Military service can affect individuals in unique and multiple ways. For example, suppose that you served as an infantryman in Afghanistan and saw combat. Your experience on the battlefield may have left you with numerous conditions, including post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), hearing loss, and back pain. Another soldier may have lost an arm or leg in the melee in addition to having developed PTSD and depression. 

The VA recognizes this dynamic and recognizes that you are entitled to disability benefits for each of the conditions that afflict you. However, the benefits you receive for each condition may be less than what you expect given how the VA assigns disability ratings to multiple conditions. 

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Disability Ratings Explained 

When you are approved for VA disability benefits for one or more conditions, the VA will assign a disability rating for each condition. Ratings are assigned on a scale of 0 percent to 100 percent in ten percentage-point increments. This disability rating reflects the VA’s opinion as to how significantly this single condition impacts your ability to hold a job and care for yourself. The higher the rating, the more disability the VA believes your condition to be.  

Multiple Conditions with Multiple Disability Ratings 

Not only will the VA assign each of your individual conditions a disability rating, but the VA will also give you an overall disability rating reflecting how all of your conditions taken together impact you. This comprehensive disability rating is what your VA disability award amount is based upon.  

For example, in the case of an infantryman with PTSD rated at 70 percent, back pain rated at 20 percent, and hearing loss rated at 10 percent, you would not receive separate disability payments for each of these conditions. Instead, the VA would assign you one comprehensive rating and pay you according to that rating.  

Determining Your Comprehensive Disability Rating is Not Simple Addition 

In deciding your overall disability rating, the VA does not simply add your separate ratings together. If it did, it would be easy for many claimants to meet or exceed a 100 percent disability rating. While there is no precise formula, while your primary disability rating may control, each additional condition’s disability rating may only increase your overall rating by two points for every 10 percentage points each additional condition’s rating contains. 

For instance, in the example above, the infantryman in question may only see an overall disability rating of either 70 percent or 80 percent. 

Your Ohio Veterans Law Guide and Resource 

Understanding the VA disability claim and approval process is confusing and frustrating. So too is taking steps when you believe the VA did not rate your conditions or situation accurately. That is when you need to contact Cincinnati-based veterans law firm, Veterans Law Attorneys. Call us at 833-753-5168 or contact us through our website if you are not satisfied with the outcome of your VA disability claim. 

Whether the ratings and benefits are too low or your claim was denied in its entirety, we are here to help make things right. Contact us today to schedule a consultation with us. 

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