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How is veterans disability compensation calculated?

By   /  March 3, 2016  /  5 Comments

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In order to receive veterans disability compensation, you must first establish that you have a disability stemming from your military service. Once an eligible condition is identified, your level of disability will be scaled by the VA from 0% to 100%, depending on how much it interferes with your normal life functions.

Benefits Begin at the 10% Disability Rating

Monthly benefits are paid to veterans with a disability rating of at least 10%. A 0% rating acknowledges that you have a disability, but that it is not sufficient to entitle you to receive benefits. Even if you receive a rating from 0% – 9% today, it is still worthwhile to have established your claim. If the condition later worsens, you will be glad to have all of the documentation in order.

Payments are graduated according to the degree of disability, from 10% – 100%. A 100% rating means the condition is so disabling that the vet can’t hold steady employment.

The current base payment rates for a veteran with no dependents begins at $127 per month (tax-free) for vets with a 10% disability rating, up to $2,769 for those with a 100% rating. More benefits above this base rate can be provided for families, and certain significant injuries.

The 2012 table of benefits is as follows:

2012 Veterans Disability Compensation Rates for Veterans

Veteran’s Disability Rating

Monthly Rate Paid to Veterans

10 percent


20 percent


30 percent*


40 percent*


50 percent*


60 percent*


70 percent*


80 percent*


90 percent*


100 percent*



The asterisks at the 30% and higher ratings reflect the fact that at those levels, veterans may receive an additional allowance for any dependents. The total monthly payment can rise to $3285 for a veteran with dependents who is 100% disabled.

Veterans with multiple conditions typically are rated at the highest levels, but for most, the percentage is much lower. For example, one state estimates that the majority of its veterans receiving disability benefits have a disability rating of from 10% to 30%. According to the DVA, “the degrees of disability specified are also designed to compensate for considerable loss of working time from exacerbations or illnesses.” The determination is “based on the evidence you submit as part of your claim, or that VA obtains from your military records.”

Additional payment details

In some cases, other types of assistance being paid out to veterans may offset the level of disability payment.  You may get paid less for your disability because they will take other VA compensation into account.  These include retirement pay from the military, disability severance pay, Special Separation Benefits and Voluntary Separation Incentives.

Veterans disability compensation is a tax-free monthly payment. Most Veterans receive their disability payments via direct deposit to their bank or credit union account. You can also choose to have your benefits mailed by paper check, or sent via a prepaid debit card — even if you do not have a bank account.

How can I be sure they rate my disability accurately?

The best way to ensure that you receive the proper rating for your disability is to file a well-detailed claim backed up with solid evidence. Experts advise that when you apply, focus less on naming your condition than on listing all of your symptoms. The VA is obligated to follow-up on each symptom listed, and those symptoms may point to more or different conditions than you were aware of. This will help them assign the most accurate rating for your disability.

The DVA emphasizes the importance of fully developing your claim. See the article on “Veterans Disability Benefits-How do I apply?” for additional advice on the application process.

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  1. nirmal ray says:

    my ssa case is1997.my employer cheat with me.i went to saipan for security guard. but my employer not give me job.then i back my country.and then i contact ssa office u.s. a they reply i have no work record.if copany not give job, how i work.tell me.so i want compensation.

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Nirmal,

      For the Social Security Administration to have a record of your work, your employer would have to have paid Social Security taxes on your earnings and would have to have sent those taxes and the Social Security taxes withheld from your paycheck to the U.S. Department of Internal Revenue (IRS). If they did not pay the taxes, you do not have Social Security work credits. If you have proof of your wages in the form of W-2 forms or pay stubs, you can present those to Social Security as proof of your wages, and they will try to get the taxes from your employer.


  2. Chief says:

    Good article! I also found a free iphone app (My VA Benefits) that calculates the disability and tells me what medical information I need to provide to the VA.

    • USMCVeteran says:

      I have always been confused about how the VA combines your service connected disability percentages. I always thought they just added them together. Found an iPhone app called “VetCalc” that really helped me out. The website was helpful too in terms of explaining why its so important to verify your combined percentage. The website is http://www.VetCalc.com

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