Former military members are entitled to various benefits from the Department of Veterans Affairs in the U.S. These benefits include comprehensive medical care, educational training, and income supplements and extend to their dependents.
A disability program is also available to help veterans who’ve suffered military-related disability get compensation.
To ensure every veteran gets the deserved compensation, the VA uses a disability rating. Once the VA verifies that your disability is service-related, they’ll assign a rating to your disability. However, there is no standard burn pit exposure VA rating, and it’ll depend on your symptoms and disability. Here is more on how the VA calculates veteran disability ratings.
VA Disability Rating Defined
The VA determines your ideal compensation percentage by assigning a disability rating based on your health condition’s severity. The number assigned is directly proportional to your working ability with the disability.
The VA assigns accurate disability ratings using relevant medical records to establish your disability’s severity. This percentage is then used to calculate monthly compensation for your service-related injury. A higher percentage means you get more compensation, but your condition heavily interferes with daily functions.
How the VA Determines Veteran Disability Ratings
Millions of veterans benefit from the VA disability program. To ensure the program remains seamless, they developed a Schedule of Rating Disabilities (VASRD), which helps assign ratings. It features a comprehensive list of conditions divided by the body part they affect.
For example, stomach ulcers fall under the Digestive System. Under each category, the different medical conditions have specific diagnostic codes. These codes help identify specific symptoms necessary to assign the different disability ratings.
Your medical evidence is among the VA’s primary elements in assigning disability ratings. They’ll also use your VA claim exam results and information from external sources like government databases. It’s only after verifying your disability is service-related that the VA will:
- Identify body system category
- Locate your diagnosis
- Select diagnostic codes matching your symptoms
The VA can only connect a disability to a single diagnostic code. In situations where your condition falls under two or more categories, they’ll have to settle on the code with the highest rating to guarantee maximum benefits. It’d also help to have a lawyer evaluate the department’s decision to ensure your rating is correct.
In rare instances, the VASRD might not feature your disability. The VA will identify a condition most similar to yours and evaluate it with the diagnostic codes under the condition.
What Happens If I Have Non-Service-Connected Disabilities?
Only service-related disabilities are considered by the VA. They evaluate each disability independently and assign ratings that help determine how much compensation to expect. However, having service-related and non-service-related disabilities might compromise your chances of getting compensation.
The only solution to this complication is applying the “benefit of the doubt” rule. It means the VA must assume your disability is service-connected since they can’t confirm the symptoms’ source. You’ll get a higher rating, which results in increased monthly compensation.
VA Disability Rating for Special Situations
Not all disabilities are featured in the VA Schedule of Rating Disabilities. Conditions like traumatic brain and muscle injuries require a more complex rating process to determine fair compensation. It’s also more complicated to rate predated military injuries.
The VA evaluates the condition’s impact on the veteran for traumatic brain injury instead of the original injury’s severity. Mental illnesses are rated 0%, 10%, 30%, 50%, 70%, or 100%; It depends on your symptoms and limitations. The VA rates muscle injuries based on each impaired muscle function.
If applying for a VA disability claim, you’ll benefit significantly from understanding how the VA assigns disability ratings. Finding an attorney for veterans will help evaluate the VA’s decision and represent you in court.