Explaining the VA disability system

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When it comes to VA disability or life insurance, it can be a tricky subject to discuss. Discussions about veterans always have to be done with care.

The subject is a complex one, made all the more so by the use of ambiguous terminology. When people talk about permanent, schedular, and extra schedular ratings, it is easy to see where confusion arises. So what do these terms really mean? How are they different? Well, we hope to shed some light on these in the following article. Hopefully, by the end of it, you will be a little bit more knowledgeable on the subject.

The VA disability rating method is complicated. Veterans are often left confused by the rating they have been given. When they eventually work it out for themselves, many veterans often question whether they have been given the right rating and often want to know what to do about it. We won’t be going into that in detail in this article, but if you want to know things like how to increase VA disability from 80 to 100, click on the link for a more in-depth guide.

Normal or Schedular

Upon application for VA disability, your service and medical records will be examined, along with any records you have accrued since you left.

If you have a medical condition, it will be looked up in the Code of Federal Regulations. This document lists all of the disabilities currently recognized by the military and government. Every condition listed will have a specific code which is relevant to the severity of the condition.

90% of conditions are listed this way, which is the most common way veterans are rated.

Extra-Schedular ratings.

Sometimes a veteran’s condition does not match any conditions listed in the VA’s document for rating conditions. When this happens, you have to apply for either an extra-schedular or analogous rating. This is a system put in place for those who think their condition has been caused by service to the military

For example, if you believe that using tank-fuel during your service has lead to a skin-condition. If this skin condition is not listed in the normal VA disabilities list, you may at first be denied a disability rating.

This is when you would appeal and apply for one of the above. As long as you or a professional can prove that your condition has been caused from serving in the military, your case will be evaluated, and you will be given a rating.

Permanent and Total Disability Rating

This is a rating given when you have an untreatable condition or one that will never improve. These also add up, so if you have more than one condition that will not improve as a result of serving, they are added up. This can lead to a rating of up to 100%.

You can also gain a temporary rating of 100%, this happens in cases such as after a hip surgery. In this scenario, you will be able to claim 100% disability for the duration of your recovery.

Importance of Hiring a VA-Certified Veterans Disability Attorney

If you need to upgrade a discharge or appeal a denied disability compensation, it’s important to consult one of the best veterans benefits lawyers. A veteran’s disability lawyer understands that applying for disability benefits can be a long and frustrating process. That’s why it’s best to hire a lawyer who knows how to legally work with the Department of Veterans Affairs to avoid headaches going through your own. 

A veterans benefits lawyer can provide legal assistance to help you get more benefits that you’re entitled to. Thus, by being represented by a lawyer, you have peace of mind to entrust your case to someone who knows the complexity of VA laws and regulations.

When Do You Need to Hire a Lawyer? 

If it’s your first time applying for VA benefits, you don’t really need to hire a lawyer because you can rely on the veteran’s service organization agent to assist you with your VA benefits application. 

The time you should consult a lawyer, however, is if you already applied for VA disability benefits but got denied, and you want to file an appeal or discharge an upgrade to be eligible for VA benefits.

What Do You Need to Ask a VA Disability Lawyer?

Choose a lawyer who’s highly competent in VA matters by asking some of these questions:

  • Are you a VA-accredited lawyer?
  • How many years have you’ve been practicing veteran law?
  • When was the last time you have attended a veteran’s law training?
  • Can you help me get the soonest effective date for my benefits?
  • How do I get the highest possible disability rating?
  • Can you represent me through my VA benefits appeal?

If you’re appealing to the United States Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims (CAVC), find a lawyer who’s admitted to VA disability practice before the court. 

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