VA disability ratings range from 0% to 100% in 10% increments. Higher ratings indicate higher levels of impairment and thus correlate to higher monthly compensation.
Significant Rating Percentages
A 0% rating, also referred to as a non-compensable VA rating, acknowledges that your condition is service-connected. However, this rating does not entitle you to cash benefits.
A 10% rating is the minimum rating required for cash compensation. Some conditions, regardless of their severity, cannot be rated higher than 10%. This includes tinnitus and glaucoma.
The 60% and 70% ratings are significant because they introduce the possibility of Total Disability Individual Unemployability (TDIU) benefits. If a veteran has one service-connected disability, they may become eligible for TDIU with a rating of 60% or higher. If they have two or more service-connected disabilities, they may become eligible with a rating of 70% or higher as long as one individual disability has a rating of at least 40%.
A 100% rating means that a person is totally disabled. This rating is fairly rare since it requires impairment that interferes with employment as well as daily tasks like eating, bathing, and dressing without assistance.
How VA Math Affects Your Disability Rating
It is important to note that the VA uses what’s referred to as “whole person” theory or VA math to calculate ratings for veterans with more than one disability. Since a person can never be more than 100% disabled, this means you can’t simply add ratings together to get your total disability rating. Your highest percentage disability is subtracted from the starting 100% that represents your whole body, and then each additional percentage is subtracted in decreasing order.
For example, consider a veteran who has three disabilities rated at 30%, 20%, and 10%. You would subtract 30 from 100 to get 70, subtract 14 (20% of 70) from 70 to get 56, and then subtract 5.6 (10% of 56) from 56 to get 50.4. The veteran would be 50.4% not disabled. Subtract 50.4 from 100 to get a 49.6% disability rating—which is rounded to 50%.
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