You can get a 100 percent VA disability rating by proving in your application that you are totally disabled due to your service-connected condition(s).
If you do not qualify for a 100 percent VA disability rating but are unemployable because of your condition, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) offers an alternative method to receive benefits at the 100 percent level. You can apply for Total Disability Based on Individual Unemployability (TDIU), which has a different set of approval criteria.
If you believe you deserve 100 percent VA disability but do not meet the criteria requirements, a lawyer can help you file a TDIU appeal.
How VA Rates Your Disability
VA gives all veterans it approves for disability a rating on a scale of 0 to 100 percent:
- A 0 percent rating signifies a mild disability that likely does not impact your ability to work on a regular basis. With this rating, you do not receive monthly compensation but do receive free mental health care and other perks.
- A 100 percent rating indicates total disability and thus makes you eligible for the maximum schedular VA disability benefit. As of December 2018, the monthly amount for a 100 percent rating is $3,057.13 per month.
The VA employee who approves your application is the one who rates your disability based on your medical evidence and other supporting documentation. The more evidence you have showing the functional impact of your condition, the more likely you are to receive a higher rating, including 100 percent.
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What You Need to Prove 100 Percent VA Disability
VA grants 100 percent disability based on strong evidence of a physical or mental impairment that is so pervasive, the applicant cannot work or carry out daily living activities. To prove you have this level of disability, you should submit extensive documentation.
Examples of evidence that you may use to prove you are 100 percent disabled include medical diagnoses, lab test results, physicians’ statements, and statements from your supervisors or co-workers, friends and family.
If you are not currently receiving medical treatment for your condition or are not seeing your doctor regularly, you should do this before applying for a 100 percent disability. VA may view the lack of consistent medical care as an indication that your condition is not as severe as you make it out to be.
Getting Benefits at the 100 Percent Level Based on Unemployability
If you do not qualify for 100 percent VA disability on the rating schedule, but your condition renders you unable to work, you may be eligible to receive the maximum VA benefit based on your inability to work. VA offers an alternative program called Total Disability Based on Individual Unemployability (TDIU).
You can qualify for TDIU two ways:
To qualify for schedular TDIU, you must meet the following criteria:
- You have a single disability rated at 60 percent or higher and you are unemployable due to that disability; or
- You have two or more disabilities with a combined rating of 70 percent (with one of your conditions rated at 40 percent or higher on its own) and you are unemployable due to those disabilities.
The second is to apply for and receive extraschedular TDIU. This requires you to present compelling evidence that because of a condition that does not meet the criteria for schedular TDIU, you cannot secure and follow gainful employment.
Your Options if You Apply for a 100 Percent VA Disability Rating but Do Not Get It
If you feel you deserve 100 percent VA disability but receive a lower rating, you have the right to appeal VA’s decision. Keep in mind that when you submit an appeal, VA re-reviews your entire application, which means a chance also exists that it could lower your rating rather than raise it. A VA disability lawyer can review the rating given to you by VA and let you know the risks and potential benefits of appealing.
VA offers three decision review options to revisit your initial claim, including a Supplemental Claim, High-Level Review, and Board Appeal. This review process is time-sensitive, and it’s recommended that you file your request within one year from the date of your decision letter.
If you aren’t satisfied with the results of one review, you can always select another suitable option to escalate your claim.
A supplemental claim allows you to add new and relevant information to your case to be considered for a disability rating increase. This new information can include medical records, physician statements, or anything substantial to your claim. A VA reviewer will analyze the data to see if it changes the decision on your rating.
You can submit a higher-level review of an initial or Supplemental claim. A senior-level VA reviewer conducts this review, and you will not be able to introduce new information. You and your VA disability lawyer can request a call with the reviewer to assist in identifying errors and advocating for your case.
A board appeal is directed to the Board of Veterans’ Appeals in Washington, D.C. This appeal can be conducted by:
- Direct Review: A Veterans Law Judge will review your claim based on existing information. You cannot submit new evidence or request a hearing.
- Submitting new evidence: A judge will review new information that you submit. You must submit this information within 90 days of your request.
- Requesting a hearing: You and your VA disability lawyer can request an in-person or virtual hearing in which you can submit relevant evidence and present your claim before the judge.
You can only submit one Board Appeal for the same claim, so it’s important to select a route that’s right for your claim. A VA disability lawyer can advise you on the best way to proceed and represent you in all aspects of the decision review process.
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How a VA Disability Lawyer Can Help
Before you apply for 100 percent VA disability, consider meeting with a lawyer. A VA disability lawyer can let you know what to expect from the application process and help you put together a compelling appeal that gets you the highest rating possible based on your condition.
Providing Knowledge and Resources
VA disability lawyers are specifically trained in disability law and can guide you through the entire process. They know how to build a winning case, advocate on your behalf to VA claims specialists, and advise you on how to proceed with your claim. When you’re trying to get a 100 percent VA disability rating, you shouldn’t leave it up to chance. Instead, recruit the assistance of a seasoned VA disability lawyer.
VA values the facts when it comes to assigning a disability rating. Because this decision is based mainly on your medical information, your doctor’s cooperation is necessary. A VA disability lawyer can meet with your doctor directly to gather evidence to support your claim.
Aiding Decision Review Process
When you enter the decision review process, your claim will be put through more scrutiny than the first time around. This is because VA has already decided on it and will now have to decide whether there are grounds to overturn that decision.
A VA lawyer can help you navigate the decision review process, help you decide on which route to take, and file the necessary paperwork. They will represent you in any hearings or meetings with VA reviewers and advocate for your claim.
Schedule a Free Case Evaluation With a VA Disability Lawyer Today
A VA disability lawyer can help you to start collecting disability benefits for your service-connected medical condition. They can craft a compelling appeal that gets you the highest disability rating possible—including, if you are eligible, a 100 percent rating.
For a free case evaluation, call our veterans helpline for more information.