Should I Pursue a 100% VA Rating?

Many veterans get frustrated with VA and the time that it takes to receive the benefits they should.  While VA has a duty to assist veterans with their claims, it may often feel like they are not doing that.  When veterans finally do receive a decision, that decision often has errors.

These frustrations sometimes make veterans reluctant to pursue their VA claims.  Even when their service-connected disabilities get worth, they may delay filing for increased ratings because they just do not want to deal with the hassle.  Some veterans with service-connected disabilities do not file for benefits at all.

Senior man with neck pain Is it worth pursuing a 100% VA rating?

Veterans have to consider the value to them when they decide whether to pursue a claim.  Filing a claim with VA does take some time, and proving a 100% rating can be difficult.

One value to a veteran of a 100% rating is the monthly benefit paid by VA.  This amount varies depending on the veterans marital status and dependents and is subject to change each year.  But, there is a substantial amount of difference between the monthly amount paid with a 90% rating and the amount paid with a 100% rating.

Let’s take the situation of a single veteran who is not married and has no dependents.  In 2018, that veteran is going to receive $2,973 and some change each month for a 100% VA disability rating.

If a veteran is married, then that benefit amount increases to a little more than $3,139.  In some situations, a married veteran with several children might end up receiving as much as $3,500 to $4,000 per month.

It is also important to remember that these benefits are tax free.  So, the value of a 100% rating is even more when you consider that you do not have to pay taxes on the benefits..

Why does a 100% rating pay so much more than a 90% rating?

The idea behind VA ratings is that they compensate veterans for a lack of earning capacity or a diminished earning capacity.  Of course, they cannot do this completely accurately because certain service-connected disabilities might affect the earning capacity of one veteran a lot more than another veteran.  But, VA generally just assigns the same value to each percent rating.

For most VA ratings levels, a 10% increase in overall rating means an increase in monthly benefit of anywhere from $150 to $250.  But, an increase of 10% from a 90% rating to a 100% rating results in an increase of around $1,200.

There is certainly some reasoning behind the large increase.  A 100% VA rating means that veterans have shown that they are unable to work by proving TDIU or that they have been able to get to a 100% schedular rating even when VA math often makes it difficult to do so.

Veterans who have shown this have either demonstrated that their service-connected disabilities prevent them from working or that they have severe enough service connected disabilities that they would prevent most people from working.  There is a big difference between being able to work and earn some money despite service-connected disabilities and not being able to work and earn money.  The pay rate difference between a 90% rating and a 100% rating recognizes that big difference.

Are there other benefits associated with a 100% rating?

Yes.  There are other benefits associated with a 100% rating.  One benefit for veterans with a spouse or children is that it increases the chances that their spouse or children may qualify for DIC benefits.  The spouse and children of veterans who are rated at 100 percent for 10 years can automatically qualify for DIC benefits without having to prove that the veteran’s death is service connected.  This can provide a great comfort for veterans since it essentially becomes a form of life insurance.

Do I have to choose either TDIU or schedular when I pursue a 100% rating?

No, you do not have to choose between TDIU or a schedular 100% rating.  You can pursue both.  Unfortunately, many veterans are not aware of this and will choose to pursue one or the other.

Man and woman sitting in floor working on laptop computer Most often, this comes up when a veteran seeks an increased rating.  I speak to many veterans who feel that they have to choose to pursue schedular or TDIU instead of pursuing both.

Many of these veterans have a combined rating in the range of 60 to 90 percent.  They are often having difficulty obtaining or maintaining employment.  They may succeed in getting an increase rating to the 100% schedular level.  But, even if they fail to do that, they might be able to claim TDIU.

To give yourself the best chance of getting to a 100% rating, it is often best to apply for both.  In the legal world, we call this pleading in the alternative.  It is really just saying that there are two ways that you can qualify for the benefits of a 100% rating.

If you ask for both, VA should consider you for both.  There will not be any sort of penalty or detriment to your claim that you sought both because all you are doing really is saying that you want an increase one way or the other.

Travis Studdard is an attorney who focuses on representing veterans in VA disability compensation claims.  He regularly writes about issues that are important to veterans and their families.

You can subscribe to his Veterans Disability channel on YouTube.

I could not have asked for a better lawyer to represent my worker comp. case. Any questions I had during the process was always answered in a timely manner. Mr. Perkins really cared about insuring that I wasn't being taken advantage of during this process and helped us reach a settlement that I feel comfortable with. I would recommend this firm to my parents or children.syndel Laber
I'm so thankful and grateful for all the hard work Jason, Tina and Liz did for me. They went above and beyond to get the best outcome for me. They took the to explain everything that was going on with my case again I'm so thankful grateful and happy with the outcome of my workers comp case.Adrian Adams
First off, I must say thank you again to the office of Perkins Studdard. I appreciate all the hard work and dedication your office has shown to achieve a successful and happy outcome. You have forever changed my family’s life! Also, I wanted to give a special shoutout to Jessica Hyatt for her excellent attitude, advice, and overall professionalism throughout every step of this process. This journey has finally been complete after more than a decade of being denied and almost giving up. However, two of my old coworkers advised me that the office of Perkins Studdard had also successfully helped them achieve their proper rating too. Needless to say, this has been one of my best decisions in life. I can now sleep a little better and stress free knowing I finally got what I deserved all along. Once again, thank you for everything! And shoutout to Travis Studdard, “we did it.” Respectfully, Jonathon FloresJonathon Flores
My family and I are so grateful for Jason Perkins and his team. Jason explains thing's to detail and walks you through every step of your case. I would highly recommend Perkins Studdard for your legal needs. Thank you so much Jason and Tina!Chapin & Lea Anne Warner
The best I know for workers comp attorney'sDenise Williams
Jason really has helped me so much through this hard experience I have went through! And the ladies in the office was wonderful with any and everything I had questions about! I highly recommend using this lawyer office to everyone and Jason Perkins for sure!! Thank y'all for everything and making it easier to get through this long though experience! James HammittJames Hammitt
Thank you so much ! I received excellent representation from the entire Perkins Studdard Law firm, my VA claim was resolved and granted in a timely manner, they were hands on with me during the entire process. I would definitely recommend the firm to any veteran deciding to file a VA claim.Darrell Lynn
I would like to thank the law firm of Perkins-Studdard (Travis) and his team, for performing such an outstanding job, at every possible level, during my recent situation with the VA Disability Claims . From the first time I called and spoke with Mr Studdard with an overview of my situation, until the final settlement was executed (successfully I may add), I always felt that I was in good hands with this firm. Everyone in the office, Jessica, and April were responsive, approachable, knowledgeable, good listeners, and extremely professional. Mr. Studdard was realistic of the circumstances and of the potential difficult process that would lay ahead, should I proceed. I can’t say enough about Travis, and I will always be thankful to him. Travis was committed, and he instilled a real sense of confidence during both the highs and the lows. He ultimately prevailed and the outcome was very much in my favor. Of course, each case is different on its own merits and one can never predict how things ultimately will turn out. All I know is that the settlement far exceeded my expectation. Mr. Studdard has been a blessing to me. I strongly recommend that anyone who would find themselves in a similar legal situation with the VA to contact Law Offices of Perkins Studdard for a consultation. It was a very positive experience given the circumstances. Thank you again, I shall forever be in your debt.Concetta Hogg
Mr. Perkins, I cannot express enough how thankful I am for your exceptional representation. Your hard work, expertise, and unwavering commitment to my case have left an indelible mark. Thanks to you, I can now move forward with my life, confident that justice has been served.Esli Roque
Travis and his team have been a blessing for me and my family. They have done an amazing job in helping me navigate the VA appeals process. They kept their eye on the ball all the way through the long, difficult and confusing process. I highly recommend Travis and his team because thanks to their professionalism and know how, I got the benefits I deserve.Daniel patriot

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