How Does the VA Disability Pay Schedule Work?

by Nov 30, 2018Disability Benefits

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The VA disability pay schedule is used to determine the amount of your monthly compensation when you are approved for benefits. When the VA grants you disability benefits, it assigns you an impairment rating from 0% to 100%, in increments of 10%. Your rating on this schedule corresponds to a monthly payment amount. This is what you can expect to receive unless your impairment rating changes.

If you receive a lower impairment rating than you think you deserve, you have the right to appeal it. Also, if the VA notifies you that it is lowering your impairment rating (and thus your monthly compensation), you can challenge this decision. A VA disability lawyer can help.

For a free consultation, call the Disability Advantage Group, at 865-566-0800.

What Is the VA Disability Pay Schedule for 2018?

As of 2018, the VA disability pay schedule looks like this:

  • 0% rating: $0 per month (but eligible for free VA healthcare and other perks)
  • 10% rating: $140.05 per month    
  • 20% rating: $276.84 per month    
  • 30% rating: $428.83 per month    
  • 40% rating: $617.73 per month    
  • 50% rating: $879.36 per month    
  • 60% rating: $1,113.86 per month    
  • 70% rating: $1,403.71 per month    
  • 80% rating: $1,631.69 per month    
  • 90% rating: $1,833.62 per month    
  • 100% rating: $3,057.13 per month

A couple of important notes: One, a 100% impairment rating indicates full disability. That is why you receive such a jump in compensation at this rating from what you get for 90%. Fully disabled means you cannot work, earn a living, or carry out daily living activities on your own. The bar is high for proving total disability, so it is essential to work with your lawyer to ensure your evidence is compelling.

Two, if you are applying with more than one disability, you can receive what is called a combined rating. However, the VA does not simply add the impairment ratings for each condition to come up with the total. The formula is much more complex. Your lawyer can let you know what to expect based on your specific situation.

How Does the VA Determine My Impairment Rating?

The VA determines your impairment rating by conducting a thorough review of your medical evidence. The stronger this evidence, and the clearer picture it paints of the full extent of your condition, the more likely you are to receive a high rating and greater compensation.

Working with a VA disability lawyer can lead to a stronger claim and a higher impairment rating. A lawyer understands what the VA is looking for. They can tailor your claim to meet the criteria, which leads to a higher impairment rating.

Is My Impairment Rating Permanent?

Except in rare circumstances, your VA impairment rating is not permanent. The VA reserves the right to reevaluate your condition and change your rating at any time. It must notify you if it plans to do so. This gives you and your lawyer the right to challenge any proposed reduction of your rating. Even if the VA has already reduced your rating, you can file a Notice of Disagreement (NOD) and appeal the reduction. A VA disability lawyer can help.

If the VA is convinced you are fully disabled and that your condition is unlikely ever to improve, it may give you a 100% rating and mark it as permanent and total. With this designation, your 100% rating is secure for life. The only circumstance under which the VA can subsequently reduce this rating is if it finds evidence that you obtained it fraudulently.

What If I Disagree With My VA Impairment Rating?

If you disagree with your VA impairment rating and believe you qualify for higher compensation, you can file an appeal. The process is the same one you would follow if the VA denied your claim and you wanted to appeal the denial. The appeals process includes the following steps:

  • Filing a Notice of Disagreement (NOD)
  • VA sends you a Statement of the Case
  • You return the VA Form 9
  • VA sends you a new Statement of the Case (if you submit additional evidence during the process)
  • Your case goes to the Board
  • You have a hearing in front of the Board
  • The Board makes a decision

As you can see, the appeals process is very involved, and the wait times are long. It can take 18 months or longer to receive a decision, and up to seven years if you request a review from a Veterans Law Judge.

A new law passed in 2017, however, has resulted in an overhaul of the VA appeals process, and early reports from veterans are that wait times are shorter and veterans have more control over their appeals. If you want to appeal the VA’s rating decision, a lawyer can help, and they can go over your rights under the new law.

Call 865-566-0800 for a Free VA Disability Case Evaluation With the Disability Advantage Group

The attorneys at the Disability Advantage Group, can help you with any VA disability issue you are facing. If you have questions about your compensation, believe your rating should be higher, or have received notice that the VA is lowering your rating, we can help. Call us at 865-566-0800 for a free case evaluation.