The Attig Law Firm frequently receives calls and emails asking how the VA computed their combined impairment rating for multiple conditions in their VA veteran disability compensation claims. Here is some information about how the VA computes combined ratings for multiple service-connected conditions:
1.) The VA does not add multiple ratings to get a total rating; instead, they use a formula to get a combined rating. So, if the Veteran has a 30% rating for condition A, and a 40% rating for Condition B, the total rating is NOT 70%. Instead, the VA computes the combined rating by considering each disability in order of severity, beginning with the highest evaluation. The theory is that the second highest rating should be considered as a percentage of the whole person remaining. For example, where Condition A is rated at 30%, and Condition B is rated at 40%, the VA math works like this:
Most severe rating: 40%
Second most severe rating: 30%
Combined rating: 60%. Here's how: the second rating of 30% is multiplied by the % of whole person remaining after the 40% rating. In this example, 30% (second rating) is multiplied by 60% (percent of whole person remaining after 40% rating). Thus, the second rating of 30% has the effect of adding 18% to the initial rating of 40%, yielding a combined rating of 58%. The 58% rating is rounded up to 60%.
2) The VA publishes a combined rating table to assist in these calculations: http://www.benefits.va.gov/warms/docs/regs/38CFR/BOOKC/PART4/S4_25.DOC
3) If a Veteran has a 100% total rating, and has multiple additional conditions above 50%, the Veteran may - and I stress may - have some entitlement to Special Monthly Compensation (SMC) above the maximum 100% impairment rating. It is best to talk to an attorney about your claim(s) if this situation seems to apply to you.
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