VA Disability Rating Guideline

One of the compensations for military service is to receive monthly financial payments in case you're injured. Because the military doesn't have workers' compensation for injuries suffered during service, the Veterans Administration provides medical care for veterans at military hospitals. To receive these benefits, you must first understand the process, how the percentages are computed and what factors affect your financial compensation.

The Process

According to the Veterans Affairs Schedule for Rating Disabilities, the disability rating is used to determine how much of a mental or physical capacity has been removed by military service. This can include pre-existing conditions that were further aggravated by military service, such as flat feet. If you believe you incurred a condition during military service, you can start to file a claim either on your own or using a certified expert like a Veterans Service Officer (VSO). The VSO would be the preferred method because they are more familiar with the claims system, wording and the specific evidence needed. For example, a VSO might find other medical conditions that you can claim compensation for.


If you file a claim and it is accepted, you will be awarded a percentage rating based on a number of conditions. These percentages can be cumulative. Pay attention to them as they affect your compensation and benefits. For example, you might get 10 percent rated for knee damage and 20 percent for lower back injuries. This gives you a 30 percent rating. It is also possible to get a zero percent rating on a claim. This does not directly affect your compensation. However, it is a way that the military can acknowledge that your condition was caused or affected by military service, but not to the degree which you believe you should be compensated. Should that condition worsen over time, you can be treated for it. Percentages also factor into what level of medical service you can receive at a VA hospital. Ratings exceeding 50 percent put you in a Priority 1 group, allowing for no co-pay and free 30-day refills on medications. Other lower ratings can give you discounted treatments for your service-connected disabilities.

Compensation and Benefits

Your percentage rating and other demographic factors will determine your actual compensation. It is vital that you ensure your spouse and children are officially listed as your dependents. You will, for instance, receive a larger monetary compensation if you have a number of children or a spouse beginning at 30 percent. According to the December 2008 ratings, a 20 percent rating would award you $243 per month. At 30 percent, you would receive $376. If you have a spouse, that bumps it up to $421. With a spouse and a child, a 30 percent compensation is $453 plus $22 more per additional child.


About the Author

Paul Bright has been writing online since 2006, specializing in topics related to military employment and mental health. He works for a mental health non-profit in Northern California. Bright holds a Bachelor of Science in psychology from the University of North Carolina-Pembroke and a Master of Arts in psychology-marriage and family therapy from Brandman University.