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July 28, 2023

What is VA Permanent and Total Disability?

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What is VA Permanent and Total Disability?

VA permanent and total disability is a special status given to a service-connected disability that is rated at 100% and is unlikely ever to get better. It’s commonly referred to as “P&T.” 

Irreversible disabilities that impact your ability to work, such as the loss of a leg or other appendage, are typically awarded P&T status. But it’s also common for other disabilities to meet the P&T criteria.

In this post, we’ll answer your questions about how to get permanent and total disability, the difference between P&T and a normal 100% VA rating, and whether or not the VA can take away your P&T status.


How to Get Permanent and Total Disability From The VA

To be awarded P&T VA disability status, your condition needs to meet 3 basic criteria:

  1. Your rating totals 100%. One disability must be rated at 100%, or a combination of disability ratings must total 100% and is not expected to improve.

Note: P&T can be awarded through the normal rating schedule or through Total Disability Individual Unemployability (TDIU). TDIU allows veterans who can’t maintain “substantially gainful occupation” to be paid at the 100% level even if they don’t have a 100% rating.

  1. Your disability must be service-connected. This means your service either caused your disability or aggravated a pre-existing one. 
  2. The medical evidence shows your disability will qualify for a 100% rating or TDIU for the rest of your life.

What’s the Difference Between P&T VA Disability and a 100% VA Rating?

The main difference is in the word “permanent.” A VA permanent and total disability is not expected to improve throughout the rest of your life. That means the VA won’t require future medical exams, which lowers the chances they reduce your rating. But if the VA deems your disability temporary (meaning symptoms could improve), they could require future medical exams to determine whether to adjust your rating.

Permanent and total disability also makes you eligible for other VA benefits, such as CHAMPVA Insurance, that a normal 100% rating doesn’t necessarily make you eligible for. 

Our post, Top Total and Permanent Disability VA Benefits explains P&T benefits in even more detail.

How Do I Know If I Have P&T Status?

If you’re awarded VA permanent and total disability, your decision letter will likely have a P&T status box checked, but not always. The VA notifies you of P&T status in different ways depending on the regional office. Another sign is if your decision letter says you have zero medical exams scheduled.



Take advantage of a FREE VA Claim Discovery Call with an experienced Team Member. Learn what you’ve been missing so you can FINALLY get the disability rating and compensation you’ve earned for your service.

Can the VA Take Away Permanent and Total Disability? 

Yes. If your symptoms improve, it’s possible your rating could be lowered. If your symptoms get worse or stay the same, then your rating will stay at 100%. However, unless you give the VA a reason to reevaluate your P&T status, it’s unlikely they will.

We lay out 4 scenarios when you could lose VA permanent and total disability status in our post Can the VA Take Away 100% Permanent and Total Disability?



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

Our process takes the guesswork out of filing a VA disability claim and supports you every step of the way in building a fully-developed claim (FDC)—so you can increase your rating FAST! 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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