This guide will break down how vets can earn a 100% disability rating from the VA and as many monetary benefits as possible. In some instances, VA health care benefits are possible as well. First, let’s discuss how much monthly compensation a veteran receiving 100% VA disability would receive.
How much is 100 VA disability?
The 100% disability rating compensation amount starts at $3,332.06 a month for veterans with no dependents. This could be higher if the veteran reports they have a spouse ($3,517.84 a month), if they have dependent children, or both have a spouse and dependent children. Check out our 2022 post for more info on VA disability rates!
How Can I Get 100% VA Disability Rating?
The highest percentage that can be given for service-connected compensation purposes is a 100 percent VA disability rating, or total disability rating. This rating is only available to veterans with extremely debilitating service-connected ailments that make them unable to work and mostly unable to care for themselves. You start by filing a service connected claim. You may also want to consider VA unemployability with VA Form 21-8940.
If you are unable to work and need someone to help take care of you, then a 100 percent rating may be appropriate.
Disability ratings range from 10% to 100%. The idea behind these ratings is that the veteran should be compensated according to the impairment that the disability would cause to the average person’s ability to earn a living. This compensation generally comes in the form of monthly payments.
How hard is it to get a 100% VA disability rating?
It can be tricky to earn a 100 percent VA disability rating when a veteran has more than one disability. Receiving a combined disability rating is a complicated process in which 50% plus 50% does not equal 100% but, rather, 75%.
The closer a veteran gets to a 100% disability rating, the harder it seems to be to obtain one. For example, once a veteran is rated 80% disabled, each additional 10% disability only adds 2% to his total rating rather than an additional 10%. (You can use our disability calculator to understand these numbers better.)
Meeting the criteria for a 100% VA rating on the rating schedule, or combining multiple disabilities to obtain a 100% rating, can be very difficult. However, failure to meet those criteria does not mean that a veteran is not totally disabled. For this reason, the VA regulations provide an alternate route to a total disability rating—individual unemployability.
When a service-connected disability, or disabilities, prevents a veteran from being able to secure and follow substantially gainful employment, he is entitled to a total disability rating based on individual unemployability (TDIU or IU).
In determining whether a veteran qualifies for TDIU, the VA should consider whether a veteran is capable of getting a job and whether he is capable of keeping a job. Any job that the veteran can secure and follow must also be a job that is “substantially gainful.”
In other words, the job that the veteran can do must provide income which places the veteran above the poverty level. Remember that “substantially gainful employment” does not include working in a sheltered environment such as a veteran’s own family business or a sheltered workshop.
Can veterans with 100% VA disability work?
It gets tricky here: veterans with 100% disability ratings could work and be relatively safe from the VA’s eyes. However, under the TDIU regulation, which is the equivalent to a 100% compensation level, a veteran with evidence that his disabilities keep him from working and has TDIU may be more at risk of losing their 100% compensation if working and earning above the poverty level.
How to qualify for TDIU
For the VA regulations, a qualifying rating is either a single service-connected disability with a 60% rating or multiple service-connected disabilities with a total rating of 70%.
This is a simplified definition of a qualifying rating as there are many exceptions to this basic rule. For example, if the veteran injured his back and knees in a single accident, these could be considered a single disability.
Medical evidence can be very beneficial here. Under those circumstances, the veteran should not even have to ask to be considered for TDIU. Still, the VA often fails to decide on TDIU unless the veteran specifically requests it.
It’s important to note that the VA will probably assign the date the veteran asks for this increased rating as the effective date for TDIU. Be aware, however, that you may be entitled to an earlier effective date if you became unable to work earlier than the date that you requested that entitlement.
Regardless of the schedular rating the VA has assigned a veteran for his disability, or disabilities, if those disabilities prevent the veteran from earning a living wage he is entitled to a total disability rating based on individual unemployability.
Issues with VA Compensation Rates
An issue with the current Compensation Benefits Rate Tables is that the amount of compensation benefits doesn’t always keep up with changes in the economy. While the cost of living continues to rise, the rates for VA benefits haven’t changed since 2009.
Again, when veterans suffer from two or more service-connected disabilities, the veteran must combine them according to the VA Combined Ratings Table.
Using what many veterans call “VA Math,” under the Combined Rating Table, two 50% disability ratings do not add up to a 100% rating as most people would expect. Instead, two 50% disabilities are combined to give a veteran a 75% disability rating (which would then be rounded up to an 80% disability rating).
As another example, a veteran who has two service-connected disabilities with a 50% disability rating for each is entitled only to a higher rating of 80% disability rating which pays $1,778.43 in 2022.
Again, $1,778.43 is not 80% of the $3,332 that the veteran with a 100% disability rating receives in 2022. The veteran with the 80% disability rating receives just over half the amount that the veteran with the 100% disability rating receives.
How To Get VA Disability Increased Rating
Several other factors can affect total compensation, including the number of surviving family members. Veterans can receive additional benefits when they have dependent children, surviving spouses or parents.
In addition, the VA may make increases to a veteran’s rating if he has a disability that affects both arms or both legs. Finally, a veteran may be eligible for additional compensation benefits called Special Monthly Compensation. He has specific disabilities, including the loss or loss of use of a part of the body.
Many factors affect the VA benefits that a veteran receives, so it’s essential to seek help with your VA disability claim. You can get help at va.gov or an experienced law firm can help you navigate your disability rating and to secure as many benefits as possible. Our team offers a free consultation.
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