VA Rating Schedule, Part II

Last week we started to give an overview of how the VA rating schedule works. Here’s a quick review of what was covered:

The VA uses a rating schedule to determine how disabled a vet is
A higher rating means a higher disability payment
Rating specialists may be used if a vet has a disability not listed on the schedule

For more details about how the rating schedule works read VA Disability Rating System, Part 1. In part 2 of this series we’ll examine the rating schedule in more detail and look at a few individual topics more closely.

Highest rating

Sometimes the VA is simply unable to pinpoint the exact disability a vet has. Typically, the VA will narrow it down to two or three possible disabilities that fit the symptoms. If this happens, VA protocol is to award the veteran the highest rating among the options.

Veterans may also qualify for an “extra scheduler” rating if the listed disability rating does not fully account for any additional effects the disability might have on a veteran’s ability to work.

Combination of disabilities

It’s very common for vets to have multiple disabilities. The VA has set procedures in place to account for these situations. When a veteran has a combination of disabilities the ratings for each disability are not combined to create a total rating.

Instead, the VA uses a formula to determine the overall rating. This formula considers the veteran’s most disabling condition first and then looks at less disabling conditions in order of severity.


Based on their inability to maintain steady work, it is possible for a veteran to qualify for total disability status without meeting the 100% rating standards. This type of rating is known as “total disability based on VA individual unemployment.” Requirements for this rating are:

One disability rated at 60% or more, or
Two or more disabilities, one of which is rated 40% or more, and a combined disability rating of 70% or more
The inability to engage in substantial gainful employment due to service-connected disabilities
A veteran may also receive a temporary rating of 100% if they are hospitalized for a period of 21 days or during times of convalescence.

If you think you might qualify for a higher rating than the VA awarded you or If you have questions about the VA disability rating system call a local West Virginia VA benefits lawyer. Jan Dils Attorneys at Law can explain how the system works, guide you through the application process and fight for you if you need to appeal a denial.

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