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Disability Rating


A Disability Rating is a percentage assigned by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to represent the severity of a service-connected disability. The rating, ranging from 0% to 100%, determines the amount of compensation and benefits a veteran is eligible to receive. Higher ratings indicate more severe disabilities, resulting in increased benefits and support for the affected individuals.

Key Takeaways

  1. Disability Rating is a percentage assigned by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to represent the severity of a veteran’s service-connected disability, ranging from 0% to 100%.
  2. The higher the rating, the greater the level of compensation and benefits a veteran may be eligible to receive, such as monthly payments, healthcare, and vocational rehabilitation.
  3. Disability Ratings are determined through a medical evaluation process, taking into consideration the veteran’s medical records, service history, and any applicable evidence, to ensure the most accurate assessment possible.


The VA benefits term “Disability Rating” is crucial as it serves as a critical determinant in establishing the compensation and benefits that a veteran with a service-connected disability will receive.

The Department of Veterans Affairs assigns a disability rating percentage, ranging from 0 to 100, to reflect the severity of the veteran’s condition and its impact on their ability to work and perform daily activities.

This rating directly influences the amount of monthly disability compensation, healthcare services, vocational rehabilitation, and other benefits that the veteran becomes eligible for.

Essentially, the disability rating helps to ensure that veterans receive appropriate levels of support based on their individual needs, allowing them to have improved quality of life and access to necessary resources.


The disability rating serves a crucial purpose in the administration and allocation of VA benefits among veterans with service-related disabilities. This percentage-based rating is a reflection of the severity of the veteran’s condition and the impact it has on their ability to perform daily activities, work, and maintain a self-sufficient lifestyle.

The primary objective of the disability rating system is to ensure that financial and medical support provided by the VA is proportional to the individual needs of each veteran, and efficiently address many aspects of their lives such as personal care, mobility, income, and healthcare access. As a result, the disability rating is vital in determining the level of compensation that eligible veterans receive.

Furthermore, the disability rating is used as a foundation for numerous VA programs, giving veterans access to an array of specialized benefits and services tailored to their unique circumstances. For example, a higher disability rating may grant access to increased vocational rehabilitation services, employment support, education opportunities, and adaptive housing solutions.

Additionally, veterans who are dependent on others for their care may qualify for Aid and Attendance benefits, providing financial support to secure the necessary assistance. In this way, the disability rating acts as a critical tool to evaluate and prioritize the multifaceted needs of disabled veterans, allowing for a just distribution of resources and support that can help improve their overall quality of life.

Examples of Disability Rating

A disability rating is assigned by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to veterans who suffer from service-related injuries or illnesses. The rating indicates the percentage of disability suffered and can range from 0% to 100%. This helps determine the amount of disability compensation a veteran is eligible to receive. Here are three real-world examples of VA disability ratings:

A veteran who suffered hearing loss: A veteran who served in the U.S. Armed Forces may have been exposed to hazardous noise levels during his service. Due to this exposure, he experiences significant hearing loss, tinnitus, and difficulty communicating. After a thorough evaluation, the VA assigns him a 40% disability rating for his hearing-related issues.

A veteran with a knee injury: During her service, a veteran may have suffered a knee injury resulting from rigorous physical activities and training. The injury has led to chronic pain, stiffness, and limited range of motion. After a comprehensive examination, she is assigned a 20% disability rating due to her knee injury, which impacts her daily life and ability to work.

A veteran diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD): A veteran who served in a combat zone may experience PTSD as a result of the traumatic events he witnessed or encountered during his service. He struggles with intrusive thoughts, flashbacks, anxiety, depression, and has difficulty maintaining healthy relationships. After diagnostics and evaluation, the VA assigns a 70% disability rating for his PTSD, acknowledging the significant impact it has on his daily life.

FAQ: VA Benefits – Disability Rating

What is a VA disability rating?

A VA disability rating is a percentage assigned by the Department of Veterans Affairs to represent the severity of a service-connected disability. The rating determines the amount of monthly compensation a veteran will receive and access to other benefits, such as healthcare and vocational rehabilitation services.

How is a VA disability rating calculated?

VA disability ratings are calculated based on medical evidence provided in a veteran’s claim, which includes medical records, service records, and any supporting evidence. The VA uses the VA Schedule for Rating Disabilities (VASRD) to assign a percentage based on the severity of the disability and its impact on a veteran’s daily life.

Can a VA disability rating be increased?

Yes, a VA disability rating can be increased if there is evidence to support that the service-connected disability has worsened over time. Veterans can submit a Request for Increase to the VA, along with up-to-date medical evidence showing the progression of the disability.

Can a VA disability rating be decreased?

Yes, a VA disability rating can be decreased if the VA determines that a veteran’s service-connected disability has improved. The VA will notify the veteran in writing and provide a proposed rating decision. Veterans have the right to present evidence against the proposed decrease within 60 days of the notice.

What is the process to appeal a VA disability rating decision?

Veterans who disagree with their disability rating decision can file an appeal by submitting a Notice of Disagreement (NOD) to the VA within one year of the rating decision date. They can choose between three different review options: Supplemental Claim, Higher-Level Review, or an appeal to the Board of Veterans’ Appeals. Veterans should consider seeking assistance from a VA-accredited representative or attorney when submitting an appeal.

Do VA disability ratings ever expire?

No, VA disability ratings do not expire. Once a veteran has been granted a disability rating, it remains in effect for the duration of the veteran’s life unless it is decreased due to improvement in their service-connected disability or due to an error in the initial decision. Some disability ratings may be considered “protected” after a certain period, which makes them less likely to be reduced.

Related VA Benefit Terms

  • Service-Connected Disability
  • Combined Disability Rating
  • Compensation and Pension Exam (C&P Exam)
  • Benefit Rate Tables
  • Disability Compensation

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