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There is no regular math used by the VA when calculating combined disability ratings. The VA uses percentages to calculate total disability ratings rather than adding up disability ratings for different conditions.
VA Disability Calculator
VA Disability Rating determines the types of benefits that VA Disability Benefits include, like tax-free monetary compensation. When the next disability percentage is added, the VA uses a percentage of the veteran's remaining non-disabled percentage. The VA would, for example, apply 30% first to a veteran with three disabling conditions rated at 30%, 20%, and 20%.
It would not be enough to add 20 to 30 and get 50 for the next percentage. The 20% would be applied to the veteran's remaining 70% of not-disability. In total, 44% would be created by adding 14% to the current 30% rating. A total disability of 40% would be awarded to the veteran if these were the only two disabilities present.
Following this, the third disability rating of 20% would be applied to the remaining 56% (100%-44%). The individual rating would then be 11%. In this case, the total disability rating would be 55%, adding to the 44% mentioned. By rounding up this number, 60% would be the combined disability rating. A disability rating of 70% would have been reached by "normal" math instead.
We understand that these ratings that determine the monthly disability claims compensation amount can sometimes seem a bit confusing, but rest assured, you are not alone. That's why the VA has provided a VA disability calculator 2023 to help you calculate your disability rating using VA math. It is important to note that this tool should only be used to understand how disability ratings are combined.
How To Determine Your Monthly Compensation Rate
Because of the VA's method of calculation, the Service-Connected Disability Rating System has become complex.
VA disability ratings determine service-connected disability benefits and compensation. Making sure you receive the right benefits requires knowing how to calculate your rating. A difference in compensation payments and other benefits of hundreds to thousands of dollars can have a significant impact.
What Do VA Disability Ratings Represent?
Understanding your disability rating is the first step. The VA rates each injury or illness numerically (ex: 10%, 40%, etc.), correlating to the severity of the disability faced by the disabled veteran.
You might want to consider the impact disabilities have on your daily activities and work performance. To determine your overall efficiency, the VA considers your disability’s effects. Take the example of a regular 40-year-old retiree without any major injuries or illnesses associated with their service. The efficiency of his work would be 100%.
You might be eligible for benefits if your knee suffered an injury while deployed after 20 years of service.
In the case of an injury treated through arthroscopic surgery, you still suffer from some pain and stiffness in the knee. The VA may grant you a 10% rating for service-connected disabilities. Your efficiency, called 90% by the VA, determines your rating.
How The VA Rates Multiple Disabilities
The Veteran with the knee injury outlined above illustrates the most basic disability rating situation. Having more disability ratings makes things more interesting. Based on our previous profile, let's look at an example.
The 40-year-old retiree will have to satisfy a few conditions. We'll assume our retiree has the following ratings for his service-connected disability:
- In the example above, his right knee received a 10% rating
- An injury to the back is given a 30% rating
- An injury to the right shoulder is given a 20% rating
- A 10% rating is applied to hearing loss
Calculating Combined Disability Ratings Using VA Math
Calculations are based on a descending efficiency scale used by the VA. They will assign a numerical rating to each injury or illness. VA ratings are determined by starting with the highest rating and working their way down. As a starting point, you will always have a rating of 100. With every new disability, you have a new baseline to start from.
Stacking and racking disabilities are the first step. Based on the example above, we have ratings of 30%, 20%, and 10%. The 30% is added first, then the 20%, then the 10%, and then the final 10%. Again, we're not subtracting here; we're doing VA math.
The efficiency rate of 100 is multiplied by the disability rating, then subtracted from the original rating. The answer would be 30 if you multiplied 30% by 100. The result is 70 when you subtract 100 from it. You now have a rating of 70 for efficiency and 30 for disability.
The next calculation will be based on this point. When you are done with the rating, you repeat the process. Taking 20% and multiplying it by 70 gives you 14. By subtracting 14 from 70, you are left with 56. As a result, your efficiency rating has decreased to 56, and your disability rating has increased to 44. For every additional disability rating, you need to repeat the process.
VA Combined Ratings Table
You may find this combined rating table helpful if you’re trying to figure out the math manually.
Take 30% disability as a starting point and scroll down the left column of the combined rating table until you find the number 30. Go to the right column and look for 20. The 30 and 20 combine to make 44. Assuming these are your only two ratings, your service-connected disability rating would be 44%, which rounds down to 40%. However, we aren't done yet. Two more 10% ratings need to be added.
The left column should be the starting point again. Using the left column, find the 44. You will then need to find the intersection point between the 44 and the 10. There is a 50% change in your rating. You can repeat this once more, starting with 50 and ending with 10. As a result, your combined rating is now 55%, rounded to 60%.
One should list disabilities in descending order. To find the intersection point between the highest and next highest disability rating, start with the highest disability rating and move left. These two disabilities are combined in this rating. You can round up or down to the nearest number divisible by ten if these are the only two disabilities you have (all numbers 4.9 and below are rounded down; all numbers five and higher are rounded up). You should repeat this process until all disability ratings have been calculated.
Online Veterans Disability Calculator
It's great to know how to use the combined rating table so you can verify your disability rating for yourself. But it's also nice to use a VA Disability calculator that considers all these factors. Several websites have useful online veteran disability calculators you can use to calculate your rating automatically.
Applying for cash benefits from VA can seem overwhelming for some Veterans. If you want disability compensation benefits, check out our article on how to find the right disability lawyer. You can visit DisabilityHelp.org today for more information!