Veterans of the United States Armed Forces must meet certain criteria before they can receive veterans’ disability benefits. If the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) determines the claimant qualifies for benefits, it assigns a disability rating to the veteran that signifies the extent of his or her disability and the compensation the veteran can receive.
If you believe you have been assigned an incorrect disability rating or need help with your claim, contact Gordon & Doner ’s trusted VA attorneys in West Palm Beach. We will help you gather the necessary medical documentation that demonstrates the extent of your disability and will walk you through each step of the process.
How VA Calculates Compensation Rates
The VA assigns a disability rating to determine the amount of monthly compensation a disabled veteran is entitled to receive for his or her condition. The rating is intended to reflect the degree to which the veteran’s condition impairs his or her ability to work or interact with others.
The VA’s disability ratings fall on a scale between zero and 100 percent in increments of 10 percent. Less severe disabilities receive lower ratings and more severe disabilities receive higher ratings. If a veteran is assigned a 100 percent disability rating, it would mean he or she is completely unable to work. In contrast, if the disability does not seriously interfere with the veteran’s ability to work, he or she will be assigned a lower percentage rating.
Based on the veterans' compensation benefits rate tables effective on Dec. 1, 2017, a veteran with a 10 percent disability rating is entitled to $136.24 in monthly benefits. Likewise, a veteran with a 50 percent VA disability rating is entitled to $855.41 in monthly benefits.
Additionally, a veteran may receive additional pay if he or she:
- Has lost a limb in a service-related incident
- Suffered a severe disability in a service-related incident
- Is permanently bedridden
- Is blind
- Has a seriously disabled spouse
Claiming a Dependent
Furthermore, veterans who claim dependents, such as children or spouses, are entitled to higher monthly benefits.
For example, a veteran with a 30 percent disability rating who has a spouse and a child is entitled to $503.15 in monthly benefits.
Likewise, a veteran with a 70 percent disability rating who claims a child as a dependent is entitled to $1,442.48 monthly benefits.
If the VA determines that a veteran has more than one disability, it uses a combined ratings table to calculate the final rating.
The VA does not add multiple disabilities together to create a final rating. For example, a veteran with one disability rated at 40 percent and another rated at 20 percent would not have a combined rating of 80 percent.
Instead, the VA uses a specific formula to determine the total disability rating.
First, the disabilities are ranked from most to least severe. On the combined ratings table, the first and most severe disability rating will be identified in the left column and the second most severe disability rating will be identified in the top row. The figure in the space where the column and row intersect is the combined value of the two disabilities. The combined value will be then rounded to the nearest 10 percent.
For example, someone with two disabilities rated at 40 percent and 20 percent would identify 40 percent in the left column and 20 percent in the top row. Where the row and column meet shows 52 percent. Once that number is rounded to the nearest 10 percent, the individual will have a 50 percent combined disability rating.
If an individual has more than two disabilities, the first two disabilities will be combined as described above. Then without rounding the combined number, it will be combined with the third rating by identifying the combined rating in the left column and finding where that intersects with the third disability in the top row. This process will continue for as many disabilities as the individual has until reaching a final combined rating that will be rounded to the nearest 10 percent.
For example, someone with disabilities rated at 60 percent, 40 percent and 20 percent would have a combined rating of 80 percent. This is found by identifying the combined rating of the first two ratings, which is 76. That combined rating will then be found in the left column and the remaining 20 percent rating will be found in the top row. Where the two ratings intersect is 81 percent, which rounded to the nearest 10 percent, provides a final combined rating of 80 percent.
Get Help with Your VA Disability Claim
Filing for disability benefits is often a time-consuming and difficult process, especially for someone who is trying to seek care for his or her service-related condition.
Our West Palm Beach veterans’ disability lawyers can help you navigate this complex process. It is important to have a committed attorney on your side to help you submit medical records and other important documents to help you secure the benefits you deserve.
Our skilled veterans’ disability lawyers can discuss your claim during a free, no obligation consultation. We work on a contingency fee basis, so you do not have to worry about paying for our services unless your claim is approved.
Call 1 (855) 722-2552 to schedule a free consultation.