If you’re a Veteran, you may be familiar with the term “VA disability ratings”, but not know precisely what it means or how it works. The VA disability rating system is an integral part of the VA system that helps Veterans receive compensation for disabilities resulting from service-related injuries or illnesses. Let’s look at the VA disability rating system and how it works.
How Ratings are Calculated
If you receive a VA disability rating, your benefit amount is determined by your combined individual ratings for each condition for which you have been evaluated. Your combined individual ratings can range anywhere from 0% to 100%. For example, if you have two conditions with individual ratings of 10% and 40%, your combined rating would be 46% and you would be compensated at the 50% rate. As another example, two 50% ratings would result in a combined rating of 75% and you being compensated at the 80% rate. The higher your combined ratings, the more benefits you will receive but as you can see 1 plus 1 does not equal 2 when combining VA disability ratings.
The disabilities that qualify for a rating include physical and mental health issues such as hearing loss, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), traumatic brain injury (TBI), depression, anxiety, chronic pain, vision impairment, and more. It’s important to note that certain disabilities may not qualify for a specific percentage rating but still qualify for other benefits such as special monthly compensation (SMC).
Receiving a Rating Increase
Once the VA has rated you, you can apply to increase your rating if your condition has worsened. You must provide additional evidence supporting your claims, such as medical records or doctor’s notes. You must also explain why your condition has worsened since receiving your initial evaluation so that the VA can accurately assess whether an increase in benefits is warranted. It is important to remember that even if your condition worsens after receiving an initial rating decision, there is no guarantee that the VA will approve an increase in benefits.
Understanding VA Disability Ratings
The goal of any Veteran should be to understand how their disability rating works so they can get the most out of their benefits package. By understanding how ratings work and knowing when and how to make appeals, if necessary, Veterans can ensure they receive fair compensation for their service-related disabilities. Whether through increased monthly payments or eligibility for additional benefits like SMC, Veterans should take advantage of all available options within the VA system to get the help they need and deserve after bravely serving our country.