Injuries, Illnesses and VA Physical Disability Benefits

How are physical disabilities rated in a VA disability claim?

Disability compensation is a monthly tax-free benefit paid to military service veterans who are at least 10% disabled because of injuries or diseases that were incurred in or aggravated during active duty or active or inactive duty for training (i.e., “service connected”). Any physical condition that limits the ability of the body to function under the ordinary conditions of daily life can be considered a physical disability.

The compensation a disabled veteran receives from the government for a physical disability is graduated according to the degree of disability (as it is also for a mental disorder). The VA rates each disability identified in each veteran’s benefit claim on a scale from 10% to 100%. Multiple disabilities are awarded a combined rate according to a set VA formula. Therefore, it is crucial for a veteran to submit a claim that results in the highest disability rating possible for their medical condition.

George Sink, P.A. Injury Lawyers, veterans’ disability attorneys help veterans obtain accurate ratings and proper benefits for service-connected disabilities. We assist disabled veterans with appeals of denied or improperly rated claims. Our objective is to ensure that every vet we assist obtains ALL of the disability benefits he or she deserves. We also work to make sure they begin to get this needed compensation as FAST as possible.  No fee if no recovery.


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I could see right away the first time I spoke to somebody that I did the right thing.
- Robert W. -Disabled Vet- Actual Client¹
The government makes it hard to get your benefits but George Sink injury lawyers made it easy.
- Julius F. -Disabled Vet- Actual Client¹
I really felt for the first time somebody was in my corner. He’s a Veteran and I’m a Veteran. That’s why I called George Sink.
- Alvin A. -Disabled Vet- Actual Client¹

How Does the VA Calculate Physical Disability Ratings?

The disability rating that results from examination of your veterans disability claim determines the amount of compensation you will receive. And, by law, responsibility for providing or identifying evidence of disability lies fully with the veteran seeking benefits.

It is a potentially costly mistake to proceed with an appeal that does not fully and adequately depict a veteran’s physical disability in the manner the Department of Veteran’s Affairs requires. A mistake may cost you thousands. The VA has prescribed steps and formulas for assessing and rating veterans’ disabilities. Discrepancies can easily lead to an inaccurately low disability rating or a denied claim.

Veterans who were not dishonorably discharged from the service qualify for disability compensation if their physical disability began in service, or is due to or aggravated by service and rated at 10% or more.

A physical disability may have been sustained during active duty or active duty for training, or inactive duty training. If the veteran was on inactive duty for training, the disability must have been caused by a traumatic injury, heart attack or stroke.

The VA determines the severity of a veteran’s disability based on evidence submitted as part of their benefit claim, or that the VA obtains from the applying veteran’s military and medical records under the veteran’s direction. The VA may require the veteran to undergo a medical exam if the claim evaluator decides it is necessary to make a decision.

VA rates disability from 0% to 100% in 10% increments (e.g., 10%, 20%, 30%, etc.), with additional money paid for higher disability ratings. If the VA finds that a veteran has multiple disabilities, the VA refers to its Combined Ratings Table, which uses a formula to calculate a combined disability rating.

Disability ratings are meant to represent the average impairment in civilian earning capacity resulting from the disease or injury reported.

To rate a veteran’s disability accurately, the VA requires records of accurate and fully descriptive medical examinations, with emphasis upon the limitation of activity imposed by the disabling condition. The evaluator is to consider the ability of the body as a whole, or of a system or organ of the body to function under the ordinary conditions of daily life, including employment.

Therefore, medical evidence in a claim should include a full description of the effects of disability upon the person’s ordinary activity, as well as etiological, anatomical, pathological, laboratory and prognostic data required for ordinary medical classification of the disabling condition. You may need a lot of help here to understand and deliver what the VA wants.

With the information in a veteran’s disability benefits claim and the subjective instruction to consider how a disability may affect employability, the VA claim evaluator then turns to the VA’s Schedule for Disability Ratings, which addresses specific injuries and illnesses among 14 categories of physical disability:

  • Musculoskeletal System
  • Organs of Special Sense
  • Impairment of Auditory Acuity
  • Infectious Diseases, Immune Disorders and Nutritional Deficiencies
  • Respiratory System
  • Cardiovascular System
  • Digestive System
  • Genitourinary System
  • Gynecological Conditions and Disorders of the Breast
  • Hemic and Lymphatic Systems
  • Skin
  • Endocrine System
  • Neurological Conditions and Convulsive Disorders
  • Dental and Oral Conditions.

Here are two examples of rating guidelines from the Schedule for Disability Ratings for The Digestive System :

  • Tongue, loss of whole or part:
    • With inability to communicate by speech – 100%
    • One-half or more – 60%
    • With marked speech impairment – 30%.
  • Ulcerative Colitis (chronic, inflammatory bowel disease):
    • Pronounced; resulting in marked malnutrition, anemia, and general debility, or with serious complication as liver abscess – 100%
    • Severe; with numerous attacks a year and malnutrition, the health only fair during remissions – 60%
    • Moderately severe; with frequent exacerbations – 30%
    • Moderate; with infrequent exacerbations – 10%.

The difference in the rating applied to a disability may translate to a considerable difference in the veteran’s monthly benefit. For a veteran alone, with no dependents, monthly disability compensation as of this writing is:

  • 10% – $133.571
  • 30% – $408.971
  • 60% – $1,062.271
  • 100% – $2,915.551.

The VA provides “special” compensation or an increase to the basic disability benefit, in certain instances, if the veteran:

  • Has very severe disabilities or loss of limbs
  • Has a spouse, children, or dependent parents
  • Has a seriously disabled spouse
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How Does Your VA Disability Claim Rate?

If you are concerned about compiling evidence for a veterans’ disability benefits appeal or about the VA disability rating already decided, George Sink, P.A. Injury Lawyers can help you. Our veterans’ disability lawyers can ensure your appeal results in the highest disability rating available for your physical disability.

George Sink, P.A. Injury Lawyers have helped many disabled individuals receive the full benefit they have been promised by the U.S. government. We can do the same for you or your disabled loved one.

Disabled veterans face an overworked and slow bureaucracy at the VA. Processing an appeal can take many months or years and ultimately fail over the smallest discrepancy. We can ensure your appeal is complete, clear and convincing. We can help you locate and obtain service and medical records, and in some instances we can refer you to doctors who understand the VA’s needs if your latest medical records are incomplete or out of date.

George Sink, P.A. Injury Lawyers is a law firm started by attorney George Sink Sr., a Marine disabled in Vietnam. Our objective is to help disabled veterans and their families obtain the maximum VA disability benefit available to them as quickly and as easily as possible for the veteran.  and their family.

Contact George Sink, P.A. Injury Lawyers today. You don’t have to go it alone.