Skip to content

January 25, 2024

What are Disability Ratings for VA Benefits?

I hope you enjoy reading this blog post.

If you want to learn how to implement these strategies to get the VA benefits you deserve, click here to speak with a VA claim expert for free.

Disability ratings for VA benefits range from 0% to 100% with breaks at 10%, 20%, 30%, 40%, 50%, 60%, 70%, 80%, and 90%.

The VA will assign a “combined” rating percentage based upon the severity of a veteran’s service-connected disabilities (e.g., various conditions that were caused or made worse by their active-duty military service).

These ratings are used to determine the level of tax-free VA disability compensation and benefits that eligible veterans are entitled to receive—the more severe your disabilities the higher the VA rating you’ll receive.

For example, a 10% VA rating is worth $171.23 per month while a 100% VA rating can be worth at least $3,737.85 per month and can increase above $4,500.00 per month depending on the number of eligible dependents.

You Might Also Like The Following Articles

What is the Purpose of VA Disability Compensation?

VA Disability Compensation

VA disability compensation “is intended primarily for the maintenance and support of the veteran” and receives federally recognized protections. See Lawrence v. Shaw, 300 U.S. 245, 250 (1937).

The primary purpose of VA disability compensation is to make up for the potential economic loss of civilian wages or civilian working time you’d miss because of, or for tending to appointments, etc., due to your service-connected disability conditions.

It’s effectively the U.S. government saying:

“Thanks for your service. You sacrificed much for America, including your health and well-being. We accept that your reduced health may impact your ability to live and provide for your family as compared to how you would have had you not gotten injured.”

Congress requires the VA to base its rating schedule, “as far as practicable, upon the average impairments of earning capacity” in “civil occupations” that a veteran will experience due to the disability in question. See 38 U.S.C. 1155.

Basic Eligibility for VA Disability Benefits

Generally, any veteran who was separated or retired under conditions other than dishonorable (e.g., Honorable, Other Than Honorable, General) and served time on active duty military orders, qualifies for VA benefits, to include National Guard and Reserve members.

VA benefits eligibility largely depends on your “Veteran Status” as determined by your DD 214—meaning—character of service, length of service, service commitment, and the number of days spent on active duty orders.

You may be eligible for VA disability benefits or compensation if you are a veteran with qualifying service and meet both requirements:

  • You have a current disability, disease, illness, or injury that affects your mind or body, and
  • You served on active duty, active duty for training, or inactive duty training

And at least one of these must be true:

  • You got sick or injured while serving in the military—and can link this condition to your illness or injury (called an in-service disability), or
  • You had an illness or injury before you joined the military—and serving made it worse (called a pre-service disability), or
  • You have a disability related to your active-duty service that didn’t appear until after you ended your service (called a post-service disability)

Disability Ratings for VA Benefits – Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What is a VA Disability Rating?

A VA Disability Rating is a numerical assessment, ranging from 0% to 100%, that measures the severity of service-connected disabilities experienced by U.S. military veterans. It determines the level of disability compensation and benefits veterans are eligible to receive from the VA. Higher ratings indicate more severe disabilities and result in increased compensation and support for veterans.

How Does the VA Assigned Disability Percentages?

The VA assigns disability rating percentages based on the severity of service-connected disabilities as determined by one or more of the 834 eligible VA disability conditions listed in the VA Schedule for Rating Disabilities (VASRD). This schedule outlines various medical conditions and their potential impact on a person’s ability to function. VA medical professionals review medical evidence, such as medical records, examinations, and expert opinions, to assess the extent of disability and its impact on daily life. The assigned percentage reflects the degree of impairment, with higher percentages indicating more severe disabilities, and it is used to calculate disability compensation and benefits for eligible veterans. Click here to read the Top 50 VA disability percentages for conditions.

Are My Disabilities Eligible for a VA Rating?

Eligibility for a VA rating depends on whether your medical conditions are directly related to your military service, known as “service connection.” To determine eligibility, you must provide medical evidence that demonstrates a link between your conditions and your time in the military. The VA will review your case and assign disability ratings to eligible service-connected disabilities based on their severity.

How Do I Apply for VA Disability Benefits?

To apply for VA disability benefits, you need to submit a formal application to the VA. You can do this by completing and submitting VA Form 21-526EZ, which is the “Application for Disability Compensation and Related Compensation Benefits.” Include all necessary supporting documents, such as medical records and any evidence of service connection, to support your claim. You can also prepare and file your VA claim online.

If the VA Approves My Claim, What Benefits Will I Get?

If your VA claim is approved, you may receive several benefits depending on the severity of your service-connected disabilities.

These benefits may include, but are not limited to:

  • Disability Compensation: You will receive monthly disability compensation payments. The amount is determined by your disability rating, with higher ratings resulting in higher payments.
  • Priority Healthcare: You will be eligible for priority healthcare access through the VA’s healthcare system.
  • Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment Services: If needed, you can access vocational rehabilitation and employment services to help you re-enter the workforce.
  • Special Monthly Compensation (SMC): Severely disabled veterans may be eligible for Special Monthly Compensation in addition to their regular compensation.
  • Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (DIC): If you pass away due to service-connected disabilities, your surviving spouse and dependents may be eligible for DIC benefits.
  • Education Benefits: Depending on your circumstances, you may be eligible for educational benefits, such as the post 9/11 or Forever GI Bill.
  • Home Loan Guaranty: Veterans with certain disability ratings may qualify for VA Home Loan Guaranty benefits, which can make it easier to secure a home loan.
  • Adaptive Housing Grants: If you have severe disabilities, you may qualify for grants to adapt your home for accessibility.
  • Life Insurance: Access to VA life insurance programs may also be available to veterans.

How Long Will It Take to Get a VA Rating Decision?

The time it takes to receive a VA rating decision can vary widely depending on the complexity of your claim and the VA’s caseload. On average, it can take approximately 3 to 6 months to receive an initial decision on your claim. However, it may take additional time for your first payment to be processed and issued, especially if there is any reconciliation needed with DFAS. As of February 2024, the VA takes approximately 150 calendar days from claim submission to make an award decision.

What are the Current VA Disability Rates?

The 2024 VA disability compensation rates have been updated to reflect a 3.2% cost-of-living adjustment (COLA). These rates vary depending on your disability rating and your dependent status. Below is a summary of the monthly VA compensation rates for a veteran alone. Click here to view the full 2024 VA disability rates with dependents.

Veteran Alone (No Dependents)

  • 10%: $171.23
  • 20%: $338.49
  • 30%: $524.31
  • 40%: $755.28
  • 50%: $1,075.16
  • 60%: $1,361.88
  • 70%: $1,716.28
  • 80%: $1,995.01
  • 90%: $2,241.91
  • 100%: $3,737.85

How Do I Increase My VA Disability Rating?

To increase your VA disability rating, you’ll need to provide the VA with medical evidence that shows your disability symptoms are worse in terms of Frequency, Severity, and Duration. The severity of your symptoms determines your VA rating percentage. Click here to read the 6 best ways to increase your VA rating.

About the Author

Brian Reese
Brian Reese

Brian Reese

Brian Reese is one of the top VA disability benefits experts in the world and bestselling author of You Deserve It: The Definitive Guide to Getting the Veteran Benefits You’ve Earned (Second Edition).

Brian’s frustration with the VA claim process led him to create VA Claims Insider, which provides disabled veterans with tips, strategies, and lessons learned to win their VA disability compensation claim, faster, even if they’ve already filed, been denied, gave up, or don’t know where to start. 

As the founder of VA Claims Insider and CEO of Military Disability Made Easy, he has helped serve more than 10 million military members and veterans since 2013 through free online educational resources.

He is a former active duty Air Force officer with extensive experience leading hundreds of individuals and multi-functional teams in challenging international environments, including a combat tour to Afghanistan in 2011 supporting Operation ENDURING FREEDOM.

Brian is a Distinguished Graduate of Management from the United States Air Force Academy, Colorado Springs, CO, and he holds an MBA from Oklahoma State University’s Spears School of Business, Stillwater, OK, where he was a National Honor Scholar (Top 1% of Graduate School class).

Related Articles

Featured Resources

Elite Membership

Dear Veteran,
Here’s the brutal truth about VA disability claims:

According to our data, 8/10 (80%) of veterans reading this message right now are underrated by the VA…

This means you do NOT currently have the VA disability rating and compensation YOU deserve, and you could be missing out on thousands of dollars of tax-free compensation and benefits each month.

As a fellow disabled Veteran this is shameful and I’m on a mission to change it.

Brian Reese here, Air Force service-disabled Veteran and Founder @ VA Claims Insider.

Since 2016, VA Claims Insider has helped thousands of Veterans just like you get the VA rating and compensation they deserve in less time.

If accepted into our ELITE membership program, you’ll get free up-front access and permission to use $13,119 worth of proprietary VA claim resources, including access to our network of independent medical professionals for medical examinations, disability evaluations, and credible Medical Nexus Letters, which could help you get a HIGHER VA rating in LESS time.

It’s FREE to get started, so click “Go Elite Now” below to complete our 3-step intake process.

  1. Complete Basic Information
  2. Sign Members Agreement
  3. Join the Mastermind Group

If you’re stuck, frustrated, underrated, and currently rated between 0%-90%, VA Claims Insider Elite is for you!

Click “Go Elite Now” below to get started today and a member of our team will be in touch within minutes.

Go Elite Now!

Why Choose VA Claims Insider

You’ve exhausted your free resources

You're not alone. Thousands of other Veterans in our Community are here for you.

Veteran Community

You’re ready to get the rating you deserve

We know the pain of feeling stuck, frustrated, and alone, and we want to make this process as easy and painless as possible for you.

Explore Elite Membership

We win ONLY when YOU win

Hear from fellow Veterans just like you, with many of our Veteran Ambassadors having gone through our programs.

Schedule a Call

Fellow Veterans:

For a limited time, you can book a free, no-obligation VA Claim Discovery Call with one of our experts.

Book A Call

Fellow Veterans:

For a limited time, you can book a free, no-obligation VA Claim Discovery Call with one of our experts.

Book A Call