VA Service-Connected Disability Compensation Rates

If you were injured or became seriously ill while serving in the military, you may be eligible for certain veterans benefits, including VA disability compensation, which is a benefit paid to certain military veterans based on illnesses or injuries received while serving on active duty. Certain veterans may also be eligible for VA health care benefits.

There are many factors which go into determining compensation eligibility and levels, most of which are outside the scope of this article. Treat this article as a primer for VA disability benefits as we show you the VA’s definition of a service-connected disability, where to apply for benefits, and the current VA disability compensation rate tables, as provided by the VA.

VA Disability Compensation Benefits Pay Rates

Find the updated VA Disability Compensation Benefits Pay Rates

What is a Service Connected Disability?

According to the Department of Veterans Affairs, VA Disability Compensation is:

a benefit paid to a veteran because of injuries or diseases that happened while on active duty, or were made worse by active military service. It is also paid to certain veterans disabled from VA health care. The benefits are tax-free. Source.

If you are considered to have a service-connected disability, then you may be eligible to receive a monthly compensation payment, and under certain circumstances, you may be eligible to receive additional compensation, usually if you have a service-connected rating of 30% or higher and have dependents (spouse, children, and/or parents under your care), if you have missing limbs, or if you have a severely disabled spouse.

Applying for VA Compensation Benefits

Detailed instructions for applying for VA disability benefits are outside the scope of this article, but in general, it is best to supply as much supporting information as possible, including how the injury or illness occurred, any medical treatment you received, current health status, and how your life has been affected by the injury or illness. You will need to fill out VA Form 21-526, Veterans Application for Compensation and/or Pension or apply online using VONAPP. Also be sure to have a copy of your DD Form 214.

Disability Ratings are Made on a Case by Case Basis

The VA rates each disability claim on a case by case basis. The VA first determines whether or not the illness or injury was sustained while the servicemember was in the military, then they assign a rating for each illness or injury. If the VA determines the injury or illness isn’t related to your military service, or didn’t happen while you were in the military, they will deny your claim. If the VA approves your claim, they will assign it a rating between 0% – 100%.

A 0% rating shows there is an illness or injury that is connected to your military service, but it doesn’t warrant compensation at this time. It is still good to get a 0% rating compared to no service-connected link because if the condition worsens at a later date, you can apply to have your disability rating upgraded.

Multiple disability ratings: Multiple disability ratings are a little tricky to calculate, and are beyond the scope of this article. But we’ll give a brief overview. In short, the VA uses a special method for calculating multiple disabilities. Here is a simplified example:

Example: If you have a 30% disability rating, the VA would multiply that against 100%, which is assumed to be good health. This gives you 30%. Subtract that from 100% which leaves you with 70% (consider this your new starting point for your health rating). Then subtract 70% from 100% and you are left with 30%. If that is your only disability, then your final VA Service-Connected Disability Rating is 30%.

If you have multiple ratings, you continue with the process, using your final number each time as your starting point. Continuing with our example, if your next rating is 10%, you would multiply 10% against 70%, which is 7%. You subtract that from 70%, which leaves you with 63%. Subtract 63% from 100% and you get 37%. Your disability rating is 37%, which rounds up to 40%.

It can get complicated quickly, so I have an in-depth article and podcast that explain how the VA calculates combined disability ratings. I highly recommend reading and/or listening to get a good idea how the process works!

VA Disability Ratings Are Not Always Permanent

Many disability ratings are temporary and the VA retains the right to reexamine the disability rating at any time. If they wish to reexamine you, you will receive a Notice of Reexamination letter in the mail which will include a scheduled appointment date. Make sure you attend this appointment or reschedule, as the VA can reduce or terminate your benefits rating if you fail to attend this scheduled appointment. After the VA reexamines your condition(s), they will make a recommendation to increase, decrease, or leave your benefit at its current rating. There are times when your ratings may be protected, based on the type of disability, how long you have held the rating, your age, or other factors. Here is more information about VA Disability Reexaminations and Benefits Reductions.

A Change in Your Family Status Can Change Your VA Disability Payment

Remember to contact the VA whenever you have a change in family status as your rates may change as well.  If you have a 30% disability rating or higher and you are also supporting qualified dependents such as a spouse, child, or parent, you may be eligible to receive a higher VA disability payment. If your disability rating is 20% or lower, changes in your family status should not affect your VA disability payment rates.

The VA will not know when there is a change in your family status, so you will need to inform them immediately when something changes – such as a birth, wedding, a parent moving in with you, divorce, child coming of age, or the death of a qualified dependent. It is always best to inform the VA of a change as soon as possible, however, in some cases you won’t be able to do so until you have more information (such as when a child is born, as you can’t do anything with the VA until your child has received his or her Social Security Number). Keep in mind that the VA will sometimes backdate payments to make up for any shortfalls, or in the case of the loss of an eligible dependent, your payment may decrease. Be sure to contact the VA disability center for more information.

Receive your disability check faster. When you file your disability claim, be sure to give the VA the routing number to your bank so you can enroll in direct deposits. This is faster and more secure – and a requirement as of March 1, 2013. I recommend using a high yield savings account so you can earn more money on any interest that your money earns.

Current VA Disability Compensation Pay Rates

The 2015 VA Disability rates increased by 1.7% on December 1, 2014. If you receive disability payments from the VA, you will see a small raise in your monthly check, starting on January 1, 2015. Increases in VA Service-Connected Disability Rates are tired to the same Cost of Living Adjustments (COLA) the government uses for determining cost of living increases for Social Security recipients, military retirees, and federal civilian retirees. 2014 was the first year the VA has included amounts above a flat dollar amount. In previous years, the amount was rounded down to the nearest dollar. This change won’t make a huge difference now, but if this policy remains in place, it will compound over time.

You can view the current VA Disability rates here, but for your convenience, we have included them in this article as well.

VA Disability Rating: 10% – 20% (No Dependents) 


VA Disability Rating: 30% – 60% Without Children

Dependent Status30%40%50%60%
Veteran Alone$407.75$587.36$836.13$1,059.09
Veteran with Spouse Only$455.75$651.36$917.13$1,156.09
Veteran with Spouse & One Parent$494.75$703.36$982.13$1,234.09
Veteran with Spouse and Two Parents$533.74$755.36$1,047.13$1,312.09
Veteran with One Parent$446.75$639.36$901.13$1,137.09
Veteran with Two Parents$485.75$691.36$966.13$1,215.09
Additional for A/A spouse (see footnote b)$44.00$59.00*$74.00$89.00

VA Disability Rating: 70% – 100% Without Children

Dependent Status70% 80%90%100%
Veteran Alone$1,334.71$1,551.48$1,743.48$2,906.83
Veteran with Spouse Only$1,447.71$1,680.48$1,888.48$3,068.90
Veteran with Spouse & One Parent$1,538.71$1,784.48$2,005.48$3,198.96
Veteran with Spouse and Two Parents$1,629.71$1,888.48$2,122.48$3,329.02
Veteran with One Parent$1,425.71$1,655.48$1,860.48$3,036.89
Veteran with Two Parents$1,516.71$1,759.48$1,977.48$3,166.95
Additional for A/A spouse (see footnote b)$104.00$118.00$133.00$148.64

VA Disability Rating: 30% – 60% With Children

Dependent Status30%40%50%60%
Veteran with Spouse & Child$491.75$699.36 $976.13$1,227.09
Veteran with Child Only$439.75$630.36 $890.13$1,124.09
Veteran with Spouse, One Parent and Child$530.75$751.36 $1,041.13$1,305.09
Veteran with Spouse, Two Parents and Child$569.75$803.36$1,106.13$1,383.09
Veteran with One Parent and Child$478.75$682.36$955.13$1,202.09
Veteran with Two Parents and Child$517.75$734.36$1,020.13$1,280.09
Add for Each Additional Child Under Age 18$24.00$32.00$40.00$48.00
Each Additional Schoolchild Over Age 18 (see footnote a)$78.00$104.00$130.00$156.00
Additional for A/A spouse (see footnote b)$44.00$59.00$74.00$89.00

VA Disability Rating: 70% – 100% With Children

Dependent Status70%80%90%100%
Veteran with Spouse & Child $1,530.71$1,775.48 $1,995.48$3,187.60
Veteran with Child Only$1,409.71$1,637.48$1,840.48$3,015.22
Veteran with Spouse, One Parent and Child$1,621.71$1,879.48$2,112.48$3,317.66
Veteran with Spouse, Two Parents and Child$1,712.71$1,983.48$2,229.48$3,447.72
Veteran with One Parent and Child$1,500.71$1,741.48$1,957.48$3,145.28
Veteran with Two Parents and Child$1,591.71$1,845.48$2,074.48$3,275.34
Add for Each Additional Child Under Age 18$56.00$64.00$72.00$80.52
Each Additional Schoolchild Over Age 18 (see footnote a)$182.00$208.00$234.00$260.13
Additional for A/A spouse (see footnote b)$104.00$118.00$133.00$148.64

If you have specific VA benefits related questions, it is always best to call or visit your regional VA medical center, as they will be able to access your file and answer your specific questions.

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Date published: December 14, 2013. Last updated: January 20, 2015.

Article by

Ryan Guina is the founder and editor of this site. He is a writer, small business owner, and entrepreneur. He served over 6 years on active duty in the USAF and is currently serving in the IL Air National Guard. He also writes about money management, small business, and career topics at Cash Money Life. You can also see his profile on Google.


  1. Robert says

    I retired at 20 years, regular retirement. I just received my VA rating of 80% on Jan 22. Will I receive both my full retirement and full VA benefit? I received one payment on Feb 2nd for $17.48, does that seem right? Thank you.

    • says

      Robert, Thank you for contacting me. You should be eligible for Concurrent Receipt, which would allow you to receive both your pension and the VA disability benefits. You can learn more about how a VA disability rating affects your retirement.

      As for your February payment, I can’t really comment on that, because I don’t have access to pay records. But it’s possible it was for only a partial month, or something else. If you think there is an error, then you should contact DFAS.

    • Michael Klotz says

      I’m a retired U.S. Marine, retired in 1998 with 20 years. In 2005 I was rated at 60% by VA for service connected medical issues. Originally my retirement pay was offset by the amount of my VA disability pay. When the law allowed, I later began receiving retirement and VA disability pay with no offset (crdp). My rating was increased to 80% effective July of 2014. My VA pay increases to reflect the 80%. I haven’t received any back pay from the effective date to when the payment changed. My dfas retirement statement reflect my new va payment, still no offset, due to crdp. How long does VA take to pay the back pay, or who can I contact at the VA?

      • says

        Michael, Thank you for contacting me. Normally, VA disability compensation is automatically back paid to the date the rating increased. I would contact the VA help line and ask to speak to a benefits counselor about your compensation. You could also try going to a VA center in person, or you could try contacting a benefits counselor at a Veterans Service Organization such as the DAV. They may be able to give you a better answer.

        • Anthony Glenn says

          Ryan, I only did 4 years of active service with the Navy. I got out back in 2010 and never kept my medical record because I didn’t think it was important. I was deployed to Iraq with an Army unit and did routine convo missions and some detainee ops. I dislocated my knee while I was out there and had it recorded. I am having more problems now with my knee now that I am out of the service but never claimed it. I guess what I want to know is how can I obtain a copy of my old medical record and can I still put in a disability claim even though I have been out of the military for almost 5 years now?

          • says

            Anthony, Thank you for contacting me. Yes, you can put in a disability claim if you can prove you have a service-connected medical condition. To get a copy of your medical records you will need to contact your personnel HQ (should be BUPERS for Navy). If they no longer have your medical records, they should have been forwarded to the National Archives. You would need to put in a records request. I hope this is helpful, and thanks for your service!

  2. Patrick says

    I retired October 2012 after 22 years of service. After 10 months of processing my claim, I was given a disability rating of 80%. Payments began Sept 2013. I’ve been waiting for back pay since then. It’s now February of 2015. I’ve sent multiple letters requesting information on why my back pay claim hasn’t progressed passed received and have been told each time by mail that there is a back log and expect longer processing times. What, if anything, can I do?
    Our regional VA office is in Columbia, SC.

  3. mark says

    Patrick, you should contact your local state and federal representative for help and contact the President. Tell him though the white house website about your situation and all you want is to know is “when” your going to get your rightful payment. Others may not agree but I got an increase solely on this. Trust me, my VA rep may want to take the credit but I know it was due to my letter, because my examine was ordered by the White house. Try all of these first.

  4. Lili says

    I have a question…I was just recently diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis…I was active duty Air Force from 1978-1988 and had a 23 year break in service…I joined the Army Reserve in 2010 (I have 14 years military service). I am currently serving in the Army Reserve and have 1 year left on my enlistment. I reviewed my AD AF medical records and found issues associated with my MS. The Army Reserve of course is starting a Physical Evaluation Board (PEB) since I have an autoimmune disease. My MS Specialist is now writing a letter to substantiate my claim I had MS in the Air Force. I know MS is minimum 30% and service connected. I submitted my paperwork to the VA last November. My first question is: if the VA service connects my MS to my AD AF time, will they back pay me? My dr says I had MS back then and can prove it through my medical records. Also, since I am going through a Line of Duty (LOD) PEB, will they medically retire me or just discharge me? TIA

    • says

      Lili, I’m sorry to hear about your health condition, and I hope you will be able to manage it through medication and other forms of therapy. Based on my understanding, I believe back pay is only made from the date you initially file a claim. So if you filed a claim in November 2014, the back pay would only go to that date. However, there may be some section of the law that states otherwise. I’m only basing that statement on what I have personally seen.

      Regarding a medical retirement or discharge – that’s a great question, and one I don’t have an answer to. There is a PEB forum with a lot of people who are better able to answer that question. Here is the link:

      Regarding your VA claim: I strongly recommend getting assistance with your claim. There are many organizations that offer free benefits claims assistance, incuding the DAV, VFW, American Legion, and more. I hope this helps, and again, I wish you the best of health going forward.

    • Rox says

      Lili, I have MS also. I am service connected for my MS also. I was in from 1982 to 1987 then reserves til 2003. I can help you with all of this. You need to contact me before you start this journey. here is my email You must educate yourself on how to get service connected for…..

      Yours may be different since you are getting a medical discharge for MS, if you are not getting service connected for MS, you should. Make sure you list all of your secondary conditioning due to MS on things you are filing for, loss of balance, urgency, numbness in feet, speech, shallowing, depression, memory loss, cognitive issues, constipation, back pain, anything you are experiencing you think is MS related, anything.

      Make sure you see your doctors for those secondary conditions and those complaints are in the notes.

      You must be very organized, do all of the leg work, you must read your medical records, take ownership of your claim now, do research for everything on the internet, organize your claim, organize your medical records, ask for help, keep a copy of everything.

  5. Kevin Jones says

    I retired in Aug 2012 and I have 3 dependents, I also have a 40% rating for the VA. I have turned in all the supporting documents for my dependents. 2 are in college, still enrolled in DEERS and the youngest just started high school. I am still not being paid with Dependent pay who should I contact?

    • says

      Kevin, Thank you for contacting me. The VA is notoriously slow for updating dependents status. I’ve seen some situations where people waited over two years to have a dependent added or removed. The best I can say is to contact the VA help line and ask them if they have received the information and ask for a status update. I am not aware of any method for speeding up the process. Best of luck, and thanks for your service!

  6. Nate says

    Hi Ryan, I was just permanently retired from the Army (Dec 2014)at 100%. Here is the twist. I had 6 years active duty stationed at Bragg. I submitted a VA claim upon exiting active duty and then joined the Reserves before my rating came back which was 50%. I then joined the Guard and was about to deploy to Afghan when they would not let me deploy and started a MEB in the National Guard. Prior to starting the MEB I put in for an increase on my issues I was having, since my VA doctor told me too. A rating came back for service connected 100% P&T all directly related to combat operations from a deployment to Iraq in 2006.

    Here is the twist. I went through the IDES program to get medically retired from the Army. I was already 100% P&T from the VA so the Army used their rating to rate me. Hence 100% from the Army. I received a retired certificate from the Guard on 23 Dec then on 24 Dec I received a retirement cert from the Big Army. I only have 10 years in total and was expecting to just get my VA and possibly CRSC since all injuries happened while engaged with the enemy.

    I am now receiving both my full retirement pay and full VA pay. So, I am a chapter 61 retiree with less than 20 years of service and receiving both concurrent pay from DFAS and the VA. I am rated 100% P&T all from combat injures sustained in an engagement. I am worried that all that extra money I am receiving will be taken back. So, I called DFAS 5 times, the VA 5 times and the Army HRC command 2 times. I really couldn’t get a straight answer besides being told I should not be receiving both pay from the VA and DFAS.

    I know a lot of laws regarding concurrent receipt (CRPD)/CRSC have changed recently. Do you think that since I am rated 100% P&T in both the VA and the Army there is some clause where I can collect both with less than 20 years of service.

    The more I read the more I think I may be able to receive both with under 20 years due to the nature of the injuries. I have read DFAS’s website about CRDP and that site says I don’t qualify. (is it not up to date maybe?) But when I go to USC 10 Chapter 61 and read all the updates in the notes I kind of think that I may qualify.

    Have you heard of any changes to CRDP with folks that have less than 20 years that are rated at 100% by the VA and their branch of service?

    Thanks for any input.


  7. Sophia says

    Hello, My question is about the VA offset. I went thru a Med Board and received 70%military retirement and 100%VA. my military pay is not taxed but over $900 is taken out as VA offset. Is this a mistake or do I need to file for CRSC? My military pay states that it is tax free because of my combat related disabilities.


    I thought that I read somewhere that if you have a VA disability rating of less than 100% that age 65 that rating increases to 100%……is there any truth to this? I have a service connected 10% rating right now at age 64…..will that increase to 100% when I turn 65 next year? I already know about the VA pension program for vets over 65 with low income.

    • says

      Hello Charles, no, service-connected disability ratings do not increase to 100% at age 65. The only way they will increase is if you can show that the service-connected condition has worsened. Yo uwould need to apply to have your benefits increased, and the VA will perform an entirely new exam.

  9. Sean says

    Hi Ryan

    Great Site. I am from Canada and I am doing research on veterans’ benefits around the world. Could you please steer me to an official reference which shows that US VA disability compensation is paid for life (unless reevaluated or case of fraud)?

    thank you

  10. Kris says

    Mr. Ryan,

    I was wondering about what you thought about the questions from Mr. Nate. I have heard of another person who was med boarded with 7 years in and she is receiving both her retirement pay and VA pay at the same time with no offset? Is there anything new about this. She is also labeled total and permanent by the VA. Have you heard of this Ryan?

  11. Susan Cannon says

    Hi Ryan,
    Is there any other rating scaling regarding compensation for PTSD? I notice in all of the literature that the ratings go from 30% to 50% to 70% and then to 100%. Is there any PTSD ratings in between, i.e. 40% or 60% or
    80% or 90%? If so, where would I find the criteria to meet these ratings?
    Thank you,

  12. Terrence says

    I have a question. I submitted 3 claims back in 2012 and received disability under 1 claim for PTSD. After 2 years I finally got evaluated for the other 2 claims. 1 was an appeal for asthma and they granted me 10% but my compensation amount didn’t change and I’m not receiving anything for that claim even tho I suffered thru it and it’s been evaluated at 10%. Why isn’t there a change?

    • says

      Terrance, Thank you for contacting me. It really depends on your previous disability rating to know if adding another disability at 10% will affect your overall disability rating. VA Math doesn’t work the same way as simple addition. The formula is discussed on more detail here.

      Without knowing your previous rating, I can’t say whether or not your compensation amount should have changed. But it’s very possible to have another rating added to your claim without it changing your compensation payout.

      There is a silver lining, however. Having the VA recognize the new claim means you are now covered for medical care for this condition going forward. Additionally, if your situation worsens, you may be able to file an appeal to have your condition upgraded to a higher disability level. If approved, it’s possible you might receive additional compensation. Again, it all depends on how the disability ratings work when added using VA math. I hope this is helpful.

    • says

      David, Thank you for contacting me. There really isn’t anything you need to do to begin receiving your compensation. The VA will start depositing it into your account within a month (maybe two moths, max). You should also receive back pay to the date you filed your claim (or your separation date from the military if you filed close to your separation date). In regard to your compensation, you will also want to ensure you have any dependents listed on your claim because the VA provides additional compensation if you have dependents and a disability rating of 30% or higher. Here is more information.

      In regard to other benefits, you want to ensure you are enrolled in the VA health care system if you plan on using VA health care benefits. Be sure to schedule an appointment to go over your benefits, as they vary depending on specific profile and situation (such as when and where you served, when you separated, your specific disability rating(s), and other factors). The VA will be able to help you understand all the benefits you are eligible to receive. Best of luck, and thanks for your service!

      • Curious says

        I just had a quick question, I have a friend who has been in the military for about 10 years now. I was wondering if there was anyway to figure out what, if any, they would get paid if the military decided to start a MEB. They do not want to get out of the military at all but they fear that at some point a recent medical issue may warrant an MEB. My second question is, if seen by a civilian doctor is there anyway the military can get those docs and start an MEB without them knowing? Also, if they did not want out and the military did start an MEB is there anyway to stay in or fight the MEB? They have only seen people who are trying to get out with free money go through the MEB process so they don’t know if it voluntary or involuntary. Thanks

  13. Jim says

    Hi Ryan,
    I was granted a 10% disability rating for an ankle injury I got while in the military. I have since requested a secondary rating on leg,hip, and back issues related to the ankle issue I have had for many years. I had it checked a few years back and go a 0% and now it has been increased. How does the secondary ratings work?

  14. Ash says

    Hi Ryan,

    When I had a disability rating of 40%, my retirement check was taxed at about 60% of what I was receiving. For example, received $100.00′ but only $60.00 was taxable. My disability percentage increased to 60%. Once it reached 60%, is my retirement check now 100% taxable or is only 40% taxable now?

  15. Jarrod says

    I was Involuntarily Medically Separated from the Navy in January and received military separation pay. How do I go about recouping the tax withholdings without waiting until I file taxes next year?

    BTW this is a great site and thank you for all the information you put out. Really is a great thing you are doing.

    • says

      Jarrod, Thank you for contacting me. To be honest, I’m not sure if you can recoup the tax withholding early. DFAS withholds a portion of the payment for taxes for everyone – usually at a rate of 20-25%. I’m just not sure if it can be recouped before you file your taxes. Sorry I don’t have a better answer for you.

    • Phil says

      Jarrod, I’ve had this happen a couple times with pay. You need to contact your Military pay department and they can submit a request to recoup the tax money. If you don’t have access to that call DFAS. Hope this helps…

  16. Roger Kerr says

    I originally filed in 1977 and since then been appealed over the years and just received the decision of service connected on my claim they granted on my lungs question is since it went back to RO for disability rating and effective date how long will it take to get my compensation? I live in Texas.

    • says

      Roger, Thank you for contacting me. The payments are normally made within a month or two of the decision. However, there can be situations where it may take longer. I hope you receive your compensation soon.

  17. Scott says

    Hey Ryan,

    First, this is a very informative site. Here is my question: I left the military back in 1999, but still young and I figured I was healthy, so I never filed a claim for VA disability. Almost 15 plus years later, I am starting to realize that I should have claimed some of my incidents that happened during my military career, as some of them are haunting me today. One thing I did was made copies of my entire medical file which was not much, but have the incidents on file. Would this work to file a VA disability claim?

    Thanks in advance,


    • says

      Scott, Thank you for contacting me. There is no statute of limitations for making a service-connected disability claim. The most important thing is being able to prove a nexus, or link, from the medical condition to your military service. If you have solid documentation, such as your military medical records, and there is a good chance there is a link to your military service, then you have the basis for a valid claim. I recommend speaking with a trained benefits counselor to help you file your claim. Many organizations such as the DAV, VFW, American Legion, etc. offer free benefits claims assistance. You may also wish to get a medical opinion from your current doctor, stating there is a possible link between your military service and your current ailment.

  18. Eric says

    I filed and received a 0% rating on my left ankle, several years ago. It was combined with another rating of 0% for a total of 10%. I have had several exams, x-rays, mri, etc for the past few years few no improvement. The condition of the ankle has worsened and I currently refiled because it was finally, found that I have old extensive damage per the VA doc! He has now set up a surgery for the ankle that was injured years ago. As for disability, what should I expect for an increase? This was well documented just not followed up on with the other VA sites I have visited. Thanks in advance! Keep up the great work!

    • says

      Eric, Thank you for contacting me. To be honest, I can’t tell you what disability rating you can expect to receive. There are some situation when you can apply for a temporary rating for your post-surgery period, due to the decreased ability to use your limb. Then the VA will reevaluate your condition after you have gone through rehab and your surgery has healed. Your rating would be finalized at that point. At this point, there are too many unknowns to hazard a guess. My recommendation would be to contact someone from the DAV or another organization to help you with your benefits claim. They will be able to walk you through the process and help you understand what to expect, and what to file, and when. I hope this helps!

  19. Dave says

    Ryan, your blog is well written and spot on. Thank you! I have an issue that I cannot figure out. I was rated 100% for 4 years. I received a letter from the VA letting me know my rating would be reduced to 80%. In January of 2015, the VA did indeed reduce my rating to 80%, but the payment remained at the 100% rate. The VA letter stated that the money I had been receiving at the 100% rating would continue. Have you ever heard of this? What is the basis for lowering the rating, but continuing the 100% monetary rate?


    • Anonomys says

      The only time I’ve heard of the VA giving you a lower rating, but still paying you at 100% is when you applied for individual unemployability. It’s when you initially got a lower rating, but when you show them that your disability has limited your ability to get a job they pay you at 100%. Your case seems to be backwards.

  20. says

    Hello, my husband had EXTENSIVE dental work while on Active Duty in the Navy, can he file a claim for dental and if so how can I go about getting his dental records for him.

    Thanks In Advance


    I am 64 years old and have been disabled since I was 21 years old. Therefore I do not have the 4o units required for Social Security benefits and Medicare. Is there any way to get these?

    • says

      James, Thank you for contacting me. To be honest, I don’t know much about claiming Social Security or Medicare benefits under these conditions. The best place to contact would be the Social Security Administration. There should be a SS office in most large cities, and in many counties. If there isn’t one close to you, then you could call them and ask about your specific situation. Sorry I don’t have a better answer.

  22. Sherry says spouse receives 100% disability and they are working on adding my daughter, who is over 18 but was declared disabled due to being legally blind before age 18. What do these dependents usually receive or is it the same as above chart? Are there other benefits they can receive such as a VA mortgage and such? I read somewhere I can receive education benefits as well and I’d love to complete my degree.

    • says

      Sherry, Thank you for contacting me. The additional compensation is for the veteran to help support the dependents. The dependents do not receive any cash benefit. The chart shows how much the veteran will receive based on their disability rating and the number of dependents.

      Regarding additional benefits – there may be some available, depending on various circumstances, most of which are on a case by case basis. The best way to get a complete picture of the benefits available to your husband, yourself, or your daughter, is to go through a veterans benefits review meeting where you sit down with a counselor who will review the full circumstances of your husband’s service and available benefits. You can do this by setting up a meeting through the VA, or you may also be able to do this through a veterans service organization such as the DAV, VFW, American Legion, or other similar organizations.

  23. shannon Carr says

    My husband was medically retired at 15 years in the ANG for sleep apnea. His issues started after a deployment, to which numerous others in the same unit all developed OSA. He was denied his VA claim for the OSA, but given 10% for tinnitus.
    Can he appeal that?
    We know for a fact, that others that were medically DQ’d received a rating and they were all together.

    • The_Black_Knight says

      You can appeal the decision.
      Be prepared to provide additional UPDATED evidence for reconsideration.
      If the medical information from service are not in your husband’s file it is unlikely the rating will be changed.
      There was talk of REMOVAL of certain conditions from offered VA disability ratings but sleep apnea is NOT on of them.

    • says

      Shannon, Thank you for contacting me. You can appeal the VA’s decision. When you do so, be prepared to additional updated information as evidence (this can include letters from your husband’s current doctor, on the doctor’s letterhead). Be sure to include the condition, when it first occurred, and possible causes for the condition (if known, or suspected – keep in mind not all doctors will be able to list a cause for every condition. They can, however, list the starting date the symptoms first occurred).

      He should also include any related military medical records that show the condition happened while he was on active duty. Otherwise it will be difficult to prove the condition happened while he was in the military, making it difficult to prove the claim. Best of luck!

  24. The_Black_Knight says

    Thoughts to consider if a service member is awaiting confirmation of disability, or is attempting to receive VA “retro” back pay, and reach this website.
    This information is relevant whether you are retired or no.

    1) Updates to your bank account and dependents CAN be done online in the ebenefits VA website with a premium account. However, it can be confusing, because multiple government systems do not talk to each other well. For example dependents updates are buried, 3 levels deep in ebenefits and are NOT related to DEERS which the information was pull from in the first place and still may require revalidation of data.
    2) Online updates normally are completed, 100X faster than paper requests, because basically, you did the work for the VA in providing the necessary information and documentation
    3) Stay current on the ongoing “rates” debate with our government. Less than 1% of all Americans now have ever served in the military, and most politicians have no idea what the life of instability and survival can be.
    4) Stay current on the disability levels of compensation and rates DIRECT from the VA administration. Cross check your RPC (Retired Pay Center) and LES equivalent to make sure it is correct. Mistakes and WILL happen.
    5) Retro Back Pay can be PAINFUL. The initial audit from DFAS after confirmation of disability rating and compensation is provided by the VA can take anywhere from 30 days to 3 years (normally 30-60 days). It depends on the complexity of the case and the time of execution. The process goes like this:
    a) VA determines compensation rating and actual assignment of the rating date (back dating the claim accordingly)
    b) RPC is notified of information from VA and a determinations is made if the service member is to be provided monthly compensation or offset based on percentage of disability
    c) The backdate date BEFORE the next month of started payments (normally within 30 days of issuance) is AUDITED by DFAS for constitution of retro pay.
    d) The results are sent BACK to VA for notification of what is OWED to the disabled veteran.
    e) The audit itself takes between 30-90 days.
    f) The VA (not DFAS) is RESPONSIBLE for payment, and normally hits your accounts within 30 days of response, but problems do occur.
    g) If you have been audited and confirmed for retro pay and have heard NOTHING within 30 days of completion by DFAS, contact the VA immediately in order to find out what is going on.

    To summarize I will provide my example:
    1) TERA retirement, 19 years (equivalency of regular retirement)
    2) Awarded initial disability rate at 6 months retirement (submitted the day after retirement to VA for expedite)
    3) Payments started 30 days after disability, and I continued to received retirement pay as I am qualified for BOTH
    4) Errors made on disability claim by VA, and resubmitted for appeal and reopening.
    5) New disability rating updated 2+ years LATER.
    6) New data sent to DFAS
    7) Updated payments awarded the next month
    8) Audit process began
    9) 45 days later audit complete
    10) Information was sent back to VA
    11) VA issued final retro back pay roughly 30 days later

    Total time of the nonsense since retirement? 3 1/2 years.
    Total benefits received? Six figure income with tax reduction benefits.
    Take the pain, keep fighting.
    Once this get rolling, DO NOT make changes to your bank information until everything is set up and running, otherwise you will have more problems from DFAS.

  25. Mr R says


    I retired from the USAF in June 2013, I just rec’d my disability rating of 40% in Feb 2015. I think its kind of dumb that I have to add my dependents even though they are on my DEERS and I’m a DoD civilian now. But my question is will I get back payment to June 2013? I friend told that I had to be rated 50% or higher to get back pay of disability payments. Great blog, thanks!

    • says

      Mr R, Thank you for contacting me. You should be eligible for backdated disability compensation to the date you filed your original claim. Be sure to add your dependents to your claim. You should receive back pay for that as well, provided they were your qualified dependents at that time. Regarding the 50% number – I have never heard that referenced in regard to back pay. Having a 50% disability rating could be substantial when it comes to receiving disability compensation and retirement pay, due to Concurrent Receipt laws. But it shouldn’t have anything to do with receiving back pay.

  26. John Regal says

    I retired from the Marine Corps in 1981 with 20 years active duty. I received a hearing aid from the VA but did not apply for disability. I am diagnosed with prostate cancer and will receive radical surgery (removal of prostate) soon. Is this worth applying for disability?
    John Regal

    • says

      John, You should apply for disability benefits if you believe your physical ailment was caused by your military service. This isn’t something I can provide specific advice for, as I’m not trained on it, and I don’t know the specifics of your case. However, you can get free benefits claims assistance through many Veterans Service Organizations, such as the DAV, VFW, American Legion, and more. They have trained benefits claims officers who can help you go through your case and help you file a claim if needed.

      And this is certainly something to look into if you served in Vietnam, especially if you may have been exposed to Agent Orange. Here is some more information about AO: VA Agent Orange information page, VVA Agent Orange Disability Claims Guide.

      I hope this is helpful, John. I wish you a speedy recovery, and say thank you for your service!

  27. William says

    I was injured on active orders back in July of 2010. Just this past month my commander sent in my LOD. (Company went through many command changes, and paper work of course got lost.) Anyways, It’s now waiting to be approved. If approved and since it’s been back dated to 07/2010, would I receive back pay from all those years, once I turn it into the VA?

    • says

      Great question, William. It will depend on when you filed your disability compensation claim and possibly some other factors. The most important thing is to document that the injury occurred in the Line of Duty. This will establish the link to your military service. If you filed a disability claim after the injury occurred and your claim either hasn’t been processed yet, or it was denied, then you can file an appeal based on having the LOD statement connecting the injury to your military service. In some cases, this will help you receive back pay based on your initial filing date.

      If you haven’t yet filed your claim, then you wouldn’t receive any back pay. This would be the same as an active duty member getting injured in their 3rd year of service and filing a claim when they retire after 20 years of service. They wouldn’t get 17 years of back pay for their injury – the compensation would begin starting from the time they applied for the disability compensation (if the claim is approved). Best of luck with your claim.

  28. Jacob Penzias says

    I was medically retired from the army last month through an MEB. My proposed combined rating was 90% for a multitude of conditions both combat and non-combat related. I checked the ebenefits website today because I hadn’t received my final rating in the mail yet. The website told me I was 80% disabled. So did someone screw the math up before or did they screw up now and where do I go from here? It would seem like a pretty straight forward equation, don’t see how they can come up with two different totals while still using all the same disabilities and individual ratings. What gives?

    • says

      Jacob, Thank you for contacting me. From what I understand, the military and the VA have different disability rating systems, so it’s not uncommon for the ratings to differ slightly. I don’t have any insight into your particular situation, so I’d recommend contacting a Veterans Service Organization to see if they have an officer who can help you understand your rating and your benefits. I wish you the best, and thank you for your service!

  29. Michelle says

    Hello, My husband just received his 70% disability award letter and actually received his retro pay PRIOR to the letter even getting to our home. The issue is, the dependents (myself plus our 4 kids) were not included anywhere. So, we went online and added them 2 days ago through the eBenefits site. It shows that they are active dependents. My question is; does he get retro pay for the dependent portion dating back to application date now and how long does that take? And also, how long will it take for those dependents to kick in on his monthly disability payment?

    • says

      Michelle, Thank you for contacting me. He should receive back pay for the dependents. He should add them online, because that process is much faster than adding them via a paper form. It could only take a couple weeks to get processed, or it could take months. Unfortunately, I don’t have a good answer for you because it varies for each veteran. I hope your situation is resolved quickly!

  30. ronald martin says

    Hello, I was discharged from the Air Force in 1992 under that force reduction program. I personally think it was a scam all the way, but that’s just my opinion. I received a 10 percent disability rating. Can you tell me who to contact about how much I have left to repay before its fully repaid ? I couldn’t even get the taxes that I paid to the IRS back because at the time that I inquired about it, the IRS told me the statute of limitations had ran out, so I was just out $ 8000.00. What a shame our goverment treats us vets like this !

    • Dalton says

      What are you talking about when you say “Can you tell me who to contact about how much I have left to repay before its fully repaid ?” Sounds more like you are venting and I understand the process is frustrating, but you need to be more clear when asking questions so we know how to best answer.

  31. Rocio says

    Hello, I have a question about backpay. I had an appeal for 10% major depressive d filed on 2011 and I opened a new claim for ptsd and they denied it but granted me 100% for the depression, can I get the effective date changed to the original appeal date? Thank you (my lawyers hate me btw)

    • says

      Rocio, Thank you for contacting me. This is not something I am familiar with. I recommend speaking with a trained benefits counselor at a Veterans Service Organization such as the DAV, VFW, American Legion, etc.

  32. Jon C says

    Sir, great information. ..very informative. I was just recently medically retired after 20+ years of active duty. I was rated 100% disabled by the VA. I was shocked when I received my first retirement check to discover there was nearly 25% of my pay taken out for a VA waiver. I was never told by anyone prior to retiring that my wages would be garnished because I was medically retired. When I called DFAS. ..they said there is a status difference according to Congress between someone who retires out normally after 20 and someone who is medically retired after 20. I do get the CRDP. Do you know what bill that Congress is sitting on that will fix this as per what the DFAS rep stated? How can we correct this for all veterans regardless of medical or traditional retirement?

  33. Mr I says

    Hello. I recently got out of the AF (2014) under VSP (volunteer separation pay). When I got out I was inform and issue a letter saying that we don’t have to pay back the money that we receive, my self and few people of my unit, now here is the problem once I got my desability rating, the VA is collecting the money that I was given and is happen to me and few others, but for another individual s from my old unit they getting their money with out any problems, and they are not have to pay any money back. We try to,talk to DFAS and the VA and they are not aware who we can talk to fix this problem.. Any help or advice who can help me and few other people in the same situation thanks

  34. Walter says

    After 31 years of fighting the VA, (all the way up to the BVA), my c and p exam found me to be service-connected with four (4) different heart conditions. This case had been remanded back to the RO by the BVA. I have three questions. Since the examiner has made a decision, what is the procedure now to case completion? Will I be rated separately for each condition? Next how long before I see my money since this case was to be expedited due to homelessness and financial hardship?

    • says

      Walter, Your situation is one I don’t have any experience with, so I’m afraid I can’t give you a good answer. My recommendation would be to contact a Veterans Service Organization to speak with one of their benefits counselors. Many of them offer free veterans benefits claims assistance. Some examples include the DAV, VFW, American Legion, IAVA, and many others. I hope your claim is resolved quickly and you get back on your feet again! Thank you for your service.

  35. Andy says

    Hello Ryan,

    Thanks you for your support and great information provided!

    I retired from the AF in July 2013 and was not able to submit my disability claim until December 2014 due to follow up appointments to get my DBQs all completed. The VA received my claim in Dec 2014. I checked e-Benefits last week and I received a decision of 40% disability. I have not received any other notification by mail or e-mail. Is this normal?

    Also, my effective date shows up as December 2013 as opposed to when the claim was received (Dec 2014). Does this seem right? If this is correct then I will receive an extra year of retro pay.

    Thanks again!


  36. Jake says

    Hey Ryan,
    I am separating from the Navy in about a year after 8 years of AD. I have a few important medical issues I think warrant a claim. I probably shouldn’t be asking questions until after I go to TAPS course but I’m curious to know what you think of the Benifits Delivery at Discharge program: Is it effective in getting a more timely claims response?
    I was looking at the VA’s medical conditions list and it’s so comprehensive that I’m not sure if my conditions meet some all the criteria. Where can I find a trained VA advisory? Is this the same person that should assist me with my claims?
    Many of these questions will probably be answered during TAPS course but I hear so many mixed messages and hearsay that I am confused before I even attempt to understand this process. Any feedback would be great. Thanks for running this site. It’s very concise and helpful.

    • says

      Jake, I haven’t personally used the BDD program, but I have spoken with someone who went through it. I think it’s a great idea. The disability benefits claims process can get very backlogged, depending on where you apply. In some cases, it can take well over a year or two to complete a claim (again this is variable depending on individual factors and the specific location where the claim is processed). In my opinion, you can only help yourself by getting your claim processed more quickly.

      As far as the medical conditions, claim any medical issue the popped up or was made worse during your military service. Just make sure you have documentation of the condition in your medical records. You may get a service-connected disability rating out of it, or you may not. But at least it will be documented so that you can come back and appeal later on if the condition worsens. It is also possible to get a 0% rating, which occurs when the VA acknowledges there is a medical condition caused by your military service, but it doesn’t warrant compensation at this time. This is important to have in the event your condition worsens – then you can appeal for a higher rating. You can also get health care coverage for covered conditions.

      As far as a rep to help you fill out your application, I recommend visiting the DAV, which has reps at most VA clinics and hospitals. The DAV has trained counselors who will help you go over your claim to make sure you didn’t miss anything. There are other organizations that offer similar services. I hope this is helpful. Best of luck, and thanks for your service!

  37. WAYNE says

    Does 30% get any VRE benefits? I notice 10 % and 20% — can you be automatically entitled for different %?

    • says

      Hi Wayne, The Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment program is open to veterans with a 10% disability rating or higher. There is a period of eligibility, listed on the above link, and other details worth noting. My recommendation is to contact the VA so you can get a better understanding of these benefits, including how to apply, and how you can use them. Best of luck, and thanks for your service!

  38. Denell Kallemeyn says

    My spouse and I both served in the Navy. In 1992 he received 10% for Hypothyroidism as a result of radiation therapy from on set of Hodgekins. He had a full laparotomy which the entire spleen was removed. In 2014 he went to the VA for a review of his medical conditions as he was having throat problems, where his dr. said it was from radiation. They gave him 10% more for his painful scare and denied for the spleen as the VA said he still had a spleen and nothing for heart burn that he has had since his operation. He ordered his medical records and the operation notes said several time that he had a complete spleenectomy which is automatic 20% thru the VA. The VA medical board in 1992 said they reviewed his entire medical record, we have the letter and they noted other things that he did not get benefits for and in 2014 they again said the reviewed his entire medical record. Witch they did not as we clearly ordered his records and it said that they removed the entire spleen. He has appealed the claim which is still less than the year. He currently get 20% service connected. My question is how far can we go back for compensation? Only the year?

    • says

      Denell, Thank you for contacting me. I believe back pay is given to the original claim is an appeal is approved or if the VA makes a mistake with a diagnosis or fails to include information from the medical records. But I’m not 100% certain.

      I would try contacting a claims officer at a Veterans Service Organization such as the DAV. They will be able to walk you through the entire claim and help with the appeals process. They may also find other issues with the claim or appeals process. It’s always a good idea to get a trained set of eyes to review the claim. I hope this helps. Best of luck, and thanks for your service!

  39. Tom says

    Hi Ryan. I was recently ( and finally ) diagnosed by the VA as having Bipolar Syndrome . I fought with the VA for over 40 years before they gave me this diagnosis. I was discharged from the Marine Corp in 1972 on some program to get me out of their hair. I was sent to Brentwood VA hospital in California where I was discharged from active duty. My life has not been the greatest since 1972. I feel my discharge was the Corps way of getting me out as I was repeatedly told there was no medical discharge for mental illness . Do I have a chance to have my service records to reflect medical discharge honorably. Any help would be appreciated. I have been told I should have been medically retired in 1972 but we all know the Corp wasn’t giving medical retirement for mental illness. Thanks again.

    • says

      Tom, Thank you for contacting me. It may be possible, but it will take some work on your part. You would need to file for a correction military records through the Board of Correction of Naval Records (BCNR).

      I don’t have any experience here, but the page has some good information. You may find it helpful to contact a legal professional or someone with experience to help you with this process if you feel it isn’t something you can do on your own. Best of luck, and thanks for your service!

  40. Christina says

    My Husband draws 30% disability and has since 1994, he fell off of a smoke stack. Over time he has developed issues with his neck and back, which we believe was caused by the fall. We have also recently been reading about gulf war syndrome and he actually has a few of those symptoms. We really don’t know what steps to take and cant locate any vso’s locally where we are. My fear though is somehow they would find a way to lower his amount rather than raise, but after all of these years of receiving, surely not. Do people have much luck claiming for a raise in benefits after years of seeing what their injuries really have done to their bodies? Also, he has a 12yr old daughter that we just found out wasn’t listed on DEERS, if we update that and get her registered, will he receive back pay for her? He also didn’t know that he would get more for his son while he was in college, is that something he could file for now?

    • says

      Hello Christina,

      Thank you for contacting me. There are a lot of questions in here, so I’ll do my best to cover what I can. First, yes, it is possible to have the VA reassess a claim that has progressively worsened through the years. And you can certainly file a claim for medical conditions that may be connected to service, such as the Gulf War Syndrome. The best thing to do is gather medical records showing the medical problems and try to show a clear link to military service or the injury that occurred while in the military.

      Regarding decreasing a disability rating – it is possible, however, there are certain time limits involved. After 10 years, the VA shouldn’t be able to decrease the compensation amount unless they can show there was fraud involved. Here is more info.

      Regarding qualified dependents – you need to get them into the VA system ASAP. The VA will often pay back pay, but usually only to the date you tried to add them to the system. It isn’t likely that adding the 12 year old would result in back pay for the entire 12 years he has received disability compensation unless he had proof he tried to register her at birth and the VA made a clerical error. Otherwise, he would likely only receive back pay to the day he adds her to his claim. So if it takes 6 months to add her, then he should receive back pay for the 6 months he waited to have her added to the claim. The same process would apply for his son – he should add his son to his claim if his son still qualifies based on his age. Otherwise it is likely too late. I hope this helps.

  41. Elizabeth says

    Hi! My husband who is 42, USMC dishonorable discharge in 1995. Was sadly just diagnosed with ALS. I’m in the process of completing his disability forms. I read that they make the ALS claims a priority…. Do you know how long it generally takes for a claim? And if ALS is considered 100% disability, or they have to be evaluated every few months, etc.. As they decline do they up the disability amount (which is sad, since this disease is terminal…)

    I was wondering what other people’s experience in this was.
    Thanks so much for your time, I have learned a lot from reading your prior messages, very informative.

    • says

      Hello Elizabeth, Thank you for contacting me. I’m sorry to hear about your husband’s health issues. I will keep him and your family in my prayers. Unfortunately, I don’t have any experience with ALS claims and I can’t give you any kind of information regarding processing times, whether those cases get pushed to the front of the line, or anything else specific. You may find it helpful to speak with a veterans benefits counselor at a service organization such as the DAV, VFW, etc. Many organizations provide free benefits claims assistance.

  42. Jerrell says


    I was recently retired via Med Boards from the Marine Corps on June 29th and awarded 60% by the VA. When does the VA actually pay you? I was told it could take months. Is this the case?



  43. Kathleen carraway says

    We just received 90 percent in 2010 but the appeals board just granted him TDIU. Will that change his va pay

  44. christopher jolly says

    I’m a SFC in the of Army with 17 years active now. I’m looking at my choices for the future, as running a platoon or company again might not be in the best case for me or them. I’ve got almost four years deployed between Iraq and Afghanistan, and I’m wondering if the injuries (wear and tear) on my back and knees are going to be tied to the deployments or service stateside. I carried around 100-120 lbs almost everyday of my first three deployments and on my fourth deployment I fell out of a helicopter during a night operation (not far 7-12 ft with a 30-50 foot roll down a mountain). I’ve been exposed to burning Bradleys, Abrahams, and partnering services armoured vehicles. I’ve burned poo with kerosine and lived as an advisor to both Afghans and Iraqis (in their quarters) and not a lot of documentation besides the SRP sites check in and out, there was never good opportunities to do “sick call” . I’m a medic by trade but lived out more then 3/4 of my career so far with the light infantry. I guess what I’m doing here is searching for advice in and a “how to guide” if I decide it’s time to cut sling. Any lessons learned would be great, as I’ve read a lot of the reading material here but still confused on somethings.
    I just know I’m sore, hurting, and wake up every morning stiff from my spinal T6 and down.

    • says

      Christopher, Thank you for contacting me. The best thing I can tell you to do is get everything noted in your medical records now, along with a history of when the conditions first occurred and how they affect you now. Getting these conditions into your medical records will be essential when it comes to creating a nexus, or link, to your military service. Whether the condition occurred Stateside or overseas doesn’t matter in regard to being eligible for a service-connected disability rating. If the condition occurred or was made worse while you were in the military, it may qualify. Where it occurred may matter when it comes to claiming other benefits, such as Combat Related Special Compensation (CRSC) Benefits. But that only matters once you retire.

      My standing advice is to get every condition noted in your medical file, and keep copies of everything. Touch base with the DAV or another Veterans Service Agency (VFW, American Legion, IAVA, etc.) before you separate for further guidance and assistance with your claim.

      I hope this points you in the right direction. Best of luck, and thanks for your service!

  45. marco cooper says

    I left the military with 17 years and received a 10% disability for my back with absolutely No Compensation. I never received compensation since 1993. I have never heard of anyone being awarded a 10% disability but with NO Compensation. Can the military do that or dis someone screw up. Why be entitled and awarded a disability but not receive and monetary funds? Does not make sense. Can you please try to help me with this question

    Marco Cooper
    Retired US Air Force Reserves

    • says

      Marco, I haven’t seen this situation before. The only situation I can think of that may apply here is if you received separation pay when you left active duty. If you received separation pay, the VA is required by law to recoup your disability payments until they have recouped an amount equal to your separation pay. The same situation applies to those who receive separation pay and later retire from the Guard or Reserves (though DFAS or the VA will only recoup the money one time). If this is the case, then you will begin receiving payments once the money has been recouped by the VA.

      I’m not sure what the reason might be if you did not receive separation pay when you left the military. Your best course of action is to contact the VA for an answer. Hopefully it is just a clerical mistake and you will receive payment for your compensation rating.

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