How Combined Ratings Work for an Orlando Veterans Disability Claim
Trying to understand how the Veterans Administration calculates disability ratings can be confusing. If you have multiple disabilities, your compensation rating will be different and can be even more confusing to figure out on your own in some instances. If you need assistance with a Florida veterans disability claim, let the experienced team of Orlando veterans disability lawyers help.
At the Law Offices of Shea A. Fugate, P.A., we specialize in areas like veterans disability. We understand the nuances that are involved with claims filing and disability ratings. We are here to help if you disagree with your disability rating or need assistance filing a claim or appeal.
What Is the Combined Rating System?
If you have multiple disabilities, your compensation will be calculated using the combined rating system. Multiple disabilities are not added to each other. If you have a disability rating of 40% for your first disability and 20% for your second, the VA does not calculate it at 60%. The reason for this is any subsequent disabilities are applied to you as a veteran who is already 40% disabled.
When calculating the total disability rating, the VA looks at how each disability affects the non-disabled part of you. That makes the calculations for compensation quite confusing when you have multiple disabilities.
The VA will consider the highest rating first and then move down through the remaining ones, continuing from most significant to least. Also, VA calculations are only in increments of 10. So you may need to round up or down, depending on the total.
To make it more confusing, the VA has something known as the bilateral factor. The bilateral factor applies when a veteran has disabilities that affect both arms or legs, or when the covered disability affects skeletal muscles. The bilateral factor is important because the VA recognizes how much more limiting a disability is when it affects both arms, for example. If you have a disability that affects your left arm, and then you have another disability that affects your right arm, you are more limited in your ability to function since both arms are disabled.
The VA includes another 10% rating, so it’s like having another disability. Just like with multiple disabilities, this amount is not added on top of the existing combined rating.
Calculating Combined Disabilities
The VA has released its Combined Ratings Table that you can review to try and calculate your total combined disability rating. When you look at the table, you will start on the left column with your highest rated disability. They use 50% as an example. The second disability will come from the top column. Using their model of 30%, look for where those numbers intersect. The result is 65; however, the VA only uses round numbers in intervals of 10. You would round up to 70% in this case.
We understand how confusing this can be, which is why it’s better to hire an experienced Orlando veterans disability lawyer who can help. Contact the Law Offices of Shea A. Fugate, P.A. today to schedule an initial consultation. Let us put our knowledge and experience with veterans disability claims to work for you. Call our office today to learn how we can help with all your veterans disability needs.