When it comes to rating service-connected disabilities, VA relies on the VA Schedule for Rating Disabilities (VASRD) to accurately rate veterans for their service-connected conditions. VA disability ratings are intended to compensate veterans for the loss of earning capacity due to a service-connected condition, or a group of conditions. Ratings on the VA rating schedule are referred to as schedular ratings. However, there are times when VA can rate veterans outside of what is included in the rating schedule. This rating is called an extraschedular VA disability rating.
What Are Extraschedular Ratings?
Extraschedular ratings are assigned when the rating criteria for a veteran’s disability does not accurately reflect their level of disability. Usually this happens when a veteran experiences symptoms or limitations not considered by the rating schedule; thus, VA must determine if the veteran is eligible for a higher rating than the schedule sets forth.
An extraschedular VA disability rating can be warranted for veterans who experience unique or especially severe symptoms of a service-connected condition. However, in order to receive an extraschedular rating, those symptoms must not already be contemplated (i.e. taken into account) in the rating criteria for that disability, or not contemplated to the extent necessary for adequate compensation. If manifestations of a veteran’s condition go above and beyond what is listed in the rating criteria, an extraschedular rating may be warranted.
Am I Eligible for an Extraschedular Rating?
The criteria for an extraschedular rating fall under VA regulation 38 C.F.R. 3.321(b)(1) and there are two main takeaways from the regulations:
- A veteran must show, and VA must find, that “the case presents such an exceptional or unusual disability picture with such related factors as marked interference with employment or frequent periods of hospitalization” that make it impractical for VA to assign a schedular rating.
- The final determination on whether an extraschedular rating is warranted must be made by the VA Undersecretary for Benefits or the Director of Compensation Service.
Essentially, VA must determine if the rating criteria under which a veteran is currently rated adequately contemplates the veteran’s symptoms. If the rating criteria does not adequately contemplate those symptoms, VA must then determine if those exceptional or unusual symptoms cause marked interference with employment or require frequent hospitalization. Once VA has made these determinations, the veteran’s case would go to the VA Undersecretary for Benefits or the Director of Compensation Service for a final decision.
Extraschedular ratings are granted on a case-by-case basis and are very specific to each veteran and their disability picture.
What Are Schedular Ratings?
Schedular ratings are those that are listed in VA’s Schedule for Rating Disabilities. Conditions listed in the rating schedule are assigned numeric values (ratings) that correspond with the increased severity of the condition. Ratings range from 0% to 100% and increase by increments of 10%. For each rating for a condition, VA outlines what criteria the veteran must meet in order to receive that rating.
If a veteran’s symptoms are listed in the rating criteria for their condition, VA will rate them appropriately based on those criteria without considering an extraschedular VA disability rating. If a veteran’s condition is not listed in the rating schedule, VA will rate the condition analogous to another condition that has similar symptoms or treatment. These ratings are called analogous ratings. For example, VA does not have a diagnostic code for headaches, so veterans who are service connected for headaches are rated under the diagnostic code for migraine headaches.