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Going from 90 to 100% VA Disability Rating Increase

Going from 90 to 100% VA Disability Rating Increase

Video Transcription

Jenna Zellmer: Hi, welcome to CCK Live Under 5:00.  I’m Jenna Zellmer, and today I will be explaining how to increase your disability rating from 90 to 100 percent.

So, before we get started just a little bit about VA ratings in general.  VA disability ratings are assigned based on the severity of the condition and they can range from 0 to 100 percent, and each rating corresponds to an amount of monthly compensation.  That amount is meant to compensate veterans for their average impairment in earning capacity caused by their service-connected conditions.

So, if you are rated at 10 percent, VA necessarily considers you less impaired than someone who’s rated at 50 or 70 percent.  A 90 percent rating, though, is generally assigned in instances where the condition is particularly severe and a 100 percent rating indicates that the veteran is completely disabled.

As of December 1 of this year, 2021, veterans with a 90 percent rating will receive almost $2,000 a month, it’s $1,998.52 per month.  But on the other hand, veterans who are rated at 100 percent will receive over $3,000 a month, $3,332.06 per month.  So, that’s over $1,000 of difference just between a 90 and a 100 percent rating.  So, that extra 10 percent really matters.

In addition to that extra money per month, veterans at a 100 percent rating are also eligible for other VA benefits, such as healthcare priority group status, VA dental care benefits, specially adapted housing program benefits, dependent education assistance program, commissary and exchange benefits, and in some states, property tax waivers and vehicle registration.  So, it’s really valuable to get that extra 10 percent from 90 to 100.

And if you think your service-connected condition warrants a higher rating, there are a few different routes that you can take.  So, if you recently received a rating decision, you can appeal that assigned rating or you can file a new claim for an increased rating of a service-connected condition that you already have service-connected for.  If you don’t think that any of your service-connected conditions can be increased in severity, you can also file a new claim for a service connection for a new condition.

It’s important though to remember that VA does not just add up all the veteran’s ratings, so you might receive an increased rating for a certain condition and that might not actually bump up your combined total rating from 90 to 100.  It’s really complicated.  And so, I would encourage you to reach out to your veteran’s service representative or your VA attorney whoever is helping you work on your claims because they can help navigate VA’s combined rating table and figure out what exactly you need in order to bump you up from 90 to 100.

Another opportunity that veterans can pursue to get to 100 percent is to ask for entitlement to TDIU, which stands for total disability due to individual unemployability.  And so, instead of meeting the rating schedule for a specific condition, instead what you’re going to need to do in pursuing TDIU, is demonstrate that you are unable to pursue substantially gainful employment due to your service-connected disabilities.

So, there are two different avenues to get a 100 percent rating.  It really depends on what your service-connected conditions are and what your work history is like, in order to figure out which is more reasonable which is more likely to get you to 100 percent.  And so again, it’s really important to talk to your rep.

And then, under certain circumstances, it’s possible that VA could actually increase your rating without you even asking.  If you have new evidence supporting the fact that your service-connected condition has worsened, or if you’re going to VA treatment on a regular basis and it’s very clear.  But I would always suggest that you talk to your rep and make sure that you are affirmatively seeking those increased ratings.  Don’t just rely on VA to increase you without asking.

So, just a few tips before we close.  You should definitely be remindful of the rating criteria for each of your service-connected conditions.  And that’s how VA is going to determine that your condition has or has not increased.  And so, you want to be honest with your doctor, you want to tell your doctor what symptoms you are experiencing, what kind of impairment you are experiencing, and hopefully, that will line up with the symptoms and severity of the higher rating.

But you can also have your doctor submit opinions that tell VA that your condition is more severe and does warrant a higher rating.  You always want to make sure that you are having your doctor support their opinion with adequate rationale so that VA really considers it and doesn’t just say that it’s conclusory.  We have some videos on how to support your claim for a higher rating.  So, I would definitely encourage you to check those out before you go and talk to your private doctor.

So that’s all for today.  Thank you so much for joining us.  More information on the topics discussed can be found on our blog or in our longer-form videos, and be sure to keep subscribing to our channel.