A 100% VA disability rating is not easy to receive. Getting a 100% rating requires that you prove to VA that you meet specific criteria spelled out in the disability handbook listing for your injury or illness. These criteria often require you to present medical evidence showing specific lab values or diagnostic criteria. If you fall short on even one of the requirements, you may not receive a 100% rating.
If your injury or illness does not qualify you for a 100% rating, there is another way to receive benefits at the 100% level. It is called Total Disability Based on Individual Unemployability, and it lets you receive 100% disability if you can prove your condition renders you incapable of working.
What Is a VA Disability Rating
A VA disability rating, or impairment rating, is a value assigned by VA when it approves you for a grant of benefits. The rating scale runs from 0 to 100% in increments of 10%. To determine your rating, VA compares your medical evidence to the rating criteria for your condition in the VA handbook. Higher ratings require greater evidence of your functional limitations. To receive a 100% rating, you must be able to prove total disability.
How to Prove You Are 100% Disabled
Each condition that qualifies for VA disability has its own criteria to receive a 100% rating. For you to get rated at 100%, your medical evidence must make it clear to VA that you meet the criteria for your injury or illness.
While the exact requirements vary from condition to condition, VA generally gives 100% impairment ratings to veterans who present compelling evidence showing that their condition renders them incapable of working, earning a living, or carrying out certain activities of daily life (e.g., eating, bathing, transportation).
Examples of medical evidence used to prove total disability include lab test results, physicians’ statements, diagnoses, X-ray or MRI results, and medical expert witness statements.
What if You Do Not Qualify for a 100% Impairment Rating
Receiving a 100% VA disability rating is one of the two ways you can qualify for the maximum disability award. The other is to apply for it based on TDIU. If you get approved for TDIU, you can have a lower-than-100% impairment rating but still receive benefits at the 100% level based on your inability to earn a living.
You still must meet certain rating requirements to receive TDIU, but they are much lower. If you have a single qualifying disability, it must be rated at 60% or higher to receive TDIU. If you have two or more qualifying disabilities, at least one of them must rate at 40% or higher, and they must have a combined rating of 70% or higher.
Note that a combined rating of two or more disabilities is not merely the total of their ratings. VA’s formula to combine ratings for multiple disabilities is complex and esoteric. You should speak with your lawyer if you plan to apply based on more than one condition.
In rare cases, you can receive TDIU without meeting the rating requirements described above. If you have a unique case or extenuating circumstances, VA might grant you extra-schedular TDIU.
Extra-schedular TDIU is not easy to receive. VA reserves it for situations so extraordinary that the rating scale is unable to capture the extent of an applicant’s disability.
How Much Money Can I Receive for a 100% Disability Rating
With a 100% disability rating, you are eligible for the maximum level of monthly compensation available to disabled veterans. The amount of the award varies from year to year based on inflation and changes in the cost of living.
As of 2018, a veteran with a 100% disability rating receives $3,057.13 per month in base compensation. If you qualify for benefits at the 100% level, whether based on TDIU or your impairment rating, and you have dependents living in your household, such as a spouse, children, or elderly parents, you can receive extra compensation on top of your base award.
For instance, a 100%-rated veteran with a spouse and a child receives $3,352.41 per month.
Call 865-566-0800 Today for a Free Case Evaluation With Disability Advantage Group
Disability Advantage Group is a VA disability law firm dedicated to fighting for the rights of disabled vets. We want to help you receive the benefits you deserve for your service and sacrifice.
Our team offers a free consultation and case evaluation, and our attorneys get paid only after you recover benefits. To speak with a member of our staff, call us at 865-566-0800.