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100 Percent VA Disability Benefits: Understand Your Claim Options

Tucker Law Group
February 4, 2021

Disabled veterans across the United States often have a difficult time recovering the disability benefits they need from the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). The VA does not make it easy to recover disability benefits. If the VA denies your claim or you disagree with its rating, discuss your case with an experienced VA disability attorney. At the Tucker Law Group, our VA disability lawyers can help you understand your legal options and guide you through the VA disability appeals process. We can build your case and help you seek 100 percent VA disability benefits.

Topics Covered on 100 Percent VA Disability Benefits:


What Is a 100 Percent VA Disability Rating?

Disabled veterans seeking benefits must apply and receive a disability rating before collecting. After deciding that condition occurred during or caused by military service, the VA assigns disability ratings based on the severity of the veteran’s condition. It also considers how that disability will impact the veteran’s life moving forward and his or her ability to earn an income. Disability ratings range from 0 to 100 using VA’s Schedule for Rating Disability. If you have more than one rated condition, VA will issue a combined total rating. If the VA assigns you a 100 percent VA disability rating, you will receive the maximum scheduler compensation.

Below we discuss how the VA combines ratings assigned for multiple disabilities and how you can find the newest compensation rates. Unfortunately, the VA does not simply add ratings together to get a combined rating. Instead, they have a formula. In the video below, we explain how that formula works to combine ratings.


VA Math 101: How the VA Combines Ratings

If you are a veteran and have more than one disability rated by the VA, you may be wondering how the VA actually calculated your overall disability rating. You are not alone. We often hear clients ask about this VA math. As it is not simple addition, attorney John V. Tucker explains how the VA combines ratings in the Veterans Administration Math 101 video.


2021 Compensation Rates

In 2021, the VA disability rates increased by 1.3 percent (the cost of living adjustment). Disabled veterans with over 30 percent and up to 100 percent VA disability rating can collect more compensation if they have a spouse, parents and children.

How much can you receive? Here are the newest rates for disabled veterans with 100 percent ratings.


How to Obtain 100 Percent Service-Connected Disability

As you may imagine, there is considerably higher monthly compensation when the VA assigns a 100 percent disability rating. Many disabled veterans understandably seek a 100% schedular rating. The VA assigns a disability rating based on the severity of the service-related condition. A 100 percent disability rating is the VA’s highest rating.

  • VA Schedular 100 Percent Disability Rating
  • Total Disability Based on Individual Unemployability (TDIU)


VA Schedular 100 Percent Disability Rating

A disabled veteran may achieve a VA schedular 100 percent disability rating in one of two ways:

  1. One service-connected condition that meets the 100 percent VA disability rating as listed in VA’s Diagnostic Code for that condition (if possible – not all conditions can be rated 100% by themselves)(.38 C.F.R. § 4.27)
  2. Multiple service-connected conditions that combine to reach a 100 percent disability rating.

NOTE: If you are awarded a 100 percent disability rating, you may still work. The VA does not place limitations in terms of employment on disabled veterans who received a 100% scheduling rating.

If you are not considered permanently and totally disabled when granted a 100 percent schedular disability rating, the VA could reduce your rating upon reexamination.


Total Disability Based on Individual Unemployability (TDIU)

Even if you do not have a 100% rating, you can still get paid the same amount of compensation as if you were rated 100% if you apply for Total Disability Individual Unemployability (TDIU). This is a benefit that allows you to receive the same compensation as the VA’s 100 percent disability rate.


Schedular TDIU

As a veteran, you can claim disability benefits under schedular TDIU when you are unable to maintain substantial gainful employment because of a disability. 38 C.F.R. § 4.16. To qualify, the VA will evaluate what you earn (if anything) and compare it to the poverty level. If you earn less than the poverty level, VA then evaluates your schedular rating to see if it meets the complex requirements of § 4.16.

To qualify for TDIU, a veteran must meet the eligibility requirements:

  • You are unable to secure gainful employment above the poverty threshold and
  • You have one service-connected condition rated at 60 percent or higher or
  • You have two or more service-related conditions with at least one rated 40 percent or higher and a combined rating of 70 percent or higher.


Extraschedular TDIU

If you do not meet the criteria for schedular TDIU, there is still one last way to get paid at the 100% compensation level for VA disability. Your lawyer may petition the VA to refer your case to the Director of Compensation Service for extraschedular consideration.


The Difference Between VA Schedular 100% Ratings and TDIU

Understanding the difference between a VA schedular 100 percent rating and TDIU can help disabled veterans fight for the benefits they deserve. Both are paths that may be relevant to how you achieve your maximum monthly income.

VA schedular ratings are drawn from diagnostic codes and account for either one condition or multiple conditions which add up to the rating you receive. A single condition or the sum of several conditions may get you a rating of 100%. If that rating falls short of 100%, then TDIU may come into play.

TDIU is offered to veterans who cannot work due to their service-connected disabilities. You can apply for both by filing one or multiple claims to reach a 100 percent schedular rating and filing a claim for TDIU. If you get a 100 percent rating, then the TDIU is no longer necessary.

See our video about the difference between VA schedular 100 percent rating and TDIU to learn more.


Temporary and Total VA Disability

Veterans who are unable to work temporarily due to a service-connected condition can qualify for temporary, total disability compensation. This is equal to a 100 percent VA disability rating. Examples of certain conditions that qualify for this rating include:

  • Hospitalization for more than 21 days
  • Treatment or surgery with convalescence time of at least one month
  • Immobilization of one or more major joints by cast
  • Postoperative complications
  • Active cancer diagnosis

Common surgeries that result in a temporary 100% rating are total knee replacements and prostate removal procedures to treat prostate cancer. The temporary 100% following surgeries like these allows for a period of recovery.

Meeting the criteria for 100 percent VA disability rating is difficult but not impossible. Obtaining legal representation can improve your chances of receiving a 100 percent VA disability rating for your service-related conditions.


Can I Receive More than 100% VA Disability Compensation?

There are several ways to get paid more than 100% VA disability compensation. At Tucker Law Group, we have helped many of our clients pursue more compensation through Special Monthly Compensation (SMC) and other ways. In one of our latest videos, we discuss SMC(k), which is a SMC payment variation level for loss of use of a body part. For example, SMC(k) is commonly paid for erectile dysfunction. It is a payment in addition to any schedular compensation owed to a veteran, even if the vet is being paid 100% compensation.

See our video about how to get paid more than 100 percent VA disability compensation to learn more.


Questions About Appealing a VA Disability Compensation Claim? Speak to Our VA Disability Lawyers Today

If you have questions about obtaining VA disability benefits, call us. It is important to speak to an experienced VA disability lawyer at the Tucker Law Group immediately. Our VA disability lawyers can help you obtain the benefits you need. We know how to protect your rights throughout the appeals process.

Call us today at (866) 233-5044 to schedule a free initial consultation. Our nationally recognized firm represents veterans all over the United States.


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