Veterans with a 100% rating receive an increase of more than $1,300 each month than veterans with a 90% rating. Veterans with a 90% rating who believe they qualify for the benefits of a 100% rating can add additional service-connected conditions, appeal the rating of a condition, or seek individual unemployability benefits.
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In this article about going from 90% to 100% VA rating
- How much does 90% VA disability pay?
- How much does 100% VA disability pay?
- 3 ways to go from a 90% to 100% VA rating
- Are there downsides to appealing for a higher rating?
- How Woods and Woods can help you go from 90 to 100%
A background on VA ratings
Veterans with an injury or illness related to their military service file a claim with the VA to receive compensation and other related benefits. When filing, veterans frequently provide evidence of the severity of their condition and explain how it is connected to their military service. Sometimes, the VA requests a medical exam to get additional information.
A service-connected mental or physical condition will receive a rating between 0-100%. The rating determines what benefits will be provided to the service member.
Many veterans receive benefits for multiple conditions. When a veteran has more than one impairment, the VA gives a rating for each and uses a special formula to combine them. This VA math is hard to follow, but we have a calculator to help. In short, two 60% ratings won’t equal a 120% rating.
A veteran can have up to a 100% rating for a single condition, which is called a total disability, or a combined rating of 100%. The VA assigns a 100% rating to a single condition when the severity of the impairment would prevent an average person from employment.
How much does 90% VA disability pay?
Veterans with no dependents receive $2,172.39 for a 90% disability rating. Veterans with a dependent spouse, children, or parent receive additional compensation. You can find the full table of rates here.
How much does 100% VA disability pay?
Veterans with no dependents receive $3,621.95 each month for a 100% disability rating.
3 ways to go from a 90% to 100% VA rating
If you are a veteran with a 90% rating, you may be looking for ways to increase your rating to 100% especially because the difference in the monthly payment and additional benefits are significant.
Here we present three ways you can try to get from 90% to 100%.
#1 Add an additional service-connected condition
As veterans age, disabilities that happened during service may develop into new conditions such as arthritis or heart disease. If you have disabilities you believe are related to your service-connected disabilities, you can file secondary claims to receive additional benefits. Veterans who receive disability benefits have an average of 5.7 service-connected disabilities.
The VA usually gives veterans with multiple service-connected disabilities a rating for each and combines the rating. Unfortunately, it isn’t as straightforward as adding each rating together.
“Essentially, as your rating climbs, additional conditions have an increasingly diminished impact on your overall rating, so think of it as a steepening curve,” said Zack Evans, a VA-certified disability benefits lawyer.
It is still possible to receive a 100% combined rating. In 2021, 8.3% of veterans with service-connected disabilities had a combined rating of 90%, while 16.9% had a combined rating of 100%.
#2 Increase the rating of an existing service-connected condition
Over time, disabilities from military service may worsen and become more challenging. If that happens, veterans can file a claim for increased disability compensation. You’ll need to include evidence that your condition has become more disabling for the VA to honor your request to increase your rating.
The VA occasionally reviews the way it rates certain conditions and makes changes. You can check if any laws have changed since your initial filing that might affect your rating.
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#3 Apply for TDIU
Even if you do not have a 100% rating for your disability, you may find it hard to find or keep a job because of your condition. If so, you may be entitled to total disability based on individual unemployability (TDIU) benefits from the VA.
TDIU is not the same as a 100% rating, but it pays the same. You cannot receive both benefits from a 100% rating and TDIU benefits simultaneously.
TDIU benefits are available for both mental and physical conditions. Veterans must have at least one service-connected disability rated at least 60% or two or more service-connected disabilities with at least one disability rated at 40% or more with a combined rating of 70% or more. In addition, veterans must be unable to maintain substantially gainful employment due to service-connected disabilities (marginal employment, such as odd jobs, is not considered substantial gainful employment for VA purposes).
Attorney Zack Evans often recommends filing for TDIU instead of attempting to increase a 90% rating to 100%.
“It’s often more effective to pursue TDIU benefits rather than try to stack multiple 10% rated conditions up the steep mountain to 100%,” he said. “TDIU pays the same as a combined rating of 100%, so you will still receive more compensation than a 90% rating provides.”
Are there downsides to appealing for a higher rating?
There are three negatives to consider when deciding if you should attempt to go from a 90% to 100% VA rating.
First, be prepared for a lengthy appeal. The VA backlog of appeals has been as high as 475,000. The cases in the backlog are claims that have been in the queue for more than 125 days without a decision.
There is also the possibility the VA will request unwarranted examinations despite a veteran qualifying for exclusions.
Lastly, appealing for a higher rating always runs the risk that the VA will lower a veteran’s rating.
How Woods and Woods can help you go from 90 to 100%
Deciding if and how you should approach increasing your 90% rating to 100% can be difficult. There is no single best way to get to 100%. Work with the expert team at Woods and Woods to help you determine the right strategy for your unique situation, and let us guide you through the process.
Contact Woods and Woods today to get started. You only pay us if we win.
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FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Three ways veterans can go from a 90% to 100% VA rating include adding on additional service-connected conditions, appealing the rating of a condition, or seeking TDIU benefits.
A veteran can have up to a 100% rating for a single condition or a combined rating of 100%. The VA assigns a 100% rating when the severity of the impairment would prevent an average person from employment.