If you served in the United States military, you may be entitled to money for your service-connected disabilities. The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) provides compensation to veterans who have a physical or mental health condition that either began or was aggravated during service.
A veteran may be eligible for benefits if they served on active duty, activity duty, or inactive duty training, and they have a service-connected disability. The exact amount of the monthly benefit is based on your disability rating. It can be challenging to figure out exactly how much money you may receive, particularly if you have more than one disability that is linked to your service. The VA does not simply add up your disability ratings; instead, if you have multiple disabilities, it uses a formula to calculate a disability rating.
At Bross & Frankel, we understand how hard the process of applying for and receiving disability benefits can be for veterans. Although the VA does not allow veterans to be represented by an attorney for their initial application, we firmly believe in helping the men and women who have bravely served our country. That is why we offer free claim reviews for veterans — and why we have put together this veteran’s disability benefits calculator.
Who Should Use This Calculator
This Disability Benefits Calculator was designed to be used by veterans of the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, and Coast Guard who have a service-connected disability. Whether you are just starting the VA process or are waiting for a decision, you can use this tool to get an idea of what compensation you may be entitled to based on your level of disability.
There are basic eligibility requirements for VA disability benefits. To qualify, you must:
- Have served on active duty, active duty for training, or inactivity duty for training;
- Have a disability rating for a service-connected condition, AND one of the following must be true:
- You got sick or were injured while serving in the military, and this condition can be linked to your current illness or injury (in-service disability claim);
- You had an illness or injury before you joined the military, and your service made it worse (preservice disability claim); OR
- You have a disability related to your active-duty service that did not appear until after you separated from service (postservice disability claim).
If you received an other than honorable (OTH), dishonorable, or bad conduct discharge, you may not qualify for benefits.
The amount of compensation that you receive is based on your disability rating. This rating is a number — expressed as a percentage — that is based on the severity of your service-connected condition. The number represents how much your service-connected disability impacts your overall health and ability to function.
A disability rating is based on the medical evidence that you provide to the VA, the results of a VA claim exam, and information received from other sources. If you have more than one service-connected disability, then you may receive a combined rating that is based on a combined ratings table.
For example, if you have been diagnosed with PTSD in connection with your military service, then you may be given a 0, 30, 50, 70, or 100% disability rating. The exact rating will be determined based on a schedule for your specific condition, based on the symptoms that you experience. If you have mild symptoms, you may receive a 30% rating, but if you have significant symptoms, such as suicidal ideation and impaired impulse control, then you may receive a 70% rating.
Once you have a disability rating (or combined rating), you can then find your benefit amount using the current compensation schedule. The amount that you receive is based on a number of factors, including whether you have dependents, the number of dependents, and who those dependents are (parents, spouse, and/or children). Our disability benefits calculator simplifies the process by asking you a few questions and providing a benefit amount.
How to Use The Disability Benefits Calculator
This tool is very straightforward and easy to use. To start, you will need your disability rating or combined rating.
At the top of the calculator, you will notice the Combined Disability Percentage which will start at 0%. This will automatically update as you add information to the calculator.
If you have more than one disability, repeat the process for each location.
Start by selecting the location of your disability. For this calculator, your options are: left arm, right leg, mental, internal, spine. Below that click on the disability rating associated with that location. These percentage ratings increase by 10%.
You will note that an outlined white box will appear below for each disability location and rating. If you notice you accidentally added the wrong information, you can simply click the x to delete that result.
In the next section, you will be asked if you have dependent children (plus the number of kids and their ages), your marital status, and the number of dependent parents that you have. You will need to answer these questions by selecting an option on the drop-down box or clicking the appropriate button.
Lastly, review the results. The calculator will give you an estimate of your combined disability rating and monthly benefit amount based on the information that you input.
For example, if you are single with no dependents, and have a 70% rating for a left leg disability and a 10% rating for a mental condition, then your estimated combined disability rating is 70%.
Your estimated benefits amount is $1,403.71
You may wonder why your combined rating is 70%. The reason is that the VA takes the largest rating out of 100%, and each subsequent rating is taken from what is left. That number is then rounded up to the nearest 10. In the example above, the 10% rating is taken out of the 30 left when the initial 70% is taken out of 100. 10% of 30 is 3%, so the combined rating is 73%. This is then rounded down to the closest 10, or 70%.
The way that the VA determines combined disability ratings can be confusing. That is why our disability benefits calculator is such a useful tool, as it does this complicated math for you.
What Do the Results Mean?
The numbers that you get from the benefits calculator are not a guarantee of the disability rating or award that you will receive. Instead, they are meant to give you a rough idea of how much you may be entitled to based on your disability and the number of dependents that you have.
These numbers may change significantly based on the VA’s assessment of your disability, and if your family situation changes. In the example above, if you were married with three children under the age of 18, then your potential benefit amount would increase to $801.73. If your disability rating also decreased to 30%, then the benefit amount would drop to $566.83.
This calculator is a starting point to help you figure out the amount of benefits that you may be entitled to if you file an application with the VA. If you have additional questions, reach out to a veterans benefits attorney to schedule a free claim review.
Ready to Learn More? We Can Help.
The VA benefits system is known for being complicated. If you are already dealing with a disability-related to your service, you may be overwhelmed at the thought of applying for benefits.
While we cannot represent veterans until an initial rating decision has been issued, our law firm is happy to help veterans understand the process. If you decide to appeal any part of your VA benefits determination, including a disability rating, the team at Bross & Frankel is happy to assist. To learn more or to schedule a free claim review, call us today at (866) 327-2383 or contact us online.