The Veterans Affairs (VA) Disability Compensation Process can be a daunting and time consuming task for Veterans and their families. We have been through this and understand what you are going through. Therefore, we recommend getting help from a Veteran Service Organization which we discuss below. We have provided some calculators on our website and compiled the information that was most useful for us going through this process. The simplest way is to use our combined Veterans Disability Rating and Compensation Calculator here to estimate VA disability pay https://www.microhealthllc.com/veterans-central/veterans-disability-rating-compensation-calculator/. However, if you are looking to just calculate disability rating or just compensation, read further for calculators we created for just those areas under the menu “Veterans” above. If you want to embed these calculators on your website (i.e. iframe) contact us using this contact form https://www.microhealthllc.com/contact-us/. Its absolutely free, no ads, no strings. We’ll send you the code snippet that you can embed in your site. This guide is being provided as a breakdown and summary of the Veterans Affairs Disability Compensation process to provide the important information, and resources needed to gain a better understanding of how the process works and what can be expected. We wouldn’t say its step-by-step but does provide a good overview of the process for the Military who are about to retire or leave the Service or Veterans.
Types of VA Disability:
The types of claimable VA Disability can be anything from a physical condition such as chronic pain due to a sustained injury, or chronic joint conditions, to Mental Health conditions such as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and Severe Anxiety Disorder. Any disease that was contracted or made worse during active duty in the military is also considered a claimable VA Disability.
VA Disability Compensation:
VA Disability compensation is a tax-free benefit that is paid to Veterans on a monthly basis. In order to receive this compensation the Veteran applying must be at least 10 percent disabled due to injury, disease or other major malady that took place, or was made worse during active military duty, military training or inactive duty training.
VA Disability Claims Process:
The VA Disability Claims Process is comprised of eight different steps. There are a few factors that will determine how long each of the eight steps will take to be completed, factors such as the complexity of the case, the type of evidence provided by the claimant, and the amount of evidence that needs to be gathered in order to support the claim. It is imperative that you provide as much evidence as possible when submitting your claim in order to minimize unnecessary hold-ups and processing time.
- STEP 1: Claim Received – Your Disability claim has now been received by the VA. If you applied for your Disability online you should be able to see that the claim has been received by the VA within an hour. If you submitted your claim through standard U.S. mail you will need to allow mailing time plus an additional week for the VA to process and record receipt of your claim. Anything you are able to do online will make many of the processes much quicker. Online applications can be completed at the web address listed here: http://www.vabenefits.vba.va.gov/vonapp/default.asp
- STEP 2: Under Review – Your claim has now been assigned to a representative and is being reviewed in order to determine whether or not additional evidence is needed to support your claim. If there is no additional information needed your claim will be moved immediately to the preparation for decision phase.
- STEP 3: Gathering of Evidence – The Veterans Service Representative assigned to your claim will now start requesting evidence to support your claim. These evidence requests can be made of you, medical professionals, government agencies and anyone else that might be able to support your Disability claim. If at any time throughout the steps in the claim process it is determined that any further evidence may be needed, from any resource, your claim will return to this step. This is not an uncommon occurrence.
- STEP 4: Review of Evidence – All required evidence has been received and is now being reviewed by the Representative assigned to your claim. If upon review it is determined that additional evidence is required the claim will be sent back to step 3.
- STEP 5: Preparation for Decision – In this step your Representative has recommended a decision and has begun the process of preparing the necessary documents to detail the decision they have made.
- STEP 6: Pending Decision Approval – The decision recommendation documents are now reviewed, and a final award approval on your claim is made.
- STEP 7: Preparation for Notification – Your VA Disability Claim decision packet, in its entirety, is now prepared to be mailed to you.
- STEP 8: Completion of Claim – Your VA Disability Claim decision packet has now been mailed to you via standard U.S. mail. This packet will include all of the details of the decision made, and if your claim was approved it will include details of the awarded benefit you will be receiving. You must allow adequate, standard mailing time for this decision packet to arrive before you contact a VA call center.
We have a My VA Disability app that gives examples of some of the evidence that may need to be gathered in order to support a claim:
- What will you healthcare provider want to know about your diagnosis?
- What will you healthcare provider look for when they examine you?
- What diagnostic and clinical tests will your provider look for or repeat?
How to do Combined Ratings:
The term “Disability Rating” refers specifically to the percentage that any given Veteran is disabled. If a Veteran has more than one disability to be claimed the VA will use a combined ratings table to calculate a combined disability percentage rating. For example: if a Veteran has a 50 percent disability (back injury) along with a 60 percent disability (PTSD) a 110 percent disability rating cannot be given, so a combined ratings table has been created by the VA in order to apply a proper combined rating percentage for multiple disabilities. Below is a sample portion of what the VA combined ratings table looks like.
So if a Veteran had a 20 percent disability along with 40 percent disability the VA would use the above chart, finding 20 in the vertical column and 40 in the horizontal column, and then finding the intersecting number which is 52 to determine the combined rating. The VA rounds the intersecting number (52 in this example) to the nearest tenth and so the combined rating for a 20 percent disability along with a 40 percent disability would be 50 percent. For a complete view and breakdown of the combined ratings tables used by the VA you can visit this web address: http://www.benefits.va.gov/COMPENSATION/rates-index.asp#combined. It can be confusing, however we have a VA Disability Rating Calculator to help you here https://www.microhealthllc.com/veterans-central/va-disability-rating-calculator/.
If you have disabilities that qualify for bilateral factors, use the VA Bilateral Disability Rating Calculator located here https://www.microhealthllc.com/veterans-central/veterans-affairs-va-bilateral-disability-rating-calculator/
The Veterans Compensation Benefit Rate Table:
The VA has created Compensation Benefit Rate Tables that can be accessed online for a disabled Veteran to determine the benefit amount they can expect to receive. The VA disability benefit amount that a Veteran will receive is determined by many different factors. The first factor involved is the disability rating that is given to the Veteran by the VA (the percentage that the Veteran is disabled). Other factors involved in determining the benefit amount are the Veteran’s dependents (children under the age of 18 living with the Veteran, children over the age of 18 who are currently enrolled in school and dependent on the income of the Veteran, parents being taken care of by the Veteran, and the Veterans Spouse).
All current VA disability benefit rates are placed in tables. The top row of these tables displays disability rating percentages, and the left side column displays dependent status. When trying to determine a benefit amount the disabled Veteran will address whatever rate table carries his/her Disability Rating located on the top row of the rate table. If the disabled Veteran lives alone with no dependents then the amount shown under their disability rating is the benefit amount that they can expect to receive. If dependents are involved, the specific percentage rating is located and then the disabled Veteran will look to the left side column of the rate table in order to determine what dependent status category they fall under. For example: if a disabled Veteran has a disability rating of 40 percent and lives with a spouse and child, they would need to find the benefit rate table that has the 40 percent disability rating, then look to the left side column to find the section that applies to their dependent status, in this case “Veteran with spouse and child.” Where the 40 percent disability rating column and the Veteran with spouse and child column intersect is where the benefit amount to be received is stated. In this example the disability benefit amount for a Veteran with spouse and child would pay approximately $644.00. Additions will be made to this amount for any additional dependents the Veteran may have. You can view all VA Benefit Rate Tables by visiting this web address: http://benefits.va.gov/COMPENSATION/resources_comp01.asp. We have an Android application to help you with this link here. We also have a questionnaire that will to help calculate your estimated compensation (estimated monthly disability payment) here https://www.microhealthllc.com/veterans-central/veterans-disability-pay-calculator/.
Veteran Service Organizations and How They Help
There is an online Directory of Veteran Service Organizations that is offered as and informational service by the Office of the Secretary of Veterans Affairs and can be accessed at any time. This directory is provided to help Veterans seek important information and resources while preparing for or going through the VA Disability Claims Process. Within the directory you can find resources for organizations that deal with specific disabilities, specific nationalities, religious affiliations and so much more. It is an invaluable resource that should not be overlooked. There is very strong criteria involved for an organization to be listed in this directory so you can be assured that the information within is completely legitimate, free of cost and Nationally/Congressionally recognized. The Directory of Veteran Service Organizations can be accessed online any time by visiting the following web address: http://www1.va.gov/vso/ We have compiled a list and created links to VSO pages which can be found here https://www.microhealthllc.com/veterans-central/veterans-service-organizations/
When you are ready to calculate your disability rating percent or your compensation (monthly pay) please navigate to the menu above, hover over “Veterans” then “Veterans Calculators”, and choose the calculator that you are looking for.