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Hamslice

Bilateral VA math quiz

Question

I thought I had this VA math thing pegged, but here goes,

Are single bilateral ratings added to the bilateral calculations or is the 10% already baked in?

As an example:

The Veteran is rated;

50% bilateral foot (a single rating)

10% right knee

10% left knee

10% right elbow

10% left elbow

10% Migraines 

What is the Veteran's percentage?

It's either 78 rounded up to 80 if you add the bilateral foot to the bilateral's, or 72 rounded down to 70 if you don't add.

Just wondering your thoughts,

Hamslice

 

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What were the original ratings for the feet? The bilat should already be part of the combined foot rating so for calculations sake it would be added as a 'single'. The only way to know if it was added on correctly would be to deconstruct the math with the ratings table, but you'd have to know the original individual foot ratings. I add 80%. 

 

I have bilat neuropathy in my legs and it shows up as a 20%

 

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"5276    Flatfoot, acquired:

Pronounced; marked pronation, extreme tenderness of plantar surfaces of the feet,  marked inward displacement and severe spasm  of the tendo achillis on manipulation, not improved by orthopedic shoes or appliances:       

Bilateral           50"

In the ratings reg almost everything for limbs is Major or Minor and rated separately, except for "The Foot" which as shown above you can have bilateral foot rating at 50.  So, that is why I question how its added.  As a bilateral or a single when doing the VA math.

Not sure how you could break that apart, etc.

Hamslice

 

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Not sure if this answers your question or not. The majority of my disabilities are bilats, I use a website https://www.microhealthllc.com/veterans-central/bilateral-va-disability-rating-compensation-calculator/ to calculate my ratings (the dollar amount is wrong but the rest works fine). I put my ratings for bilat I have the following:

20% lower left leg nerve; 

20% lower right leg nerve,

20% upper left leg nerve,

20% upper right leg nerve,

10% right hip,

10% left hip,

10% flat feet which comes out to 70% + 7% for a total of 77% which rounds to 80%,

I also have 20% DDD,

10% right hand, and

10% for dermatitis 

The total works out to 86% which rounds to 90%

 

I hope this helps and also makes sense. It's clear as mud to me.

 

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Posted (edited)

Here are the current VA rules regarding bilateral actor to save anyone from having to look it up: 
https://www.benefits.va.gov/warms/docs/regs/38CFR/BOOKC/PART4/S4_26.doc

Quote

§4.26  Bilateral factor.

             When a partial disability results from disease or injury of both arms, or of both legs, or of paired skeletal muscles, the ratings for the disabilities of the right and left sides will be combined as usual, and 10 percent of this value will be added (i.e., not combined) before proceeding with further combinations, or converting to degree of disability. The bilateral factor will be applied to such bilateral disabilities before other combinations are carried out and the rating for such disabilities including the bilateral factor in this section will be treated as 1 disability for the purpose of arranging in order of severity and for all further combinations. For example, with disabilities evaluated at 60 percent, 20 percent, 10 percent and 10 percent (the two 10’s representing bilateral disabilities), the order of severity would be 60, 21 and 20. The 60 and 21 combine to 68 percent and the 68 and 20 to 74 percent, converted to 70 percent as the final degree of disability.

 

            (a) The use of the terms “arms” and “legs” is not intended to distinguish between the arm, forearm and hand, or the thigh, leg, and foot, but relates to the upper extremities and lower extremities as a whole. Thus with a compensable disability of the right thigh, for example, amputation, and one of the left foot, for example, pes planus, the bilateral factor applies, and similarly whenever there are compensable disabilities affecting use of paired extremities regardless of location or specified type of impairment.

 

            (b) The correct procedure when applying the bilateral factor to disabilities affecting both upper extremities and both lower extremities is to combine the ratings of the disabilities affecting the 4 extremities in the order of their individual severity and apply the bilateral factor by adding, not combining, 10 percent of the combined value thus attained.

 

            (c) The bilateral factor is not applicable unless there is partial disability of compensable degree in each of 2 paired extremities, or paired skeletal muscles.

However, M21-1 specifically addresses DC's with one rating for a bilateral condition with the "Note" paragraph:

https://www.benefits.va.gov/warms/docs/admin21/m21_1/mr/part3/subptiv/ch06/m21-1mriii_iv_6_sece.doc

Quote
b. Applying the Bilateral Factor

Whenever there are compensable disabilities affecting the use of both arms, legs or paired skeletal muscles, 38 CFR 4.26  provides that the ratings for the disabilities of the right and left sides will be combined as usual, and 10 percent of this value will be added (i.e., not combined) before proceeding with further combinations, or converting to degree of disability.  This is known as the bilateral factor.

 

Note:  The bilateral factor only applies when there are qualifying “disabilities” of the left and right sides.  Therefore, when a specific DC provides one evaluation for a bilateral condition (for example, 30 percent for bilateral flat feet under DC 5276), only apply the bilateral factor if there is an independently ratable condition in one of the involved extremities (for example, 20 percent for left leg muscle damage under DC 5311).

 

Similarly, the bilateral factor may not be applied to 38 CFR 4.118, DC 7804 as revised in October 2008.  The DC provides for one evaluation based upon the number of scars.

One may speculate having a bilateral 5276 with no other leg/limb issues may be considered a single rating not subject to the bilateral factor. However, if an additional disability also affected one of the legs/limbs, then the bilateral factor may be applied.

I'm not sure if my interpretation is correct, but that appears to be how I read the "Note" paragraph.

Edited by Vync
Added M21-1 info

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