VA will award 100 Percent Permanent & Total disability benefits if the following criteria are met: 1) The veteran has a disability rated at 100%, and 2) Medical evidence shows that this disability is not likely to improve during the veteran’s lifetime.
Before you can prove entitlement to Permanent and Total disability benefits, you first need a total disability. For VA purposes, a total disability is one with a 100% rating. In general, VA will approve a 100% rating for any service-related disability that completely impairs the veteran’s ability to work. However, the criteria for a 100% rating varies depending on the specific disability. All rating criteria is listed in the Schedule of Ratings, which contains specific breakdowns of the symptoms represent a 100% rating.
VA 100 percent total
For some disabilities, VA cannot assign a 100% rating. For example, the Schedule of Ratings provides for a maximum rating of 10% for tinnitus (ringing in the ears). Chloracne, a skin condition associated with Agent Orange exposure, has a maximum rating of 30%. But there are many others for which VA may grant a 100% rating. At Disability Help Group, we have secured 100% ratings for hundreds of our veteran clients. Here are five of the most common disabilities VA rates at 100%:
- Psychiatric disorders such as PTSD, Schizophrenia, Anxiety, and Depression
- Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI)
- Congestive heart failure
- Prostate cancer
- Respiratory cancers
As with most rules, there are exceptions. Regardless of the percentage, VA will deem certain disabilities Permanent & Total. Examples include the loss or loss of use of both hands, both feet, or sight in both eyes. In addition, VA would probably award Special Monthly Compensation.
After you secure a 100% rating, the question is: is this total disability also permanent?
A permanent disability is one that is unlikely to improve during the veteran’s lifetime. Because this is a medical question, VA will not accept the veteran’s own opinion. Instead, your treating doctor is in the best position to give an opinion on the likelihood of improvement. Ask your doctor whether your 100% disability is likely to improve during your lifetime. If the answer is no, then ask your doctor to put this opinion in writing. VA will most likely defer to your doctor’s opinion and award Permanent and Total disability.
VA 100 Percent Permanent and Total Disability Benefits
Although the terms “Permanent” and “Total” are often discussed together, it is possible to have a permanent disability that is not totally disabling. For example, a veteran may have a permanent disability (such as PTSD) at 70%. Her PTSD is not “Total” because it is less than 100%. On the other hand, you can have a total disability that is not permanent. For example, the same veteran’s PTSD may be temporarily rated at 100% during hospitalization for a suicide attempt. When his symptoms improve enough for the hospital to discharge him, VA would assign a lower rating to reflect the level of improvement.
What If VA Denied My Claim?
Call Disability Help Group for a Free Case Review, 800-700-0652
Case Studies, Disability Help Group
Case Study 1
A 50 year-old Gulf War combat veteran filed a claim for PTSD in 2009. In 2010, VA denied the claim despite the Combat Action Ribbon noted on his DD Form 214. After significant development, we won the case on appeal. The medical evidence proved that he met the criteria for a 100% rating. His symptoms included unprovoked irritability with periods of violence, impaired impulse control, audio hallucinations, and panic attacks more than twice per week. They were so severe that he could not hold a job. In addition, his doctor wrote that his symptoms would only get worse throughout his lifetime. VA awarded a Permanent and Total disability for PTSD.
Case Study 2
A 57 year-old Marine Corps veteran lost his wife to a deadly car accident. This happened 3 months into his active duty service. He was never the same after that accident. He was diagnosed with schizoaffective disorder, depressive type. Unfortunately, he turned to drugs and alcohol to self-medicate his symptoms. He was homeless for many years. When he filed a compensation claim, VA branded him a drug addict. At the local VA hospital, he met another veteran who referred him to DHG. DHG developed medical evidence, a lay statement from the veteran, and legal arguments. DHG also submitted a medical opinion from a private psychiatrist, who recommended a total and permanent rating based on the medical evidence. Shortly afterwards, VA awarded a Permanent and Total disability rating for schizoaffective disorder.
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