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If I asked you the answer to 30 + 20, you would quickly tell me 50. And you would be right in just about every instance. But for veterans with service-connected disability ratings, the math doesn’t always work out quite so easily. In fact, 30 + 20 might only equal 44, which rounds down to 40. Or it might equal 48.4, which rounds up to 50. Confused yet? Welcome to the world of VA Math!

The VA Service-Connected Disability rating system is complex. There are many reasons for this, and that’s a topic best left for another day, and another website. But there is one aspect I would like to address today: the somewhat confusing math used to determine the final service-connected disability rating awarded to veterans. This is the rating used to **determine compensation payments** and access to certain other benefits. It’s enormously important you understand how your rating is determined so you can make sure your benefits are calculated properly. The difference can literally be worth hundreds, or even thousands of dollars a year in compensation payments and other benefits.

Let’s dive in.

## What Do Disability Ratings Represent?

The first thing to understand is what your disability rating represents. In short, the VA takes each individual injury or illness into consideration and gives it a numerical disability rating. Each rating is represented by a percentage divisible by 10 (ex: 10%, 20%, 30%, 40%, etc.). These disabilities are racked and stacked, then the VA does “VA Math” to determine your overall disability rate. We’ll get to the math later in this article.

A good way to look at this is to consider how the disabilities affect your ability to perform work and daily activities. To do this, the VA takes into account your overall efficiency after the disability or disabilities are considered. Let’s say you are a normal 40 year-old retiree with no major service-connected injuries or illnesses. Your efficiency would be rated at 100%. Now let’s assume you just retired from the military after 20 years of service and had some service-connected disabilities.

For example, let’s say you tweaked your knee while you were deployed and had arthroscopic surgery. You still have some pain and stiffness in that knee and the VA grants you a 10% service-connected disability rating. Assuming this is your only service-connected disability rating, your service-connected disability rating would be 10%. This is determined by looking at your efficiency, which is 90% (efficiency rating of 100, times 10% disability rating = 10%. You subtract 10% from 100% and end up with 90%). The math is simple when you only have one disability rating to consider. We’re going to come back to the math in a moment because it changes dramatically with each new service-connected rating we consider.

**More than one disability rating?** Each injury or illness is rated by itself, without consideration of other illnesses or injuries, unless they contribute to further injuries. We will also need to take into consideration whether or not the injuries are bilateral, which means they affect limbs on both sides of the body (for example, disabilities on both arms, or both legs). All of your disability ratings are listed in descending order, then the VA math begins.

## How the VA Rates Multiple Disabilities

The above example covers the most basic situation – a single disability rating. In the previous example, it seems like you can just subtract the 10% from 100% and come up with 90%. But notice that we didn’t do the math that way. Things get more interesting when you have more disability ratings. Let’s run through an example, building on the previous profile.

**Example profile:** We’re going to stay with our example of a 40 year old military retiree. Above we said he had a disability in his knee. Let’s add a few conditions and do some math.

**Let’s say our retiree has the following service-connected disability ratings:**

- 30% rating for a back injury,
- 20% rating for right shoulder injury,
- 10% rating for his right knee, and
- 10% for hearing loss.

**Now for the math:** The VA uses a descending efficiency scale for its calculations. The VA will rate each injury or illness, giving each a numerical rating. When it comes time to determine the overall rating, the VA will start with the highest rating, then work its way down. You start with an efficiency rating of 100, then work your way down. Each new disability gives you a new baseline.

We start by racking and stacking the disabilities. In the example above, we have ratings of 30%, 20%, 10%, and 10%. We start with the 30%, then factor in the 20%, the 10%, then the final 10%. Again, we aren’t subtracting here, we’re doing VA math. At the bottom of this article is the VA Combined Ratings Table, which we will use to complete our calculations (you may find it easier to open this article in two browser tabs so you can follow along, or download and print the Combined Ratings Table, which we have a link to).

We start with the 30% disability. Look at the Combined Ratings Table and scroll down the left column until you find the number 30. Then go to the right column until you find the 20. The 30 and 20 combine for 44. If those are your only two ratings, you would have a 44% Va service-connected disability rating, which would round down to 40%. But we’re not done. We still have to add two 10% ratings.

Start on the left column again. This time, you will look for the 44 in the left column. Then find the intersection point with the 44 and 10. Your new rating is 50%. Repeat this one more time, starting with 50, and meeting up with 10. Your new combined rating is 55%, which rounds up to 60%.

**How does this add up?** Again, we aren’t doing normal subtraction here. We are doing VA math. You start with your efficiency rate of 100, multiple it by your disability rating, then subtract the result from your original rating. In this case, you would multiple 30% times 100, and get 30. You subtract that from 100 and come up with 70. Your new efficiency rating is 70 and your disability rating is 30. This is the starting point for the next calculation. You repeat the process for the next rating. You take 20%, multiply it by 70, and come up with 14. You subtract 14 from 70, and you get 56. Your new efficiency rating is 56, and your disability rating is 44. You repeat the process for each additional disability rating.

The math can be a bit confusing if you try to do it manually. The best thing to do is use the VA Combined Ratings Table, which does the math for you.

## How Bilateral Disabilities Affect Your Rating

There is one more issue we need to consider – the bilateral factor. The bilateral factor can have a big impact on your rating, so don’t dismiss it.

**What is the Bilateral Factor?** The bilateral factor is considered when the veteran has disabilities on both limbs (for example, both arms, or both legs, or of paired skeletal muscles). The disabilities don’t have to mirror each other. For example, they don’t need to occur on both knees to be considered bilateral. A left foot disability and a right knee disability satisfies the requirement they injuries be on both legs.

With the bilateral factor, the VA combines two or or more ratings, adds a bilateral factor to the outcome, and considers them as one rating when using the Combined Ratings Table (found below). It’s best if I quote the regulations the VA uses, then we’ll use this in an example:

§4.26 Bilateral factor (Source).When a partial disability results from disease or injury of both arms, or of both legs, or of paired skeletal muscles, the ratings for the disabilities of the right and left sides will be combined as usual, and 10 percent of this value will be added (i.e., not combined) before proceeding with further combinations, or converting to degree of disability. The bilateral factor will be applied to such bilateral disabilities before other combinations are carried out and the rating for such disabilities including the bilateral factor in this section will be treated as 1 disability for the purpose of arranging in order of severity and for all further combinations. For example, with disabilities evaluated at 60 percent, 20 percent, 10 percent and 10 percent (the two 10’s representing bilateral disabilities), the order of severity would be 60, 21 and 20. The 60 and 21 combine to 68 percent and the 68 and 20 to 74 percent, converted to 70 percent as the final degree of disability.

(a) The use of the terms “arms” and “legs” is not intended to distinguish between the arm, forearm and hand, or the thigh, leg, and foot, but relates to the upper extremities and lower extremities as a whole. Thus with a compensable disability of the right thigh, for example, amputation, and one of the left foot, for example, pes planus, the bilateral factor applies, and similarly whenever there are compensable disabilities affecting use of paired extremities regardless of location or specified type of impairment.

(b) The correct procedure when applying the bilateral factor to disabilities affecting both upper extremities and both lower extremities is to combine the ratings of the disabilities affecting the 4 extremities in the order of their individual severity and apply the bilateral factor by adding, not combining, 10 percent of the combined value thus attained.

(c) The bilateral factor is not applicable unless there is partial disability of compensable degree in each of 2 paired extremities, or paired skeletal muscles.

## Example using the Bilateral Factor

Let’s stick with the example profile from above, but let’s add another knee disability, one on each leg. This would qualify for the bilateral factor. The disability rating for each knee was 10%, but when combined, they equal 21%, according to the VA’s Combined Rating Table. Here is how we apply the bilateral factor:

Bilateral Factor Applied:A 10% disability combined with another 10% disability = 19%,

Then you add 10% of 19, or 1.9%.

19% + 1.9% = 20.9%, which rounds up to 21%.

The combined rating for both knees is now 21%, and the VA will use 21% as the rating for those disabilities. It is possible to have more than two disabilities combined in the bilateral factor.

**New example with Bilateral Factor:** We’ll stick with the previous example, but add the other knee injury and see how it affects the final outcome. Let’s say our retiree has the following service-connected disability ratings:

- 30% rating for a back injury,
- 21% (10% rating for his left knee, and 10% rating for his right knee, with bilateral factor applied),
- 20% rating for right shoulder injury, and
- 10% for hearing loss.

Using the Combined Rating Table, we start with the 21% and the 30%. This takes us to 45. Follow the left column down to 45 and find where it intersects with 20. You get 56. Repeat the process for 56 and 10, and you get 60. This overall service-connected disability rating for this veteran is exactly 60%.

The previous example was 55%, rounded up to 60%, and this example was exactly 60%. As your disability percentage increases, it takes more disabilities with higher ratings to move the needle. This is the impact of the math the VA uses to determine disability ratings.

## VA Combined Ratings Table

The VA Combined Ratings Table is where all the math magic happens.

**Instructions:** List all disabilities in descending order. Start with the highest disability rating, find it in the left column, and find the intersecting point with the next highest disability rating. This is your combined rating for these two disabilities. If these are your only two disabilities, you can round to the nearest number divisible by 10 (anything 4.9 and lower are rounded down; 5 and higher are rounded up). Repeat this process until you have run the numbers for all disability ratings.

(Article continues below table):

10 | 20 | 30 | 40 | 50 | 60 | 70 | 80 | 90 | |
---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|

19 | 27 | 35 | 43 | 51 | 60 | 68 | 76 | 84 | 92 |

20 | 28 | 36 | 44 | 52 | 60 | 68 | 76 | 84 | 92 |

21 | 29 | 37 | 45 | 53 | 61 | 68 | 76 | 84 | 92 |

22 | 30 | 38 | 45 | 53 | 61 | 69 | 77 | 84 | 92 |

23 | 31 | 38 | 46 | 54 | 62 | 69 | 77 | 85 | 92 |

24 | 32 | 39 | 47 | 54 | 62 | 70 | 77 | 85 | 92 |

25 | 33 | 40 | 48 | 55 | 63 | 70 | 78 | 85 | 93 |

26 | 33 | 41 | 48 | 56 | 63 | 70 | 78 | 85 | 93 |

27 | 34 | 42 | 49 | 56 | 64 | 71 | 78 | 85 | 93 |

28 | 35 | 42 | 50 | 57 | 64 | 71 | 78 | 86 | 93 |

29 | 36 | 43 | 50 | 57 | 65 | 72 | 79 | 86 | 93 |

30 | 37 | 44 | 51 | 58 | 65 | 72 | 79 | 86 | 93 |

31 | 38 | 45 | 52 | 59 | 66 | 72 | 79 | 86 | 93 |

32 | 39 | 46 | 52 | 59 | 66 | 73 | 80 | 86 | 93 |

33 | 40 | 46 | 53 | 60 | 67 | 73 | 80 | 87 | 93 |

34 | 41 | 47 | 54 | 60 | 67 | 74 | 80 | 87 | 93 |

35 | 42 | 48 | 55 | 61 | 68 | 74 | 81 | 87 | 94 |

36 | 42 | 49 | 55 | 62 | 68 | 74 | 81 | 87 | 94 |

37 | 43 | 50 | 56 | 62 | 69 | 75 | 81 | 87 | 94 |

38 | 44 | 50 | 57 | 63 | 69 | 75 | 81 | 88 | 94 |

39 | 45 | 51 | 57 | 63 | 70 | 76 | 82 | 88 | 94 |

40 | 46 | 52 | 58 | 64 | 70 | 76 | 82 | 88 | 94 |

41 | 47 | 53 | 59 | 65 | 71 | 76 | 82 | 88 | 94 |

42 | 48 | 54 | 59 | 65 | 71 | 77 | 83 | 88 | 94 |

43 | 49 | 54 | 60 | 66 | 72 | 77 | 83 | 89 | 94 |

44 | 50 | 55 | 61 | 66 | 72 | 78 | 83 | 89 | 94 |

45 | 51 | 56 | 62 | 67 | 73 | 78 | 84 | 89 | 95 |

46 | 51 | 57 | 62 | 68 | 73 | 78 | 84 | 89 | 95 |

47 | 52 | 58 | 63 | 68 | 74 | 79 | 84 | 89 | 95 |

48 | 53 | 58 | 64 | 69 | 74 | 79 | 84 | 90 | 95 |

49 | 54 | 59 | 64 | 69 | 75 | 80 | 85 | 90 | 95 |

50 | 55 | 60 | 65 | 70 | 75 | 80 | 85 | 90 | 95 |

51 | 56 | 61 | 66 | 71 | 76 | 80 | 85 | 90 | 95 |

52 | 57 | 62 | 66 | 71 | 76 | 81 | 86 | 90 | 95 |

53 | 58 | 62 | 67 | 72 | 77 | 81 | 86 | 91 | 95 |

54 | 59 | 63 | 68 | 72 | 77 | 82 | 86 | 91 | 95 |

55 | 60 | 64 | 69 | 73 | 78 | 82 | 87 | 91 | 96 |

56 | 60 | 65 | 69 | 74 | 78 | 82 | 87 | 91 | 96 |

57 | 61 | 66 | 70 | 74 | 79 | 83 | 87 | 91 | 96 |

58 | 62 | 66 | 71 | 75 | 79 | 83 | 87 | 92 | 96 |

59 | 63 | 67 | 71 | 75 | 80 | 84 | 88 | 92 | 96 |

60 | 64 | 68 | 72 | 76 | 80 | 84 | 88 | 92 | 96 |

61 | 65 | 69 | 73 | 77 | 81 | 84 | 88 | 92 | 96 |

62 | 66 | 70 | 73 | 77 | 81 | 85 | 89 | 92 | 96 |

63 | 67 | 70 | 74 | 78 | 82 | 85 | 89 | 93 | 96 |

64 | 68 | 71 | 75 | 78 | 82 | 86 | 89 | 93 | 96 |

65 | 69 | 72 | 76 | 79 | 83 | 86 | 90 | 93 | 97 |

66 | 69 | 73 | 76 | 80 | 83 | 86 | 90 | 93 | 97 |

67 | 70 | 74 | 77 | 80 | 84 | 87 | 90 | 93 | 97 |

68 | 71 | 74 | 78 | 81 | 84 | 87 | 90 | 94 | 97 |

69 | 72 | 75 | 78 | 81 | 85 | 88 | 91 | 94 | 97 |

70 | 73 | 76 | 79 | 82 | 85 | 88 | 91 | 94 | 97 |

71 | 74 | 77 | 80 | 83 | 86 | 88 | 91 | 94 | 97 |

72 | 75 | 78 | 80 | 83 | 86 | 89 | 92 | 94 | 97 |

73 | 76 | 78 | 81 | 84 | 87 | 89 | 92 | 95 | 97 |

74 | 77 | 79 | 82 | 84 | 87 | 90 | 92 | 95 | 97 |

75 | 78 | 80 | 83 | 85 | 88 | 90 | 93 | 95 | 98 |

76 | 78 | 81 | 83 | 86 | 88 | 90 | 93 | 95 | 98 |

77 | 79 | 82 | 84 | 86 | 89 | 91 | 93 | 95 | 98 |

78 | 80 | 82 | 85 | 87 | 89 | 91 | 93 | 96 | 98 |

79 | 81 | 83 | 85 | 87 | 90 | 92 | 94 | 96 | 98 |

80 | 82 | 84 | 86 | 88 | 90 | 92 | 94 | 96 | 98 |

81 | 83 | 85 | 87 | 89 | 91 | 92 | 94 | 96 | 98 |

82 | 84 | 86 | 87 | 89 | 91 | 93 | 95 | 96 | 98 |

83 | 85 | 86 | 88 | 90 | 92 | 93 | 95 | 97 | 98 |

84 | 86 | 87 | 89 | 90 | 92 | 94 | 95 | 97 | 98 |

85 | 87 | 88 | 90 | 91 | 93 | 94 | 96 | 97 | 99 |

86 | 87 | 89 | 90 | 92 | 93 | 94 | 96 | 97 | 99 |

87 | 88 | 90 | 91 | 92 | 94 | 95 | 96 | 97 | 99 |

88 | 89 | 90 | 92 | 93 | 94 | 95 | 96 | 98 | 99 |

89 | 90 | 91 | 92 | 93 | 95 | 96 | 97 | 98 | 99 |

90 | 91 | 92 | 93 | 94 | 95 | 96 | 97 | 98 | 99 |

91 | 92 | 93 | 94 | 95 | 96 | 96 | 97 | 98 | 99 |

92 | 93 | 94 | 94 | 95 | 96 | 97 | 98 | 98 | 99 |

93 | 94 | 94 | 95 | 96 | 97 | 97 | 98 | 99 | 99 |

94 | 95 | 95 | 96 | 96 | 97 | 98 | 98 | 99 | 99 |

**Source: 38 CFR 4.25 – Combined ratings table. Downloadable PDF: **You can download this table here (

**Online VA Disability Ratings Calculator:** It’s great to know how to use the Combined Ratings Table so you can verify your disability rating for yourself. But it’s also nice to be able to use a calculator that takes all of these factors into consideration. Here is a **great online calculator that will help you determine your disability rating**. This calculator seems accurate for the most part. However, it doesn’t seem to account for the bilateral factor. So you may wish to use the Combined Ratings Table to determine your overall rating if you have bilateral disabilities.

**Summary:** VA Math can seem confusing at first. But it makes sense when you take some time to run the numbers. When in doubt, use the Combined Ratings Table to do the math for you. If you have further questions about your specific case, then I recommend contacting the VA for clarification, or contacting a Veterans Service Officer at a **Veterans Service Organization**. VSO’s will help you with your claim free of charge.

Oh, and as for the examples with the 30 + 20: The combined ratings table shows us two disabilities rated at 30 and 20 equal 44%. This rounds down to 40% disability rating. If you apply the bilateral factor to disability ratings of 30 and 20, you would get 48.4% (44% + 4.4%). This rounds up to 50%.

This VA math is really something! I’ve got my head around it for the most part, but what if you have two bilateral disabilities?

So if you’ve got 10% for both ankles, and also ten percent for both knees, for instance. Do you make one bilateral calculation or two? And if two, how?

Thanks for the article and your response!

I AM CURRENTLY RECEIVING 70% VA DISABILITY. RECENTLY I WAS AWARDED CLAIMS FOR SLEEP APNEA(50%), RESTLESS LEGS SYNDROME (30%) AND RIGHT SHOULDER BURSITIS(20%). WHAT WILL MY TOTAL DISABILITY BE?

Question for you Ryan:

I was granted a Total and permanent Individual Unemployability. I’m actually rated at a 90% schedular disability. If the VA considers my sleep apnea as service connected, that will make my schedular disability at 100%. My question is, if I get granted the 100% schedular disability, will I forfeit my Individual Unemployability benefit?

I was granted 4 disabilities. In your opinion, what do you think my rating would be? I presently have a 10% rating Do they also go back to when the original claim was filed, and pay back money to that date?

When about to apply for a service related disability claim and there is sufficient evidence to support the back injury and the other physical impairments, should the vet go seek private sector psychological evaluation to get diagnosis on anxiety and depression or simply make the claim since the VA will assign an evaluating doctor?

The vet was discharged five years ago and does not currently have and government benefits.

^^^^^^^^^correction….it was submitted during my C&P as a secondary claim to a wrist injury which I never had. How do I go about re filing that Finger injury claim?

I had a broken finger injury prior to joining the military. I tried claiming a aggravation claim but was submitted during my C&P and a secondary claim to my wrist. How do I resubmit for a aggravation claim? Do I appeal that certain claim?

I am attempting improved pension using vietnam era status. My unemployability pension was changed to social security disability with a va pension stipepend to make up the difference. After a month in intensive care with pulmonary embolism a home oxygen necessity was prescribed. A year of in home care and continued oxygen prescription for another year followed. home oxygen required 16-24 hrs per day. I was issued a VA power chair.

Does the home oxygen give me homebound status?

I have a question. Let’s say I have 70% back pay from a year ago but then I have a secondary claim of one of my conditions that I claimed a year ago…. do I get back paid from a year ago for the secondary condition as well?

P.S.

I am a BLUE WATER VETERAN of Viet Nam, 1965 -1967. My ships are listed as qualified for Agent Orange Exposure, if that affects anything.

Thank you,

Louis.

Hello Ryan, My Compensatory Benefit is currently at 50% I receive 30% for VERTIGO, 20% for BILATERAL HEARING LOSS and 10% for TINNITUS, both ears. in September of 2008 and again in November of 2008, I had 2 independent heart interventions resulting in 3 stents in the “widow-maker” heart artery. Both cases, (which were 2 months apart) were labeled as “heart failure” by the surgeons. In October of 2018, 10 years later, I had triple bypass surgery and, my Aortic Valve was replaced during that same surgery. So, I went to see a VSO Agent and, she filed a claim for “heart failure” and PTSD. This was on (about) 24 April 2019. I realize that you don’t likely consult with your crystal ball very often but, in your experience, what’s likely to occur with my Award moving up from the 30,20,10% (50%), that I have now? Thank you, for your… Read more »

Ryan, Thank you very much! I have just received my EMG results for my bilateral carpal tunnel syndrome. I am currently rated at 10% for each wrist. My EMG results state that I am a grade 3. The report states that I have significant CTS and graded both wrists a grade 3. I do believe that puts me in the 30% for the right wrist and 20% for the left. It states in my award letter that those two percentages were the max and no more. I’m curious if the bilateral factor would still apply and factored in the way the 10% + 10% bilateral CTS originally was or will the new percentages just be slid in? ….so I am at 70% with a 10% rating for both wrists. If I am awarded the increased disability of 30% and 20% and the bilateral factor is added that will bring me… Read more »

Hello,

My name kevin and would like to know what total percent disability you calculate.

30% chronic adjustment disorder

20% degenerative disc

10% flat foot left

10% flat foot right

10% tinnitus

10% vertigo

10% carpel tunnel left

10% carpel tunnel right

*My overall rating is 70%.

I do not see where the bi-lateral factor was added to my left and right wrist carpel tunnel or bi-lateral flat feet.

What am I missing?

I am getting 90% now and I was just awarded 30%for PTSD what should my rate be?

Seeking help with a question. I have had a total disability rating of 70% for the past couple of years. Recently I received a 50% rating on a new claim. Will the VA math begin with the 70% total rating and then factor in the new 50% or do they start fresh and add all the ratings over again to come up with my new total rating? Thanks in advance

I have service connected disabilities of left ankle 10%, right ankle 10%, left knee 10% and right knee 10%. ( amongst other issues) Will the bilateral factor be used for knees and ankles even though they are all on the lower extremities.

VA rating of 10% and 30% with an appeal that has been won and granted of 10% what will be the total disability rated for compensation?

Hello, I have 2 separate issues I’m concerned with:

1. What if a service connected knee contributes to falling down some stairs and injuring a shoulder? Would the shoulder be covered as being caused by the other already service connected knee condition?

2. Also, I was a USMC pilot and feel like I have tinnitus. It wasn’t as aggravating when I first left service but has become quite annoying. Can I apply to have that added to my disability rating?

Thank you

Hello. I just had a quick question. I have a final award decision of 90%. I went through a MED Board this last year and ended up with that. At the time of my MED Board i was diagnosed with Sleep apnea but I could not claim it along with other claims because my MED Board had already started. It was recommended to me that I claim it once I was discharged. So i just did that last week. My question is this, when the VA goes to calculate my 90% final award and the new Sleep Apnea (50%) will they use the 90% as the starting point and do the VA math and add the 50% which would result in 100%? Or will they go back and calculate it all over again with all my other disabilities individually which would result in me staying at 90%? This is a… Read more »

I have create a spreadsheet to try and do my bi-lat calculations. I think that I am at 93%, but I am not sure if I have it right. Here is what I have minus all the 0’s for all my fingers.

BILATERAL CONDITIONS?

left lower extremity radiculopathy 20.00%

right hip degenerative joint disease 10.00%

left hip degenerative joint disease 10.00%

right knee degenerative arthritis 10.00%

left knee degenerative arthritis 10.00%

right shoulder degenerative arthritis 10.00%

left shoulder degenerative arthritis 10.00%

right cubital tunnel syndrome 10.00%

left cubital tunnel syndrome 10.00%

right hip degenerative joint disease limitation of flexion 0.00%

left hip degenerative joint disease limitation of flexion 0.00%

Singular Conditions

obstructive sleep apnea 50.00%

thoracolumbar spine degenerative arthritis 20.00%

cervical spine degenerative arthritis 20.00%

tinnitus 10.00%

Cumulative Disability 91.94%

Can you tell me if I have it right?

I have had a rating of 100% Disability with Employability for over 10 years. I went back to school through the VA to learn a new skill, but it hasn’t worked out for me. I am unable to work for 8 hrs a day or even less then that. I have had my student loans on deferment due to my low income. I haven’t had to pay any of it back as yet. I received a letter that I may be able to have the loans forgiven due to my 100% Rating, but one of the questions on the form says I need to have a Rating with Unemployability. I am 68 years old and there is no way I can go back to work. How do I work my way through this situation? Thank You in advance for your help.

Sir,

TY. My claim still in the works. But mine also has PTSD, be interesting how it works out. At least the VA got me in.

Tom

Hi Ryan, I enjoy the comments you are receiving from the veterans. First I have learn how to use the VA chart you have post I really enjoy your Q&A columns. I’m a Vietnam veteran. I served with the Army 101st Airborne. My question is – I came down with prostate cancer. The VA put me a 100 % until I have my my cancer resolved. I had my radiation treatment so now I’m cancer free psa 0.51. My question – VA gave me special monthly compensation of 500.00 extra a month. I will be reevaluated in May 2018 for side effects from the cancer. My rate will come down, I’m sure. I was at 70% before I had the caner. I feel the smc was my right hand I was hit with shrapnel 50 % disability. I would like you thoughts will that stay or will 500 go away… Read more »

Ok can someone please shed some light on this for me. I’m currently receiving 100% p&t for a Lung Condition. And I’m also rated at:

100% for digestive issue

70% for PTSD

60% for Urinary Issue

30% Hypertension

50% Sleep Apenea

I’m rated at SMC S , but they was before the Digestive and Urinary conditions . I was just bumped to 70% for PTSD . We’re pursuing SMC R1. Do I fit the criteria for this rating???

Hi Ryan,

My question concerns Tinnitus. I see a lot of posts stating that they have 10% rating for Tinnitus. Is this a new standard for Tinnitus? I’ve been rated with Tinnitus for years with only a 0% rating. if this is new. Will I be able to up my rating to 10% and receive back pay? Thanks.

Ryan,

I am quite disappointed in how my ratings came back. I was initially given

20% for shoulder

10% for hearing / Tinitus

10% for right knee

0% for left knee

For a final degree of 40%

Went in for a “reconsideration” and was given 10% for my left knee. But my final degree did not change. So as such, I really do not get any compensation for my disabilities. Since I am less than 50% I loose part of my retirement. yes, I know that it reduces the amount of taxable income but that does not amount to much at all.

Ryan, I had a knee injury while on active duty orders in Air Force ROTC summer training when I was in college in 1984. The surgery was done at Ft Bragg Army hospital (ACL) due to its close proximity to my home. The surgery was done poorly and I have suffered from it ever since. I went on active duty after college and served in the Air Force from 1987 to 1992, and with the Air Force Reserves from 1992 to 1997. I am going to eventually have to have a knee replacement.

Would this qualify as a Veteran’s disability? If so, how should I look into it? I really have no idea how to start. Thank you.

Ryan,

How do I know if my claim is bilateral? For instance, as a result of my major depressive disorder I have scars. I receive 70% for my depression and 20% for my scars, also receive 10% for my feet. So that combined at 80%. So what if i claim that my scars and depression are bilateral? Can I do that, and if so how do I do that?

FYI, the order of severity is irrelevant. The math is still the same. Great information, thanks for sharing.

Thank you for sharing your knowledge, please help me with this. I’m currently rated with bilateral low extremity radiculopathy at 10% each leg. If I’m awarded 20% rating for both knees on my current disability claim, what would my total rating be for all my bilateral conditions factoring in the bilateral factor considering all 4 parts are located at low extremity?

Hi Ryan,

Great article. I just submitted a letter to the VA asking them to refigure my disability rating. Under disabilities in eBenefits the %s listed eqaul 95 using the VA math chart, but they have me at 90%. I called the VA yesterday to confirm they received my fax and the individual on the phone said let me figure it up real quick as we have a calculator. She did and said she still came up with 90%. Is the VA using a calculator nowadays or still using the old math chart? Thanks in advance for your assistance.

Regards,

Rich

Ok I have 90%

70% PTSD

40% Lumbar Strain

30% Cervical Strain

Secondary

10% Left Lower

10% Right Lower extremities

Do secondaries Lower my ratings?

Confirm for me that I’m doing this correctly;

70% depression

60% shoulders (30% Right shoulder + 30% Left shoulder=51%. add bilateral factor of 5.1 and the result is 56.1 which rounds up to 60%)

40% back

20% knees

10% tinnitus

All added is a 95% rating (which rounds up to 100%)

R shoulder is 60%, L shoulder is 20%

60% + 8% = 68%. Bilateral = 6.8%

68% + 6.8% = 74.8% which is rounded to 75%

Total combined rating is 80%

Am I figuring this correctly?

I have several injuries. 1. Hearing Loss 2. Right and left knee injuries. One has been replaced with a metal knee. The other needs to be replaced as well. 3. Achilles Tendon was torn off and had to be re-attached. Still has pain. What would be my percentage? And, the percentage is a percentage of VA, Military pay or what?

Thanks

Does BI-Lateral Tinitus (ringing in both ears) qualify for the bi-lateral 10% + 10% = 19% x 10% = 1.9% then 19% + 1.9 % = 21%? This may help me make 100%

I my VA ratings are as follows 70% 40% 20% 10% 10% 10% 10% 10%. What would be my VA rating?

I have a combined rating of 70%. I have 10% Lower back strain. I have 10% radiculopathy, left lower extremity as a Secondary condition. 50% Tension headaches. 10% Tinnitus. 10% Chronic Thoracolumbar Strain, left side IVDS. 10% Mild Right Sciatic Radiculopathy as a secondary condition and 20% Moderate left sciatic radiculopathy as another secondary condition. So I added the following.

50% + 20%= 60%

60% + 10%= 64%

64% + 10%= 68%

68% + 10%= 71%

71% + 10%= 74%

74% + 10%= 77%

Maybe I am doing something wrong but shouldn’t this be rounded up to 80% or do secondary conditions count for a lower percentage. all these numbers are coming straight from ebenefits.

I am on disability social security for bipolar disorder, and I am on medication for that , I also have a VA 10% disability for partial hearing loss, but now 2 years after being diagnosed with the hearing loss, I have osteoarthritis, diabetes,not on any medications for that and prostate problems on two medications for that

…I am receiving all that from the VA hospital and clinic…Do you guys think that I am more than 10% disabled according to VA standards…I mean I volunteer where I live at the front desk as well a a dishwasher, will be attending college part time and can walk a lot but I am in pain most of the time.

Gregory,

What exactly do you mean that your rating were calculated incorrectly? Do you mean that you disagree with the rating for the condition or that the combined rating is incorrect?

The reason I ask is because the VA’s combined ratings are calculated by computer and is very hard to dispute.

In the case that you disagree with the rating decision, if you haven’t already you may need to submit a Notice of Disagreement to the VA and submit new and material evidence suggesting a higher rating.

Victor

I have read your article and understand the process of calculating the disability rating. Having said that, my rating was calculated incorrectly. Who should I contact to have it corrected?

So how would secondary conditions affect the combined rating, or do they affect the numbers at all? I’m 70% overall with ratings of 40%, 20%, and 10% for both ankles. But I also have 10% for numbness in my right leg from my lowe back rating of 40% and then I have a 20% secondary rating for degenerative arthritis related to my right shoulder rating of 20%. I’m just trying to see does secondary conditions move the needle at all.

my rating was already 50% i was given another 30% for another claim my final rating was 60% how

Ron I have 3 0% service contacted disability ratings. I have had them since 2006. I was unaware that multiple 0% can qualify me for a bump to 10% disability. Is there a way I can go about receiving that adjustment upwards or has the va already decided and that’s why I never received a 10% rating. Thanks

This is very nteresting and thanks for explaining VA magic math. Do you know how they actually determine the dollar amounts? Say for example, at 90% disability rating, you current draw $1743.48. This is 60% of the 100% amount (this is just the numbers for a single veteran). For example, 1743.48 divided by 2906.83 = .5997. If I calculate 90% of the full amount, that is 2906.83 * 90% = 2616.15. So how is it that a 90% disability rating gets only 60% of the full amount?

Ryan, I started out at 30%(10,10+10) in 1969, I have shrapnel in left calf and shrapnel in right foot,also had broken right wrist and shrapnel due to land mine.

Does the to different legs wounds call for a(bilateral) rating?. and how would that effect me. Now to today, I have 50 PTSD, 30 for right wrist,10 for left leg,10 for right foot and 10 for something else?(I’m trying to look for what the other 10 is for), I’m being paid at the 100% rate do to unemployability, and I also get K award(loss of organ extremities(about $103.00 for the K award).

Ryan after all of this writing, how would the (Bilateral) rating effect my comp all these years of increases from 30% to my 110% now. Thank you. Artie A

i have 70% rating now for ptsd and i have a claim in for sleep apena for which i have been issued a capac machaine what would be my new rating if approved by the va

Sir,

Just curious. If I get rated at 95% then from what I understand the VA will pay me at the 100% rate. Basically, 95% is round up to 100%?

respectfully,

James

Hey Ryan, I contacted you awhile back and was wondering if you had the chance to check out VetCalc. I just wanted to update you and tell it is now totally free to download. Your analytics are no doubt more robust than mine, but I would be willing to either pay you for a link on this page (www.VetCalc.com) or blog about your site. Let me know. Great job on the post.

Regards

Andrew

Ryan,

You seem to have a good grasp on how disability benefits are calculated. I have yet to get a clear answer, so I figured I would ask you….

I currently have a 40% disability rating (Spine Range of Motion), but there were a number of items the VA overlooked that I had submitted on, which are in the appeal process now. All of the issues stem from my original back issue (compression fractures).

Say I receive another 20% for the sciatica that’s root cause was due to the back fractures I’m rated 40% for, would my rating be 60% or do they look at this as separate conditions and use VA math to get to 52%?

I appreciate your help with this.