VA Disability Rating
A Brief Overview of VA Service-Connected Disability Ratings
When a soldier, sailor, Marine, or airman is injured or becomes ill during their tour of duty, they are often eligible for addition veterans benefits that can include VA disability compensation. VA Disability Compensation benefits are paid to veterans based on their illness or injury suffered while on active duty at a variable rate. Some of disabled veterans also qualify for VA health care benefits based on their assigned disability rate as well. Many factors affect a veteran’s determination for compensation eligibility and disability level, and those are all addressed as a part of the application process with proper medical documentation.
Below is a general overview of what rates of compensation may be assigned based on a veterans level of disability as determined by the US Department of Veterans Affairs. This page is intended primarily as a general description of the veterans disability compensation program as provided by the VA.
Defining “Service Connected Disability”
The Department of Veterans Affairs defines disability compensation as follows:
“a benefit paid to a veteran because of injuries or diseases that happened while on active duty, or were made worse by active military service. It is also paid to certain veterans disabled from VA health care. The benefits are tax-free.”
Should the VA determine that you have a service-connected disability, you may be eligible to receive monthly compensation payments on a temporary or permanent basis depending on your determined level of disability. Additional compensation may be granted to veterans with a rating of 30% or higher who have dependents, are missing limbs, or have a severely disabled spouse.
Disability Ratings: A Case by Case Affair
Every disability claim with the VA goes through a two step process. First, the VA makes a determination as to whether or not your injury or illness was sustained during your military service. Next, you are assigned a rating for each illness or injury sustained. Should the VA determine that your injury or illness is not service-connected (unrelated to your military service time) or that they did not occur while you were still on active duty, they will most likely deny your claim for compensation. Claims that go on to be approved, however, are assigned a rating of 0%-100%.
0% rating means that you were indeed ill or injured during your military service, but your condition does not warrant compensation at the present time. 0% ratings are still important due to the fact that should your service-connected condition worsen as you age, you can then apply at that time to have your rating upgraded based on your present condition.
Understanding Multiple Disability Ratings
This is the most complex part of the VA’s disability ratings system, and they can be tricky to calculate. The VA has a separate method to calculate multiple disabilities, but to explain it fully required extensive explanation. Instead, here is a brief example.
Let’s say for the sake of discussion that you are a veteran with a 30% disability rating, which the VA multiplies against 100%, which they define as general good health. Subtracting your 30% from their 100% rating of general good health, you have a result of 70%. That 70% is considered your starting point for all future calculations regarding your level of disability going forward instead of 100%. You would then subtract 70% from 100% and your remainder is 30%. If that 30% disability is your service-connected disability, then your final rating decision regarding your disability rating will be 30%.
However, if you are receiving ratings for multiple disabilities, then you would continue the process using that 70% starting point instead of 100%. For example, say your disability rating for your second disability is 10%. Multiply 10% times 70%, and you get 7%. Subtract 7% from 70%, and your remainder is 63%. Subtracting that 63% from the overall good health rating of 100%, and you get a remainder of 37%. Your disability rate with both listed disabilities would then be considered to be that 37%, though it would be rounded up to 40%. As you can see, actual calculations are quite complex, and this is only intended to give you a basic understanding of how your disabilities are combined and how that combination affects your rating.
Your Rating is Not Fixed Forever
Your disability rating is most often considered temporary, and the VA can reevaluate your rating at any time. They will notify you by mail to attend an appointment for reexamination, which you must attend or your benefits may be reduced or terminated in your absence should you fail to attend your appointment. Post reexamination, the VA will make a recommendation to decrease, increase, or leave your compensation benefit at its present rating level. There are occasions and time periods where your ratings may fall under specific protections though based on the nature of your disability, how long you have held your rating, your current age, and various other factors.
Here are the current rates for VA Disability for 2017
|VA Disability Rating: 30%-60% Without Children|
|Veteran with Spouse Only||$456.97||$654.12||$919.64||$1,159.27|
|Veteran with Spouse & One Parent||$495.97||$706.12||$984.64||$1,237.27|
|Veteran with Spouse & Two Parents||$534.97||$758.12||$1,049.64||$1,315.27|
|Veteran with One Parent||$444.97||$641.12||$903.64||$1,140.27|
|Veteran with Two Parents||$486.97||$693.12||$968.64||$1,218.27|
|Additional for A/A Spouse(see footnote b)||$45.00||$59.00*||$74.00||$89.00|
|VA Disability Rating: 70%-100% Without Children|
|Veteran with Spouse Only||$1,451.71||$1,686.13||$1,894.71||$3,078.11|
|Veteran with Spouse & One Parent||$1,542.97||$1,790.13||$2,011.71||$3,208.56|
|Veteran with Spouse & Two Parents||$1,633.71||$1,894.13||$2,128.71||$3,339.01|
|Veteran with One Parent||$1,429.71||$1,660.13||$1,865.71||$3,046.00|
|Veteran with Two Parents||$1,520.71||$1,764.13||$1,982.71||$3,176.45|
|Additional for A/A Spouse(see footnote b)||$105.00||$119.00*||$134.00||$149.08|
|VA Disability Rating: 30%-60% With Children|
|Veteran with Spouse & Child||$492.97||$702.12||$978.64||$1,230.27|
|Veteran with Child Only||$440.97||$632.12||$892.64||$1,127.27|
|Veteran with Spouse, One Parent & Child||$531.97||$754.12||$1,043.64||$1,308.27|
|Veteran with Spouse Two Parents & Child||$570.97||$806.12||$1,108.64||$1,386.27|
|Veteran with One Parent and Child||$479.97||$684.12||$957.64||$1,205.27|
|Veteran with Two Parents and Child||$518.97||$736.12||$1,022.64||$1,283.27|
|Add for Each Additional Child Under Age 18||$24.00||$32.00||$40.00||$48.00|
|Each Additional School child Over Age 18 (see footnote a)||$78.00||$104.00||$130.00||$156.00|
|Additional for A/A spouse (see footnote b)||$45.00||$59.00||$74.00||$89.00|
|VA Disability Rating: 70%-100% With Children|
|Veteran with Spouse & Child||$1,534.71||$1,781.13||$2,001.71||$3,197.16|
|Veteran with Child Only||$1,414.71||$1,642.13||$1,845.71||$3,024.27|
|Veteran with Spouse, One Parent & Child||$1,625.71||$1,885.13||$2,118.71||$3,327.61|
|Veteran with Spouse Two Parents & Child||$1,716.71||$1,989.13||$2,235.71||$3,458.06|
|Veteran with One Parent and Child||$1,505.71||$1,746.13||$1,962.71||$3,154.72|
|Veteran with Two Parents and Child||$1,596.71||$1,850.13||$2,079.71||$3,285.17|
|Add for Each Additional Child Under Age 18||$56.00||$64.00||$72.00||$80.76|
|Each Additional School child Over Age 18 (see footnote a)||$182.00||$208.00||$234.00||$260.91|
|Additional for A/A spouse (see footnote b)||$105.00||$119.00||$134.00||$149.08|