How to Calculate Veterans’ Disability Ratings Into Pay

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When you have been approved for veteran’s disability benefits, you may be wondering how to translate your disability ratings into pay.

The Veterans Administration has its formula that determines how disability ratings are calculated, and understanding these can be tricky. Once you have gotten your determination letter, figuring out how they translate to actual pay is a matter of making sense of the rating system.

How the Veterans Administration Rates Disabilities

When the VA rates Claims connected to in-service injuries, the Administration doesn’t simply add up whole numbers but uses a percentage-based method to develop a disability rating.

The VA, for example, surmises that if you’re 10% disabled, that means that you are 90% abled. So from there, they calculate your next percentage. If you have a second disability that makes you 10% disabled, they take the 10% from the “abled” 90%, meaning 9%. So if you have two disabilities that are 10% of your overall abilities, the VA rates you at a 19% disability. A bit complicated on the surface.

It gets really tricky for veterans whose disability percentages are closer to 100%. If you have, for example, a 50% rating for a leg injury, a 50% rating for PTSD, a 20% rating for a back injury, and a 20% rating for sciatica, that would add up to 140%, normally. But based on how the VA rates disabilities, you have an 80% disability rating.

Why does this matter? It all boils down to dollars and cents.

According to the current VA disability rating compensation rates, a veteran with no dependents who has an 80% rating would receive $1,551.48 a month in benefits. However, a veteran who had a 100% disability would receive nearly double that amount, at $2,903.83 a month. This is nearly double the amount for only a 20% increase in ratings.

How to Get the Most Compensation for Your Disability

Many veterans are getting less compensation than they could because they cannot properly demonstrate the extent of their disabilities. The VA’s rating system is tricky, and many veterans don’t have the energy to continue fighting to get the benefits they deserve. There are techniques you can use to increase your percentages, for example. You may be eligible for a 100% disability rating if you can demonstrate total individual unemployability. Unfortunately, the VA only provides a single chart and limited information on ratings.

The best way to make the most of your benefits is to try the veterans’ disability calculator that simplifies the entire process. With this, you can simply enter your injuries and get an instant picture of how much you can expect to receive in benefits.

Another factor to consider when calculating your disability percentages is any other benefits you may be eligible for based on your rating. For example, special programs and additional compensation are available to veterans with dependents and those who have served in certain armed conflicts.

If you have a spouse, you may receive more benefits. Moreover, if your spouse serves as your caregiver, there are additional funds available to you. Finally, there are also added benefits that you may receive if your spouse also has a disability. Your VA disability calculator will give you a base rate and add in allowances for spouses and dependents. Therefore, it pays to use the calculator to start the conversation about your benefits with your representative.

Get Professional Help

Performing complicated math calculations is not something you want to do on your own, especially if you have health issues or other more pressing matters to solve. For this reason, the best course of action is to find a team of VA disability advocates and attorneys who can help you with your case.

Such firms regularly review the rating system to ensure they are on top of how it works. In addition, talk to other veterans who could appeal initial denials and get more than they thought they would receive. Most such firms offer a free consultation, so money would not be an issue. On the contrary, they might help you access all the benefits available to you.


Mark Scott: With a law degree under his belt, Mark Scott understood very early that law communication was a relatively neglected area. He decided to help people by “translating” the language and offering information and advice in a clear, useful, and actionable manner. For this reason, instead of finding him in court, you will most likely find his name online, where he is very active and thriving as a legal columnist. His part of making the world a better place is to make the law a less convoluted maze. He aims to make it easier for people to understand when and how to seek legal counsel, how to proceed in a significant number of legal matters and to find the proper resources so they can stand up for their rights.

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