A Brief Look at the VA’s Schedule of Disability Ratings: What Does It Mean for Your Case?
As an armed services veteran, you know better than anyone how confusing many of the military’s policies can be. One of the greatest sources of confusion among disabled veterans is the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) rating system for service-connected disabilities, and how it affects their monthly benefits.
Simply stated, the VA’s disability rating system determines the severity of your disability and its projected effect on your ability to work and earn a living. A higher disability rating reflects a greater impact on your ability to work. This, in turn, is reflected in your compensation: a higher rating will generate higher monthly benefits to bridge the earning gap caused by your injury or illness.
How Does the VA Assign a Rating to My Disability?
The VA’s Schedule of Rating Disabilities breaks injuries down into several categories (part of the body affected), which are further divided into groups (medical ailments). From there, a rating is assigned ranging generally from mild to severe. The ratings are assigned a percentage that reflects the disability’s effect on your ability to work; severe ratings have a higher percentage rating than mild.
The VA will review your medical records to determine your disability rating, assigning a category, group, and rating based on your diagnosis. If you have several service-connected disabilities and ratings, the VA will use a formula to combine them into a single new rating.
Once you have been assigned a rating, your rating will be adjusted if your condition changes. If you have waited for years to receive benefits and your condition has worsened, you may be able to obtain a higher rating for that period of time.
What If I Can’t Work at All Due to My Disability?
While one may expect total disability to be reflected with a 100% disability rating, that is not usually the case. You may still be eligible for Total Disability for Individual Unemployability (TDIU), even if your disability ratings do not total 100%. If you are unable to engage in a substantially gainful occupation due to your service-connected disability, you may qualify for TDIU benefits, which are the equivalent of a 100% disability rating.
Let Lunn and Forro Help You Get the Compensation You Deserve
Whether this is your first attempt at a claim or you have been denied, veterans’ compensation attorney Liz Lunn can help you get the benefits that you earned for your service to our country. You and your case will receive the time and personal attention that you deserve. You protected our nation, and now we will protect your right to disability benefits. Call us today, or fill out our online contact form to be connected with us now.