Use our VA disability calculator to determine your combined disability rating and annual or monthly compensation. The amount of compensation veterans are entitled to depends on the “combined” rating and the combined rating may be different from the sum of the individual ratings.
A rating for multiple disabilities is called a “combined” rating and a major misconception is that combined simply means add the conditions together (e.g. 20% + 40% = 60%). They are combined using “VA Math” where every additional disability rating does not necessarily correspond to additional compensation or that 20% + 20% = 40%. If you only have one VA condition then your combined rating is the same as that single condition.
2021 VA Disability Calculator
Only select leg or arm if your disability is on an extremity. Select percentage only, if the disability is NOT on an extremity.
|Combined Disability Pay||$0.00||$0.00|
|Dependent Children Under 18||$0.00||$0.00|
|Dependent Children Between 18-24||$0.00||$0.00|
How VA Calculates Compensation Rates
When you apply for compensation, the VA has a review process to help determine the basic amount of disability pay you may be entitled to. The VA assigns a percentage rating in ten percent increments to each medical claim. For example, if you have a knee injury, the VA will determine the severity of that injury (assuming it is declared service-connected).
Your condition may render you 10% disabled all the way up to 100% disabled. The percentage of disability you are assigned corresponds to a payout amount based on the percentage.
Some veterans may be entitled to more disability pay if certain conditions apply:
- The veteran has severe disabilities
- The veteran has lost one or more limbs
- The veteran has a spouse, children, or dependent parents
- The veteran has a seriously disabled spouse
Many veterans have more than one medical issue, disability, or disease. Each issue is rated separately, and you may be awarded a combined VA disability rating taking into account each percentage for each disability.
If you have a 50% disability rating for one condition and a 60% rating for a different it condition does not mean you are entitled to a 110% VA disability combined rating. In fact, by law veterans cannot earn more than a 100% disability rating.
When you prepare to retire or separate from military service, starting your VA claims process is among the things many must do as part of the standard outprocessing experience. Whether you initiate your claim while you are still on duty or wait until after you’ve had your final out appointment to start a claim, there are many issues surrounding VA disability claims and how the pay for those claims is calculated.
What You Need To Know About VA Combined Disability Ratings
In cases where the VA must rate a veteran for more than one medical issue, the VA uses a combined ratings table to determine the final percentage.
The VA points out that its disability system is not “additive”, which the VA official site explains means “…that if a Veteran has one disability rated 60% and a second disability 20%, the combined rating is not 80%. This is because subsequent disability ratings are applied to an already disabled Veteran, so the 20% disability is applied to a Veteran who is already 60% disabled.”
The VA Combined Ratings Table is a tool used by the VA to make the combined rating determination. The table is lengthy and requires each disability to be listed in order of severity (with the greatest disability at the top of the list) and the VA rater follows a procedure using the ratings matched with the table to arrive at the accurate combined disability percentage. The VA official site offers an example of how this calculation is made:
- A veteran is rated with a 50% disability and is also rated with a different medical condition at 30%
- According to VA calculations, “the combined value will be found to be 65 percent, BUT
- The 65 percent must be converted to 70 percent to represent the final degree of disability”
- In a different example on the VA official site, a veteran rated with two disabilities at 40% and 20% requires a calculation to arrive at the combined value of 52%
- The 52% must be converted to the nearest degree divisible by 10, which is 50%.
Does this sound confusing? The Combined Ratings Table chart is available at the VA official site so you can list your percentages (or anticipated percentages) of VA disability ratings and follow the chart accordingly.
The formula may involve too much complexity or guesswork for some applicants, which is why some turn to online VA Disability Calculators to help them figure out what may be coming to them in the form of VA disability payments without having to sort through the VA charts and procedures. For some, it’s better to use an online VA Disability Calculator for the sake of accuracy and clarity.
Who Is Entitled To VA Compensation For Medical Issues?
Veterans who apply for VA disability compensation must have medical conditions that are “the result of an injury or disease that was incurred or aggravated while on active duty or active duty for training; or from injury, heart attack, or stroke that occurred during inactive duty training.”
VA guidelines state that such disabilities may apply to medical conditions such as Lou Gherig’s Disease, mental health issues including Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, and more. All medical claims submitted to the VA will be reviewed for determining the nature and severity of the condition as well as whether the condition is deemed by the VA to be service connected.
How To Apply
- Discharge or separation papers such as DD214 or Guard/Reserve equivalent
- Medical evidence including military medical records, civilian treatment records, etc.
- Vital records such as marriage and dependent birth certificates
You can also apply via regular mail by filling out VA Form 21-526EZ, Application for Disability Compensation and Related Compensation Benefits. Call VA at 1-800-827-1000 to have the form sent to you.
Annual Cost-Of-Living Adjustments
VA does a regular review of its benefit payments with an eye on making Cost Of Living Adjustments (COLA) to the rates when warranted. These adjustments are intended to help the payments keep up with inflation and other economic factors. These COLA changes operate at the same percentage as for Social Security benefits.
The World Of VA Compensation
There are several different types of VA compensation. For the purposes of this article we are focusing on just one of those: VA disability pay. But among the various types you may qualify for, VA pays benefits in the following areas:
- Disability Compensation
- Dependency and Indemnity Compensation for surviving spouses or dependents
- Special Monthly Compensation
- Adaptive housing grants
It’s important to know that VA disability pay requires the use of disability calculations established by the Department of Veterans Affairs. The other types of compensation in the list above require the assignment of a VA disability rating. Most VA compensation paid to veterans that is associated with a disability requires the VA rating.
In other words, the disability calculation must be made first to qualify the veteran for any associated benefits she might be entitled to as a result of being assigned a VA rating for a disability.
The Department of Veterans Affairs official site describes disability pay as a “tax free monetary benefit paid to Veterans with disabilities that are the result of a disease or injury incurred or aggravated during active military service.”
VA compensation is also available for “post-service disabilities that are considered related or secondary to disabilities occurring in service and for disabilities presumed to be related to circumstances of military service” even in cases where such conditions only arise after leaving uniformed service. All VA claims for such compensation are reviewed on a case-by-case basis.
Joe Wallace is a 13-year veteran of the United States Air Force and a former reporter for Air Force Television News
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