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The VA Disability Rating System: A Beginner’s Guide

The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) disability rating system can be very complex and confusing to understand, but as a disabled veteran, you need to know how it works to receive the benefits you deserve. This guide will help you navigate the VA disability rating system so that you can receive the benefits you need and deserve.

What is the VA disability rating system?

A disability rating is a measure of the severity of an injury and it is used to determine eligibility for benefits. The VA uses a point system to rank disabilities from 0 points (least severe) to 100 points (most severe). The more points you have, the more likely it will be that your claim will be approved. If you are not sure where to start, here are some quick tips on how to navigate this complicated system.

How is the VA disability rating system determined?

A veteran is awarded a disability rating, which can range from 0% to 100%. Veterans are awarded a percentage rating for each service-connected disability and the ratings are combined to determine the final disability rating. The Veteran must be able to show medical evidence of at least one in-service injury or disease that has been diagnosed by a physician as resulting in at least one of the following conditions: 

  1. Loss or substantial impairment of two extremities 
  2. Loss or substantial impairment of two senses, including eyesight 
  3. Complete loss of speech 
  4. Permanent loss of bowel or bladder function, meaning more than six months without control over bowel movements and/or bladder function

What are the different ratings?

There are three different ratings for the VA disability rating system. The first is 0%, which indicates that the veteran has no disability and will not receive any benefits. The next rating is 10%, meaning the veteran has a mild disability. The last rating is 100%, which means that the veteran has a severe disability and may need help in certain aspects of their life. What Makes up a Severity Rating? As mentioned above, severity ratings vary depending on the severity of your disability. When determining your degree of disability, five factors will be evaluated including mobility (including distance traveled), self-care (including feeding oneself), social functioning, mental functioning, and employment (how far you can work). For each category, you’ll be given a score from zero to 100%. Once all five categories have been rated separately, they’ll be added together to get your total score.

How do I appeal my rating?

If you disagree with your rating, you can file an appeal within 120 days of the date on which you were notified of the rating decision. The VA will notify you in writing about the determination of your appeal.