What a 0% Rating Means
A 0% rating is also known as a non-compensable VA disability rating. To be eligible for financial compensation, your service-connected injury or illness must be rated at least 10%. However, with a 0% rating the VA at least acknowledges that you have a service-connected disability. It just isn’t severe enough at the present time to qualify for monthly cash benefits.
What Benefits You Do Qualify For
Even though a 0% VA disability rating doesn’t come with a monthly benefits check it does come with other benefits. If your household income is below certain limits set by the VA, you have access to free medical treatment, free prescription medications for your condition, and reimbursement for travel costs to a VA medical facility. Regardless of income, if you have a 0% disability rating you can use online or in-person commissaries, exchanges, and morale, welfare and recreation facilities. You will be given a 10 point veterans preference if you apply for federal employment and you can apply for life insurance through the Service-Disabled Veterans Insurance Program.
Multiple 0% Ratings Affect Your Benefits
If you have two or more service-connected disabilities and they interfere with your ability to work, VA regulations say the VA must apply a 10% rating.
Your Options for Increasing Your Rating
If you believe your rating is incorrect, you have the right to appeal your initial 0% rating. The appeal process starts by filing a Supplemental Claim or Higher Level Review (VA Forms 20-995 or 20-996) with your regional VA office. This notice is a written declaration informing the VA that you disagree with their decision. You have one year from the date that you receive your determination letter to begin the appeals process.
If your condition has gotten worse, after the one year appeal time is up you can request an increase in your rating and compensation. You will need to submit new medical evidence of how your condition has deteriorated. In most cases the VA will schedule a new C&P exam to re-evaluate your impairments.
Our VA Disability Attorneys Are in Your Corner
When you submit a VA disability claim, establishing a service connection for your condition is a crucial element for winning benefits. With a 0% rating you’ve already accomplished this, so in an appeal for a ratings increase, half your battle has already been won. If you are considering a rating increase appeal, our law firm can give you a free evaluation of your situation. If you choose to hire us, we’ll fight to ensure you get the fairest possible rating and we only get paid if you win your case. Call (402) 933-5405 or email us to schedule a free consultation to discuss your specific situation.