How Does the Veterans Administration Determine Disability Ratings?


Quick Answer

The Veterans Administration rates disabilities on a scale of 0 to 100, increasing in 10 percent increments based on medical evidence a veteran submits with his claim. A physician at a Veterans Affairs facility or a private physician using a disability benefits questionnaire is able to provide evidence.

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Full Answer

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs rates single disabilities on a percentage basis and combines ratings of veterans with multiple disabilities using a combined ratings table. The VA arranges the disabilities in order starting with the most severe disability. It assesses the two most serious disabilities with a percentage, rounds the percentage off to the nearest 10 and then uses the table to add the next disability to the combined rating. The VA uses the total percentage of the combined disabilities to calculate benefits. Physicians have access to more than 70 detailed disability benefits questionnaires to help in determining disability ratings.

The VA also assesses disability requests according to claim types. It only considers claims a veteran makes based on pre-service disabilities that become worse during service, known as aggravation, if the disability rating increases by at least 10 percent. A service member makes in-service disability claims based on diseases or injuries he sustains during active service. Post-service disabilities are those that a service member incurs while in active service that do not show up until later. Additionally, a veteran may temporarily receive a high disability rating due to a circumstance such as surgery based on a service-connected injury.

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