What is a 100 Percent VA Disability Rating?
The term “100 percent disabled” in reference to disability benefits from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) can be confusing because it can mean different things in different contexts.
Because there are several paths to achieving a 100 percent disability rating, our New Jersey veterans’ disability attorneys explain the various types of 100 percent VA disability ratings and how they affect your ability to work. For more information about the benefits you may be eligible for, contact us today for a free, no obligation review of your claim.
Types of 100 Percent Disability Ratings
A disability rating is the percentage the VA assigns to your disability when determining your eligibility for different types of benefits. It also determines the compensation rate you will receive.
Ratings range from zero to 100 percent in 10-percent increments. Those with a lower percentage are considered to be less impacted by a disability than those with a higher percentage.
According to the Department of Veterans Affairs Code § 3.340, the different types of 100 percent disability ratings include:
A service-connected disability stems from an injury that occurred or was aggravated during your service. Veterans with this type of 100 disability rating are still able to hold gainful employment, which is defined as being able to earn a livelihood.
Total Disability/Individual Unemployability (TDIU)
This category applies if you request benefits at a 100 percent disabled rate even though your disability rating is below 100 percent. This type of claim can be made if you have a service-connected disability that prevents you from maintaining gainful employment.
To fall within this category, you must meet the following requirements:
- You have a single disability with a rating of 40 or 60 percent coupled with additional disabilities that equal 70 percent or more.
- You have medical documentation that establishes that you cannot work in either physical or sedentary jobs
This type of award is sometimes awarded to veterans who do not meet the percentage criteria but can show that their disabilities create a distinctive barrier to obtaining gainful employment.
Due to the requirements for this classification, veterans who receive a 100 percent disability rating for TDIU cannot work full time. However, they may be able to work part-time or in marginal employment subject to an annual income limitation.
Temporary 100 Percent Disability
A veteran can achieve this rating if he or she meets one of the following requirements:
- Was hospitalized for a minimum of 21 days
- Underwent surgery that requires a minimum recovery period of at least 30 days
This rating allows the veteran to be paid the maximum compensation during the hospitalization or recovery period.
Permanent and Total Disability
When the VA acknowledges that there is no likelihood that the condition will improve and the veteran is expected to stay at this disability level, permanent and total disability can be awarded. This type of rating provides additional benefits to the veteran, such as educational benefits for dependents.
Contact Our Veterans’ Disability Attorneys
The VA system is complex and it is usually in a veteran’s best interests to work with an experienced veterans’ disability benefits attorney when requesting compensation.
The proper forms and evidence must be presented to the VA to avoid an administrative denial. A veterans’ attorney can explain the different types of disability ratings and caution the veteran about certain filings that may impact their claim.