How the VA Combined Rating Table Works for Disability Claims

How the VA Combined Rating Table Works for Disability Claims


[Music] hello my name is Zack Evans I’m an attorney with Woods and woods attorneys in Evansville Indiana and I represent veterans against the VA for disability benefits today we’re going to be talking about the combined ratings table for VA disability compensation so there’s a little bit of misunderstanding about how the combined ratings table works and if you have more than one compensable disability how the VA comes to a calculation to achieve your combined rating out of your individual ratings first we want to start off with the the CFR citation the Code of Federal Regulations which controls here and that’s 38 CFR section 4.25 and under that subsection of the CFR you will find the combined ratings table itself and you have a bunch of rows and columns of ratings and how those fit together so you’ll go from the side I’ve got a rating of this number and then I find the I find the rating along the top in the matrix and then it gives me a number and pal that’s my rating but that doesn’t really explain how they get there or what the theory is behind how this table works so I’m going to talk a little bit about that today the first thing that we want to do is sort of distinguish between disability and efficiency because efficiency is something that isn’t really discussed in rating decisions or statements of the case or whenever you get your decisional documents there’s not really a discussion of what efficiency is left over but it matters when it comes to your calculation of your combined rating so disability is the amount of economic impact that has been removed from your working capacity as a result of a service-connected condition disability is what you can no longer do efficiency is what is left in your working capacity and of an economic representation of what you are still able to do after we compensate you for what you are disabled from doing so a good way to think about it is if you are not disabled if you have no disabilities then you are considered 100% efficient so a good way to think about this is before you entered the military so you’re 17 18 years old you were drafted or you enlisted in the military and as long as you didn’t have any ailments that kept you out or any sort of disabilities or previously existing conditions before your entrance into the military you are considered 100 percent efficient at that time now let’s say you’ve spent a long career in the military and you’re out and you work in the civilian world for a while and you have a court a diagnosis of coronary artery disease and that is service-connected and let’s say it’s service-connected at 60% so what we have here represents what a hundred percent looks like that’s all of your capacity so this sixty percent is your coronary artery disease rating so that’s the amount of economic impact that has been placed on you and that’s that’s considered the burden on your working ability what’s left over here is your efficiency so we have a 40% efficiency if you’re sixty percent disabled that’s four one rating this is where the confusion often comes in is let’s say not only do you have a 60% rating for your first condition but you have a 30% rating for another condition whenever you’re looking at your ratings picture and you’re trying to determine your combined rating the first thing you want to do is order your ratings in severity from highest value to lowest value this is your disability rate and the reason for that is per the regulation we have to consider the largest value first and then we go in descending order of severity and add additional disabilities to the calculation this is what the next step would look like if you have a 60 and a 30 so here we have your 60% rating for your first condition and now this 30% instead of adding it to 60 which is a common misconception and I completely understand why someone would think that do you think oh they’re adding my ratings together 60 plus 30 must equal 90 but that’s not how the VA calculates it that 30% only comes out of what’s left so this over here is your 40% efficiency after your 60s taken out this 30% is taken out of this 40 so what you have left is 70 percent efficiency out of this initial 40 percent efficiency so what that means is you are now after considering the 60 and considering this secondary 30% rating your total efficiency left is 28% so what does that mean if you’re twenty-eight percent efficiency that still doesn’t give me my combined rating all we have to do is take that 28 percent and subtract that from your hundred and so now this area here which is your 60 for your first rating and your 30 for your second rating that comes to 72 percent and for all of these values that are not powers of 10 which means they’re not 10 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 90 or hundred we have to round those to the nearest value of 10 so 72% is going to round down to 70% if you land on a 5 let’s say 65% then we have to round that up to the next value which would be 70% so this I think illustrates really well why as your overall combined rating picture gets higher and higher it’s more and more difficult to hit next levels of disability payouts because as this efficiency gets smaller and smaller it’s tougher for you to climb what we call the CR ladder or the combined ratings ladder because you only get payout increases for every power of 10 so 10 20 30 40 and so on that’s where you get your increased levels of payments so as this surface area of your efficiency gets smaller and smaller with each additional disability that’s added into your combined rating you need a larger and larger service connection win and/or increased rating win to really bite off a chunk of this efficiency and bump that combined rating higher so again you want to order your ratings from highest to lowest and then you determine what your efficiency is and you subtract that efficiency from 100 or from your your efficiency that’s left and then that gives you that gives you your combined rating and then you want to round that to the nearest value of 10 if it lands on a 5 you round up and that’s how you get your combined rating so there’s I could easily show you the combined ratings table and how you trace this number to that number but I think getting inside why the table works the way that it does not only helps us understand how the V a makes these determinations but when you you get inside the mathematics involved in these ratings you start to see how it becomes a steeper and steeper fight as you have more and more ratings that are considered and combined together so if you have any questions about your particular ratings or how we can climb the CR ladder for you please give us a call or go online woods lawyers we’d love to help you out [Music] you

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