VA math is not the same as regular math, especially when it comes to disability claims. If you have multiple disabilities — one rated at 60%, for example, and another rated at 20%, the combined rating is not 80%, but 68. How can that be?
The percentages are determined through a military disability calculator, which takes into account multiple disabilities that may affect your ability to find or perform work. Calculating these percentages correctly is of the utmost importance, as even small percentage differences in veterans disability ratings could translate to hundreds or thousands of extra dollars in disability payments every year.
Exactly how the process works is beyond the scope of this article. The important part is learning how to properly calculate your veterans disability claims. Here’s a basic guide to get you started.
- List all disabilities from highest to lowest.
If you only have one disability, the math is quite easy. But if you have multiple claims, start by listing them from most severe to least severe. For example, you may have a 30% back disability, a 20% left knee injury, and a 10% left foot injury. Simply get the full list in order before you start.
- Use a VA disability calculator or combined ratings table to do the math.
Starting with your highest disability, find the combined number with the second-highest. In the example above, the 30% would combine with the 20% to get 44%. Then add in the next-highest, the 10% foot injury, to get 50%. That would be your final disability claim.
- Factor in bilateral claims.
There is also an added 10% in the military disability calculator for bilateral disabilities, or those that affect both sides of the body. Let’s say that in the above example, the knee and foot injuries were not both on the left side, but a left knee and a right foot. That would qualify as a bilateral claim. So after finding the combined value of both injuries (20% + 10% = 28%, in this case), add on an additional 10% of that (2.8%, in the example) for the bilateral factor (28% + 2.8% = 30.8%).
Is it confusing? Yes. But it works. That’s why there are military disability calculators to help you file the right claim. Alternatively, consult a Veterans Service Organization to help you determine your disability claim for free.