How the VA calculates benefits for vets with multiple conditions

by Aug 20, 2015

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Veterans can struggle enormously to collect the disability benefits they are eligible to receive. Not only can it be a challenge to navigate the application system, but it can deceivingly difficult to even establish that a condition stems from military service. Further, calculating the compensation that a veteran is eligible to receive can be complicated, particularly if he or she suffers from multiple conditions.

It is not unusual for vets to have several injuries or illnesses. For example, a veteran could have chronic back pain, a knee injury and a mood disorder stemming from a brain injury, all of which developed during or as a result of serving in the military. Each of these conditions could be serious enough on their own to be covered by disability compensation, but having multiple conditions can affect how much a person will receive.

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs determines how disabling each condition is and then uses a chart to establish the “combined rating.” What this means is that the degrees of each disability are not just added up. They are calculated by using a table, which can be seen on the VA website, that assigns ratings for each numerical combination.

For instance, if the conditions we mentioned earlier were determined to be 10, 30 and 50 percent disabling respectively, the VA would use the table to determine that a person’s combined disability rating is 69 percent, which is rounded up to 70 percent. This is lower than the 90 percent rating many people would expect if the percentages were just added together.

What readers should take away from this post is that it can be crucial to secure an accurate disability rating for each condition in order to maximize the benefits available. In order to do this, it will be necessary to present an application with as much information as possible, including service and medical records.

Because the calculation of benefits hinges so much on the information provided by applicants, it can be crucial to have the support and guidance of an attorney if you are currently considering your options for VA disability benefits. An attorney can help you avoid costly mistakes and have confidence that you are taking the appropriate steps to pursue the benefits you may need and deserve.