How Does VA Determine My Overall Percentage?

By Douglas I. Friedman of Friedman Law Firm, P.C.

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

VA does not add the percentages for each of your service-connected disabilities. So, if you have 30% for your back, and 10% for your sinuses, and 10% for PTSD, the total benefit is not 50%. Instead, it is 30%, plus 10% of the remaining 70% of your body, which is 7; and then 10% of the remaining 63% of your body, which is 6.3 (counted as 6 rounded down). So the overall percentage is 30 + 7 + 6, which is 43, which rounds down to 40.

This is why it is so difficult to have a combination of impairments that equal an overall of 100%. As your overall percentage goes up, you will usually need a benefit at a high percentage to reach 100%.

So, we often advise clients that, rather than try to get the overall percentage to 100%, they should try to get a benefit amount equal to 100%, even though their overall percentage is less than 100%. How can this be done? It can be done by proving Individual Unemployability, or in VA talk, “IU.”

IU means that you can’t perform a substantially gainful occupation due to your service-connected conditions. While the rating percentages themselves just consider medical considerations, IU also considers your education and work history. For example, if you have a high school education and have performed jobs on your feet your whole life, you are more likely to receive IU.

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