If you are a veteran with a service related disability, you are probably entitled to some form of benefit from the Veterans Affairs (VA). This agency is a cabinet level status agency that manages the veteran’s benefits system. Depending on your disability and the impact it has on your ability to work and earn wages, you may be eligible for a monthly benefit.

While it is a complicated process, you can make it through the system and receive your VA disability benefit; however, it is a good thing to be informed about how the system works and what you can expect. First of all, you may want to know how much you can expect to receive. A common question is: how do I find the current VA disability rates?

How the System Works

In order to maneuver through the VA’s system it helps to understand how the system works. First of all, your disability needs to be diagnosed and linked back to your service in the armed forces. After that happens, your disability is rated in a couple of ways: condition and severity. Compensation is based on a sliding scale of how much your disability affects your ability to work and earn wages. For example, a mild disability may be determined to only impact your earning potential by 10 or 20% while a severe disability may be determined to impact your work capabilities at 100%, meaning you can’t work at all. Each disability has code and then each code has a severity ranking.

The VA has a code listing to work with in which they assess your disability and the severity of such and use the code to give you a ranking. The rankings start at 10% and increase in increments of 10 up to 100%. If you have two or more service related disabilities, you can only claim the benefit for one.  The VA is supposed to use the code that will give you the higher ranking. If you have a service related disability and a non-service related disability the VA attempts to determine which disability is causing the symptoms. If a determination cannot be made, the VA is instructed to give the veteran the “benefit of the doubt” in favor of the service related condition.

The Benefit Scale

Next is the benefit scale that will show the amount of payments based on your ranking and your family situation. The most current rates went into effect in December of 2015 and rates for 2016 have not yet been released. However, the VA has released statements indicating that inflation has decreased over the past year, so it is unlikely that VA disability benefits will see an increase. However, they will not decrease even though the inflation rate has gone down. The amount you receive is determined by your percentage ranking, if you are single or married and the number of dependents you have. If you are interested in how I find the current VA disability rates, you can visit http://www.benefits.va.gov/COMPENSATION/resources_comp01.asp to see the rate table with breakdowns for rankings and dependent scenarios.

 

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