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Veterans Law

Noncompensable 0% VA Ratings – What They Are

July 9, 2018
noncompensable VA ratings

Veterans with a 0 percent VA disability rating may not qualify for monthly disability compensation or back pay from VA, but 0 percent noncompensable ratings still matter.  Continue reading to find out why noncompensable ratings are important.

What Is a Noncompensable VA Rating?

When VA grants service connection for a disability, it will assign a disability rating based on the presence and severity of the veteran’s symptoms.  If a veteran has multiple service-connected conditions, each disability rating is then combined using “VA math”  to determine the veteran’s combined rating.  Combined disability ratings range from 0 to 100 percent in increments of 10 and correspond to a compensation amount.  However, it is possible for a veteran to be service connected for a disability but not receive any monthly disability compensation.  This occurs when VA assigns a veteran a noncompensable VA rating.

Noncompensable VA ratings are 0 percent ratings that VA might assign to veterans after they become service connected.  A 0 percent rating does not result in any monthly compensation from VA.

When Are Noncompensable Ratings Assigned?

Noncompensable VA ratings can be assigned when a veteran is granted service connection for a condition but does not experience symptoms of that condition.  In another scenario, a veteran could have symptoms due to their service-connected condition, but they are not severe enough to warrant a rating higher than 0 percent.

These ratings are important because VA, through granting service connection, is acknowledging that the veteran’s condition was caused or aggravated by their service.

How Are These Ratings Determined?

In determining how much compensation a veteran is eligible to receive, VA utilizes a rating schedule to assign specific ratings to each disability.  Once a disability is established as service-connected, it will be rated at a specific percentage, based on the presence and severity of the veteran’s symptoms.

Ratings typically increase in increments of ten, but the requirements for each rating vary by diagnostic code.

Again, VA uses VA math when calculating combined disability ratings for disability claims.  The combined rating determines the amount of monthly compensation.

To figure out your disability rating, you can use our Disability Calculator.

0% Non-Compensable VA Ratings: Why They Still Matter, VA Benefits Available

What Am I Eligible for With a Noncompensable Rating?

As mentioned above, with a noncompensable VA rating alone, veterans will not receive monthly disability compensation from VA.  However, veterans can be eligible for other benefits from VA with a noncompensable rating.

Healthcare

Veterans with a noncompensable VA rating can be eligible for VA healthcare for their service-connected condition at no cost.

There are income limits to be eligible for no-cost healthcare, but veterans with a service-connected condition can still receive healthcare, they may just have to pay a copay.

Specifically, a veteran with a service-connected disability, but a 0 percent rating, is placed in a higher priority group for receiving VA Health Care.

For example, if the veteran is below certain income thresholds, the veteran could be enrolled in Priority Group 5.  If the veteran’s income is not below the income threshold, the veteran will likely be enrolled no higher than Priority Group 7.

Travel Reimbursement

Veterans with a noncompensable VA rating are also eligible for reimbursement for costs associated with travel to appointments scheduled at a VA medical facility or a VA authorized healthcare facility.

Veterans can qualify for travel allowances if they are traveling for the treatment of a service-connected condition or traveling for a compensation and pension examination (C&P), among other situations.  Veterans can qualify for travel allowances if they are traveling for things like:

  • Treatment of a service-connected condition
  • A compensation and pension examination (C&P)
  • Emergency services, such as riding in an ambulance

 Other Benefits

Veterans with a noncompensable rating are also able to use:

  • Commissaries
  • Exchanges
  • Morale, welfare, and recreation (MWR) retail facilities, in-person and online

Veterans may also receive a 10-point Veteran preference in federal hiring.

A full list of benefits available for each rating can be found on VA’s website.

Multiple Noncompensable Ratings

Some veterans may have multiple noncompensable ratings for different conditions.

In some cases, veterans can receive compensation for multiple noncompensable ratings.

According to 38 C.F.R. 3.324: “Whenever a veteran is suffering from two or more separate permanent service-connected disabilities of such character as clearly to interfere with normal employability, even though none of the disabilities may be of compensable degree…the rating agency is authorized to apply a 10-percent rating, but not in combination with any other rating.”

In other words, for veterans with two or more noncompensable ratings for separate disabilities that interfere with “normal employability,” VA will apply a 10 percent rating.  This allows veterans to obtain some compensation, no matter how little.

Filing for an Increased Rating for a Noncompensable Disability

If you believe that your condition is more severe than your assigned 0 percent rating, you can file a claim for an increased rating with VA.

Be sure to look at what rating criteria VA has rated you under to see if there is the possibility of obtaining a higher rating before filing for an increased rating.

You may also want to seek assistance from an accredited attorney who can guide you through the process and fight on your behalf.

Need Help Increasing Your Noncompensable Disability Rating?

Appealing a decision can be an arduous task, particularly when in pursuit of an increased rating.  If you are struggling with the appeals process and applying for an increased rating, the CCK team may be able to help you.  We have handled many VA disability cases and understand the appeals process.  For a free case review, contact our office at 400-544-9144.