How Can I Increase my VA Disability from 90 to 100?

Veteran hugging daughter holding American flag

Many veterans find themselves at a crossroads when they've been rated at 90% disability but believe their conditions warrant the full 100% rating. Understanding how to navigate this complex process is essential.

Here are the steps involved in moving from a 90% to a 100% VA disability rating, offering professional guidance to empower our veterans in their pursuit of rightful compensation.

Higher Percentages Required

As a Veteran increases their rating over time, they will likely come to experience what can be called VA math. As their rating increases, it takes higher and higher new or increased ratings to attain higher levels of compensation. For example, obtaining a 10% rating when you have no rating counts differently than obtaining a 10% rating when you have a 90% overall rating. In that example, the Veteran with 90% may not see any increase in their total rating with a new 10% rated issue. Understanding VA math and knowing what rating percentages are required to increase your compensation is critical in your march towards a 100% rating.

Recognize the Significance of the Gap

It's important to acknowledge the substantial difference between a 90% and 100% VA disability rating. The financial increase that comes with a 100% rating significantly increases monthly compensation, reflecting a level of disability that considerably impairs the veteran's ability to secure and follow substantially gainful employment. This distinction underscores the importance of accurately documenting and communicating the extent of your disabilities. The gap between 90% and 100% is much larger than the gap between each other 10% increase from 0 to 90%. It is critical to be able to identify what new medical issues or currently rated issues can realistically improve your rating from 90% to 100%.

Comprehensive Review of Current Medical Conditions

Begin by conducting a thorough review of your current medical conditions. It's crucial to understand that a 100% rating requires evidence showing that your disabilities combine to significantly affective your daily activities. This may involve gathering new medical evidence, medical opinions, and undergoing additional evaluations to demonstrate the severity and progression of your conditions. It is important to identify which of these pieces of evidence best suits your claims. For example, a rating increase will need different evidence than a claim for service connection.

Professional guidance from a healthcare provider who understands the VA's evaluation criteria can be invaluable here. They can offer insights into how your current health status aligns with the VA's requirements for a 100% rating.

Explore the TDIU Option

For some veterans, Total Disability Individual Unemployability (TDIU) presents a viable path to receiving compensation equivalent to a 100% rating. For some Veterans with a rating of 60% or 70%, TDIU is available to veterans who, due to their service-connected disabilities, are unable to maintain substantially gainful employment. If you are granted TDIU, you will be compensated at the 100% rating amount even though your actual rating is not 100%. If you believe this applies to you, it's essential to understand the TDIU application process and provide comprehensive documentation supporting your claim. A TDIU claim requires very specific evidence showing how your service-connected conditions prevent you from successful ongoing employment.

Pursue Secondary Conditions

Another avenue to consider is whether your primary service-connected disabilities have led to secondary conditions. These secondary issues can contribute to your overall disability rating. For example, a service-connected knee injury that leads to the development of a back problem can be considered a secondary condition. Properly documenting these interconnected health issues can be pivotal in achieving a 100% rating.

Maintain Open Communication with the VA

Throughout this journey, maintaining clear and open communication with the VA is critical. Ensure that all correspondence is timely and that you attend all scheduled examinations. Being proactive and responsive can positively impact the outcome of your claim.

Seek Professional Advocacy

Navigating the VA's disability compensation system can be challenging. Enlisting the support of a legal advocate specializing in veterans' benefits can provide a significant advantage. A knowledgeable advocate can help streamline the process, ensuring that your application and supporting documents are as robust and persuasive as possible. They can also assist in appealing decisions and navigating any legal complexities that may arise during the process.

RELATED: Top Five Questions for VA Disability Lawyers

Walk Through the Process with Georgia Disability Lawyers

Increasing your VA disability rating from 90% to 100% is a process that requires careful attention to detail and patience. But you don’t have to be alone in this process.

At Affleck & Gordon, we are proud to offer our expertise and commitment to helping veterans seeking VA disability benefits. Our attorneys have decades of experience in representing veterans nationwide, guiding them through each step of their journey with empathy and professionalism. To learn more about how we can assist you, contact us today at (404) 990-3945 for a consultation.

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