If you have a service-connected disability, you may be eligible for compensation payments from the Department of Veterans Affairs. These payments help you meet your basic needs and allow you to focus on restoring your health. To maximize your VA disability benefits, you must understand how the VA determines your rating. This is a complex process that involves medical and other evidence, as well as a detailed understanding of the regulations.
Determine Your Combined Disability Rating
Whether you have one or multiple service-connected disabilities, the rating the VA assigns to your injuries and illnesses determines how much disability compensation you will receive. Understanding how the VA calculates ratings is important to prevent discrepancies in benefits payments. The VA uses a specific process to determine your combined disability rating. It combines your disability ratings by using a table that lists your different ailments in order of severity, starting with the most severe disability first. It then calculates your disability rating by taking the percentage for each condition and adding them together. Let’s say you have a knee problem from your time in the military and heart disease from chronic hypertension. The VA will consider these conditions secondary disabilities to your original knee problem. They will add these to your primary disability and use the table to calculate your combined rating percentage. Using a calculator can help you determine this rating. For instance, PTSDLawyers.com’s disability calculator offers a convenient and user-friendly tool for veterans to estimate their potential disability benefits accurately. By using this resource, veterans can better understand the compensation they may be eligible for, empowering them to make informed decisions about their disability claims.
Determine Your Monthly Compensation
As a veteran, you must maximize the benefits you receive from the VA. If your disability rating is too low from the start or your medical condition has worsened over time, increasing it as quickly as possible is important.
The first step in increasing your VA disability rating is obtaining the medical evidence necessary to support your claim. This can include records from private doctors and your treatment at the VA medical center. It’s also essential to seek treatment regularly and provide documentation of all your symptoms. Another great way to increase your VA disability ratings is filing a claim for total disability based on individual unemployability (TDIU). This option allows the VA to award you a 100% rating if your service-connected disabilities prevent you from gaining and keeping gainful employment. To qualify for TDIU, complete a new C&P exam and submit medical evidence to support your claim.
Determine Your Maximum Compensation
Getting a higher disability rating translates to more monthly compensation. It also entitles you to additional benefits unavailable to those with lower ratings, including TDIU and accrued benefits (DEA). You must seek treatment and build medical evidence for your condition to get a higher rating. This includes medical records from the military, private doctors, and VA medical centers. It’s also good to schedule your medical exam to obtain an independent medical opinion. Another way to increase your rating is submitting claims for secondary conditions related to your primary need. For example, a back injury may lead to neck problems. Similarly, Agent Orange exposure can cause respiratory problems. These are known as presumptive conditions.
Determine Your Maximum Benefits
For many veterans who rely on disability compensation to support themselves and their families, the VA’s duty to maximize benefits is a critical first principle. It is important to understand that the VA has several duties when reviewing your claim; the most fundamental of these principles is that the VA must give you a rating for all disabilities you proved were incurred in or aggravated by military service. Moreover, the VA must provide you with an effective date for your claim. Another key principle is that the VA must give you a high combined rating for service-connected disabilities. This can be difficult because the VA uses fuzzy math when combining multiple disabilities for rating purposes. By obtaining a medical opinion from an independent physician, you can show how your service-connected conditions interact for ratings. Often, the VA can increase your combined rating simply by demonstrating that one disability has caused or worsened another.