When a veteran has multiple disabilities, it can be difficult to understand how they are combined. For example, a rating of 50% for PTSD and 20% for a knee injury doesn’t automatically equal 80% in VA math.
To determine a combined disability rating, the VA uses a schedule that starts with your highest rating. It then locates your next-highest rating in the left column and finds where the row and column intersect.
Helps Assess Your Combined Disability Percentage
The VA determines your disability rating based on how severe your medical conditions are and how they affect your efficiency at work and daily life. Your disability rating determines your eligibility for veterans benefits, including monthly compensation payments. Most veterans have more than one service-connected disability. To compensate them for their injuries, the VA awards a combined disability percentage that considers the ratings they receive for their different disabilities. For those who have multiple service-connected disabilities, this calculation can be complicated. For example, if your legs or arms are affected by a disabling condition, the VA will calculate your ratings in a bilateral factor. The VA uses a special table to calculate your combined disability rating. This is because it’s not as simple as adding all your disability ratings to reach a total. It’s also because you can’t be more than 100% disabled by law.
Calculate Your Combined Disability Percentage
For those with more than one disability, knowing how your combined rating is calculated is important. This subject confuses many veterans but is not nearly as complicated as you think. The key to understanding combined ratings is that they are not additive. If you have a disability rated at 60% and another rated at 20%, your combined rating will not be 80%. Instead, your second rating will be added as a percentage of the remainder between your first rating and 100. For example, let’s say you have a back injury rated at 60% and a leg injury rated at 40%. To calculate your combined rating, enter each of your disabilities in the boxes below and tap or click the percentage button that corresponds to each. If your disability affects an extremity, select the appropriate option (Leg or Arm). If your disability doesn’t involve an extremity, then choose Other.
Estimate Your Monthly Payment
When veterans have multiple disabilities, the VA will combine them to decide on a single combined disability rating. The process can be confusing, but it is based on the idea that a pre-existing condition can make your service-connected disability worse. A calculator takes this into account and does the math for you. The VA disability calculator estimates your combined disability percentage, helping veterans gauge their potential compensation more accurately. To use the table, first arrange the disabilities by severity and then find their respective ratings on the left column and right row. The number where the column and row intersect represents the combined disability percentage for those two disabilities. The final ratings are rounded to the nearest 10%. The process continues for each additional disability, starting with the highest and working down to the lowest. For example, a back injury rated at 60%, a sleep disorder rated at 40%, and diabetes rated at 20% would combine to an overall rating of 76% (rounded up to 80%). The full Combined Ratings Table is available on the VA’s website at 38 CFR 4.25.
Estimate Your Combined Disability Percentage
If you have multiple disabilities, determining your combined disability rating can be complicated. This is because VA math considers more than just adding up your ratings. Instead, VA employees combine their ratings with a special calculator with a different formula. This calculation begins by sorting your disability percentages in descending order. Afterward, they add up your first disability rating, taking it as a fraction of the remainder. For example, if you have a back injury rated at 60% and a right leg injury rated at 40%, the total value is 60 + 40 = 82%. This number is then compared to the VA’s Combined Disability Ratings Table. From there, the calculator determines how much your disability rating will be rounded to the nearest 10%. The higher your combined disability rating, the greater your monthly compensation. If you have questions about your eligibility for combined ratings, contact our team of veterans benefits lawyers today.