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My VA Rating Doesn’t Make Sense! Unpacking VA Math.

We get this call all the time. It goes like this:

Veteran: I have a 50% rating on my lumbar spine, a 70% rating for PTSD, and 10% rating for hearing loss/PTSD. Why am I not rated at 100%? The numbers add up!
Us: You’re doing regular math, not VA Math!

The VA uses something called a Combined Ratings Table. First, the ratings are ordered by severity. So, for the Veteran above, the ratings would be ordered 70%, then 50%, then 10%.

Then, we subtract the largest rating from 100%. In this case, 70% PTSD leaves us with 30% when subtracted from 100%.

Then we take the second largest rating, and multiply that times the remainder. It loos like this: 30% (remainder) x 50% (rating) = 15%. I like to call this “rating what’s left.” We add the 15% to our 70% for PTSD, which gets us 85%. VA ratings work in 10% increments, so we round up to 90%. We now have only 10% left to rate. Should be easy to get to 100%, right?

Here is where it gets really frustrating. We take our last percentage, in this case 10% and multiply it times the remainder, which is also 10%, which leaves us with 1%. Add that to our 90%, you get 91%, which rounds down to 90%. No matter how many 10% (or even 40%) disabilities you have, you still do not get to 100%.

As you know from the VA Benefits table, there is a huge jump in benefits from 90% to 100%.

But, just because your ratings do not add up to 100% on the Combined Ratings Table does not mean that you cannot receive 100% VA Disability. In our next update, we will discuss Total Disability based on Individual Unemployability, or TDIU for short.

If you have received a VA rating you are not happy with, or have been denied the rating altogether, it’s important to call an accredited VA attorney as soon as possible.

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