If you are beginning the process of applying for VA disability, you might be overwhelmed right now with the options, and how to figure out what those numbers mean. Determining your VA disability benefits is not a simple process, and you want to make sure that your payment is accurate.
If you are determining your payment, there are multiple ways to get the same number, but the easiest way for most people to determine what their disability payment should be is with a VA disability calculator.
How is the Rate Determined?
VA disability is paid based on a rate table that is updated each year. There are quite a few factors that go into your rate, and the table includes the different payouts for each of them. Factors that impact your VA disability payment include your marital status, your total number of dependent children, if you have dependent parents, and even if your spouse has certain types of disability.
Beyond answering these questions that you probably know the answer to, you will need to know your actual percentage of disability. This is where it can get very confusing, as the formula for finding these numbers is not straightforward.
The first step to determining your percentage of disability is to see a VA doctor who will examine you. The VA doctor will be able to determine the percentage of disability each of your injuries provides.
So far, that seems pretty straightforward. The complications come in when you have multiple disabling injuries because these are not added in a traditional way.
Say, for example, that you have five injuries, and each one is coincidentally disabled at ten percent. You might think you would just add ten five times, and get a total disability of 50 percent.
While that is a totally logical assumption, that is not how it works. What actually happens is you start with ten percent. Take that away from 100, leaving 90 percent. Take ten percent of 90, or nine percent, and add it to the ten, getting 19 percent. Now take ten percent of the remaining 81 percent, and so on.
If you are like most people, formulas like that seem like they would be too easy to mix up. That is where disability calculators come in.
Using a Calculator
A VA disability calculator is a simple tool designed to eliminate the confusion created by these mixed-up formulas and eliminate the human error of crossing lines of small print on a table once you have all the data.
A disability calculator will have all of the parts of the body that would be rated by your VA doctor. Select the area of the body (left arm, right arm, head, etc.), then for each click, choose the percentage disabled as determined by your doctor.
Once you have completed all of your injuries, the calculator will tell you your total percentage disability for all of your forms. As an added benefit, you can enter all the other factors as yes or no questions or quantities, and it will tell you what your monthly pay should be. This gives you a baseline amount to compare to whatever the VA offers you.
The benefits of a calculator are twofold. They provide you an accurate percentage of total disability for all of your VA forms, but they also provide you a number that you should be able to expect as your payment.
If the payment the VA tells you is yours does not match up with this, you might need to file an appeal. If the process gets too overwhelming, do not hesitate to seek help from a disability attorney.
To summarize, a VA disability calculator is an extremely simple tool that will help you figure out your percentage of total disability, and what your monthly disability payment should be.
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