If you are a veteran who suffers from a service-connected disability, you may be eligible for VA disability benefits.
The amount of compensation you receive depends on your disability rating, which is a percentage that reflects the severity of your condition and its impact on your ability to work and perform daily activities.
But how do you calculate your VA disability rating? The process can be confusing and complicated, especially if you have multiple disabilities or dependents.
In this article, I will explain how the VA determines your disability rating and how you can estimate your monthly payment amount using the latest rates for 2021.
VA disability rating
The VA uses the Schedule for Rating Disabilities (VASRD) to evaluate your service-connected condition and assign a disability rating.
The VASRD is a set of criteria that describes different levels of impairment for various body systems and organs.
Each condition has a diagnostic code and a corresponding rating range, usually from 0% to 100%, in 10% increments.
READ MORE: VA disability percentages for conditions
To determine your disability rating, the VA will review your:
- medical records
- service records
- any other evidence you submit with your claim
They will also schedule a VA claim exam (also known as a C&P exam) to assess the current state of your condition.
Based on the results of the exam and the VASRD criteria, the VA will assign a disability rating that reflects how much your condition affects your ability to function.
If you have more than one service-connected disability, the VA will use a combined rating formula to calculate your overall disability rating.
This formula is not a simple addition of your individual ratings, but rather a percentage of a percentage. For example, if you have two disabilities rated at 50% each, your combined rating is not 100%, but 75%. This is because the VA assumes that each disability affects a different part of your body and that you still have some healthy function left.
VA combined rating calculator: How it is done
- Start with your highest disability rating and add it to 100%. This is your combined value.
- Take your next highest disability rating and multiply it by the remaining percentage of your combined value. Round up or down to the nearest whole number. This is your new combined value.
- Repeat this process for each additional disability rating until you have used all of them.
- Round the final combined value to the nearest 10%. This is your combined disability rating.
You can use this online calculator to estimate your combined rating based on your individual ratings.
How to Estimate Your Monthly Payment Amount
Once you know your combined disability rating, you can use the compensation rate tables to find out how much money you will receive each month.
The VA updates these tables every year based on the cost-of-living adjustment (COLA). For 2021, the COLA increase is 1.3%.
How much does the VA pay for a spouse?
The amount of compensation you receive depends on your disability rating and your dependent status.
If you have a spouse, children, or parents who depend on you for financial support, you may be eligible for additional payments. You may also qualify for special monthly compensation (SMC) if you have certain severe disabilities or loss of limbs or organs.
To estimate your monthly payment amount, follow these steps:
- Find the table that matches your dependent status. For example, if you have a spouse and no children, use Table 1A.
- Look for your disability rating in the top row of the table.
- Find the corresponding amount in the same column as your rating. This is your basic monthly rate.
- If you have any dependents who are under 18, over 18 and in school, or disabled before age 18, add the appropriate amount from Table 2 to your basic monthly rate.
- If you have any parents who depend on you for financial support, add the appropriate amount from Table 3 to your basic monthly rate.
- If you qualify for SMC, add the appropriate amount from Table 4 or Table 5 to your basic monthly rate.
- If your spouse receives aid and attendance benefits, add $119.67 to your basic monthly rate.
For example, if you have a 70% disability rating, a spouse who receives aid and attendance benefits, and one parent who depends on you, your estimated monthly payment amount would be:
$1,547.17 (basic monthly rate) + $119.67 (spouse aid and attendance) + $48.11 (one dependent parent) = $1,714.95
Calculating your VA disability rating and monthly payment amount can be challenging, but it is important to understand how the VA evaluates your service-connected condition and compensates you for it.
By following the steps I have outlined in this article, you can get an idea of how much money you may receive each month based on the latest rates for 2021.
However, keep in mind that these are only estimates and that the actual amount you receive may vary depending on your individual circumstances and the evidence you provide to the VA.
If you need help with your VA disability claim, you may want to consult with a VA-accredited representative who can assist you with the process and advocate for your rights. Also feel free to visit our website for more informative content and let me be your personal guide. Thank you for visiting our website.