If you’re a veteran who returned home from service with an injury, an illness, or a medical condition, you may be receiving disability benefits from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). The amount you receive is based on a ratings schedule where compensation is determined in increments from 0–to–100 percent.

The VA rates each disability claim individually, looking at the specific circumstances that factor into your condition. Initially, the claim will be denied if you can’t prove the injury or medical condition occurred during service.soldier_at_home

But if you can show you suffered a service-connected injury, you’ll be assigned a rating. Even if you receive a 0 percent rating because your current injury or illness connected to your military service doesn’t warrant compensation, this rating is still important. If your condition should deteriorate later on, you’ll be able to apply for a rating upgrade.

Getting a claim approved for 100 percent disability isn’t easy. Hiring an experienced VA disability attorney to help with your application can mean the difference between a lower rating or a greater chance of being approved for a rating of 100 percent.

Different Types of 100 Percent Disability Ratings

If you’re a veteran and believe you're completely disabled, there are various ways you can be eligible for the 100 percent disability rating. Here's a brief look at the different types of full disability ratings:

  • Combined service-connected disabilities. When you return home from the military, you may have more than one medical condition, illness, or injury. If the combined ratings for each of your service-connected disabilities equal 100, you will likely be given a 100 percent disability rating.
  • Total Disability Individual Unemployability. Even if your combined ratings don’t equal 100, the VA may grant you a total disability individual unemployability (TDIU) rating. If you’re unable to sustain “gainful employment,” and the injuries you suffered due to your military service have left you unable to work, you may be eligible for TDIU.
  • Temporary 100 percent rating. If your injury required surgery and a 30-day or more recovery period, or you’ve been hospitalized for longer than 21 days, the VA issues benefits at the 100 percent rate during this time of convalescence. This disability pay is dependent on what the doctor cites as the period of recovery.
  • Permanent and Total disability. When the VA recognizes that your service-connected injury won't improve, it will give a 100 percent rating and not require you to have any further exams. The permanent and total disability rating also provides additional educational benefits for dependents.

There are some ratings that allow you to work even if you’re receiving benefits. Only those veterans receiving 100 percent disability benefits through a TDIU claim aren't allowed to work a full-time job.

Eligibility for 100 Percent Rating

If you’re eligible for a 100 percent VA disability rating, the VA may award you nearly $3,000 each month. That amount may be higher if you have dependent children or parents.

Here are some general guidelines to be eligible for this rating:

  • You must be honorably discharged from the military
  • You must have performed active duty
  • The military service must have caused or worsened a physical or mental condition
  • Your service must have been in the Army, Marines, Navy, Air Force, National Guard, Coast Guard, or Reservists

Call Cuddigan Law

When applying for a disability rating of 100, it’s important to work with a VA disability attorney who can explain the application requirements and the complexities of the VA benefits process. At Cuddigan Law, we’ll examine your specific case, develop the best strategy, and work with you to submit your claim or file an appeal if it’s been denied.

Contact the attorneys at Cuddigan Law who can help you understand the process and work with you on your VA application to increase your chances of getting an approved claim.


Sean D. Cuddigan
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SSA and VA Disability Attorney in Omaha, Nebraska