Impairment Rating: Legal Definition

An impairment rating is a number signifying how disabling your medical condition is. Some disability benefit programs use impairment ratings to determine your eligibility for benefits and how much compensation you may receive.

A lower impairment rating corresponds with a lower compensation amount, while a higher impairment rating nets you more money.

Social Security disability benefits do not rely on impairment ratings. Your medical condition must meet certain criteria to qualify and you must meet other program requirements to get Social Security Disability Insurance or Supplemental Security Income.

But veterans’ disability and workers’ compensation benefits use impairment ratings.

Veterans Administration (VA) assigns impairment ratings on a scale of 0 to 100 percent, with each 10 percent increment corresponding to a specific monthly compensation amount. It calls this rating your “disability rating.” Workers’ compensation gives you an impairment rating based on the full-body value represented by the body part you injured.

Veterans Disability Impairment Ratings

When you apply for VA disability, your condition is rated on a scale of 0 to 100 percent. Assuming you receive approval for benefits, you will receive a rating within this range, in increments of 10 percent, and this number will determine how much compensation you receive each month.

With a rating of 0 percent, you will not receive any compensation, but you will be eligible for certain other benefits from the VA, such as health care. If you receive a rating of 10 percent or higher, you qualify for monthly benefits; the amounts change from year to year based on inflation.

Workers’ Compensation Impairment Ratings

Workers’ compensation programs assign impairment ratings to employees who file claims for on-the-job injuries. Like VA disability ratings, workers’ compensation impairment ratings signify the level of disability the applicant has suffered.

Workers’ compensation defines an “impairment” as a deviation from a person’s normal level of functioning. If you hurt your back and can no longer perform heavy lifting movements, your impairment rating seeks to quantify the difference between the work you were capable of before and what you are able to do now.

Get a Free Case Evaluation With a Disability Attorney

The disability lawyers at the Disability Advantage Group, can help you apply for and receive disability benefits. To get a free case evaluation, call us at 865-566-0800.