In order to be eligible for veterans disability compensation, a veteran must meet the requirements set in law, which include that he or she must have been discharged under other than dishonorable conditions and that some injury or illness was sustained during active duty service that has devolved into a disability that inhibits the veteran’s ability to work and earn a living. However, another important component of qualifying for disability benefits is the disability ratings that he or she receives. In instances in which a veteran's disability ratings are high, he or she will be eligible for more benefits. Disability ratings are also used as a cutoff for certain special compensations, such as if you support a dependent or have lost the use of an organ or limb.
How the Veteran's Disability Ratings Are Given Out
The disability ratings are distributed on a scale of 0% to 100%, in increments of 10%. If a rating falls in between, it is rounded to the nearest whole of 10, so a rating of 73% would count as 70% and a rating of 76% would count as 80%.
For veterans who have multiple conditions, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has devised a formula to calculate the total rating. A common misconception is that a 30% disability plus a 60% disability should qualify as a 90% disability, but the VA does not compute ratings in that way. Instead the inverse of the disabilities are multiplied together and subtracted from 100% to find the final rating.
For example, let’s say that a veteran has 2 disabling conditions and one of them is rated 60% and the other is rated 10%. For the more severe condition, this leaves the veteran with a 40% “ability" rating because 100% - 60% = 40%. For the less severe condition, the ability rating, or the inverse, is 90% because 100% - 10% = 90%.
Now, the 2 inverse values are multiplied together. 90% (.9) multiplied by 40% (.4) is 36% (.36), so the veteran is 36% “able." Furthermore, 100% - 36% is 64%, so the disability rating is 64%, and because the value is rounded to the nearest whole of 10, the veteran’s final disability rating will be 60%.
If you are applying for veteran’s disability benefits and you are suffering from multiple conditions inNorth Carolina, a disability advocate is highly recommended. An attorney can explain the “VA math" and other principles to you before you begin the process.
Contact a North Carolina Veteran’s Disability Advocate for a Free Consultation
Veteran's disability ratings are complex and difficult to understand, and the VA office is often a hectic hub of activity, leaving very little time for representatives to explain the full benefit requirements. To learn more about your options, speak with an attorney from the Brent Adams & Associates legal offices and schedule a free consultation with an attorney who can help you determine your eligibility for benefits and special compensations.