A common question is “what is the difference between 100% and permanent total disability ratings?” Although the VA considers the terms “100% disability rating” and “total disability rating” to be synonymous, technically, these two things are different, despite the fact that they pay the same.
This article covers the differences between 100% and permanent total disability ratings. We’ll also explain how to get both ratings. The VA often does a poor job of explaining the differences between the two ratings to veterans. In this article, we’ll break down 100% ratings, permanent and total disability, and make it easy to understand. We always suggest watching the video before reading the article. If you have any questions after reading this information, feel free to reach out to us for a free VA claim evaluation to discuss your legal rights.
What are the differences between a 100% and permanent total disability ratings?
The main difference is why you obtain the rating. If you receive a 100% rating, it is because your disabilities totaled this amount on the Combined Ratings table. If you receive a permanent total disability rating, it is because you received a 100% rating and your conditions are not expected to improve. Veterans can receive a 100% rating without the permanent and total disability VA benefits rating attached to it.
“Total” means that all your disabilities equal a 100 percent veterans benefits rating. “Permanent” means the VA expects the veteran’s disability to continue throughout their life without significant improvement.
What conditions automatically get permanent total disability ratings?
Any mental or physical condition can entitle veterans to a permanent total disability rating if the condition is not expected to improve and they meet the other required guidelines. However, only a few conditions will automatically grant veterans a permanent total disability rating.
The VA recognizes that certain disabilities are never going to improve. The list below will detail the disability combinations that are automatically granted a permanent total disability rating. Just because the VA is supposed to automatically grant a permanent total disability rating doesn’t mean they always will. The VA makes a lot of mistakes and a lot of claims are wrongly denied. Remember, veterans have the option to appeal denials and bad VA decisions.
These disability combinations are automatically granted a permanent total rating:
- Both Feet
- Both Hands
- One Hand and One Foot
- Sight in Both Eyes
- Permanently Bedridden
How do veterans get a 100% rating?
Veterans will receive a 100% rating if they have one condition that is rated at 100% or if they have several impairments that total a 100% on the Combined Ratings table. For example, veterans can receive a 100% permanent and total rating for PTSD. A veteran with three 70% ratings will also receive a 100% rating. A 100% rating is the highest VA disability rating veterans can obtain.
The VA will not consider your employment problems from service-connected disabilities in your schedular ratings. The VA will consider your employment issues in Total Disability Individual Unemployability (TDIU) claims, but not your shedular ratings.
Read More: How Do You Get a 100% VA Rating?
How does the VA determine permanent total disability ratings?
A disability can be deemed permanent when it is reasonably certain the veteran’s condition won’t improve. Age is always an important factor. If you’re 75 years old, it’s not reasonable to believe that your back pain is going to get better and you’re going to be able to return to work. However, the same veteran at only 35 years old, might be considered temporary because their condition could possibly improve.
Are Individual Unemployability benefits considered permanent total disability ratings?
First, you should understand that Individual Unemployability benefits, 100% ratings, and permanent total disability ratings are different things. Our Individual Unemployability lawyers find these ratings often confuse disabled veterans. First, Individual Unemployability does not require you to obtain a 100% rating, but they pay the same. Individual Unemployability is not necessarily permanent. If you return to work you could lose your Individual Unemployability. However, veterans can receive a 100 percent rating while working full-time.
Veterans can receive permanent ratings while they receive Individual Unemployability benefits. It is reasonable to believe the conditions preventing you from working are not expected to improve.
How do veterans know if they have a 100% and permanent total disability ratings?
Look at your most recent Rating Decision letter. Your Rating Decision will explicitly state whether or not you have received a 100% and permanent total disability ratings. Here are some things to look for:
- Does the Rating Decision have a box that’s permanent and total and it’s checked?
- Does the Rating Decision say there are no future exams are going to be scheduled?
- Have you actually read why the VA ruled the way it did? Frequently you can read the Rating Decision itself, and it’s pretty clear one way or the other what they’ve done.
Does a 100% permanent total disability rating qualify my spouse for benefits after death?
Yes. If a married veteran dies with a 100% permanent total disability rating, their spouse will be eligible for Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (DIC) benefits. We can’t stress how important it is to file your claim as soon as possible if you have health problems. The VA disability timeline is lengthy and the appeals process can take years. If you are approved before death, your spouse should start receiving benefits in a short amount of time after your death.
If a veteran has an appeal pending at the time of their death, the spouse can continue the appeal. The VA appeals process timeline can take 5-7 years. So your family needs to be prepared to not receive DIC benefits right after death if an appeal is pending.
Where can I get help with my 100% and permanent total disability ratings?
Since 1985, Woods & Woods has successfully represented thousands of disabled veterans and their families. Woods & Woods is a national leader in veterans disability benefits. Our law firm represents disabled veterans nationwide and can assist no matter where you live.
We know what evidence is needed to prove veterans’ 100% and permanent total disability ratings – we’ve done it many, many times. Our VA disability compensation lawyers take pride in helping disabled veterans obtain the benefits they deserve.
If you have used a free veterans service and were denied, reach out to us. Most of our clients first used a free veterans service that resulted in a merry-go-round of VA denials. Believe it or not, we’ve had many clients fight the VA for over ten years before they called us.
Free Help With Application
Haven’t applied for VA disability benefits yet? No problem. The veterans disability benefits lawyers at Woods & Woods never charge for help with your 100% and permanent total disability ratings applications. We’ve helped thousands of veterans obtain benefits just by assisting them with their application at no cost.
Appeal Your Denial
Have you been denied your 100% and permanent total disability ratings? Talk with a VA benefits appeal lawyer at Woods & Woods. Our VA disability denial lawyers are experienced when it comes to fighting bad VA decisions. We only charge a fee if your appeal is won. Our fee is a percentage of back pay and case expenses. Our VA disability benefits lawyers will never ask for money upfront.
Free Legal Consultation
Not sure what to do next? No worries. The VA disability lawyers at Woods & Woods never charge for legal consultations. Have a conversation with us about your 100% and permanent total disability ratings claims. We will answer your questions and get you on the right track.