Is the VA’s Disability Compensation Rating Decision Correct?

The first big steps in a veteran’s claim for disability compensation benefits are establishing that you are a veteran that had an in service event and now have a disability.  A veteran must also establish a nexus between the in service event and the disability.  Once these requirements are satisfied, the veteran will receive a Rating Decision indicating the percentage of disability determined by the Department of Veterans Affairs.

Does A Rating Decision End My Case?

A veteran who receives a Rating Decision determining that a disability or disabilities are service connected may believe that there is nothing further to do because the case has been won.  However, a veteran may still need to file a notice of disagreement with regard to the percentage of disability granted for one or more of the disabilities determined to be service connected.

How Does the Percentage Rating in my Rating Decision Affect My Benefits?

If you believe the rating percentage is incorrect, filing a notice of disagreement can be especially important to consider since the percentage of disability drastically affects how much compensation the veteran will receive.  For example, a veteran with a 10% total disability rating would have a pay rate in 2012 of $129 per month.  That same veteran would draw $810 a month with a 50% rating or $2816 a month with a 100% rating.  Also, if the veteran ends up with a total rating of 30% or greater, then the veteran will draw additional benefits for dependents (including spouse, children, and parents) whereas a veteran with a total rating of 10% or 20% does not draw additional benefits for dependents, so it is important to make sure that the Department of Veterans Affairs gets the rating correct.

The percentage of a veteran’s rating is determined by the medical severity of his or her condition.  If a veteran has more than one disability, then a combined values formula is generally used to determine the total rating.  This combined value is either rounded up or down to the nearest ten percent.  Determining the affect of certain ratings, especially in cases involving multiple disabilities, can be difficult.

Making Sure Your Rating Decision Is Correct

The calculation of the correct disability rating is complex and leaves plenty of room for error.  A recent study determined that over half of the denials made by the VA in veterans’ benefits claims may be incorrect.  Because veterans’ benefits law is quite complicated, it is usually helpful to consult an attorney who handles veterans’ benefits claims to determine if the percentage of disability was calculated correctly.

Jason Perkins and Travis Studdard, are our attorneys who handle veterans’ benefits claims.  They , provide free consultations if you have any questions about your claim or have received a decision and just want to make sure it is correct.  To obtain a free consultation, simply call the phone number at the upper right of this page or complete the “Need Help” form on the right.