The World Of Va Compensation
There are several different types of VA compensation. For the purposes of this article we are focusing on just one of those: VA disability pay. But among the various types you may qualify for, VA pays benefits in the following areas:
Its important to know that VA disability pay requires the use of disability calculations established by the Department of Veterans Affairs. The other types of compensation in the list above require the assignment of a VA disability rating. Most VA compensation paid to veterans that is associated with a disability requires the VA rating.
In other words, the disability calculation must be made first to qualify the veteran for any associated benefits she might be entitled to as a result of being assigned a VA rating for a disability.
The Department of Veterans Affairs official site describes disability pay as a tax free monetary benefit paid to Veterans with disabilities that are the result of a disease or injury incurred or aggravated during active military service.
VA compensation is also available for post-service disabilities that are considered related or secondary to disabilities occurring in service and for disabilities presumed to be related to circumstances of military service even in cases where such conditions only arise after leaving uniformed service. All VA claims for such compensation are reviewed on a case-by-case basis.
How Do Ratings Work For A Disability I Had Before Entering The Service That Got Worse Because Of My Service
If you get disability benefits for a preservice disability, we base your monthly compensation amount on the level of aggravation. Level of aggravation means how much worse your preservice disability got because of your military service.
For example: If you had an illness or injury that was rated as 10% disabling when you entered the military, and it became 20% disabling due to the effects of your service, then the level of aggravation would be 10%.
How The Va Rates Multiple Disabilities
The above example covers the most basic situation a single disability rating. In the previous example, it seems like you can just subtract the 10% from 100% and come up with 90%. But notice that we didnt do the math that way. Things get more interesting when you have more disability ratings. Lets run through an example, building on the previous profile.
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How To Get A 100% Va Rating The Three Ways To Reach 100%
There are three main paths to get a 100% combined VA rating:
- If the VAs fuzzy math calculation puts you at or above 95.00% or higher, the VA will round you up to 100%.
- One of your conditions might be rated at 100% out of the gate.
- If your disability renders you unable to maintain substantial gainful employment, you may receive the pay and benefits of a 100% VA ratingeven if your combined VA rating is below 100%. For example, a Vietnam veteran might have a 70% rating because they suffer from cancer due to Agent Orange. But if the chemotherapy treatments and hospitalizations make substantially gainful employment impossible, they may instead be deemed Unemployable, which is also known as Total Disability Individual Unemployability .
Eligibility For Va Disability Compensation
Veterans with a service-connected physical or mental disability that makes everyday tasks difficult or impossible may be eligible for VA disability benefits.
Eligibility to file a VA disability claim is dependent on meeting one of the following conditions as set by the VA:
- A Veteran who became sick or injured while serving in the military, or
- A Veteran with an illness or injury before enlisting that was worsened by service, or
- A Veteran with a service-connected disability that didn’t appear until after separating from the military
The VA will need evidence to support your disability claim when applying, which we discuss in the next section.
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How Does The Va Rate Disabilities
When it comes to service connected compensation claims, the VA takes the view that it should not add whole numbers together to get your rating but, instead, the VA takes percentages of percentages. It is as if the VA says if you are 10% disabled then you are 90% healthy. Therefore, the next rating is not added but is used to take a percentage of the healthy 90%. So for a veteran with two 10 ratings the first ten percent rating would be 10% of 100, which is 10%. The second ten percent rating would be 10% of the 90% , which is 9%. So the combined rating would be 19%. The percentages are all rounded up or down to the nearest ten percent. Here, the rating would be rounded to 20%.
The combined rating system starts to work against a veteran when he gets closer to 100%. It gets harder and harder to get that higher rating, especially once a veteran is over 50%. For instance, if a veteran has a ratings of 50% for PTSD, 50% for Sleep Apnea, a rating of 20% for diabetes and 20% for a back problem the combined rating is 80%. So even though 50+50+20+20 equals 140 in real math it is only 80 in VA math.
How To Determine Your 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.
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How Special Monthly Compensation Can Supplement Your Va Disability Rating
We havent talked about Special Monthly Compensation yet. For veterans with severe disabilities, SMC supplements or replaces your monthly disability rating altogether. So if your disability qualified you for SMC-K, you will receive an additional $111 monthly payment. If you qualify for SMC-L through SMC-S, the Special Monthly Compensation rate will replace your regular payment. Dont worry, the new SMC amount will be a higher amount than what you were previously receiving. To learn more about eligibility, have a look at our extensive guide to Special Monthly Compensation.
The Job Of The Rating Activity
After all development actions are complete, the cross-functional team VSR refers the claim to the team RSVR for a rating. The RSVR reviews all the evidence associated with the claim, makes decisions on issues raised by the claimant, and identifies any inferred issues that should be addressed. The rater documents the rating decision in a standard format, using an automated rating preparation system called Rating Board Automation 2000. The system automatically calculates the disability rating. After completing the rating decision, the team completes the claim for follow-up and issue. This process implements the rating decision by preparing either a monetary award or a denial. It also prepares notification letters for the claimant and representative.
When performing a rating evaluation, RVSRs consider all evidence associated with the claim. This includes service medical records, VA medical examination records, clinical summaries from VA medical centers where treatment has been provided to the veteran, and evidence provided from private sources, such as the veteran’s treating physician.
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Va Combined Ratings Table
The VA Combined Ratings Table is where all the math magic happens.
Instructions: List all disabilities in descending order. Start with the highest disability rating, find it in the left column, and find the intersecting point with the next highest disability rating. This is your combined rating for these two disabilities. If these are your only two disabilities, you can round to the nearest number divisible by 10 . Repeat this process until you have run the numbers for all disability ratings.
Source: 38 CFR 4.25 Combined ratings table. Downloadable PDF: You can download this table here .
Online VA Disability Ratings Calculators: Its great to know how to use the Combined Ratings Table so you can verify your disability rating for yourself. But its also nice to be able to use a calculator that takes all of these factors into consideration. There are several websites that have useful calculators. Be sure to test several to be sure to find one that offers the correct values.
How Does Va Math Work
Each condition is a percentage of the disability of the service member. When combined together, however, each percentage is not a percentage of the entire service member but a percentage of what is left after other percentages have been subtracted. Definitely follow along with our examples to fully understand this concept.
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What Is A Disability Rating
We assign you a disability rating based on the severity of your disability. We express this rating as a percentage, representing how much your disability decreases your overall health and ability to function.
We then use your disability rating to determine your disability compensation rate, so we can calculate how much money youll receive from us each month. We also use your disability rating to help determine your eligibility for other benefits, like VA health care.
What Do Va Disability Ratings Represent
The first thing to understand is what your disability rating represents.
In short, the VA takes each individual injury or illness into consideration and gives it a numerical disability rating divisible by 10 .
A good way to look at this is to consider how disabilities affect your ability to perform work and daily activities. To do this, the VA looks at how your disability affects your overall efficiency. Lets say you are a normal 40-year-old retiree with no major service-connected injuries or illnesses. Your efficiency would be rated at 100%.
But, if you just retired from the military after 20 years of service and tweaked your knee while you were deployed, you may be eligible for benefits.
Lets say you had an arthroscopic surgery for the injury, but still have some pain and stiffness in that knee. The VA could grant you a 10% service-connected disability rating. The VA determines this rating by looking at your efficiency, which it calls 90%.
In the previous example, it seems like you can just subtract the 10% from 100% and come up with 90%. But the VA does the math differently:
Were going to come back to why we did the math this way.
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How Can I Be Sure They Rate My Disability Accurately
The best way to ensure that you receive the proper rating for your disability is to file a well-detailed claim backed up with solid evidence. Experts advise that when you apply, focus less on naming your condition than on listing all of your symptoms. The VA is obligated to follow-up on each symptom listed, and those symptoms may point to more or different conditions than you were aware of. This will help them assign the most accurate rating for your disability.
Also, be aware that if you are receiving compensation for a disability and that condition worsens, you can apply to have your claim evaluated for an increase in the disability rate. The DVA emphasizes the importance of fully developing your claim.
How Does Va Calculate My Va Disability Rating
VA assigns disability ratings to veterans with service-connected conditions. A disability rating is based on how severe the veterans condition is and how the disability impairs his or her earning capacity. Veterans receive a disability rating by filing a claim for service connection with VA. If VA grants service connection for the disability, it will also assign a percentage rating ranging from 0 to 100 percent using VAs Schedule for Rating Disabilities . Veterans with disabilities that are not listed within the VASRD will be assigned an analogous rating. An analogous rating is a rating assigned based on what condition most closely matches the symptoms of treatment the veteran is experiencing. To assign these, VA looks at the bodily functions affected, the anatomical location of the body, and the symptoms that are produced to match the condition most similar to the one being experienced.
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How Va Calculates Compensation Rates
When you apply for compensation, the VA has a review process to help determine the basic amount of disability pay you may be entitled to. The VA assigns a percentage rating in ten percent increments to each medical claim. For example, if you have a knee injury, the VA will determine the severity of that injury .
Your condition may render you 10% disabled all the way up to 100% disabled. The percentage of disability you are assigned corresponds to a payout amount based on the percentage.
Some veterans may be entitled to more disability pay if certain conditions apply:
- The veteran has severe disabilities
- The veteran has lost one or more limbs
- The veteran has a spouse, children, or dependent parents
- The veteran has a seriously disabled spouse
Many veterans have more than one medical issue, disability, or disease. Each issue is rated separately, and you may be awarded a combined VA disability rating taking into account each percentage for each disability.
If you have a 50% disability rating for one condition and a 60% rating for a different it condition does not mean you are entitled to a 110% VA disability combined rating. In fact, by law veterans cannot earn more than a 100% disability rating.
How Can Cck Help
VA math can be confusing and frustrating. Previously, veterans had to use VAs Combined Ratings Table and Compensation Benefit Rate Tables to calculate their combined disability rating and compensation amount. Now, you can use the VA disability rating calculator provided by Chisholm Chisholm & Kilpatrick LTD.
To learn more about retro benefits, take a look at our back pay calculator.
If you believe you deserve a higher combined rating or if your service-connected disability prevents you from working, contact CCK for a free consultation at 800-544-9144.
Disclaimer: This calculator uses Veterans Affairs disability ratings and compensation amounts as of December 1, 2020. It does not account for historical compensation amounts. This calculator is intended to provide an estimate of your VA disability rating and compensation amount. You should not rely on this calculator in your decision making or for your financial planning. This calculator does not provide legal advice, and is not a substitute for legal advice. We do not represent or guarantee that we will obtain the numbers shown in this calculator in your case.
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What Are The Current Va Disability Rates
The amount of VA disability compensation veterans receive depends on their combined VA rating.
As of December 1st, 2020 the VA disability rate benefit amounts are as follows:
- 0 percent disability rating: $0.00 per month
- 10 percent disability rating: $144.14 per month
- 20 percent disability rating: $284.93 per month
- 30 percent disability rating: $441.35 per month
- 40 percent disability rating: $635.77 per month
- 50 percent disability rating: $905.04 per month
- 60 percent disability rating: $1,146.39 per month
- 70 percent disability rating: $1,444.71 per month
- 80 percent disability rating: $1,679.35 per month
- 90 percent disability rating: $1,887.18 per month
- 100 percent disability rating: $3,146.42 per month
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 Bilateral Disabilities Affect Your Rating
There is one more issue we need to consider the bilateral factor. The bilateral factor can have a big impact on your rating, so dont dismiss it.
What is the Bilateral Factor? The bilateral factor is considered when the veteran has disabilities on both limbs . The disabilities dont have to mirror each other. For example, they dont need to occur on both knees to be considered bilateral. A left foot disability and a right knee disability satisfy the requirement the injuries be on both legs.
With the bilateral factor, the VA combines two or more ratings, adds a bilateral factor to the outcome, and considers them as one rating when using the Combined Ratings Table . Its best if I quote the regulations the VA uses, then well use this in an example:
How Can I Get To 100% Using Combined Ratings Or Va Math
When it comes to combined ratings, achieving a combined 100% rating can be extremely difficult. The higher a veterans combined rating, the harder it is to achieve that 100% because the percentage that the veteran is whole becomes smaller and smaller as the veterans overall rating increases. For instance, if a veteran is at an even 90% for their combined disability rating, they will need another rating of at least 50% in order to increase their combined rating to 95%, which would then be rounded up to 100%.
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