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Veterans Law

50% VA Disability Rating, Benefits, and Pay

Kaitlyn Degnan

September 30, 2022

Updated: June 20, 2024

50% VA Disability Rating, Benefits, and Pay

If you were assigned a 50 percent disability rating, you may qualify for a variety of disability benefits from the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).  These include monthly VA compensation, VA health care benefits, employment benefits, home loans, life insurance, education benefits, and more.  Read on to learn about what 50 percent VA disability benefits are currently offered.

What Is a VA Disability Rating?

A disability rating is percentage assigned by the Department of Veterans Affairs to a veteran’s service-connected condition.  VA disability ratings, which range from 0 to 100 percent, are based on the frequency, duration, and severity of symptoms.  Essentially, the higher the percentage, the more severe the service-connected disability.

If a veteran has multiple service-connected conditions, VA will combine the individual disability ratings using VA math to get a combined disability rating.  This combined disability rating will then determine the veteran’s monthly benefit amount.  Veterans must have a combined disability rating of at least 10 percent to qualify for VA monthly compensation.

50% Disability Rating: VA Compensation

As of December 1, 2023, veterans with a 50 percent VA disability rating receive $1,075.16 per month in tax-free compensation from the Department of Veterans Affairs.  The exact amount of compensation may increase or decrease each year depending on the cost-of-living adjustment (COLA).

As of December 1st, 2023 the VA disability rate benefit amounts are as follows:

  • 0 percent disability rating: $0.00 per month
  • 10 percent disability rating: $171.23 per month
  • 20 percent disability rating: $338.49 per month
  • 30 percent disability rating: $524.31 per month
  • 40 percent disability rating: $755.28 per month
  • 50 percent disability rating: $1,075.16 per month
  • 60 percent disability rating: $1,361.88 per month
  • 70 percent disability rating: $1,716.28 per month
  • 80 percent disability rating: $1,995.01 per month
  • 90 percent disability rating: $2,241.91 per month
  • 100 percent disability rating: $3,737.85 per month

2023 VA Pay Chart

Additional Compensation for Dependents

Veterans with a combined disability rating of 30 percent or higher and one or more qualifying dependents are eligible for additional monthly compensation for each dependent.  Qualifying dependents include:

  • A spouse
  • Dependent parents
  • Children under the age of 18
  • Children between the age of 18 and 23 who are in school (must be unmarried)
  • Children who were severely disabled prior to reaching the age of 18

The amount of additional compensation depends on a veteran’s disability rating and their claimed dependents.  Reference the 2023 VA disability pay chart to learn more.

50% VA Disability Benefits

In addition to monthly VA compensation, veterans with a 50 percent disability rating may also be eligible for the following VA benefits:

VA Health Care Benefits for 50% Disabled Veterans

VA uses priority groups to categorize veterans and the different types of health care benefits they receive.  There are eight priority groups, and each group has a different copay.

To be placed in VA Health Care Priority Group 1, the highest priority group, veterans need to be service connected at 50 percent or more.  Therefore, veterans with a 50 percent disability rating should qualify for this group.

Veterans in Priority Group 1 are eligible to receive all their health care services through VA with no copays.  Some of these services include:

  • Preventive care
  • Inpatient (hospitalization) services
  • Ancillary services
  • Mental health care
  • Geriatrics and extended care
  • Medical equipment/prosthetic items and aids
  • Medication/supplies
  • Dental care
  • Nursing home placement
  • Medically related travel benefits
  • Eyeglasses
  • Hearing aids
  • Automotive adaptive equipment (under certain conditions)
  • Home improvement and structural alteration grants (under certain conditions)
  • Clothing allowance benefits (under certain conditions)
  • Dependents’ health care (if not eligible under TRICARE)
  • Emergency care at a non-VA facility (under certain conditions)
  • Foreign medical care (for service-connected and secondary conditions)
VA Health Care Eligibility and Priority Groups Explained

Vocational Readiness and Employment (VR&E)

If you have a 50 percent disability rating, you may also be eligible for Vocational Readiness and Employment (VR&E) benefits from VA.

VR&E provides a range of career services, including career counseling and rehabilitation planning for employment; job training, job-seeking skills, résumé development, and other work-readiness assistance; and on-the-job-training, apprenticeships, and non-paid work experience.

Concurrent Retired and Disability Pay

Veterans with a disability rating of 50 percent or higher may qualify for Concurrent Retired and Disability Pay (CRDP).  This benefit restores veterans’ service pay by eliminating the VA waiver (i.e., the amount the veteran receives in VA disability compensation subtracted from the amount they receive in retired pay to avoid “double-dipping.”)

VA Home Loan Guarantee

VA offers a home loan guarantee to help eligible veterans buy, repair, rebuild, or keep a home.  Typically, VA will guarantee a home loan provided by a private lender (i.e., banks and mortgage companies) to ensure the veteran receives more favorable terms on their mortgage.  Through this guarantee, veterans can qualify for lower interest rates and lower down payments for their home.

Free Tax Preparation Services

The IRS’s Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) and Tax Counseling for the Elderly (TCE) programs assist thousands of veterans in preparing their taxes for free every year.

The IRS works with local community groups to train and certify VITA and TCE volunteers.  These volunteers then help qualifying disabled veterans prepare their taxes.  VITA and TCE also provide free electronic filing.

Life Insurance for Disabled Veterans

Veterans’ Group Life Insurance (VGLI) is a benefit that offers low-cost insurance to eligible veterans.  Veterans can receive between $10,000 and $40,000 in life insurance benefits.  The exact amount is usually based on the amount of Servicemembers’ Group Life Insurance (SGLI) coverage they had when they left the military.

Training Programs Under the Post 9/11 GI Bill

Eligible veterans may qualify for programs under the Post 9/11 GI Bill.  These programs include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Entrepreneurship training
  • Flight training
  • Institutions of higher learning (i.e., undergraduate and graduate degrees)
  • Licensing and certification reimbursement
  • On-the-job training
  • Tutorial assistance
  • Vocational/technical training

50% VA Disability and Social Security

Veterans with a 50 percent disability rating may also qualify for some amount of Social Security income.  There are two different types of Social Security benefits: Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI).

SSDI only counts earned income; therefore, VA disability benefits have no effect on entitlement to SSDI.  However, it is important to note that veterans must have a totally disabling condition to be eligible for SSDI.

SSI, on the other hand, is need-based and any contribution from VA disability compensation will count towards a veteran’s income.  The income limit for SSI for 2023 is $914 per month.  Since veterans with a 50 percent disability rating receive $1,041.82 per month from VA, they are most likely not eligible for SSI.

How to Increase a 50% VA Disability Rating

There are several ways to increase your VA disability rating and receive a higher amount of VA benefits.  Veterans who believe the severity of their condition warrants a higher disability rating can file an appeal (within one year of VA’s Rating Decision) or file a new claim for an increased rating.

Veterans who later developed any conditions or symptoms as a result of their service-connected disabilities can file a claim for secondary service connection.  This can increase your overall combined disability rating.

Top 4 Ways to Increase Your VA Disability Rating

50% VA Disability and Extraschedular TDIU

Total Disability based on Individual Unemployability, or TDIU, compensates veterans who are unable to work due to their service-connected condition(s) at the 100 percent rating level, even if they do not have a totally disabling condition.  To qualify for TDIU, veterans must prove they cannot obtain or maintain substantially gainful employment.

Although veterans with a 50 percent combined rating cannot qualify for TDIU on a schedular basis due to the percentage requirements, they may be able to qualify on an extraschedular basis.  VA regulation 38 CFR § 4.16(b) states that VA should refer the veteran’s TDIU claim Director of Compensation Service for extraschedular consideration.  The Director will then review factors such as the veteran’s service-connected conditions, employment history, and educational and vocational attainment to determine if TDIU is warranted.

Were You Denied VA Disability Benefits?

If VA denied your disability claim, Chisholm Chisholm & Kilpatrick LTD may be able to help you secure the benefits you deserve.  Call CCK today for a free case review at 800-544-9144.

About the Author

Bio photo of Kaitlyn Degnan

Kaitlyn joined CCK in September of 2017 as an Associate Attorney. Her practice focuses on representing disabled veterans before the United States Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims.

See more about Kaitlyn