You’ve got a service-connected disability rated at 90 percent. Now what? This guide covers everything you need to know about your VA disability benefits, including what they are, how they work and when disabled veterans are eligible for them.
In this post, we will cover the following topics – updated for 2023:
- What is a VA Disability Rating?
- What is the compensation for a 90% VA Disability Rating?
- What compensation is available for dependents at the 90% VA Disability Rating?
- What are the top 90% VA Disability Rating Benefits?
- Social Security with 90% VA Disability
- 90% VA Disability and Extraschedular TDIU
- How do you increase a 90% VA Disability Rating?
Ready to learn all about 90% 2023 VA Disability Benefits? Let’s dive in!
What is a VA Disability Rating?
VA Disability Ratings are assigned to you by The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), based on the severity of your service-connected condition. Your disability rating will determine how much disability compensation you will receive each month, as well as your eligibility for other VA disability benefits.
If you have multiple disability ratings, they use them to calculate your combined VA disability rating. Calculating your combined disability rating involves more than just adding up your individual ratings. That’s why when you combine ratings, it may be different than the sum of your individual ratings.
What is the compensation for a 90% VA Disability Rating?
The 2023 compensation rate (an 8.7% increase) for a 90% VA disability rating is $2,172.39. For more information about compensation for dependents, our 2023 VA Disability Rates and Compensation article covers all the updates for the year.
It is important to consider that, a 10% rating increase, which at 100% VA disability rating is $3621.95, could have you receiving over $1400 a month more in compensation benefits!
Ultimately, a higher disability rating equates to a greater amount of monthly benefits.
How do I increase my 90 VA Disability Rating?
If you are considering trying to increase your 90% VA Disability Rating, you have a few options to consider. They include:
- Filing for an appeal within the VA’s deadlines (before one year of your rating decision)
- Filing a new claim for an increased rating
- Filing for Total Disability based on Individual Unemployability (TDIU)
- Filing for secondary service connection
If you are considering filing for an appeal, our knowledgeable team at Hill & Ponton, P.A. would be happy to assist you with this process.
VA Combined Ratings Explained
For disabled veterans, the VA uses a combined rating system to determine eligibility for veteran’s benefits. This combined rating system uses a special formula to determine a percentage for a veteran who has more than one disability.
Unfortunately, this system is not as simple as adding the disability ratings for the disabilities together and finding a total. If a veteran has a desirability that is rated at 30 percent and another that is rated at 50 percent, they are not automatically at 80 percent.
The VA rates each injury or illness individually, not considering other illnesses or injuries, unless the two are connected. Once each disability has its rating, the VA will start with the one that has the highest rating, then combine the additional disabilities to it. the VA has a ratings table that shows how these get combined. Here is what the table looks like:
If a veteran has four injuries that are rated at 30 percent, 20 percent, 10 percent and 10 percent, the veteran will start at the 30 percent mark, then move across the table to see where it intersects at the 20 percent mark. This point gives a rating of 44 percent.
Then, to add the two 10 percent ratings, the veteran will start at 44 percent and find the intersection between 44 and 10, which is 50 percent. Do this again to find the intersection of 50 and 10, which is 55 percent.
Thus, the veteran in the example would have a combined disability rating of 55 percent.
Using this type of VA math, you can see how it would be hard to get to a 90 percent VA disability rating.
What are Some of the Top 90% VA Disability Rating Benefits?
In addition to the aforementioned VA disability compensation benefits and compensation for dependents, veterans may also be entitled to different types of VA benefits.
Health Care Benefits
Veterans at a 90% VA Disability Rating are eligible to be placed in VA Health Care Priority Group 1, which is the highest priority group for receiving health care benefits.
Members of Group 1 will receive health care services with no copays. Some of the services they are entitled to include:
- Preventative care
- In-patient services
- Mental health care
- Medical equipment
- Dental care, glasses and hearing aids
- Emergency care at non-VA facilities
- Medical travel benefits
Veterans Pension is a tax-free benefit for low-income, wartime veterans, including those who are 90 percent disabled. It is based on financial need, disability and age. 90 percent disabled veterans may be eligible for VA pension benefits if they were discharged under conditions other than dishonorable and:
- Started active duty before September 8, 1980, and served at least 90 days with one day during wartime
- Started an active duty after September 7, 198, and served at least 24 months with at least one day during wartime
- “Countable family income” and net worth are below a yearly limit set forth by law
- At least one of these is also true:
- 65 years of age or older
- Have a permanent and total disability
- A patient in a nursing home or long-term facility because of a disability
- Receiving Social Security Disability Insurance
Concurrent Retired and Disability Pay (CRDP)
Veterans who rate at 90 percent disabled may qualify for concurrent retired and disability pay (CRDP). CRDP restores your service pay by eliminating the VA waiver. There is no application process. If veterans meet the eligibility requirements, Defense Finance and Accounting Service (DFAS) will automatically eliminate the VA waiver.
To be eligible for CRDP, veterans must:
- Be receiving retired pay and VA compensation
- Be a 20-year or more retiree
- Have a service-connected condition rated at 50 percent or higher
VA Home Loan Guarantee
The VA will guarantee a home loan by a private lender to ensure favorable terms on a mortgage. This means that veterans usually qualify for lower interest rates and down payments on their homes. These loans help veterans buy, repair, rebuild or maintain their present home.
Vocational Readiness and Employment (VR&E)
Individuals with 90 percent VA disability ratings are eligible for VR&E benefits. These benefits provide career services and counseling, including training, resume development, and other assistance.
Use of commissaries, exchange and morale, welfare and recreation (MWR) facilities
VA Special Monthly Compensation
CHAMPVA Medical Insurance
90% VA Disability and Extraschedular TDIU
Total Disability based on Individual Unemployability (TDIU) is a disability benefit that allows veterans to be compensated at a 100% disability rate, even if their combined schedular rating does not equal 100 percent. TDIU is awarded when veterans are unable to secure or follow substantially gainful employment due to their service-connected condition(s).
In order to qualify for TDIU, a veteran must have:
- One service-connected condition rated at 60 percent or higher; or
- Two or more service-connected conditions, one of which is rated at least 40 percent disabling, with a combined rating of at least 70 percent.
Those who do not meet these requirements may still be considered for TDIU, but their case must be referred for extraschedular consideration, by filing VA Form 21-8940, Veterans Application for Increased Compensation Based on Unemployability.
Veterans rated at 90 percent disabled should consider applying for TDIU if the circumstances warrant. TDIU is a way for veterans to receive the highest amount of disability compensation possible.
How do you increase a 90% VA Disability Rating?
If you believe the severity of your condition may entitle you to a higher rating, you can file an appeal (within one year of your rating decision), or file a new claim to increase your rating.
You can also file a claim for a secondary service condition if you later developed any conditions or symptoms as a result of other service-connected disabilities, which could also increase your combined disability rating.
If you are interested in learning more about filing for disability benefits, check out our FREE ebook The Road to VA Compensation Benefits.
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