The VA gave me a 90% disability rating. Should I pursue 100%?

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Veterans should pursue a 100% VA disability rating when they have a strong case and service connection. The VA assigns veterans a disability rating based on the severity of their service-connected condition. The rating is expressed as a percentage, representing how much the disability decreases the veteran’s health and ability to function. VA monthly disability benefits are calculated by using that rating. 

How does the VA decide disability ratings?

The VA service-connected disability rating system is complex. For each condition, the VA will assign a percentage, ranging from 0 to 100, according to a set of criteria. Generally, the more severe a disability is, the higher the VA disability rating will be.

A 100% disability rating, or a total disability rating, is the highest percentage that can be given.  This rating is usually reserved for veterans with debilitating service-connected conditions that make them unable to work and care for themselves.  

What if a veteran has more than one disability?

The VA uses a method called the “whole person theory” to determine a veteran’s combined disability rating. A total VA disability rating cannot add up to more than 100%, because a person can’t be more than 100% able-bodied. Calculating a combined disability rating involves more than adding up individual ratings. To calculate a combined VA disability rating, the VA uses tables, found here

How much compensation do veterans get for disability?

Click here to see the VA’s ratings chart showing the difference in income for varying percentages and degrees of VA disability.  For veterans with dependents, the amounts are even greater.

How to get a 100% disability rating from VA

If a veteran has a service-connected condition that meets the requirements for a 100% disability rating, the VA will assign it accordingly. There are a couple of other ways to get a 100% disability rating as well, including: 

  • 100% Schedular Disability Rating: If a veteran has multiple service-connected disabilities that add up to 100%. 
  • Total Disability Based on Individual Unemployability (TDIU): TDIU is awarded when a veteran is unable to be gainfully employed as a result of their service-connected conditions.

Should a veteran pursue a 100% disability rating with the VA?

If a veteran has a strong case for 100% disability and received a lower rating, it is absolutely worth their time and effort to pursue 100% disability and service connection.  For example, perhaps the veteran has been out of work for a while, is receiving Social Security Disability Income (SSDI), and their health issues and injuries were caused by their military service, but the VA has erroneously decided they’re only 75% disabled. Appeal it. What if it’s 90%? Appeal that, too. The difference between 90% and 100% disability is over $1,000 per month.  Plus, there are additional benefits (both federal and state) available for veterans who are 100% disabled that may mean as much (or close to as much) as the extra income.

If you’ve received an adverse (or inadequate) decision from the VA and want help with filing a Notice of Disagreement or other appropriate appeal, please contact our veteran’s disability lawyers to handle your appeal. We proudly serve veterans and work hard to get you the benefits you deserve. Call us today at 404-354-5432 for help with your veterans disability claim or appeal.




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