How Are VA Disabilities Rated and What Will My Monthly Payment Be?

Veteran crossing street in a wheelchair

If the VA determines you are eligible for disability benefits (see eligibility requirements here), then your disability compensation will be determined through a schedule for rating disabilities.

The schedule is determined by what the average civilian would lose in earnings due to the associated disability. The rating is determined “upon the average impairments of earning capacity resulting from such injuries in civil occupations.”

The schedule makes no distinctions based on the service member’s earning capacity or location. Therefore, if an attorney in San Francisco and a bus driver in Oklahoma City have the same disability rating, their compensation would be equal.

The ratings are issued in increments of 10-percentage points from 0% to 100%, with 100% meaning completely disabled and totaling the highest compensation. The VA determines the rating based on statutory guidance which breaks down disabilities by body part affected and then subsequently, by diagnosis.

If you have more than one diagnosis, the VA must select the diagnosis with the higher rating. The VA does not add multiple diagnosis together. Additionally, if your illness or injury worsens over time, you may reapply in the future for a higher rating.

The rating determines the monthly amount you will receive. Beyond a 20% rating, the monthly amount increases, depending on marital status and dependents.

Effective December 1, 2020, a 10% disability rating equals $144.14 per month, regardless of dependents. In contrast, a 30% disability rating is $441.35 per month for a veteran alone, but $493.35 for a veteran with a spouse, and $532.35 for a veteran with a spouse and a dependent child.

The highest monthly payment is for a veteran with a 100% disability rating. In 2021, this veteran would receive $3,146.42 per month without a spouse or children, $3,321.85 with a spouse, and $3,450.32 per month with a spouse and one child.

If you need assistance with filing for disability or questions about the schedule for rating disabilities, please contact us today at (855) 312-5575.