A 100% VA disability rating is for veterans whose service-connected conditions are considered totally disabling. How difficult is it to receive a 100% disability rating from the VA? It’s not easy, but it is possible, especially with multiple service-connected disabilities and their combined symptoms.
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In this article about 100% VA disability:
- What is a 100% VA disability rating?
- 100% VA ratings versus individual unemployability
- 100% VA disability monthly payment amounts
- I think I deserve a 100% rating but was denied by the VA
- How our VA disability lawyers can help
If you’re a veteran who can’t work because of a mental or physical health-related condition or multiple conditions, you may fit the criteria for a 100% VA disability rating. This rating means you receive the highest schedular rating from the VA for your condition. This post explains.
What is a 100% VA disability rating?
A 100% or “total” VA rating is the VA’s highest schedular rating for a service-connected condition. It means that your disability is considered by the VA to fully decrease your health and ability to function. Therefore, you get the highest benefit available through the rating schedule to make up for your inability to work.
Veterans rated at 100% also are eligible for additional VA benefits beyond monthly tax-free payments. Those benefits include VA healthcare and life insurance.
Who can receive a 100% disability rating?
Veterans who want to receive VA disability must first be eligible for the benefit. To be eligible for VA disability compensation, a veteran must:
- Have a service-connectable mental or physical disability
- Have a character of discharge that is not dishonorable for VA purposes
- Submit a VA disability compensation claim
How difficult is it to receive a 100% rating from the VA?
A 100% rating is difficult to receive for one disability unless that disability is severe. However, you can also receive a combined rating of 100% for multiple disabilities. Common combinations of disabilities for 100% ratings include traumatic brain injury (TBI) and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) or multiple orthopedic issues that cause pain and affect mobility.
Despite how difficult it can be to receive a 100% VA rating, more than a million veterans were rated at this level as of 2022.
Are 100% VA disability ratings permanent?
100% ratings are considered “total” ratings, but they are not automatically permanent.The VA can reduce a 100% rating by proving that your condition has significantly improved and you can function better. Therefore, 100% ratings often require ongoing follow-up medical appointments, and your rating can change.
Certain rules and regulations stabilize, protect, or make permanent total VA disability ratings, but this is not always the case.
100% VA ratings versus individual unemployability
A key difference between a 100% combined rating and total disability based on individual unemployability (TDIU) is that you can be gainfully employed with a 100% rating if you’re physically, mentally, and emotionally able to do so.
Being employed doesn’t usually keep you from receiving a 100% combined rating and the related compensation. But, if you received a 100% rating for a single condition, it’s likely because your conditions are so severe they would reasonably prevent the average person from working.
You can’t be gainfully employed and receive TDIU, but you can sometimes work as long as it is considered marginal employment or in a sheltered work environment.
What can I do if I’m not rated 100% but can’t work?
If you can’t work and your VA rating isn’t 100%, TDIU benefits are an option. TDIU benefits are designed for this reason.
Qualifying for schedular TDIU requires you to have:
- At least one service-connected disability rated at least 60% OR
- Two or more service-connected disabilities, at least one disability ratable at 40% or more, with a combined rating of 70% or more
Sometimes veterans can receive a single rating that adds up to TDIU levels if multiple conditions are considered a “single disability” by the VA. Those circumstances include:
- When one or both upper extremities or one or both lower extremities are affected (including the bilateral factor)
- If multiple disabilities were caused by the same condition or incident (called a common etiology)
- Multiple disabilities that affect a single body system (orthopedic, digestive, respiratory, cardiovascular-renal, neuropsychiatric, etc.)
- Multiple injuries incurred in action
- Multiple disabilities incurred as a prisoner of war
Even if you don’t meet the criteria, you might still be awarded extraschedular TDIU, which is for exceptional or unusual disability cases.
TDIU benefits are not automatically permanent. The VA can lower your rating if your condition improves or if you start working gainfully.
100% VA disability monthly payment amounts
The monthly VA disability payment amounts depend on whether you are married or responsible for dependents. The qualifiers and payment amounts for 2023 are listed below.
100% Rating Payments without Children
|Veteran with spouse||$3,823.89|
|Veteran with spouse and one parent||$3,985.96|
|Veteran with spouse and two parents||$4,148.03|
|Veteran with one parent||$3,784.02|
|Veteran with two parents||$3,946.09|
|Additional for spouse receiving A/A||$185.21|
100% Rating Payments with Children
|Veteran with one child||$3,757.00|
|Veteran with spouse and one child||$3,971.78|
|Veteran with spouse, one child, and one parent||$4,133.85|
|Veteran with spouse, one child, and two parents||$4,295.92|
|Veteran with one child and one parent||$3,919.07|
|Veteran with one child and two parents||$4,081.14|
|Additional for each child under age 18||$100.34|
|Additional for each child over age 18 in qualifying school||$324.12|
|Additional for spouse receiving A/A||$185.21|
I think I deserve a 100% rating but was denied by the VA
If you were denied a 100% rating, you can appeal. You have one year from the date the VA made the decision to appeal and maintain your effective date in the new AMA appeals system. If you’re already past the one-year mark, you will need to submit a new claim.
There are several ways to appeal a VA decision you disagree with. You may want to consider gathering additional records and evidence to support your claim before appealing, or you can sometimes submit a higher-level review to have someone new take a look at your claim with no new evidence, depending on the type of decision you received before the appeal.
If you need help with your appeal, Woods and Woods is here to help. We’ve helped thousands of veterans with their disability claims and appeals, and you only pay us if we win.
Is it worth it to appeal a 90% rating decision?
If you received a 90% rating and have proof that a 100% rating was warranted, it is worth appealing. The difference between the two ratings can be more than $1,000 a month, and there are several ways to get from a 90% to a 100% rating.
“Woods and Woods’ experience will give you the best chance to get what you deserve.“
How our VA disability lawyers can help
Woods and Woods has helped veterans nationwide get the VA benefits they deserve. Call us for a free case evaluation to find out how we can help. If we take your case, you only pay us a percentage of your back pay if you win.
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FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
You have the option to appeal if you were denied a 100% rating and disagree with the decision. You may want to work with a VA benefits attorney to increase your chances of a successful appeal.
If you think your rating is too low or your disability is worsening, you can apply for an increase or file for new conditions. You can increase your VA disability rating by submitting evidence that your impairment has worsened. You can also apply for benefits for other secondary service-connected conditions or get TDIU.