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Using The VA Disability Calculator
We have provided a VA Disability Calculator to help veterans understand how their disability ratings are established. Among the more frequently heard objections we’ve got from veterans is ‘How on earth was the VA able to arrive at the figure for the combined rating they did with all the current ratings I’ve got?’ Have you ever questioned what formula the VA devised to figure the combined rating you received? It may have occurred to you that 2 + 2 does not equal 4 to the VA when they do the math.
It’s substantially beneficial that you know the way your rating is established in order to ensure that your benefits are calculated appropriately. The disparity can actually cost hundreds, or even thousands of dollars a year in compensation payments and other benefits.
It is because the VA takes the position that it will not add whole numbers together to calculate your rating. Rather, the VA takes percentages of percentages when considering service-connected compensation claims.
What Is The Formula?
Firstly, the VA treats each illness or injury individually when considering your numerical disability rating. Ratings are represented by a percentage in increments of 10% (10%, 20%, 30%… 100%). Normal healthy veterans with no service-connected injury or illness have an ‘efficiency’ rating of 100%. Then according to the severity of disibility it goes down from there. It may help to follow along with the rating table or the VA Disability Calculator as we go.
Say you had a rating of 40% for a single disability, then your efficiency rating would be 100%-40% or 60%. If you have only one disability then the math is quite simple. If you have another disability rating on top of that then it starts to get complicated.
Every injury or illness is rated on its own, without taking into consideration other illnesses or injuries, except if they play a role in additional injuries. It’s also necessary to consider if the injuries are bilateral, which means they affect limbs on both sides of the body.
A Veteran has the following service-connected disability ratings:
30% rating for a back injury,
20% rating for a right shoulder injury,
10% rating for his right knee
The VA uses a descending efficiency scale for its calculations starting with the highest rating and then on down. Starting with 30% your efficiency rating would be 100%-30% or 70%. Then they would factor in the next lower rating of 20%. But they don’t start at 100% because they will have given you a new baseline, the 70% efficiency rating. From here on the rating are not subtracted but calculated as percentages first then subtracted from the baseline. Thus, they take 70% multiply it by 20% and get 14% then subtract that from 70% and the new efficiency rating baseline is 56%. The resultant disability rating is 44% wich would be rounded to the nearest 10%, in this case, 40%.
Next to factor in is a 10% disability. Your new baseline is 60% efficiency rating, multiplied by 10% which is 6%. Add that to the 40% and the new figure is now 46% which rounds up to 50%.
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Know How Bilateral Disabilities Affect Your Rating
There is yet another situation we will need to take into account – the bilateral factor. The bilateral factor could have a big effect on your rating, so don’t ignore it.
When the veteran has disabilities on both limbs (for example, both arms, or both legs, or of paired skeletal muscles) The Bilateral Factor can be figured in. With the bilateral factor, the VA combines two or more ratings, adds a bilateral factor to the outcome, and considers them as one rating.
Using the example above let’s add in a 10% rating for his right knee as well.
This is quoted from the Veterans Administration
When a partial disability results from disease or injury of both arms, or of both legs, or of paired skeletal muscles, the ratings for the disabilities of the right and left sides will be combined as usual, and 10 percent of this value will be added (i.e., not combined) before proceeding with further combinations, or converting to degree of disability.
So the combined rating
A 10% disability combined with another 10% disability = 19%,
Then you add 10% of 19, or 1.9%.
19% + 1.9% = 20.9%, which rounds up to 21%.
So now the rating stack will be altered.
30% rating for a back injury,
21% (10% rating for his left knee, and 10% rating for his right knee, with bilateral factor applied),
20% rating for a right shoulder injury
The Overall Effect Of The Formula
As your disability percentage increases, it takes more disabilities with higher ratings to move the needle. This is the impact of the math the VA uses to determine disability ratings.
In addition, Veterans with spouses, dependent children, and dependent parents are provided a kicker from the VA on top of the calculated pay.
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The VA Disability Calculator can help you understand what your ratings may end up being.
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How To Get Help
Do service-related injuries or illnesses prevent you from holding a job? If so, you should be rated at 100%.
As knowledgeable and recognized attorneys with the Department of Veteran Affairs, The Cameron Firm, PC is extremely experienced in VA specifications and the associated procedures. We will fight to get the benefits you deserve.
We represent veterans with all types of appeals, including reviews by the Board of Veteran Appeals and the U.S. Court of Appeals for Veterans.
We will provide representation for all sorts of service-connected injuries or illnesses that lead to appeals, including, but not limited to: Agent Orange, TBI, physical disabilities, and many other others.
Additionally, we help Veterans discharged from active duty with a less than honorable discharge becomes eligible to receive VA benefits. A few ways to become eligible for benefits include a discharge upgrade, a correction to military records or a Character of Service Determination.
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