Multiple Service-Related Injuries: How Benefits Are Decided
It’s not surprising to hear that many veterans come home with more than one injury or health condition. The most common disabilities seen are conditions such as tinnitus and serious hearing loss, as well as musculoskeletal pain, posttraumatic stress disorder, and traumatic brain injury.. When a veteran returns home from service, he or she is met with the challenge of readjusting to civilian life—a process now compounded by filing not just one disability claim—but perhaps two or more.
While filing claims for more than one disability may seem complicated, it’s very common, and the US Department of Veterans Affairs has a process in place. If you are granted service connection for your disability, your compensation will depend on the severity of your condition. VA uses a rating schedule to determine disability evaluations, or ratings. The more severe your disability is, the higher rating you receive. Each rating has a monetary value attached to it; however, if you have more than one disability in connection with your military service, the VA will use a Combined Ratings Table to calculate benefits. As the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs points out, if you have one rating of 60 percent and one of 20 percent, that does not mean you are given an 80 percent rating.
“If a Veteran has a 50 percent disability and a 30 percent disability, the combined value will be found to be 65 percent, but the 65 percent must be converted to 70 percent to represent the final degree of disability,” states the VA in regards to the Combined Ratings Table. “Similarly, with a disability of 40 percent, and another disability of 20 percent, the combined value is found to be 52 percent, but the 52 percent must be converted to the nearest degree divisible by 10, which is 50 percent.”
“If there are three disabilities ratable at 60 percent, 40 percent, and 20 percent, respectively, the combined value for the first two will be found opposite 60 and under 40 and is 76 percent. This 76 will be found in the left column, then the 20 rating in the top row. The intersection of these two ratings is 81. Thus, the final rating will be rounded down to 80 percent.”
These charts and ratings can be complex when you are trying to file for just one disability and understand the claims process, much less two or more. For a free evaluation of your case, contact Chisholm Chisholm & Kilpatrick. We work with veterans around the country in helping them win the disability benefits they deserve, and we are here to help you!
Call for immediate help at 401-331-6300 or contact us online.
Category: Veterans Law