A VA disability rating is a percentage assigned by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to a veteran based on the severity of their service-connected disabilities. This rating determines the amount of monthly compensation the veteran will receive from the VA.
The VA assigns a disability rating based on the severity of a veteran’s service-connected disability or disabilities, which are injuries or illnesses that are directly related to their military service. The VA will review medical evidence and other documentation to determine the extent of the veteran’s disability, and will assign a rating of 0 to 100 percent, in increments of 10.
A 0 percent rating means that the VA recognizes that the veteran has a service-connected disability, but that it does not currently impact their ability to work or carry out daily activities. A 100 percent rating means that the veteran is considered completely disabled due to their service-connected disabilities and is unable to work.
The VA uses the combined disability rating to determine the amount of monthly compensation the veteran is entitled to receive. The compensation amount is tax-free and is based on the severity of the veteran’s disabilities and the number of dependents they have.
It’s important to note that the VA disability rating is not fixed and can be changed if a veteran’s medical condition worsens or improves. Veterans can also apply for an increase in their disability rating if they feel that their current rating does not accurately reflect their level of disability.
The Difference Between and 80% and 100% VA Rating
Having a 100 percent disability rating instead of an 80 percent rating can make a significant difference in both compensation and benefits available to veterans. Specifically, veterans rated at 100 percent receive $1,688.80 more per month than those rated at 80 percent, as of December 1, 2022.
In addition, only veterans considered totally disabled with a 100 percent rating are eligible for certain benefits, such as priority group one in VA health care, CHAMPVA, the Dependents Education Assistance Program, and Commissary and Exchange Benefits.
Steps to Increase Your 80% VA Rating to 100%
To obtain a higher disability rating, veterans can file a claim or appeal based on new evidence that their service-connected condition has worsened. The Appeals Modernization Act provides three appeal options: the Higher-level Review lane, Supplemental Claim lane, or Notice of Disagreement lane.
Veterans should consult VA’s rating criteria for their condition and submit evidence such as in-service and private medical records, VA medical records, C&P examinations, medical opinions, and lay statements to support their claim. If the appeal period has passed, veterans can file a new claim for an increased rating, but it’s advisable to consult a VA-accredited legal representative for guidance due to the complexities of the process.
It’s difficult to reach a schedular 100 percent rating, but veterans may qualify for TDIU, a monthly benefit that pays at the 100 percent rating level. TDIU is awarded when veterans cannot secure and follow substantially gainful employment due to their service-connected condition(s). There are two ways to qualify for TDIU: schedular and extraschedular, with different requirements for each.
The following types of evidence can be sent along to support the case for a ratings increase:
- Military Medical Records: These records document a veteran’s enlistment and separation examinations, as well as any hospital stays or medical visits during their service.
- Private Medical Records: Veterans can request their private medical records directly from their healthcare provider. The VA can also obtain these records with the veteran’s consent and a signed release form.
- VA Medical Records: VA medical centers where a veteran receives treatment hold their medical records. Veterans can request their own records or the VA can obtain them directly.
- C&P Examinations: VA may schedule a veteran for a C&P exam to evaluate the merit of their service connection or increased rating claim. Favorable results can support the claim.
- Medical Opinions: A medical opinion from a treating physician can be requested to support a veteran’s claim. This can be helpful if an unfavorable C&P examination was conducted.
- Lay Statements: A written statement from a veteran’s family member, friend, or coworker outlining the onset and progression of the veteran’s condition is known as a lay statement. These statements can be submitted directly to the VA.
Circumstances that would qualify you for a ratings increase that could be solved rather quickly, include:
- Your condition has deteriorated, you have developed a new condition, or you have a secondary disability caused by an approved disability. To support your claim, you would need to provide new evidence, such as medical and service records, VA medical records, Nexus letters connecting your disability to your service, and results of VA medical examinations. You must submit a claim based on the nature of your increased level of disability.
- The VA made a mistake. In this case, you may need to challenge the decision by requesting a higher-level review of your claim, submitting additional evidence, or appealing to the Board of Veterans’ Appeals.
- You have a disability rating below 100% but cannot work to support yourself financially. If you can demonstrate that you are unable to work and meet certain disability rating requirements, you may be eligible for Total Disability Based on Individual Unemployability (TDIU).
Getting Help Increasing your VA Disability Rating from 80% to 100%
While there are many factors involved with increasing your VA disability rating from 80% to 100%, one of the best moves you can make is getting an attorney involved with your case. Having an experienced VA attorney on your case helps greatly improve the likelihood of your benefits being increase to the full 100%.
Get in touch with the professionals at VA Benefits Attorneys to see if you can qualify for the ratings increase that you are seeking.