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The VA calculates veterans’ disability compensation and benefits based on the severity of a veteran’s condition and the extent to which it limits the ability to work and carry out activities of daily living. The more disabling your condition, the more you are eligible to receive in monthly benefits.

When you apply for benefits, the VA rates your disability as part of a grant of benefits. Your approval notice will contain this rating.

How Does the VA Disability Rating System Work?

During the review and approval process, the VA assigns your condition a “disability rating.” The evidence you submit to demonstrate the severity of your disability helps the VA determine what rating your condition warrants.

Most VA disability ratings range between 0 and 100 percent in increments of 10. There are exceptions, however. For example, mental health conditions are rated at 0, 10, 30, 50, 70, and 100-percent. Intervertebral disc syndrome has a maximum disability rating of 60-percent when evaluated based on incapacitating episodes.

It is important to know that not all disabilities are rated the same way or under the same criteria. The VA generally reserves the 0-percent rating for conditions that it does not determine to be significantly limiting. On the other hand, the 100-percent rating typically corresponds with total disability, or a condition that VA deems extremely limiting. The ratings in between are determined based on rating criteria, which is why the thoroughness and credibility of the evidence you submit is so important.

You must receive a disability rating of 10-percent or higher to be eligible for a monthly benefit check from the VA. At a 0-percent rating, you can qualify for certain ancillary benefits, such as health care, but you will not receive monthly compensation.

Current VA Disability Compensation Amounts Based on Rating

The VA updates its schedule of benefits each year. As of December 2018, the monthly compensation levels based on combined disability ratings are as follows:

  • 10 percent combined disability rating: $140.05 a month
  • 20 percent combined disability rating: $276.84 a month
  • 30 percent combined disability rating: $428.83 a month
  • 40 percent combined disability rating: $617.73 a month
  • 50 percent combined disability rating: $879.36 a month
  • 60 percent combined disability rating: $1,113.86 a month
  • 70 percent combined disability rating: $1,403.71 a month
  • 80 percent combined disability rating: $1,631.69 a month
  • 90 percent combined disability rating: $1,833.62 a month
  • 100 percent combined disability rating: $3,057.13 a month

At a rating of 30 percent or higher, veterans are eligible for additional benefits for dependents living in their household. If your spouse, minor children, or parents live with you and depend on you financially, you can receive additional monthly compensation for them.

How Do Benefits Work if I have Two Separate Service-Connected Medical Conditions?

Let’s say you have two separate medical conditions, both of which are service-connected and thus qualify for VA disability compensation. How will the VA combine these ratings?

For instance, if you have one disability rated at 60-percent, and another rated at 20-percent, you will not receive compensation at the 80-percent level. The VA does not add your ratings together to determine your total rating. Instead, it has its own formula to combine multiple disability ratings.

The formula is meant to account for the percentage of your ability that is taken away due to your service-connected condition. Supplemental to this formula is the VA rating table. The table provides and easier way to determine your combined rating. Based on this table, you would end up with 68-percent, not 80. However, the rules governing disability ratings require that the VA round up or down to the nearest number divisible by 10. In this case, you would receive a 70-percent rating.

The table can be confusing. Take a look at our VA disability calculator to determine your VA disability rating.

Note: Depending on your conditions’ combined rating and your ability to sustain employment, you may be eligible for Total Disability Based on Individual Unemployability (TDIU). TDIU allows veterans to be compensated at the 100-percent rate in cases where their service-connected disabilities impact their ability to work.

You might also be entitled to Special Monthly Compensation (SMC) if you suffered a specific type of injury (e.g., amputation) or require assistance with activities of daily living and self-care due to your service-connected disabilities. To be eligible for most types of SMC, veterans must be receiving TDIU or have a combined rating of 100-percent. As a client of CCK, we will help you determine if you are eligible for SMC and what your monthly benefit amount would be.

Have Additional Questions? Contact the Legal Team at Chisholm Chisholm & Kilpatrick LTD Today for a Free Consultation.

The VA is not always correct when calculating disability ratings. If you believe your service-connected condition warrants a higher rating, speak with a veterans advocate at Chisholm Chisholm & Kilpatrick LTD. Our consultations are always free to determine if we are able to assist you with your VA disability case. Call us today: 800-544-9144.


  • It has been one of the best legal experiences that I have personally encountered. Their follow up and their follow thru has been on perfect terms. Wow, they have given me a celebrity experience! Impressive! Read More » K. Nade, October 2017
  • These people are FANTASTIC!!! I highly recommend this firm to Veterans everywhere. Honest Legal Help like this is priceless and they are extremely skilled. So Satisfied with the results...5 stars!! Read More » Anonymous, October 2017
  • I cannot begin to say how grateful I am to this Firm. From the Class A staff to the Lawyers, there are no complaints. Everyone treated me fantastic!! After 30 yrs of fighting on my own, they were able to win my case in less than 15 months. Read More » C. Marie, September 2017
  • My case was initially rejected by the VA but with the thorough review by CC&K , the VA agreed with the case that CC&K made and awarded my initial rating of 30% retroactive to 1975. Read More » Edward M., September 2017
  • We had struggled for eight plus years, with the VA, and got nowhere. Our case was sent to CC&K and in less than one year, we were they won all his back pay and 100% rating. We could not be more pleased. We highly recommend this firm for anyone struggling with the VA. Read More » Anonymous, September 2017
  • I thought I could go it alone. I filed several disability claims through the VA only to be denied over and over again. I knew I needed help. I found that help with the law firm of Chisholm Chisholm & Kilpatrick. They filed for me and won. Read More » Gene W., July 2017
  • I'm so glad we sought the help of CCK on my husband's VA claim. We had been going back and forth with the VA for 5 years on his claim without seeing any progress. Then we found CCK and the case was resolved in about a year! Read More » Sarah C., June 2017
  • I was fighting for my VA disability compensation for 10 years. I was ready to give up and then CCK took my case. I immediately felt at ease because they kept me informed every step of the way and there was so much less stress for me. Read More » Raul B., March 2017
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