We represent veterans and their families nationwide.

Calculating VA Disability Benefits

Understanding the Puzzle of VA Math

Not understanding how to calculate VA disability benefits could cause you to lose out on a potential rating increase that could substantially increase your benefits.

How to Calculate VA Disability Benefits
Understanding VA Math

What is 10+10+10+20+40?

In most environments, math is the same and that question is easily answered, as 90.

BUT life is not that easy in the world of VA disability.

VA assigns a rating between 10% and 100% for each condition that is service connected.

For instance, a veteran may have sleep apnea rated at 50%, tinnitus rated at 10%, and PTSD rated at 30%.  Logic would say that these ratings combine to a 90% rating, but life is not that easy.

In calculating VA disability benefits the VA COMBINES ratings, does not add ratings, and those ratings above combine to 70%.

Calculating VA Disability Benefits

Did You Know?

Individual ratings of specific conditions are NOT simply added together to come up with a combined rating.

How Does the VA Get 70% for a Combination of Those Ratings?

To calculate VA disability benefits the VA uses a chart to determine combined disabilities. The chart can be found here.

First, take the highest rating of 40% and combine it with 20%, 40% in the vertical column and 20% in the horizontal column. This gets us a combined rating of 52%.

Secondly, we take the 52% and combine it with the third highest rating of 10%, to reach 57%.

Next, we take the 57% and combine it with the fourth highest rating of 10%, to reach 61%.

Lastly, we take the 61% and combine it with the third highest rating of 10%, to reach 65%. This 65% rounds to 70%.

If you are like me, and like math, you can scroll down to see the math behind these tables. But, you do not need to know the math to calculate the combined rating percentage.

Did You Know?

As a combined rating gets closer to 100%, the more and bigger the conditions need to be to move the combined rating.

Calculating VA Disability Benefits – VA MATH EXPLAINED
Some things to remember:

The higher the rating, the harder it is to increase.

It requires a significantly larger rated disability to go from 70% to 90% than it does to go for 30% to 50%.

Sometimes the introduction of a new rating on a change in rating does not move the combine rating.

For instance, if a veteran is at 88% and receives a new rating that changes their overall rating to 92%, their benefits will not change, as both ratings round to 90%.

VA Math Explained

Getting from 90% to 100% requires a significant change in disability, as to get to 100%, the combined rating needs to be 95%.

If a combined rating is at 88% and a veteran is awarded 20% for a new condition, the combined rating is 90.4%, which rounds to remain at 90%.

The math:

If you are curious as to how the math works, this is an example of the combination using the math.

First, VA starts by saying the Veteran is 100% not disabled.  This is our base score.

First Rating = 100% x 50% (first rating) = 50%(new percentage) , if we stopped here the overall percentage would be 100%(base)- 50%= 50% overall rating. But, we have a second rating…

50%(new percentage) x 30% (second rating)  = 15%  take 50%-15%=35%, if we stopped here the overall percentage would be 100%-35%= 65%, which rounded gives you 70%

but we have a third rating…

35% x 10% (third rating) = 3.5%  take 35%-3.5%= 31.5%, stopping here gives an overall percentage of 100%-31.5%= 68.5% which is rounded to 70%.

Avoid the Headache of VA Math

Let us help you with your VA disability calculations.  Contact us for a free, no obligation case review.