Former military members with a service-connected or military-related disability are entitled to disability benefits. These benefits can help them receive medical care, receive training, supplement their income, and provide for their families. But while you’re entitled to benefits, VA disability ratings dictate the monthly amount you will receive. To get a fair rating, you must produce supporting medical documentation when filing a claim.
What Is a VA Disability Rating?
The VA assigns vet’s disability ratings after examining their medical records and establishing how severe the condition is. It then uses this rate to determine how much monthly compensation you’ll be getting. VA ratings start from 10 to 100% with increments of 10%. A 50% disability rating means you’re 50% disabled.
To qualify for VA benefits, former military members must show that their illness or injury was caused or worsened while serving in the military. If you believe you deserve benefits, you should file a disability claim online, by mail in person. You should also look up the PTSD disability pay chart to understand how much financial assistance you can get based on your injuries.
How Does VA Determine Disability Ratings?
The VA determines your disability rating based on the medical evidence you provide and the results of a VA claim exam. After verifying your disability is connected to your time in the military, the department starts determining your ratings. They do this by checking the injury’s category and diagnostic code. Every disability connects to only one diagnostic code. On some occasions, disability may fall under two categories. The VA will select the code with the highest rating, helping you get maximum benefits.
There have been instances where the VA doesn’t identify the right rating, which is why you should consult a VA disability attorney to evaluate the VA’s decisions. In addition, it’s possible your condition may not be listed in the Veterans Affairs Schedule for Rating Disabilities (VASRD). When that happens, the VA finds a disability close to what you have and assigns it to you.
Compensation by VA Disability Ratings
Your disability will determine the monthly compensation you get. However, other factors, such as having a spouse and kids, can also influence how much you get. The VA adjusts the amount annually because of inflation.
If your disability rating is 10 or 20%, you don’t get additional compensation even if you have dependents. But if you have a disability rating of 30% or more, you qualify for additional compensation if you have kids or other dependents like parents. Vets who have severe disabilities have lost limbs, or those who need home care can get more disability payments. Check the VA’s special compensation rates for people in this category.
Remember that the VA can also reduce your compensation in certain situations. For instance, if you receive certain benefits like disability severance pay, separation benefits, or retirement benefits, your VA benefits can be reduced. This also applies if you spend 60 days or more in a federal or state prison after being convicted of a crime.
What Happens If I Have More Than One Disability?
If you have several disabilities, the VA uses the ‘whole person theory’ to determine your monthly compensation. They check the disability table to determine where the disabilities intersect. For example, if you have a hearing loss rated at 40% and a neck injury rated at 20%, your combined rating will be 52%, which is rounded off to the nearest 10%, giving you a 50% disability rating.
VA disability calculations can be frustrating and confusing, especially if you don’t know how to use the VA benefits calculator. Fortunately, learning to use it is easy. You can also consult a VA attorney if you think there’s a mistake with your assigned disability benefits.