VA Disability Compensation Rates

Understanding the VA disability compensation rates and rating system is fundamental to applying for benefits. The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) assesses service-related disabilities on a scale of 0 to 100 percent, with baseline compensation starting at a disability rating of 10 percent.

The VA may initially assign a rating lower than what the Veteran’s symptoms warrant, potentially depriving Veterans of the full benefits they are entitled to receive. Veterans who arm themselves with the knowledge of how the VA disability compensation system works will be able to recognize when a disability rate is too low and appeal to secure a higher rating.

VA Disability Compensation Rates

VA disability compensation rates are based on the Veteran’s assigned disability rating. It is important to note that these rates are subject to change and may be adjusted annually based on cost-of-living increases. Additionally, Veterans with a disability rating of 30 percent or higher may be eligible for additional benefits for their dependents, such as a spouse, children, or parents.

Understanding the VA Disability Rating System

The VA disability rating system is designed to assess the severity of a Veteran’s service-connected disability and determine the appropriate level of compensation. Disabilities are rated in 10 percent increments, ranging from 0 to 100 percent, based on the impact the condition has on the Veteran’s physical function, employment, relationships, and daily life. The higher the rating, the greater the compensation and additional benefits available to the Veteran and their dependents.

 To determine a Veteran’s disability rating, the VA considers specific criteria for each type of disability. These criteria are outlined in the VA’s Schedule for Rating Disabilities (VASRD), which provides a standardized framework for evaluating the severity of various conditions. The VASRD factors in things such as the frequency and duration of symptoms, the need for medication or other treatments, and the overall impact on the Veteran’s quality of life.

These percentages are general guidelines, and the specific criteria for each disability rating may vary depending on the kind of condition being evaluated. The VA uses the Schedule for Rating Disabilities (38 CFR Part 4) to determine the appropriate disability rating for each service-connected condition.

Appealing a Low VA Disability Rating

A low disability rating can result in Veterans receiving inadequate compensation for their service-connected disabilities. Veterans who believe that the VA has underrated their disability should appeal the decision to try to increase Veterans disability benefits.

The first step in perfecting an appeal is to select which type of appeal to submit. Veterans have three options for reviewing an unfavorable decision:

  1. Higher-Level Review: A more senior VA employee reviews the claim. The review is based on the evidence already in the file at the time of the original decision. No new evidence can be submitted. The higher-level reviewer can either uphold the original decision, overturn it, or send it back for correction.
  2. Supplemental Claim: Veterans can file a Supplemental Claim if they have new and relevant evidence to support their case. This evidence must be something that was not part of the record at the time of the original decision. There is no limit to the number of Supplemental Claims a Veteran can file, but new and relevant evidence must be provided each time.
  3. Appeal to the Board of Veterans’ Appeals: Veterans can appeal directly to the Board of Veterans’ Appeals (BVA) and skip the other options. The three options are direct review, evidence submission, or a hearing. In a direct review, the BVA will review the claim based on the evidence already in the record. With evidence submission, the Veteran can submit additional evidence for the BVA to consider. In a hearing, the Veteran can testify before a Veterans Law Judge and present new evidence. The BVA’s decision is final unless appealed to the Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims.

 How an Attorney Can Help with A VA Disability Rating Appeal

Appealing a low VA disability rating can be a complex and time-consuming process. Working with an experienced Veterans disability attorney can significantly improve a Veteran’s chances of success and ensure they receive the maximum benefits they are entitled to under the law.

A skilled attorney can help appeal a VA decision by:

  • Reviewing the case and identifying errors or inconsistencies in the VA’s rating decision.
  • Gathering additional evidence to support a higher disability rating, such as medical records, expert opinions, and lay statements from family and friends.
  • Obtaining an independent medical examination (IME) or a second medical opinion to challenge the VA’s disability assessment.
  • Preparing a comprehensive legal argument demonstrating how the Veteran’s disability meets the criteria for a higher rating under the VASRD.
  • Representing Veterans at all levels of the appeals process, including regional VA offices, the Board of Veterans’ Appeals, and the U.S. Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims (USCAVC).

An attorney can help Veterans file their appeal correctly and within the required deadlines. They can also keep them informed of the progress of their case and provide valuable guidance and support throughout the process.

Special Considerations for Total Disability and Permanent Disability

A permanent and total (P&T) disability rating offers numerous advantages to Veterans. A total disability rating (100 percent) or a permanent disability may be entitled to receive benefits for life.  In some cases, a Veteran with a total disability rating may also be eligible for additional benefits, such as Special Monthly Compensation (SMC) or Dependent Educational Assistance (DEA).

If a Veteran dies from a service-connected condition, their surviving spouse, children, or parents may be entitled to Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (DIC). DIC is a tax-free monetary benefit paid to eligible survivors of Veterans whose death was related to their military service.

Choosing the Right Veterans Disability Attorney

When selecting an attorney to appeal a VA disability rating, it is essential to choose a firm with extensive experience and a proven track record of success in handling Veterans disability cases. Berry Law’s team of skilled attorneys has decades of combined experience representing Veterans at all levels of the VA appeals process, from regional offices to the USCAVC.

Many of Berry Law’s attorneys and legal team are Veterans themselves. They understand the unique challenges Veterans face when seeking disability benefits and are dedicated to fighting for the compensation and benefits their clients deserve.

Veterans who have received a low VA disability rating should not hesitate to seek the help of a qualified Veterans disability attorney. Berry Law can be reached at 888-883-2483 or contact us online for a free consultation. Our team is available 24/7 to answer questions and provide the guidance needed to secure the benefits Veterans have earned through their service to the country.

Berry Law

The attorneys at Berry Law are dedicated to helping injured Veterans. With extensive experience working with VA disability claims, Berry Law can help you with your disability appeals.

This material is for informational purposes only. It does not create an attorney-client relationship between the Firm and the reader, and does not constitute legal advice. Legal advice must be tailored to the specific circumstances of each case, and the contents of this blog are not a substitute for legal counsel.

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