What is VA Math?

VA math is used to determine the exact type and amount of military disability benefits you will receive if you have more than one service-connected impairment. Each military disability is assigned a rating from 0 percent—not at all disabled—to 100 percent—totally disabled. Ratings are assigned in 10 percent increments. When a veteran has multiple impairments the ratings are combined. But please note that I said combined, not just added together. That is, a vet with one disability rated at 30 percent and second disability at 20 percent, the combined rating is not 50 percent. Instead VA math is used to compute one overall rating.

Here’s how VA Math works. First the largest disability rating is deducted from 100 percent. Then the next highest rating is multiplied by what is left and that percentage is added to the first rating percentage. And so on if there are more than two disabilities. I know. VA Math is a bit hard to visualize, but I think an example will help.

Let’s say we have a former Army sergeant with three impairments: a back injury rated at 30 percent, a knee injury rated at 20 percent and shoulder injury rated at 10 percent. Subtracting the largest rating—the back injury at 30 percent—from 100 percent leaves us with 70 percent. If we multiply the 70 by 20 percent—the rating for the shoulder injury--we get 14 percent. Subtracting this 14 percent from 70 percent leaves us with 56 percent and multiplying this by the rating for the knee injury of 10 percent results in 5 point 6 percent.  Now we combine the three products of our multiplication—30 percent plus 14 percent plus 5 point 6 percent for a total of 49 point six percent. Rounding this number to the nearest 10 percent gives our Army sergeant a combined 50 percent disability rating.

There is one final twist to VA Math and it is called the Bilateral Factor. When a vet has rated conditions in both arms or both legs then they qualify for additional compensation. Computing the amount of compensation when the Bilateral Factor is added to the equation is complex and beyond the scope of this video.

Your disability rating, possible combined ratings, the bilateral factor, and even family status all effect monthly VA disability benefits. How much compensation you may be eligible for is best figured out in a personal, no obligation meeting with one of our VA accredited attorneys at Cuddigan Law. Give us a call to schedule an appointment.

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