What Are Veteran Disability Ratings?

After submitting your application to the VA, you’ll receive a letter informing you about whether or not you’ve been approved for certain veteran disability benefits. The letter will also give you a specific rating for your veteran disability, which ties into the type of benefits you’re entitled to receive.

Veteran Disability Rating
This rating applies to the severity of your disability, and how disabled you are. The VA rates your  veteran disability by reviewing all the medical evidence submitted with your claim. If you have more than one disability for which you’re applying, the VA has a combined rating table that determines a total rating from the multiple disabilities. However, that rating will never be more than 100%, and the VA will choose the highest rating available for the conditions.

The Rating System

The VA assigns ratings as a percentage, in increments from 10% to 100%. This veteran disability rating represents the amount of disability and how it impacts a veteran’s everyday life.

The VA’s Schedule Of Rating Disabilities is the rulebook in which medical conditions are individually rated. The conditions are rated according to the body system, such as cardiovascular, respiratory, and digestive, and then individually by severity. The VA bases its rating on

For instance, in the section for Dental and Oral Conditions, the percentages for different conditions are arranged and rated accordingly:

• 9900—Maxilla or mandible, chronic osteomyelitis, osteonecrosis, or osteoradionecrosis of Rate as osteomyelitis, chronic under diagnostic code 5000.
• 9901–Mandible, loss of, complete, between angles, 100
• 9902—Mandible, loss of, including ramus, unilaterally or bilaterally:
• Loss of one-half or more,
• Involving temporomandibular articulation
• Not replaceable by prosthesis, 70
• Replaceable by prosthesis, 50
• Not involving temporomandibular articulation
• Not replaceable by prosthesis, 40
• Replaceable by prosthesis, 30
• Loss of less than one-half,
• Involving temporomandibular articulation
• Not replaceable by prosthesis, 70
• Replaceable by prosthesis, 50
• Not involving temporomandibular articulation
• Not replaceable by prosthesis, 20
• Replaceable by prosthesis, 10

If you have another condition such as diabetes alongside a dental condition, the VA rates diabetes separately and uses the combined table to calculate a total rating.

0% Disability Rating

Note that a 0% rating indicates that you will not receive payments even though the VA recognizes that you have a medical condition.

However, a 0% rating does render you eligible for other benefits, including:

• Free healthcare and prescriptions through the VA, if you meet the income requirements
• Higher priority for eligibility for healthcare
• Travel cost reimbursements related to medical care from a VA medical facility or a VA-authorized healthcare provider
• Automatic 10-point veterans’ preference while applying for employment with the federal government
• The right to apply for life insurance through the Service-Disabled Veterans Insurance Program (S-DVI)
• Admission to commissaries, exchanges, and morale, welfare, and recreation (MWR) retail facilities, online and in-person

However, you can also file an appeal if you believe your disability should be rated higher than 0%.

Qualifying For Veteran Disability Benefits

Veterans who have a physical or mental service-connected disability that makes everyday responsibilities challenging may be eligible for benefits from the VA for that disability. The veteran must meet the criteria set out by the VA:

• A veteran who became injured and/or ill while serving
• A veteran whose injury or illness worsened while serving
• A veteran whose service-connected injury or illness was not obvious until after their separation date

When applying for VA disability benefits, you need to include medical evidence to support your claim, which can include:

• Military personnel records
• Military medical records
• All private medical records related to the condition that is not from the VA
• All VA medical records pertaining to the condition or related VA medical records that the VA can request on your behalf

Working with an experienced VA disability lawyer can make the process easier from start to finish.

Get Help From A Houston VA Disability Attorney

Whether you’re ready to start your application, need help with an appeal, or want to investigate a case review, we’re ready to assist. You do have the right to legal representation whether you’re starting your application, facing a hearing, or dealing with an appeal.
Call The Herren Law Firm in Houston at 713-682-8194 (or use our online contact form) to schedule your free consultation for VA disability and other benefits. Our contingency fee basis means you won’t owe a fee until we win your case, and there’s no obligation.

Does Macular Degeneration Qualify Me for Veterans Benefits?

Vision problems are one of the many reasons people apply for disability. Macular degeneration, or MD, is a leading cause of vision loss for people over the age of 50, and for people in the US. It’s most common in people over 60. It’s also called “age-related macular degeneration,” or AMD.

Does Macular Degeneration Qualify Me for Veterans Benefits?

As a veteran, you may also experience this condition as well as other vision problems. MD can make everyday life difficult, including driving, working, reading, and seeing what’s right in front of you. If you notice that you are having a difficult time seeing things the way you did before, you may be overdue for an eye exam.

What Is Macular Degeneration?

The macula is a part of the retina in the back of the eye, in the center. That means a person with macular degeneration loses their central vision, but not their peripheral. For instance, when you look directly at a clock, you may see the numbers but not the hands.

Most people don’t completely lose their vision, but simply don’t see what’s right in front of them. In other cases, the vision loss is mild.

There are two types of MD:

  • Dry, the most common type, roughly 80% of the cases, where the macula itself thins considerably leading to the growth of tiny clumps of protein, called drusen
  • Wet, less common but more serious type, where new blood vessels begin growing under the retina and leak fluid into the eye.

Smoking, obesity, cardiovascular disease, and other risk factors contribute to MD’s development.

MD comes on slowly, and most people don’t realize they have it until they begin having blurring. There isn’t a “cure” for MD, and dry doesn’t yet have a full treatment. Regular ophthalmologist visits can detect it early and help manage if you do develop MD.

What Does The VA Say?

For many years, the VA didn’t recognize macular degeneration as a disability. Fortunately, that has since changed, allowing veterans with MD to seek treatment and receive benefits.

The VA puts MD into the Schedule of Ratings as “Organs of Special Sense.” They use these three tools as the basis for determining your eye problems and the impact of MD on your sight:

  1. Central acuity, or the ability to distinguish details and shapes at a distance using an eye chart
  2. Visual field, or everything you can see when staring ahead at a fixed point
  3. Muscle dysfunction, or how well the eye moves around to pick up sight

As with any condition you present to the VA, you’ll need to show MD as a service-related condition (primary or secondary), or provide proof from a physician of the connection.

The C&P Exam

The VA will also require you to take a Compensation and Pension exam, or C&P. This exam determines the degree of your disability and the rating for a disability, and determining the service connection.

The VA requires you to undergo an exam by either a licensed optometrist or ophthalmologist. You’ll also need to provide:

  • A current diagnosis for your eye condition
  • Evidence of an in-service event, illness, or injury that’s related to your condition
  • A “nexus letter” from a physician that connects the current eye condition to an in-service event, illness, or injury

All of these show a direct service connection. However, a secondary service connection is also possible. An existing illness or medication is taken for a different service connection may also cause or aggravate MD as a secondary condition. They can include:

  • Strokes
  • Diabetes
  • Lyme disease
  • Rheumatoid arthritis

If you already qualify for healthcare through the VA, you can also obtain these eye exams and diagnoses from the VA as well. This includes testing for conditions like glaucoma.

Macular degeneration is a relatively newly rated condition under the VA’s disability rules. Getting help from an experienced disability attorney can go a long way in making sure your application is done correctly.

Let Herren Law Assist You With The VA For Macular Degeneration

If you’re a veteran with vision issues including macular degeneration, you can apply for and receive VA benefits for this condition. Should the VA either deny or under-rate your condition, it’s time to get help and increase your chances of success.

Call the Herren Law Firm today at (713) 682-8194 or (800) 529-7707 to schedule your free consultation. Our attorneys are experienced in helping veterans successfully navigate through the application and appeals process, and we can help you too. Our contingency fee means you won’t have to pay until you start receiving benefits.



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