A note about this article
Every December, the US Government passes a new budget for military spending. Part of that legislation covers the Veterans Administration and the amount of money disabled veterans will be paid for the next year. The most up-to-date and detailed information can be found on VA.gov, but we have made the VA compensation tables clearer and easier to understand below.
In this article about the 2021 VA ratings tables:
How the VA Rates Disabilites
When the VA gives a veteran disability pay, they are paying to make up for the loss of income that results from his or her service-connected disability. If you are able to work and keep a job but your disability adds considerable difficulty, the VA wants to pay you for that extra trouble. If you can’t work at all, a 100% or TDIU rating will pay for your living expenses since you cannot work.
How Spouses and Dependents Affect this VA Ratings Table
If you are single with no dependents, this ratings table will be pretty straightforward. If you have a rating of 30% or higher and any dependents, the VA will give you some extra money to help support them. It’s not much, but it is a little extra help. We left those amounts off of this table for clarity, but they are included in our free VA disability calculator that you can use to estimate your actual monthly check.
The 2021 VA Ratings Table
|Disability Rating||Monthly Payment (Tax-free)|
It doesn’t take rocket science to notice that a 100% rating is the most wanted of the monthly payments. One reason that number is so high is that the limit on your employment if you are at 100%. You can still work a full-time job and make full-time income and benefits at the 90% VA rating. Once you are given a 100% rating, the VA frowns on you having full-time employment.
What Is TDIU?
TDIU stands for Total Disability / Individual Unemployability. With TDIU, you can get the same cash amount as a 100% rating with only a 60% rating and other conditions.
The VA doesn’t usually give 100% TDIU for just a single disability. They typically add up disabilities and veterans meet the criteria like this:
1. You have at least 1 service-connected disability rated at 60% or more disabling, or 2 or more service-connected disabilities—with at least 1 rated at 40% or more disabling and a combined rating of 70% or more—andTaken from https://www.va.gov/disability/eligibility/special-claims/unemployability/
2. You can’t hold down a steady job that supports you financially (known as substantially gainful employment) because of your service-connected disability. Odd jobs (marginal employment), don’t count.
We always look over our clients’ applications to make sure they aren’t missing out on TDIU benefits whenever possible. Because VA Math makes it so hard for low ratings of 10% to add up to 100%, TDIU is a much better option to get the payment you deserve for your service.
Additional Monthly Compensation for Your Dependent Spouse
Taking the same table as above, we’ve added the monthly payment you’ll receive if you have a spouse. The VA recognizes common-law marriages and same-sex marriages in many states.
|Disability Rating||Monthly Payment||Total Monthly Payment With a Spouse|
The additional funds for your spouse don’t look like much, but the VA is also taking into account that your spouse may be able to work.
How to Get More Money from the VA
There are additional considerations that the VA will make for your conditions. SMC is a special bonus that you can get to help pay for someone to give you in-home care, help you with your chores, or other difficult life activities.
The Bilateral Factor comes into play if you have injuries to both arms or both legs. That counts as an additional 10%. Conditions such as spinal injuries or whole-body conditions like arthritis that affect both sides of the body don’t qualify for the Bilateral Factor.
How VA Math Works When You Have Multiple Ratings
VA Math is a joke among veterans about how the VA adds up multiple conditions. We explain it in detail here, but the short version is that 2+2=4 but 4+4=6. Since the disabilities are combined as percentages of full ability, each percentage is taken off of the remaining ability. The easiest way to compute it is with a VA combined ratings calculator. When you work with our team, we can explain it to you and help you put together an accurate estimate of how much disability we’re applying for.
Here is a video explaining how the VA combined ratings table works from one of our Veterans Disability Lawyers.
Get a Rate Increase for Your Conditions
It is very difficult to go through the entire, sometimes years-long, VA disability application process only to get rated lower than what you needed. Appealing for an increase in a rating can take as long as it originally took to get benefits in the first place. Your best bet is to do it right the first time and hire a certified VA disability lawyer to make your claim.
At Woods and Woods, the Veteran’s Firm, we’ve helped thousands of veterans with their VA disability applications and appeals. We’ve been adding staff and lawyers during the Covid pandemic to serve disabled veterans better in difficult times.
Call us today to discuss your VA disability appeal or your first application. The call is free and we won’t charge you a single fee until we win your case. We even pay for the postage for all of the documentation you send to our office. You can look for a VA disability attorney near you or call us and join the thousands of veterans living off of VA disability thanks to Woods and Woods.
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