2020 VA Disability Rates

The VA has increased the disability rates for veterans in 2020, but not by a considerable amount. The 1.6% increase is smaller than the one given in 2019 of 2.8%. The rate is a cost-of-living adjustment (COLA), and designed to keep up with inflation. The new disability rates went into effect on December 1, 2019.

2020 VA Disability Rates

The VA is required to keep up with and match the COLA adjustments that are made to Social Security benefits.

From 10% to 20%

Veterans at these ratings will receive:

  • At 10% disability, $142.29
  • At 20% disability, $281.27

Veterans with these ratings don’t receive additional compensation for children, parents, or a spouse who receives aid and assistance.

Veterans In Other Rating Brackets

The rest of the VA’s new disability payment schedule is available on their website.

For veterans over 30%, disability payments are calculated according to:

  • Status
  • Dependents, including:
    • Spouse
    • Children
    • Parents
  • More than one child under 18 or in a qualifying school program if over 18
  • A spouse who receives benefits for Aid & Assistance for daily activities, or “housebound” benefits

How Much Will I Receive?

The VA’s website offers a complete breakdown of the updated rates.

Determine your individual payment by starting with the basic rate for your status and rating, i.e., a veteran with no spouse or children. For instance, if you’re rated at 50%, without any qualifying dependents, i.e., spouse or children, your basic monthly payment is $893.43. Scroll down to the table with dependents, and a veteran with a spouse and 1 child that amount increases to $1,043.43 monthly. For a veteran with a child, a spouse, and two parents, the amount increases to $1,181.43.

Qualifying dependents include:

  • Minors, children under 18
  • Children who are still in school and between age 18 and 23
  • A Spouse
  • Parents who are also dependents

Once you’ve found the amount for your current living situation, you’ll be able to add up the amounts that you should receive and have an idea of what you’ll receive in monthly benefits.

Remember that your VA disability benefits are always tax-free.

What If I’m Under-Rated?

It’s possible that you are. If your condition has worsened, or you believe weren’t taken seriously the first time you were given a rating, maybe it’s time to consider requesting a review of your case. With the right documentation, you may be able to have your rating raised favorably.

If you are under-rated, it means you could be missing out on thousands of dollars in benefits that you’ve earned and are entitled to receive.

If you’re interested in a re-rating, seek assistance from a disability lawyer who understands the VA’s processes who will let you know what your chances are of an increase.

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, don’t try to face the VA alone. 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 benefits. Our contingency fee basis means you won’t owe a fee until we win your case, and there’s no obligation.

How Do You Prove Your PTSD Is Service Related In Houston?

The VA recognizes that PTSD is an issue that many veterans face but maybe too afraid to discuss or seek treatment for. Unfortunately, the VA doesn’t make it easy for veterans.

How Do You Prove Your PTSD Is Service Related In Houston?

PTSD is one of the most common VA disability claims, but it’s the one with the least amount of treatment. Some veterans seek out treatment outside of the military to avoid discharge or other retribution, but many don’t seek any treatment. About 50% of veterans with PTSD actually seek treatment, and of those, about 50% receive adequate treatment.

PTSD And The Service Connection

One of the biggest hurdles is actually proving to the VA that the condition is a direct result of your military service. Since it’s not visible like a physical injury, it’s more difficult to quantify. So it’s up to you as a veteran to prove to the VA that your PTSD is positively service-connected.

The first step is to have a current medical diagnosis of PTSD from a competent expert who is qualified to offer a diagnosis. This must be a psychologist or other physician who has doctorate level training in diagnostic methods, psychopathology, and clinical interview methods along with a working knowledge of the DSM-V. Many veterans may seek help from licensed counselors and social workers, but the VA won’t accept a diagnosis from these providers.

Second, credible supporting evidence is required to show that the stressor (the event that triggered PTSD) actually occurred. This can take the form of service records (including service medical records), buddy statements from individuals who were present at the time of the stressor event, and records from programs where help may have been rendered, such as a veterans service group. A disability lawyer experienced in VA claims can make suggestions of additional forms of evidence to submit.

The third requirement is documented medical evidence of a nexus between the in-service stressor and current symptoms. This can be a statement from your treating physician along with supporting documentation.

Presumptive Service Connection

For veterans who were in specific circumstances and later file a claim, the VA is required to presume a service relationship for PTSD. In other words, if a veteran had certain experiences that could be considered a stressor, the VA presumes that there is a service connection. This can include:

  • Exposure to combat—if the stressor is obviously from the veteran’s time in combat, it’s presumed to be service-connected
  • Prisoner of war—generally, a lay statement is enough to prove the in-service stressor, and the VA will presume a service connection.
  • Military sexual trauma (MST)—because MST is under-reported in the military, the VA has a lower threshold for proof and corroboration. Acceptable evidence includes pregnancy and/or pregnancy testing, STD testing and/or diagnosis, mental health treatment, and rape crisis center reports. Other evidence can be submitted, such as requests for transfers and behavioral reports.
  • Fear of terrorist or military activity—while a lay statement can be helpful to describe the circumstances surrounding the veteran’s fears, a diagnosis from a qualified healthcare professional will also be required to substantiate the claim that the PTSD is the result of this fear.

In these cases, a medical nexus isn’t necessary to prove a service connection to PTSD.

Houston VA Disability Attorney For PTSD

This is just a brief overview of proving PTSD to the VA. Whether you’re suffering from PTSD or something else that’s service-related, we can help you apply, appeal, and make your case to get you the benefits you deserve.

When you’re ready to start your application, need help with an appeal, call The Herren Law Firm at 713-682-8194 (or use our online contact form) to schedule your free consultation. Our contingency fee basis means you won’t owe a fee until we win your case, and there’s no obligation.

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