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.

Rita BarnesRita Barnes
00:03 20 Jan 22
This is a great group of people who really care about your well being. They all treated me as though I was family and helped me with my work comp case in more ways than the average would have.Thank you Jason and Thank you Tina! For doing an awesome job.
Cortex ButlerCortex Butler
18:09 29 Dec 21
I am a Veteran of United States Air Force and was awarded my first 30% in 1996 and have been fighting for my rating for 26 years I came to Perkins and Studdard in 2019 while my mom was in a terrible incident and was given to much anesthesia and through GODS Grace she was spared her life, She is disabled since 2018 and I have been struggling with my life and issues and yet I didn’t call the law firm every 10 minutes or call being rude anytime, I mentioned this as I got to know Jessica more than just a phone call and Mr Studdard was always available when not working on other cases or in court, They always called back and Never had to do a call back, My Review is Simple in Life there peaks and valleys and it doesn’t stop because you have issues, Perkins & Studdard took my case in 2019 in 2021 I received my 100% from VA, I Was Never Rude, I was Never Promised Success, I Was Never Lied too and I was Always Treated with Respect, Friendliness, and Kindness the Real Stuff not a (Money Thing) If You want a firm that Cares about the Client and will work on your case even through a pandemic, Will not lie, will not promise anything will communicate your case and will Give you their Best ALWAYS THIS IS THE Best Law Firm for VETS HANDS DOWN Perkins and Studdard THERE IS NO OTHER 100% we had 5 calls Total Case That’s Taking Care Of Business
annetteMomma nokesannetteMomma nokes
14:29 12 Sep 16
Jason and his paralegal Lisa were on point and on top of their game when it came to handling my worker's comp. injury case. I tried going it alone and the insurance carrier pushed me around. They denied extra physical therapy. They denied injections the doctor recommended to ease my pain. When I turned my case over to Jason things turned around, QUICK. They were at all times attentive and on top of my case. I cannot recommend Jason and his staff enough. If you are hurt at work, this is the firm you want on YOUR side.
Sheila KirklinSheila Kirklin
23:11 12 May 16
Jason Perkins, was my lawyer in a workers comp. case, my case has settled now, and I am very happy for all Jason and his office hard work on my case, he was always there to help me out with any questions that I had or help I needed. Jason is a excellent lawyer and if I ever need another one I would only go to Perkins,Because I believe they would be able to help me in any situation I am in need of..
Anna PabonAnna Pabon
23:16 13 Sep 15
I recommend Perkins Law Firm. Everyone I came in contact with there was very nice. Kim was very helpful and any time I had a question she made sure I got an answer. Ann Margaret really took the time to explain things to me.

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