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VA Disability Calculator: Combined Ratings Explained


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The VA Disability Calculator page will open in a new window.

When the VA page opens, scroll down to locate the calculator.

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Summary: The VA Disability Calculator uses a unique "VA Math" method to compute combined impairment ratings for veterans with multiple service-connected conditions. Instead of simply adding up the percentages of each condition, the VA uses a combined rating table and a concept of "Whole Person Remaining." Each subsequent rating is a reduction of the whole person remaining. For instance, if a veteran has a 30% rating for one condition and a 40% rating for another, the total rating is not 70% but 60%. This is because the 30% rating is applied to the 70% of the person who is not already disabled by the first condition.

In short.

  • If the VA finds that a Veteran has multiple disabilities, the VA uses the Combined Rating Table below to calculate a combined disability rating.
  • Disability ratings are not additive, meaning that if a Veteran has one disability rated 60% and a second disability 20%, the combined rating is not 80%.
  • This is because subsequent disability ratings are applied to an already disabled Veteran, so the 20% disability is applied to a Veteran who is already 60% disabled.
  • If you have multiple service-connected conditions — VA will combine them using VA Math.

Here's how it works:

  • VA starts with the premise that every veteran is 100 percent efficient or not disabled.
  • So, if a veteran has a disability rating of 20 percent, the VA sees them as 80 percent non-disabled and 20 percent disabled.
  • To include another disability rating of 10 percent, the VA will take 10 percent of the 80 percent non-disabled portion and add it to the existing 20 percent rating.
  • This brings the veteran’s total disability rating to 28 percent, which will be rounded to 30 percent.
  • This process continues with each disability rating the veteran has.

How does the VA calculate a Veteran's percentage of disability? In this episode of theSITREP, Paul Corbett explains "VA Math" with a simple, step-by-step example. 

 

Transcript
0:00 Hello and welcome to another episode of the SITREP. I am a Marine Corps Veteran,  
0:04 Paul Corbett, and a topic that tons  of you out there have emailed us about  
0:09 is how does VA calculate your percentage of  service-connected disability, or what many  
0:15 refers to VA math. We are going to break it down  Barney-style with a very simple process to follow,  
0:22, but first, do me a favor and hit that like button  and be sure to subscribe so you don’t miss  
0:27 future episodes, and you can help us reach as many  Veterans as possible. So, VA math: how is it,  
0:35 Hypothetically, a Veteran can receive 40%  for their back, 30% for their knee, and 20%  
0:42 for hearing loss, which all adds up to 90%, but VA  awards you with 70% service-connected disability  
0:50 instead? The answer isn’t really that difficult to figure out. When calculating disability, you  
0:56 want to first begin with the largest and work your way down to the smallest, as seen on the screen.  
1:03 Starting with the back, we are going to take 100%, which is the current remainder  
1:08 and will make more sense in a minute, and subtract the sum of 100% times 40%. It is important that  
1:15 we remember the order of operations, where we  calculate what is in the parenthesis first,  
1:21, which equals 40%, we then subtract that from 100%, and we end up with a remainder of 60%.  
1:28 Now, with the knee, we want to start with the remainder, which is 60%. So, much like the  
1:34 equation above, 60% minus the sum of 60% times  30%, which is 18%, equals a remainder of 42%.  
1:45 We continue this process for hearing. We begin  with the remainder of the previous line,  
1:50, so we have 42%, minus the sum of 42% times  20%, which is 8.4%, and gives us a remainder of  
1:59 33.6%. Now that we have calculated each one of our  disabilities, we want to subtract the remainder  
2:06 from 100%, which would be 100% minus 33.6%, equals  66.4%. However, VA always rounds to the nearest  
2:18 10, so in this case, your disability rating would be rounded up to 70%. This is important  
2:24 to keep in mind, though, yes, you are rated at 70% disability, but your actual rating is 66.4%.  
2:32 Say you later receive a 10% rating for your shoulder. The current remainder is 33.6%  
2:39, and when you follow the same process as the other  disabilities we calculated, you end up with the  
2:44 It is exactly the same disability rating as before. So again,  remember, just because you are awarded a new or  
2:51 slightly higher percentages of disability, it does  not mean that your rating will change - it may  
2:57 stays the same. One last thing: there are special  circumstances where a Veteran’s disability may be  
3:04 calculated completely differently. Such is the  case with Veterans who are permanently disabled,  
3:09 have bilateral injuries or other circumstances.  To learn more about about this topic,  
3:14 look for links in the video description below  and, more importantly, be sure to check out all  
3:20 of our YouTube playlists that cover VA disability,  pensions, health care, home loans, and much more.

 

Chris Attig of the popular Veterans Law Blog explains it.

“Chris, if you add up all my VA Ratings for all my disabilities, I’m over 250% disabled. Why am I still getting paid at a 90% level?”  

This question – or one like it – pops into my inbox several times weekly. The short answer is this: when you have multiple ratings for multiple medical conditions, the VA doesn’t ADD them together – it COMBINES them. The VA Combined Ratings Formula causes Veterans – and frankly, many VSOs and attorneys a lot of angst. And it did for me, too, until I learned one thing: the Secret behind VA Math. Before I tell you the Secret to Understanding Veterans Affairs Math, let me show you the easy way to do combined ratings. From Chris Attig, The Veterans Law Blog

VA Math It’s Not Your Mother’s Arithmetic

“VA Math” is how the VA computes combined impairment ratings for multiple conditions in a Veteran’s compensation benefits claim – and it requires that you unlearn real math. When a Veteran has multiple medical conditions that are service-connected, and the Veterans Affairs rates each at a different percentage, it would seem that they should add up your percentages to get to a total body impairment rating.

The Easy Way to Do Combined Ratings.

The VA publishes a combined rating table to assist in these calculations. The VA Combined Ratings Table is a table that shows your total impairment percentage when you have more than one disabling service-connected condition. List your disabilities, highest to lowest, with the percentage of impairment next to it. Start with the highest, and then one by one, use the above linked combined rating table to combine your remaining rating.

The Secret Behind VA Math and the Combined Ratings Table.

“VA Math” is how the VA computes combined impairment ratings for multiple conditions in a Veteran’s compensation claim – and it requires that you unlearn real math. When a Veteran has multiple medical conditions that are service-connected, and the VA rates each at a different percentage, it would seem that they should add up your percentages to get to a total body impairment rating. Things are not as they seem. If a Veteran has a 30% rating for condition A and a 40% rating for Condition B, the total rating is NOT 70%. The VA does not add multiple ratings to get a total rating; instead, they use a formula to get a combined rating. The VA computes the combined rating by considering each disability in order of severity, beginning with the highest evaluation. In the above example, the VA Combined Rating for the two conditions is 60%, not 70%. Here’s the secret to understanding the VA Combined Ratings Table. Your ratings are combined based on the concept of “Whole Person Remaining.” The idea is that if you have NO disabilities, you are a 100% whole person. If you have a 30% disability, you are 30% disabled and 70% whole. Each subsequent rating is a REDUCTION of the whole person remaining.

The VA Combined Ratings Table in Practice.

How does the VA get that combined rating? For example, where Condition A is rated at 30%, and Condition B is rated at 40%,

the VA math works like this: Most severe rating: 40%. Second most severe rating: 30%. Combined rating: 60%. Here’s how we got there: the second rating of 30% is multiplied by the % of the whole person remaining after the 40% rating. In this example, 30% (second rating) is multiplied by 60% (percent of the whole person remaining after 40% rating). This means that while condition A limits the person to a 30-degree rate, it only limits 30% of the WHOLE person. So if the person is 0% impaired (with a 100% whole person value remaining), the condition limits them to 30%. But if the person is already 40% disabled by another condition, Condition A can only limit the “whole person that remains.” It’s a tough concept to grasp, but in a way, it makes some sense. So, in our example, the second rating of 30% adds 18% to the initial rating of 40%, yielding a combined rating of 58%. The 58% rating is rounded up to 60%. Does this make sense? I don’t think so – this type of formula is a 50+-year-old calculation used by insurance companies in, commonly, workers’ compensation claims. Regardless of the archaic and non-sensical formula, here’s the deal. It’s the way it is. And in the great mess of tangled red tape that is the VA Bureaucracy, there are many fights we need to fight and win before going after this one.

Combined Ratings

Example of Combining Three Disabilities

If three disabilities are ratable at 60 percent, 40 percent, and 20 percent, respectively, the combined value for the first two will be found opposite 60 and under 40 and is 76 percent. This 76 will be found in the left column, then the 20 rating in the top row. The intersection of these two ratings is 81. Thus, the final rating will be rounded to 80%.

If the VA finds that a Veteran has multiple disabilities, the VA uses the Combined Rating Table below to calculate a combined disability rating. Disability ratings are not additive, meaning that if a Veteran has one disability rated 60% and a second disability 20%, the combined rating is not 80%. This is because subsequent disability ratings are applied to an already disabled Veteran, so the 20% disability is applied to a Veteran who is already 60% disabled. Below are the steps VA takes to combine ratings for more than one disability and examples using the Combined Rating Table to illustrate how combined ratings are calculated.

  • The disabilities are first arranged in the exact order of their severity, beginning with the greatest disability and then combined with the use of the Combined Rating Table below.

Combined Rating Table:

Ten is combined with (not added) 10 and = 19

Click Here to view the Combined Rating Table

 

10                    20           30           40           50           60           70           80           90

 

19................... 27.......... 35.......... 43.......... 51.......... 60.......... 68.......... 76.......... 84.......... 92

20................... 28.......... 36.......... 44.......... 52.......... 60.......... 68.......... 76.......... 84.......... 92

21................... 29.......... 37.......... 45.......... 53.......... 61.......... 68.......... 76.......... 84.......... 92

22................... 30.......... 38.......... 45.......... 53.......... 61.......... 69.......... 77.......... 84.......... 92

23................... 31.......... 38.......... 46.......... 54.......... 62.......... 69.......... 77.......... 85.......... 92

24................... 32.......... 39.......... 47.......... 54.......... 62.......... 70.......... 77.......... 85.......... 92

25................... 33.......... 40.......... 48.......... 55.......... 63.......... 70.......... 78.......... 85.......... 93

26................... 33.......... 41.......... 48.......... 56.......... 63.......... 70.......... 78.......... 85.......... 93

27................... 34.......... 42.......... 49.......... 56.......... 64.......... 71.......... 78.......... 85.......... 93

28................... 35.......... 42.......... 50.......... 57.......... 64.......... 71.......... 78.......... 86.......... 93

29................... 36.......... 43.......... 50.......... 57.......... 65.......... 72.......... 79.......... 86.......... 93

30................... 37.......... 44.......... 51.......... 58.......... 65.......... 72.......... 79.......... 86.......... 93

31................... 38.......... 45.......... 52.......... 59.......... 66.......... 72.......... 79.......... 86.......... 93

32................... 39.......... 46.......... 52.......... 59.......... 66.......... 73.......... 80.......... 86.......... 93

33................... 40.......... 46.......... 53.......... 60.......... 67.......... 73.......... 80.......... 87.......... 93

34................... 41.......... 47.......... 54.......... 60.......... 67.......... 74.......... 80.......... 87.......... 93

35................... 42.......... 48.......... 55.......... 61.......... 68.......... 74.......... 81.......... 87.......... 94

36................... 42.......... 49.......... 55.......... 62.......... 68.......... 74.......... 81.......... 87.......... 94

37................... 43.......... 50.......... 56.......... 62.......... 69.......... 75.......... 81.......... 87.......... 94

38................... 44.......... 50.......... 57.......... 63.......... 69.......... 75.......... 81.......... 88.......... 94

39................... 45.......... 51.......... 57.......... 63.......... 70.......... 76.......... 82.......... 88.......... 94

40................... 46.......... 52.......... 58.......... 64.......... 70.......... 76.......... 82.......... 88.......... 94

41................... 47.......... 53.......... 59.......... 65.......... 71.......... 76.......... 82.......... 88.......... 94

42................... 48.......... 54.......... 59.......... 65.......... 71.......... 77.......... 83.......... 88.......... 94

43................... 49.......... 54.......... 60.......... 66.......... 72.......... 77.......... 83.......... 89.......... 94

44................... 50.......... 55.......... 61.......... 66.......... 72.......... 78.......... 83.......... 89.......... 94

45................... 51.......... 56.......... 62.......... 67.......... 73.......... 78.......... 84.......... 89.......... 95

46................... 51.......... 57.......... 62.......... 68.......... 73.......... 78.......... 84.......... 89.......... 95

47................... 52.......... 58.......... 63.......... 68.......... 74.......... 79.......... 84.......... 89.......... 95

48................... 53.......... 58.......... 64.......... 69.......... 74.......... 79.......... 84.......... 90.......... 95

49................... 54.......... 59.......... 64.......... 69.......... 75.......... 80.......... 85.......... 90.......... 95

50................... 55.......... 60.......... 65.......... 70.......... 75.......... 80.......... 85.......... 90.......... 95

51................... 56.......... 61.......... 66.......... 71.......... 76.......... 80.......... 85.......... 90.......... 95

52................... 57.......... 62.......... 66.......... 71.......... 76.......... 81.......... 86.......... 90.......... 95

53................... 58.......... 62.......... 67.......... 72.......... 77.......... 81.......... 86.......... 91.......... 95

54................... 59.......... 63.......... 68.......... 72.......... 77.......... 82.......... 86.......... 91.......... 95

55................... 60.......... 64.......... 69.......... 73.......... 78.......... 82.......... 87.......... 91.......... 96

56................... 60.......... 65.......... 69.......... 74.......... 78.......... 82.......... 87.......... 91.......... 96

57................... 61.......... 66.......... 70.......... 74.......... 79.......... 83.......... 87.......... 91.......... 96

58................... 62.......... 66.......... 71.......... 75.......... 79.......... 83.......... 87.......... 92.......... 96

59................... 63.......... 67.......... 71.......... 75.......... 80.......... 84.......... 88.......... 92.......... 96

60................... 64.......... 68.......... 72.......... 76.......... 80.......... 84.......... 88.......... 92.......... 96

61................... 65.......... 69.......... 73.......... 77.......... 81.......... 84.......... 88.......... 92.......... 96

62................... 66.......... 70.......... 73.......... 77.......... 81.......... 85.......... 89.......... 92.......... 96

 

Table I—Combined Ratings Table (cont.)

 

                        10           20           30           40           50           60           70           80           90

 

63................... 67.......... 70.......... 74.......... 78.......... 82.......... 85.......... 89.......... 93.......... 96

64................... 68.......... 71.......... 75.......... 78.......... 82.......... 86.......... 89.......... 93.......... 96

65................... 69.......... 72.......... 76.......... 79.......... 83.......... 86.......... 90.......... 93.......... 97

66................... 69.......... 73.......... 76.......... 80.......... 83.......... 86.......... 90.......... 93.......... 97

67................... 70.......... 74.......... 77.......... 80.......... 84.......... 87.......... 90.......... 93.......... 97

68................... 71.......... 74.......... 78.......... 81.......... 84.......... 87.......... 90.......... 94.......... 97

69................... 72.......... 75.......... 78.......... 81.......... 85.......... 88.......... 91.......... 94.......... 97

70................... 73.......... 76.......... 79.......... 82.......... 85.......... 88.......... 91.......... 94.......... 97

71................... 74.......... 77.......... 80.......... 83.......... 86.......... 88.......... 91.......... 94.......... 97

72................... 75.......... 78.......... 80.......... 83.......... 86.......... 89.......... 92.......... 94.......... 97

73................... 76.......... 78.......... 81.......... 84.......... 87.......... 89.......... 92.......... 95.......... 97

74................... 77.......... 79.......... 82.......... 84.......... 87.......... 90.......... 92.......... 95.......... 97

75................... 78.......... 80.......... 83.......... 85.......... 88.......... 90.......... 93.......... 95.......... 98

76................... 78.......... 81.......... 83.......... 86.......... 88.......... 90.......... 93.......... 95.......... 98

77................... 79.......... 82.......... 84.......... 86.......... 89.......... 91.......... 93.......... 95.......... 98

78................... 80.......... 82.......... 85.......... 87.......... 89.......... 91.......... 93.......... 96.......... 98

79................... 81.......... 83.......... 85.......... 87.......... 90.......... 92.......... 94.......... 96.......... 98

80................... 82.......... 84.......... 86.......... 88.......... 90.......... 92.......... 94.......... 96.......... 98

81................... 83.......... 85.......... 87.......... 89.......... 91.......... 92.......... 94.......... 96.......... 98

82................... 84.......... 86.......... 87.......... 89.......... 91.......... 93.......... 95.......... 96.......... 98

83................... 85.......... 86.......... 88.......... 90.......... 92.......... 93.......... 95.......... 97.......... 98

84................... 86.......... 87.......... 89.......... 90.......... 92.......... 94.......... 95.......... 97.......... 98

85................... 87.......... 88.......... 90.......... 91.......... 93.......... 94.......... 96.......... 97.......... 99

86................... 87.......... 89.......... 90.......... 92.......... 93.......... 94.......... 96.......... 97.......... 99

87................... 88.......... 90.......... 91.......... 92.......... 94.......... 95.......... 96.......... 97.......... 99

88................... 89.......... 90.......... 92.......... 93.......... 94.......... 95.......... 96.......... 98.......... 99

89................... 90.......... 91.......... 92.......... 93.......... 95.......... 96.......... 97.......... 98.......... 99

90................... 91.......... 92.......... 93.......... 94.......... 95.......... 96.......... 97.......... 98.......... 99

91................... 92.......... 93.......... 94.......... 95.......... 96.......... 96.......... 97.......... 98.......... 99

92................... 93.......... 94.......... 94.......... 95.......... 96.......... 97.......... 98.......... 98.......... 99

93................... 94.......... 94.......... 95.......... 96.......... 97.......... 97.......... 98.......... 99.......... 99

94................... 95.......... 95.......... 96.......... 96.......... 97.......... 98.......... 98.......... 99.......... 99

 

  • The degree of one disability will be read in the left column and the degree of the other in the top row, whichever is appropriate.
  • The figures appearing in the space where the column and row intersect will represent the combined value of the two.
  • This combined value is rounded to the nearest 10%.
  • If there are more than two disabilities, the combined value for the first two will be found as previously described for two disabilities.
  • The exact combined value (without rounding yet) is combined with the degree of the third disability.
  • This process continues for subsequent disabilities, and the final number is rounded to the nearest 10%.

Source: What’s the Secret to Understanding the Veterans Affairs Combined Ratings Table? Chris Attig The Veterans Law Blog


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