Veterans who become seriously ill or injured in the line of duty deserve financial support to help them rebuild their lives. VA disability compensation plays a crucial role in providing this assistance.
It’s essential to be aware that your disability benefits may be garnished for child support purposes. A knowledgeable veteran’s disability attorney can help you avoid this issue.
What is a VA Disability Rating?
A VA disability rating determines the severity of your service-connected condition and influences the amount of disability compensation you receive. It’s essential to understand how ratings work so you can maximize your benefits.
Current VA disability pay rates range from 0% to 100% in 10% increments. A 0% rating indicates that your condition does not meet the minimum requirements for cash compensation, while a 100% rating means that you suffer from a permanent and total disability.
When combining multiple disabilities, VA uses what is known as the “combined ratings table.” For example, a veteran may have a TBI and back injury rated at 50% each. VA will take 100 (representing a healthy person) and subtract the highest individual disability rating before adding the second one.
This will give you your final combined rating, rounded to 10%. For example, if you have two service-connected disabilities, the VA will combine them at 75%. The dependent’s rating will also be added to this number if you have dependents.
How Do VA Disability Pay Rates Work?
When you file for disability payments, the VA will determine your rating % using their approved Rating Schedule for Disabilities. This schedule breaks disabilities into groups based on their impact on the body and then provides a list of symptoms for each group, including frequency, severity, and duration.
When the VA determines your combined ratings, they start with your most disabling condition and work to the least.
This is why it’s so essential to submit thorough and credible medical evidence for each of your disabilities. This can help ensure your VA claims are as strong as possible and you receive the highest rate. These rates are subject to annual cost-of-living adjustments (COLA) to keep up with inflation.
How Can I Maximize My VA Disability Pay Rate?
The Department of Veterans Affairs provides various benefits to ensure disabled veterans’ financial security. These benefits include disability compensation and a tax-free monthly check covering living expenses. The VA also makes cost-of-living adjustments to these compensation rates, which match Social Security COLAs.
To determine your rating, the VA will review service treatment and private medical records to evaluate the severity of your disability. They’ll then assign a percentage rating to your disability using the Schedule of Rating Disabilities and specific diagnostic codes.
If your service-connected condition worsens, you can claim an increased rating to increase your monthly compensation payment. The amount you receive will depend on how severe your disability is and the number of family members you have, including children.
How Can I Get a Higher VA Disability Pay Rate?
In some cases, veterans may receive a disability rating that is too low. There are several ways to get a higher VA disability pay rate, including filing a supplemental claim with new evidence and requesting an additional C&P exam.
It’s essential to have the proper medical opinion before pursuing an increase in your disability rating. Having an expert medical opinion written by someone familiar with the VA disability compensation process will help ensure your case has a strong chance of success.
Many disabling conditions also lead to secondary issues, and it’s essential to document all your symptoms so that the VA can adequately account for them in your rating. This can include evidence of how your disability limits your daily life and the evidence needed to prove your condition is service-connected.
The VA uses strict guidelines to determine disabilities, and sometimes, these can result in a disability rating that seems too low for the severity of your disability. In these situations, you can appeal the VA’s decision.