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November 20, 2023

The VA Bilateral Factor

Last updated on February 22, 2024

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This Quick Guide explains the VA bilateral factor and how it can directly impact your VA rating. 

The VA bilateral factor offers additional compensation to disabled veterans with health conditions affecting both sides of their body. 

Not all disabilities are the same, and the VA considers this when assigning ratings, resulting in the VA bilateral factor. 

Are you looking to have the VA bilateral factor explained? We’ve got you covered. 



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What is the Bilateral Factor for VA Disability?

The VA disability bilateral factor was implemented to assist veterans with a disability affecting both arms, both legs, or paired skeletal muscles. 

Eligible veterans receive a 10% addition to their service-connected VA rating before continuing with further combinations or converting to the degree of disability. 

The VA acknowledges that veterans with two disabled limbs have a significant impact on daily life. 

The bilateral factor applies if you have disabilities affecting your left and right lower extremities or the left and right upper extremities. 

However, they don’t have to be the same body parts. For example, you would still qualify if you had left knee and right ankle conditions because there are two conditions on two separate body parts in the lower extremities. 

In addition, the VA bilateral factor isn’t applicable unless there is a partial disability of a compensable degree in each of the two paired extremities or paired skeletal muscles. 

If the combined evaluation is lower than what would be achieved by not including one or more bilateral disabilities in the calculation, those bilateral disabilities would be removed and combined separately, ensuring you receive the most favorable combined evaluation. 

Note: You don’t have to have the same disability on both sides of your body for the VA bilateral factor to apply. 

Why the VA Bilateral Factor is Important 

Undoubtedly, veterans should receive the compensation and benefits they deserve, so understanding how the bilateral factor affects you is vital. 

Three reasons why the VA bilateral factor is crucial for eligible veterans:

  • Accurate Compensation – Ensures you receive compensation that accurately reflects the extent of your disabilities. 
  • Comprehensive Healthcare – Understanding the nature of bilateral health conditions enables the VA to tailor healthcare plans to meet your specific needs. 
  • Enhanced Quality of Life – By acknowledging the unique challenges posed by conditions affecting both sides of the body, the VA bilateral factor adds to a veteran’s monthly compensation. 

VA Disability Calculator with Bilateral

For veterans needing a Bilateral VA Disability Calculator, you can use the VA Claims Insider VA Disability Calculator here. By selecting both the left and right body parts, our VA disability calculator will automatically calculate and factor in the VA bilateral factor for you.

VA Bilateral Factor Disability Examples

It’s easy to get confused when terms like bilateral factor and upper and lower extremities are thrown at you. 

Here are a few examples to help better understand what disabilities qualify for the VA bilateral factor:

Remember, you must have two or more service-connected conditions to qualify for VA bilateral factor, and both need to be in the upper or lower extremity. 

2023 VA Bilateral Factor Update 

In April 2023, the VA changed the bilateral factor rules, ensuring veterans didn’t result in a lowered rating. 

Generally, the closer a combined evaluation approaches 100%, the less significant effect an additional disability has on the combined rating. 

In some cases, the bilateral factor produces a lower evaluation than if it weren’t applied to your bilateral disability evaluations. 

To remedy an unintended negative impact, the VA updated the bilateral factor guidelines to ensure that affected veterans receive the appropriate levels of compensation that their disabilities warrant. 

While the update doesn’t affect everyone, it could mean more money in the pockets of veterans who previously received a lowered rating. 

If you were affected, you don’t have to do anything. The VA will review current claims and make adjustments as necessary. 


VA Bilateral Factor (FAQs) Frequently Asked Questions

What Health Conditions Qualify for the VA Bilateral Factor?

Health conditions affecting both sides of your body may qualify for the VA bilateral factor, including both arms, legs, or paired skeletal muscles, including knees and hips. 

Can I Get a Bilateral Factor for a Leg and an Arm?

No, since your leg is a lower extremity and your arm is an upper extremity, it would not be a bilateral factor. 

Is There a Bilateral VA Calculator?

For a Bilateral VA Disability Calculator, simply use the VA Claims Insider VA Disability Calculator here and select both the left and right body parts. It will automatically calculate and factor in the VA bilateral factor for you.

Can You Appeal if Your Claim Didn’t Consider the VA Bilateral Factor Adequately?

Yes. All veterans can appeal denied claims from the VA if they disagree with the initial decision, including whether they qualify for the VA bilateral factor.

What’s the VA Rating for Bilateral Knee Conditions?

If you have bilateral knee conditions, the VA will combine each knee rating and add 10%. This is the VA acknowledging that quality of life is significantly impacted if you have a disability affecting both knees. 

What’s the VA Rating for a Bilateral Hip Condition?

A bilateral hip condition can rate up to 100%—depending on the condition. You may qualify for a VA rating for a bilateral hip condition if you have service-connected conditions in both hips. Examples of hip conditions can include ankylosis (DC 5250), arthritis, hip replacement, or strain. 



Most veterans are underrated for their disabilities and, therefore, not getting their due compensation. At VA Claims Insider, we help you understand and take control of the claims process, so you can get the rating and compensation you’re owed by law. 

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If you’ve filed your VA disability claim and have been denied or have received a low rating—or you’re unsure how to get started—reach out to us! Take advantage of a FREE VA Claim Discovery Call. Learn what you’ve been missing—so you can FINALLY get the disability rating and compensation YOU DESERVE!

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