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What Does A VA 100% Compensation Rating Mean?

Last updated: November 18, 2023

Veterans are the foundation of this nation. They have safeguarded our constitutional rights and made the aspirations of our ancestors a reality. Our veterans have risked and sacrificed their lives throughout history to defend our nation. As such, it is only right to honor and care for them in return for their honorable acts of service.  

There are multiple approaches to that, but there's no better way of saying “thank you” to our veterans than providing them with the financial aid and social services they deserve. In this way, they would be able to enjoy the rest of their lives after having to go through all that hardship. 

If you wish to know more about the benefits and services provided to our veterans, continue reading below. 

What Are VA And Social Security Programs?

Both Social Security and the VA pay disability benefits. However, the programs, processes, and criteria for obtaining benefits widely vary.

A VA compensation rating of 100% Permanent and Total does not guarantee entitlement to Social Security disability benefits. To receive Social Security benefits, you must meet the Social Security definition of “disability”. To be labeled as disabled:

  • You must be unable to do substantial work because of your medical condition(s); and
  • Your medical condition(s) should have lasted, or expected to last, at least one year; or
  • Your medical condition(s) are fatal and would result in your death

It is important to note that receiving VA coverage would not affect your Social Security benefits. For a quick, side-by-side comparison of each program, please refer to this Fact Sheet.

What Are VA Disability Ratings?

A VA disability rating is a percentage that is assigned to a service-connected disability based on its severity. This percentage also represents how much your condition or disability decreases your overall health and ability to function. Disability ratings are intended to compensate veterans for the general impairment in earning capacity as a result of their service-related conditions or disabilities. 

The Veterans Administration (VA) assigns diagnostic codes and disability ratings for service-connected conditions using the VA Schedule for Rating Disabilities (VASRD). Each rating benchmark describes a particular condition's symptoms and available treatments. The VA assigns disability ratings in the range of 0% to 100%. Generally, the disability rating as well as the benefits provided increase proportionally with the severity of the impairment. 

Conditions covered by such benefits generally include:

  • Physical disabilities including hearing loss, chronic back pain, asthma and cancers caused by contact with toxic chemicals.
  • Mental disabilities including anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), depression and traumatic brain injury (TBI).

Find a complete list of covered conditions here.

Who Assigns VA Disability Ratings? 

Rating Officers at the Regional Office level, such as Decision Review or Higher-Level Review Officers, or the Board of Veterans' Appeals, assign the VA disability ratings. The type of rating official administering a disability evaluation will vary depending on the level at which your case is (i.e., the Regional Office or the Board). 

The VA Schedule for Rating Disabilities  (VASRD) is used by adjudicators to assign a rating to each service-connected disability. According to that schedule, each disability or condition is assessed in increments of 10% and given a unique diagnostic code.

Disabilities Without Diagnostic Codes

There are several conditions that a veteran may experience, and not all of them are covered by the VASRD. If your condition is service-connected but is not listed on the rating schedule, VA will rate it with the use of analogy. In other words, VA will look for a condition that causes symptoms and levels of impairment that are comparable, and then it will rate your disability according to the criteria for that listed condition.

Symptoms Not Accounted For In The Rating Schedule

If you experience symptoms that aren't necessarily covered by the rating schedule, it means that the VA does not normally consider the problems caused by your condition as being part of that disability. Nonetheless, you are still entitled to a separate rating for those symptoms. In this instance, you are entitled to a separate rating under a different diagnostic code.

How VA Disability Ratings Are Assigned?

The Veterans Administration (VA) designates a disability rating based on the severity of your disability. After which, they utilize the disability rating to determine the corresponding compensation rate and calculate the amount of cash aid you are entitled to receive each month. The VA also uses the disability rating to find out whether you are also eligible for other benefits, such as VA health care.

What Does VA Use To Decide My Disability Rating?

VA bases it on multiple elements, like: 

  • Evidence you provide (e.g. doctor’s report or medical test results);
  • Results of your VA claim exam (also known as a compensation and pension, or C&P exam), if prescribed to take the exam; and
  • Further information provided by other sources (e.g. federal agencies)

What If I Have More Than One Disability?

VA recognizes that you could have more than one service-connected disability. As such, your combined disability rating is calculated using a process known as the "whole person theory." This is done to ensure that your overall VA disability rating does not exceed 100% since it’s a basic fact that a person can only be 100% physically capable.

If you want to find out more about how VA calculates your combined disability rating, you may visit this article

Am I Eligible For VA Disability Compensation?

Veterans who have physical or mental impairment due to their service that makes performing daily activities challenging or nearly impossible may be qualified for VA disability compensation. 

Eligibility to file a VA disability claim is dependent on meeting one of the following criterion as set by the VA:

  • Became sick or injured while serving in the military, or
  • Had an illness or injury before enlisting that was worsened by service, or
  • Had a service-connected disability that didn't appear until after separating from the military

What Are 100% Ratings And How Can You Qualify?

The maximum percentage that can be assigned for service-connected compensation purposes is a 100 percent disability rating, also known as a total disability rating. This rating is only given to veterans who have severe, service-connected illnesses that prevent them from working and, for the most part, from taking care of themselves. 

Additionally, 100% ratings result in the largest amount of disability benefits. If a veteran's disabilities are particularly severe, they may be eligible for additional compensation.

Basic Monthly Rates For Veterans With 100% Disability Rating 

Look in the left column for the dependant status that most accurately reflects your situation. Your basic monthly rate is where your dependent status and disability rating coincide. 

Dependent Status100% disability rating (in U.S. $)
Veteran alone (no dependents)3,332.06
With spouse (no parents or children)3,517.84
With spouse and 1 parent (no children)3,666.94
With spouse and 2 parents (no children)3,816.04
With 1 parent (no spouse or children)3,481.16
With 2 parents (no spouse or children)3,630.26

Note: VA is required by law to match the percentage of cost-of-living adjustments made to Social Security benefits. Such alteration helps in ensuring that your benefits' purchasing power keeps pace with inflation. 

Basic Monthly Rates For Veterans With 100% Disability Rating (With Dependents, Including Children)

Identify the dependant status that best describes your situation in the left column. Your basic monthly rate is where your dependent status and disability rating meets.

Dependent Status100% disability rating (in U.S. $)
Veteran with child only (no spouse or parents)3,456.30
With 1 child and spouse (no parents)3,653.89
With 1 child, spouse and 1 parent3,802.99
With 1 child, spouse and 2 parents3,952.09
With 1 child and 1 parent3,605.40
With 1 child and 2 parents (no spouse)3,754.50

Note: VA is required by law to match the percentage of cost-of-living adjustments made to Social Security benefits. Such alteration helps in ensuring that your benefits' purchasing power keeps pace with inflation. 

Added Amounts For 100% Disability Rating

You may also qualify for additional VA disability compensation depending on the number of children you have and whether your spouse is getting Aid and Attendance benefits. 

Dependent Status100% disability rating (in U.S. $)
Spouse receiving Aid and Attendance170.38
Each additional child under age 1892.31
Each additional child over age 18 in a qualifying school program298.18

If you need to know how to file a claim for disability compensation, check out this article at Disability Help today!

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Victor Traylor
An expert to the field of Social Justice, Victor formed Disability Help to connect ideas and expertise from the US with rising global cultural leadership, building networks, fostering collaboration, long-term results, mutual benefit, and more extensive international perception.
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