100% Service Connected Disability Rating
How does the VA calculate overall service-connected disability ratings?
The Veterans Benefits Administration calculates disability ratings using a weighted average approach. The overall rating is rarely the sum of Individual ratings for specific disabilities. The weighted average system is codified in federal regulations and represents how all your disabilities affect your entire life.
What is Total Disability Individual Unemployment (TDIU)?
TDIU is commonly called “unemployable” and is listed on a VBA decision letter or on your annual award letter. Veterans with a TDIU rating have an overall rating less than 100% but are paid at a 100% rating. TDIU-rated veterans are not allowed to attain gainful employment; usually their income is capped at $10K/yr.
What if I need more money? Can I get more money?
You may have several avenues for additional compensation from other programs. This has nothing to do with the sum of individual ratings.
- Special Monthly Compensation (SMC): Your VSO can file a claim for SMC, which is usually from loss of use or organ or body part.
- Social Security Disability: VSOs do not handle these claims.
- State Pension for Blind and Amputee veterans: Your VSO can assist you.
- Combat-Related Special Compensation: For veterans who were medically retired from disabilities related to combat. Eligibility for this program is limited and can sometimes be found on military discharge paperwork. Your VSO can help you apply.
What is Permanent and Total (P&T)?
Generally, a Permanent and Total (P&T) rating means there is little likelihood of the veteran’s health improving. However, remember every individual disability rating is either “static” (not going to change) or “dynamic” which means “reviewable in the future”. A P&T rating also means that even if the dynamic disabilities were removed, the veteran would still be rated at 100% due to their static disabilities. Whether a disability is “static” or “dynamic” can be found in your original award letter (not the annual one).
Are there Temporary 100% ratings?
Yes, in the case of a catastrophically injured veteran or a veteran with cancer, they will be assigned a temporary rating. Usually, veterans with active cancer are rated at 100% for six months and then re-evaluated for the presence of cancer. It is important for a VSO to file for secondary conditions from cancer or cancer treatment, if any, to increase the chances of a maximized rating.
How do I get to 100%?
A Veteran Service Officer will try and maximize your rating by carefully reviewing your Compensation and Pension Exam results, your military service, how it affects your life, and filing for secondary conditions. We often hear from veterans they are “just trying to get to 100%”. Veteran Service Officers are not VA raters this is not our decision.
My friend is 100% and we have the same service and disabilities, why don’t we have the same rating?
Every veteran claim is unique and decided upon by different VA rating officials at different times. Information about other veterans does not immediately translate into a higher rating.
Is there a rating above 100%?
No, there is no rating above 100%; this cannot be more clearly stated.
How can I maintain my 100% rating?
- See a private physician or a VA physician and get treatment for your conditions. Get regular checkups to have medical evidence available that your conditions are the same or have gotten worse. You can only be compensated for “presently existing disabilities”. Examples below:
- If you have a mental health-related condition, you should be in counseling or at least a therapy group.
- Each time you see your doctor, you should be sure to list your service-connected disabilities and that they still bother you and ensure they put it in their visit notes.
- It is highly advised you no longer seek service-connection for any items because your entire care will be considered and you may be reduced to a lower percentage. An exception would be to seek Special Monthly Compensation for loss of use of a limb or organ or to help secure a service-connection for a likely cause of death such as hypertension, heart disease, etc. That being said, if you seek an increase, be ready to show with evidence how every condition you are service-connected for is the same or worse.
Is there a comprehensive list of benefits when I attain a 100% rating?
No, but here is a good start:
100% - In addition to the benefits listed here (List of Benefits 0-90%):
- Waiver of National Service Life Insurance premiums
- VA medical treatment for priority group one
- National Service Lite Insurance total disability income provisions
- Veteran's employment preference to spouse
- Specifically Adapted Housing for veterans who have loss or permanent loss of use of both lower extremities or blindness in both eyes having light perception only plus loss or permanent loss of use of one lower extremity or loss or permanent loss of use of one extremity with loss or permanent loss of use of one upper extremity or the loss or permanent loss of use of one extremity together with an organic disease which affects the functions of balance and propulsion as to preclude locomotion without aid of braces, crutches, canes, or wheelchair
- Special home adaption grant (for veterans who don't qualify for the above benefit) may be applied if the veteran is permanently and totally disabled due to blindness: in both eyes with visual acuity of 5/200 or less or loss of permanent loss of use of both hands
- Department of Defense Commissary privileges
- Free hunting and fishing license (From your County Treasurer)
100% Permanent and Total - In addition to the above:
- VA Dental treatment
- Civilian Health and Medical Program for dependents and survivors (CHAMPVA)
- Survivor's and dependent's education assistance under Title 38 U.S.C. Chapter 35
- Real Estate Tax Exemptions (wartime service, proper deed, income limitations apply as well)