When a veteran takes the crucial step of applying for VA service-connected disability benefits, they open the door to a personalized evaluation by the esteemed Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). Through a meticulous assessment of their condition, the VA determines an appropriate disability rating that reflects the severity of their circumstances.
This disability rating system, designed to be comprehensive and fair, spans from 0 to 100 percent, encompassing increments of 10 percent. Within this spectrum, a rating ranging from 10 to 100 percent becomes a gateway to valuable monthly compensation, recognizing the sacrifices made by our esteemed veterans.
Unlocking the secrets of disability ratings lies within the meticulous framework of the VA’s Schedule for Rating Disabilities. This carefully constructed schedule assesses the unique symptoms experienced by veterans and assigns them a corresponding rating. Should your symptoms align with the rating you were initially granted, advocating for an increased rating may present challenges.
Yet, should the winds of change blow and your symptoms intensify, aligning with the criteria for a higher rating, embarking on a journey to secure an increased rating becomes justifiable. Armed with tangible evidence, such as test results or a medical opinion from a trusted physician, you can effectively demonstrate to the VA that your condition has indeed worsened, bolstering your case for a higher rating.
Increasing Your VA Disability Rating
Often, a veteran may feel like the rating they were given by the VA doesn’t fully encompass their disability and limitations in their lifestyle. Therefore, they may try to increase the disability percentage that they received from the VA.
While there are many disability ratings that can be given out by the VA, a common gripe is with veterans who are considered 90% disabled who are trying to obtain benefits to make them 100% disabled, according to the VA.
Compensation for 90% Disability Rating for 2023
The eagerly awaited cost-of-living-adjustment (COLA) has surged by a substantial 8.7 percent, heralding an increase in benefits for our esteemed veterans. With effect from December 1, 2022, veterans who hold a 90 percent disability rating, and don’t have any qualifying dependents, have been bestowed with an enhanced monthly compensation of $2,172.39 in VA disability compensation.
As we delve into the realm of qualifying dependents, the compensation amounts for veterans rated at 90 percent disabled take diverse forms. Brace yourself for the following monthly compensation figures:
- Veteran and Spouse – $2,354.39 (an additional $166.00 if the spouse requires aid and attendance)
- Veteran, Spouse, and Parent – $2,500.39
- Veteran, Spouse, and Parents – $2,645.39
- Veteran and Parent – $2,318.39
- Veteran and Parents – $2,464.39
- Veteran, Spouse, and Child – $2,487.39
- Veteran and Child – $2,293.39
- Veteran, Spouse, Parent, and Child – $2,632.39
- Veteran, Spouse, Parents, and Child – $2,778.39
- Veteran, Parent, and Child – $2,439.39
- Veteran, Parents, and Child – $2,584.39
But wait, there’s more! For each additional child under the age of 18, veterans rated at 90 percent disabled can enjoy an additional $90 included in their monthly compensation amount. As if that weren’t enough, veterans with school-age children over 18 can also benefit, adding an impressive $291 to their monthly compensation amount.
While this is great news for injured veterans, it does without saying that a 100% VA disability rating would pay more per month than a 90% rating. But what does it take to obtain a 100% rating if you are already at 90%?
Ways to Increase from 90% to 100% Disability Rating
It’s only natural to harbor aspirations of reaching the pinnacle—a 100% rating. The allure is undeniable, considering the substantial disparity in monthly payments and the plethora of additional benefits that accompany this elite status. There are three main ways for a veteran to increase their VA disability rating from 90% to 100%
Add a Service-Connected Condition
To add a service-connected condition to your VA disability case, you can follow these steps:
- Obtain medical evidence: Seek medical documentation that clearly establishes a connection between your new condition and your military service. This can include medical records, test results, treatment history, and opinions from healthcare professionals.
- Submit a claim: File a claim with the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to add the new condition to your existing VA disability case. You can do this by completing and submitting the necessary forms, such as VA Form 21-526EZ (Application for Disability Compensation and Related Compensation Benefits).
- Gather supporting evidence: Compile any additional supporting evidence that strengthens your claim. This may include statements from fellow service members, relevant service records, or any other documentation that bolsters your case.
- Attend a Compensation and Pension (C&P) exam: In many cases, the VA may schedule a C&P exam to assess the severity and service connection of your new condition. Be sure to attend the exam and provide any relevant information or medical records to the examiner.
- Follow up with the VA: Stay in contact with the VA throughout the process to ensure your claim is progressing. You may need to provide additional information or respond to any requests for clarification from the VA.
- Await the decision: The VA will review your claim, including the supporting evidence and the results of the C&P exam. They will then make a decision regarding the service connection and rating for your new condition.
- Appeal if necessary: If your claim is denied or if you disagree with the assigned rating, you have the right to appeal the decision. Consult with a VA-accredited attorney or representative to understand the appeal process and seek guidance on strengthening your case.
Remember, it is crucial to provide clear and compelling evidence of the service connection between your new condition and your military service. Working with a knowledgeable attorney or representative who specializes in VA disability claims can greatly assist you in navigating the process and increasing your chances of success.
Increase a Current Connected Condition
o increase your current service-connected disability rating with the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), you can follow these steps:
- Gather new medical evidence: Obtain updated medical records, test results, and evaluations that demonstrate the worsening of your condition or the presence of additional disabilities related to your service. This evidence should clearly show the increased severity and impact on your daily life.
- Request a reevaluation: Contact the VA and request a reevaluation of your disability rating. You can do this by submitting a written request or completing the necessary forms, such as VA Form 21-4138 (Statement in Support of Claim). Explain in detail the reasons why you believe your condition warrants a higher rating and provide supporting medical evidence.
- Attend a Compensation and Pension (C&P) exam: The VA may schedule a C&P exam to reassess your condition and determine the current level of disability. Attend the exam and provide any relevant information or medical records to the examiner. Be prepared to discuss how your condition has worsened since your last evaluation.
- Seek a second opinion: If you believe that the initial C&P exam did not accurately reflect the severity of your condition, you can request a second opinion from a qualified medical professional. This opinion can serve as additional evidence to support your claim for an increased rating.
- Appeal if necessary: If the VA denies your request for a higher rating or does not provide the increase you believe you deserve, you have the right to appeal the decision. Consult with a VA-accredited attorney or representative who can guide you through the appeals process and help strengthen your case. You may need to provide additional evidence or present arguments to support your claim for an increased rating.
It’s important to note that increasing your service-connected disability rating can be a complex process. Working with a knowledgeable attorney or representative who specializes in VA disability claims can greatly assist you in navigating the process, gathering strong evidence, and presenting a compelling case for an increased rating.
See If You Could be Eligible for TDIU
To determine if you are eligible for Total Disability Individual Unemployability (TDIU), which provides benefits at the 100% disability rate even if your overall disability rating is less than 100%, you need to meet certain criteria set by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). Here are the key factors to consider:
- Service-connected disabilities: You must have one or more service-connected disabilities rated at least at a 60% level. Alternatively, you can have a single disability rated at 40% or higher, combined with additional disabilities that, when considered together, reach a 70% rating or higher.
- Employment limitation: Your service-connected disabilities should prevent you from securing and maintaining substantially gainful employment. Substantially gainful employment generally refers to employment that provides an income above the poverty threshold.
- Evidentiary support: You need to provide evidence, such as medical records, treatment history, vocational assessments, and employment history, that demonstrates the impact of your service-connected disabilities on your ability to work and earn a living.
It’s important to note that TDIU eligibility is determined on a case-by-case basis, taking into account the unique circumstances of each veteran. The VA will evaluate the severity of your disabilities, your work history, and the overall impact of your disabilities on your ability to work.
If you believe you may be eligible for TDIU, it is recommended to consult with a VA-accredited attorney or representative who specializes in VA disability claims. They can assess your specific situation, guide you through the application process, help gather the necessary evidence, and present a strong case for TDIU benefits.
Get an Attorney Involved
If you are looking to increase your benefit from 90 to 100%, getting an attorney involved early can make a big difference. Statistics show that an experienced VA benefits attorney can greatly improve the chances of being approved for benefits.