An Overview of the VA Disability Ratings System
If you are a member of the armed services and were injured during periods of active duty, you may be entitled to receive veterans’ disability benefits. However, the process involved in obtaining these benefits can prove to be rather time consuming, complicated and sometimes, a rather complex undertaking. Specifically, if you file a claim for disability benefits, you may be required by the U.S. Department of Veterans’ Affairs (“VA”) to undergo an independent medical evaluation. The information obtained during this examination will be used by the VA to determine whether or not you are eligible to receive benefits and, how much money you may be entitled to receive.
In evaluating your claim, the VA uses a system called the “Schedule for Rating Disabilities”, which helps them to assess the nature and severity of your claimed disability. This schedule contains a laundry list of medical conditions, with over 700 diagnostic codes that are organized based upon the various bodily systems, such as the cardiovascular, respiratory and digestive systems. In addition to the aforementioned, said schedule also includes a whole host of different qualifying mental conditions and disorders.
The VA schedule also provides certain criteria for assigning a specific disability rating to your case, which can range anywhere from 0 to 100 percent. The percentage assigned to your condition depends upon the severity of your disability. A higher percentage will allow you to collect a larger amount of disability benefits. However, the VA will reduce this rating pursuant to your earning capacity, which is often determined via the VA’s medical examination. In terms of compensation, this depends upon the rating assigned to your case, and whether you have dependents, such as a spouse, children and parents. Keep in mind that you may be entitled to more money in the event that you lose the use of certain body parts, such as limbs and organs.
In rendering a ratings determination, the VA reviews the report generated from your medical examination and also, considers the same disability under various diagnosis codes. In the event that there is any doubt as to the nature of your disability, the VA will normally decide in your favor. For instance, if there is sufficient evidence to demonstrate either a 40 or 60 percent disability rating, you will likely receive the higher percentage pursuant to the Reasonable Doubt Rule. According to the Reasonable Doubt rule, codified at 38 C.F.R. §3.102, when there is an equal or almost equal amount of evidence in support of and against a benefits claimant, said claimant will be given the “benefit of the doubt” and receive an award in his or her favor.
Undoubtedly, having a qualified veterans’ disability ratings attorney on your side can often make a huge difference in your case. Accordingly, our team of veterans’ benefits attorneys can help simplify the challenging and complex process of obtaining disability benefits and represent you in appealing a denial of your claim or, an adverse rating decision. We can also assist you in accurately completing the paperwork so that you are not faced with any unnecessary delays. Lundy Law has several offices located in Pennsylvania, Delaware and New Jersey – if you are having challenges obtaining VA disability benefits in any of these states, contact our firm today for an initial free consultation at 1-800-LundyLaw. We look forward to fighting for your rights, and helping you get the benefits you rightfully deserve.