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Frequently Asked Questions About VA Disability Benefits

Our legal team is always ready to help veterans fight the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) for the disability benefits they deserve. We are prepared to personally answer any questions you have. First, please click the links below. We cover common questions and answers about VA disability benefits and appeals.

  1. How Does VA Determine the Level of Compensation Payable?
  2. What Is Total Disability Individual Unemployability (TDIU)?
  3. How Does the VA Combine Ratings?
  4. What Are the VA Compensation Rates for 2021?
  5. How Long Does It Take To Get Your VA Disability Rating?
  6. What Is the VA Disability Appeal Timeline?
  7. Can Members of the Reserve and National Guard Get Service-Connected Compensation Benefits?
  8. Should I Hire a VA Disability Lawyer?
  9. How Much Are VA Disability Lawyers Fees ?
  10. What Types of VA Disability Claims Does Tucker Law Group Handle?

1. How Does VA Determine the Level of Compensation Payable?

VA service-connected compensation for disability is a monthly benefit paid to veterans because of injuries or diseases that started while they were on active duty. It can also be paid if a condition is made worse by active military service. The veteran has to prove that the disability claimed is the result of the veteran’s military service. The VA then evaluates the medical evidence and assigns a disability rating percentage.

The VA evaluates each service-related condition in 10% increments. For some conditions, the maximum level of compensation is 100%. However, for most conditions, the maximum level of compensation is less than 100%. The amount of benefits owed to the veteran is based on the percentage rating assigned. Each level that the VA assigns for a particular condition is based on the severity of the symptoms that the VA decides is appropriate at each rating level. The worse the condition, the more it impacts a veteran’s ability to work, and the higher the disability compensation rating percentage. This is under the schedular ratings model.

Additionally, veterans may qualify for a 100% extras chedular rating with Total Disability Individual Unemployability (often called “TDIU”).

2. What Is Total Disability Individual Unemployability (TDIU)?

TDIU is an alternate route to the schedular ratings model for veterans who can’t work due their service-connected disability. Under TDIU, a veteran can receive a 100% disability rating if it can be established that a service-connected disability keeps him or her from maintaining gainful employment. 

If you are a disabled veteran seeking to maximize your monthly income, then you need to understand the difference between a VA Schedular 100% Rating and TDIU. See our video to learn more about the differences between VA schedular 100% ratings and TDIU.

3. How Does the VA Combine Ratings?

Disability ratings are assigned on a scale that ranges from 0% to 100%. To qualify for disability compensation, a veteran’s disability rating must fall between 10% and 100%. A 0% rating is a decision by the VA that a condition is service-connected, but the severity of the condition is non-compensable (not severe enough yet for compensation to be paid for that condition).

If you have multiple service-connected disabilities, the VA will combine them into one rating. This means that you can expect to receive one check for your VA disability compensation each month rather than several individual checks.

How are VA disability ratings calculated? Learn more about how the VA combines ratings here.

4. What Are the VA Compensation Rates for 2021?

Veterans with service-connected disabilities can receive benefits from the VA. The amount a veteran receives in compensation will depend on his or her assigned disability rating. It also will depend on the VA’s compensation rates. The compensation rates can change each year if Congress grants a Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA).

See the VA disability compensation rates and table for 2021 here.

5. How Long Does It Take To Get Your VA Disability Rating?

The VA claims process is long and complex. However, the amount of time it takes to complete your claim depends on a few factors, including:

  • Type of claim filed
  • The complexity of your injury or disability
  • How many injuries or disabilities you have
  • How long it takes to get evidence relating to your disability

How will it take to get your VA disability rating? Learn more about the VA claims process and timeline here.

6. What Is the VA Disability Appeal Timeline?

Appealing a disability rating or decision with the VA is a long and complex process. This is why it is important that you get started right away. Not only do you have one year from the decision date to file your appeal, but your VA disability appeal timeline could span years. 

To get a better idea of the VA appeals process timeline, you need to determine which appeals system to use for your appeal. Learn more about these two appeal systems and the timeline here.

7. Can Members of the Reserve and National Guard Get Service-Connected Compensation Benefits?

Yes, if the injury or disease starts during active federal service. VA pays monthly compensation benefits for disabilities incurred or aggravated during active duty and active duty for training as a result of injury or disease, and for disabilities due to injury, heart attack, or stroke that occurred during inactive duty training.

8. Should I Hire a VA Disability Lawyer?

If your VA disability claim was denied, it is important to take action right away to fight for the benefits you deserve. You have one year from the decision date to file your appeal. While you are not required to hire a VA disability lawyer for your appeal, an experienced attorney will have experience and knowledge needed to fight the VA. They can help you avoid pitfalls, file the correct paperwork, meet important deadlines and litigate on your behalf when necessary. 

The attorneys at Tucker Law Group have helped thousands of veterans nationwide manage their VA disability appeals to fight for the VA disability benefits they need. If you have questions about your appeal, schedule a consultation with our law firm today through our online contact page.

9. How Much Are VA Disability Lawyers Fees?

VA disability attorneys work on a contingency fee. This means that you do not pay your attorney, unless you get paid. 

At Tucker Law Group, our firm charges a percentage of your retroactive benefits, which some call retro pay. You want an attorney that will do everything necessary until the end to win your case so you get your benefits. Once we accept your case, we have skin in the game. Watch our video to learn more about VA disability lawyers’ fees and our firm.  

10. What Types of VA Disability Claims Does Tucker Law Group Handle?

If you received a rating decision from the VA and are dissatisfied with the decision, you have the option to appeal the decision. At Tucker Law Group, we are here to help veterans like you fight the VA for the disability benefits you deserve. Our law firm is nationally-recognized and has the war chest to fight for you. 

Our VA disability lawyers handle appeals of service-connected disability claims to:

  • The Regional Office (RO)
  • The Board of Veterans Appeals (BVA) 
  • The U.S. Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims (USCAVC)

This includes claims for VA service connection, increased ratings, and Total Disability Individual Unemployability (TDIU). We can help you in many ways, including:

  • Filing your Notice of Disagreement (NOD)
  • Dealing with all of the VA paperwork on claims we are handling
  • Gathering evidence to prove your claims, including referring you for medical exams, vocational evaluations, and working with you to get witness statements that support your claim
  • Submitting legal arguments and legal briefs to the Decision Review Office (DRO), Board of Veterans Appeals (BVA)

If necessary, our team is prepared to appeal your case to the Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims in Washington, D.C., which handles appeals from the Board of Veterans Appeals.

Do You Have Questions Specific to Your Case? Speak With Our VA Disability Lawyers

No matter where you are in the United States, our disability lawyers can help you win your case. Contact us today to discuss your VA disability appeal by calling (866) 233-5044 or by submitting an online form.

For more information and tips about VA service-connected compensation claims, see our VA disability resources.