service and linked to the service conditions which may arise afterwards in everyday life.
The VA Disability Percentages By Condition Chart is ready and adjusted through the Department of Veterans Affairs based on Cost-of-Living-Adjustments . You could use tables of compensation rewards rate, which also offered in this write-up to determine your month-to-month payment according in your private circumstances.
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Document To Increase Your Va Disability Pay
The more health care information you have on file when you file for a VA disability claim, the better. To maximize your chances of getting your claims approved and earning increased compensation rates, documentation is critical.
If youre still in the service, try to get your injuries or other disabling medical connections documented in your military medical records. If you are out of the service, work with your personal physician to diagnose your condition, and document the severity and persistency of your symptoms.
Also, stay in close touch with your comrades. When filing a claim, you may need one or more of them to file a buddy letter as a witness to the event or events that caused your disabling medical condition. In addition, a law firm can assist you in completing your veterans disability claim or walk you through the appeals process.
Temporary 100% Disability Ratings
Veterans can be eligible for a temporary 100% disability rating for service-connected disabilities during:
- a period of hospitalization longer than 21 days
- post-surgical recovery
- recovery from a broken bone, or
- unstablized conditions causing severe disabilities for example, a veteran recovering from a gunshot wound to the head incurred during combat.
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Rating For Multiple Disabilities
When a veteran has more than one disease or disability, the disability ratings are not simply added together Instead, a formula is used to determine the total disability rating level for multiple disabilities. First, the disabilities are ranked from most to least severe. Then, it is determined what percentage of efficiency the veteran retains after the first, most severe disability. For example, if the veteran’s most severe disability is rated at 40%, he is still 60% efficient.
After that, the second most severe disability is considered. That second disability rating is applied to the vet’s remaining efficiency. For example, if the veteran after the first disability has a remaining 60% efficiency, and his second most severe disability has a 20% disability rating, then 20% of the 60% efficiency is calculated â in this case, 12%, and that number is added to the original disability rating .
The new disability rating is rounded up or down to the closer 10% increment. In the example above, the 52% rating would be rounded down to a 50% disability rating, and that veteran would be considered 50% disabled.
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A Change In Your Family Status Can Change Your Va Disability Payment
Remember to contact the VA whenever you have a change in family status as your rates may change as well.
If you have a 30% disability rating or higher and you are also supporting qualified dependents such as a spouse, child, or parent, you may be eligible to receive a higher VA disability payment.
If your disability rating is 20% or lower, changes in your family status should not affect your VA disability payment rates.
The VA will not know when there is a change in your family status, so you will need to inform them immediately when something changes, like a birth, wedding, a parent moving in with you, divorce, a child coming of age, or the death of a qualified dependent.
Inform the VA of a change as soon as possible.
The VA will sometimes backdate payments to make up for any shortfalls, like if you had to wait for your child to receive a social security number to report a new dependent.
In the case of the loss of an eligible dependent, your payment may decrease. The VA can recoup overpayments if you failed to notify the VA of a change in family status in a timely manner.
Contact An Experienced Disabilitylawyer Today
Although you are not required to work with alawyer when applying for veterans disability benefits or appealing a deniedclaim, doingso has advantages.
The Law Offices of Michael Hartup handles onlydisability cases. Tennessee disability attorney Michael Hartup understands theVA benefits process, and he has extensive experience helping disabled veteransget the financial help they need and deserve.
At the Law Offices of Michael Hartup we can help you file your initial application for benefits, or guide you through the appeals process if you believe your claim was wrongfully denied. The VA benefits process can be confusing, and many disabled veterans who otherwise have qualifying disabilities are denied due to simple mistakes in their applications.
To learn how we may be able to help you, please call us today at or contact us online for a free consultation. We are proud to serve veterans from the greater Jackson, Tennessee, area.
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