Hill & Ponton, P.A.

Video Blog – How do I get a 100% disability rating?

Matthew Hill: Hello and welcome to the Hill and Ponton Veterans Video Blog. I’m Matthew Hill.
Carol Ponton: I’m Carol Ponton.
Matthew Hill: Today we want to talk about a question we get all the time and that is, how do I get 100% rating? We see vets who are frustrated. Either they have a single disability they’re trying to get up to 100%, or they have multiple disabilities that are combining together. The thing about the VA rating system is that it’s counterintuitive, let’s say. It’s not one plus one equals two. It’s 10% plus 10% equals 19%. The closer you get to 100%, your ratings combined, the harder it is to get 100%. We have a veteran who came to us and had a 90% rating and then a 40% rating on top that. Well, the way the VA math works, that actually only equals 94%. The 4% goes away and the veteran-
Carol Ponton: Rounds down to 90.
Matthew Hill: Rounds down to 90. It is a really hard, but we have some thoughts on what you could do.
Carol Ponton: Well, first of all, a lot of times veterans will have … Say they have a back problem, and they’re getting compensation for the back but not the radiculopathy, or they could have …
Matthew Hill: Radiculopathy is pain, loss of sensation, loss of muscle tissue.
Carol Ponton: Down either leg or both legs. Veterans don’t realize you can get ratings, very high ratings for each leg, and that will bring you up. The other thing … what if there’s incontinence? What if there’s erectile dysfunction? There are a lot of things that can go with just the one problem that they have including depression. A lot of times people are very depressed because the back limits him so much in ability to work or to do other things. That’s the first thing. Have you filed everything you should file in connection with your claims? These are for people on both sides, but if you’re working that’s your option. That’s what you have to do. If you’re not working, make sure you file the unemployability because once you file that, they have to consider whether the disabilities that you have keep you from working, and if they do, they’ll grant you 100% under unemployability.
Matthew Hill: Yeah. Going back to the back. You see this a lot with some of the bigger disabilities. Back, diabetes, I think heart, TBI in particular, but it will be … The main disability, they’ll have a rating for it. Parkinson’s is a huge one. Then, there’s all the problems that it causes and those can be higher ratings. You know, with the back, a pretty common rating, unfortunately, is 20%. A veteran with a 20% rating to me has a very severe back problem. It’s almost easier to get a 20% rating and another 20% rating for both legs for the radiculopathy than it is to get a rating on the back itself. As Carol said, you want to put everything out there that it might be causing so that you can get ratings for individual pieces and hopefully get you up to 100%. If you get stuck, say you have that back or it’s 20% and the two 20%s for the legs, don’t quote me on this but I think that’s 60%.
Carol Ponton: Right, because it’s one common etiology.
Matthew Hill: Yeah, so that would give you eligibility right there for unemployability. That’s a way to get out of this rat trap if you will of they put ratings together because you’re fighting tooth and nail for another 10% here, 20% there, and your rating doesn’t even go up. Again, that would be something. If your disability, service-connected disability, is preventing you from working, then that’s something to apply for there. As far as your ratings combining together, I’d invite you to look at our VA rating calculator essentially. It puts all the ratings together for you and let’s you know what your ratings combine to and what you might need as far as a further rating to get the higher rating you want.
Carol Ponton: Remember, this is complicated. The VA, first of all they’re … If you have a 40% disability, they consider that only 60% of your body’s left, so the next time you get a rating, the rating is 20% times 60%, not 100%. You’re left with 12 rounded down 10. Then, there’s another concept called … Say that both legs are impaired and they’re rated, then they give you a little extra for that. That’s why it’s really hard to do it without this table, this calculator that we have it. It will tell you where you are. Another thing I want to talk about, Matt, when you have … Say the person is still working. If they get Parkinson’s, a lot of times they’ll just give them 30%.
Matthew Hill: Right.
Carol Ponton: That’s for Parkinson’s, but they’re not considering weakness in your legs, difficulty walking-
Matthew Hill: Difficulty talking.
Carol Ponton: Difficulty talking, thinking, remembering. You want to make sure all of these individual problems are broken down and rated separately because that will give you a much higher rating. You don’t want to take just the 30% rating for Parkinson’s when you have all these other problems, and that goes with diabetes. Diabetes, you may get 40% if you’re on insulin and you have to regulate your activities, but you can get so much more from the peripheral neuropathy that may be in your hands, your legs, your feet. You need to make sure all of these things have been evaluated.
Matthew Hill: Well, thank you so much for that question. We ask you to send us more. This Matthew Hill with Carol Ponton on our Hill and Ponton Veterans Video Blog. Thanks so much.