I am rated 40% by the VA for one disability and 10% for another; why isn’t my overall rating 50%?

By / April 21, 2017 / Veterans Disability / 3 Comments

Find out how the Veterans Administration determines your percentage of disability for VA compensation when you have more than one disability.

If a VA compensation claim results in a benefit approval, the VA will assign a disability rating. A VA benefit award can result in a combination of several disabilities, which are rated at different percentages.

For example, a veteran can have one rating of 40% for a back injury, a rating of 10% for tinnitus, and a rating of 20% for a knee injury. The combined rating is not the sum of the individual ratings.  In this example, the combined rating is not 70% (i.e., the total of each individual rating, 40% + 10% + 20%). Rather the combined rating is 60%.

The combined rating is based upon a series of calculations, which the VA describes as the efficiency to perform work factor. The calculations begin with sorting the individual rating percentages descending from the highest to the lowest rating. In the example under consideration, you sort the percentages descending from  40% to 20% to 10%. Then, subtract the highest from 100% (which result in 60%).

When the VA establishes that the veteran is 40% disabled for the back injury, that veteran has a remaining efficiency to perform work at a 60% level. Then, looking at the example, the veteran is 20% disabled from the knee injury. The next calculation takes this efficiency into account. According to the VA, the veteran can only perform 20% times the 60% of the remaining efficiency,  which is 12%. The VA adds this remaining efficiency rating to the first rating of 40%, which results in a combined rating of 52%.

The next step is to account for the 10% rating for tinnitus. The VA subtracts the result of the last step 52% from 100%, which gives us the remaining efficiency to perform work of 48%. The VA multiplies 48% times 10%, which produces 4.8%, rounded up to 5%. They then add the first stage combined rating of 52% to second stage of 5%. The total is 57%. The final number is rounded up to 60%. It is not the 70% rating that you would have anticipated it to be by simply adding all three ratings together.

If the example considered here had had more than three individual ratings, then more calculations would have been needed to take into account the efficiency to perform work for the other additional individual ratings.

I am rated 40% by the VA for one disability and 10% for another; why isn’t my overall rating 50%?
5 (100%) 1 vote

  • Dear Alex,

    You can submit any medical evidence you want. The VA cannot reject which physician you choose you obtain a professional medical opinion. There is no VA determination of acceptability.

    Each claim appeal is unique so it is impossible to advise you which way to proceed in an appeal. To make such a opinion would involve a review of your entire claim file, page by page. Generally speaking, if you have a current claim which is open, then you should appeal that claim to keep it alive since the date of retroactivity for benefits is determined by the date your claim was filed.

    Sincerely,
    Craig L. Ames
    Accredited VA Attorney

  • Dear Alex,

    Certainly you could request a consultation with a board certified surgeon in the region or city where you currently reside. That physician can provide you with an independent third party professional evaluation and write an opinion letter for submission to the VA.

    Sincerely,
    Craig L. Ames
    Accredited VA Attorney

  • Dear Alex,

    You need to arrange a consultation with the surgeon and request a written report of your medical history, the surgery performed and a professional opinion as to whether or not the treatment provided is connected to an in-service injury.

    Sincerely,
    Craig L. Ames
    Accredited VA Attorney

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