Guide - 50 - 90 Percent VA Disability Benefits Explained
If you qualify for a 50 to 90 percent VA disability rating, you may have questions regarding the compensation and benefits available to you and your dependents. You may also wonder how to increase your disability rating with the VA. The benefits you’re entitled to receive because of your military service can ease your family’s financial and medical burdens.
The Department of Veterans Affairs assigns disabled veterans a disability rating based on the severity of their service-connected injuries or conditions. Disability ratings help the VA determine the monthly compensation you deserve and your eligibility for other VA-related benefits.
The Veterans Administration (VA) evaluates disability claims and assigns disability ratings from 0 to 100 percent. The ratings are in 10-percent increments and reflect how much your injuries or condition decrease your overall health and ability to function. Your disability rating determines your monthly compensation and eligibility for other benefits.
It’s possible to have multiple VA ratings, which are calculated into a combined rating. More goes into calculating a combined disability rating than simply adding them together. To estimate your combined disability rating, use our VA disability rating calculator.
Disability ratings are assigned based on your medical records, a VA claim physical examination, and any other relevant information. The highest value you can be assigned is 100 percent. A 50 percent VA disability rating indicates that the VA determined you are 50 percent disabled. A 60 percent VA disability rating indicates you are 60 percent disabled, and so on. Based on this rating, you are entitled to certain benefits. Veterans Guide provides information about these benefits to help you get the maximum compensation for your service-related disability.
What Is the Compensation for 50 - 90 Percent VA Disability Ratings?
The basic monthly compensation for veterans with a 50 to 90 percent VA disability rating is as follows:
Disability compensation changes based on whether veterans have dependent family members such as spouses, children, or parents. The following information illustrates how your monthly compensation rate is affected based on this information:
Disability Rating Compensation Rates Based on Dependent Status
Each additional child under age 18 adds the following each month to your compensation based on your disability rating:
- 90 percent – $90
- 80 percent – $80
- 70 percent – $70
- 60 percent – $60
- 50 percent – $50
Children over 18 in a qualifying school program entitle you to an additional monthly compensation:
- 90 percent – $291
- 80 percent – $259
- 70 percent – $226
- 60 percent – $194
- 50 percent – $162
What Was the 2023 Cost of Living Adjustment?
Effective January 1, 2023, the VA increased the monthly compensation available to eligible veterans based on an 8.7 percent cost of living adjustment.
What Other Benefits Are Available to Individuals with a 50 - 90 Percent Rating?
In addition to monthly financial compensation, your VA disability rating qualifies you to receive other benefits and services. This is not an exhaustive list of benefits. Contact your local VA for a full explanation of your VA disability compensation package.
VA Health Care Benefits
With a disability rating of 50 to 90 percent, you are eligible for VA health care benefits. The VA uses eight priority groups for veterans in need. With a disability rating of 50 percent or more, you qualify for the highest level—Priority Group 1. In addition to faster access to health care benefits, some costs are lower. For example, there are no copays for outpatient care from your primary physician and specialists.
You may also qualify for Priority Group 1 if your service-connected disability has left you unable to work or you received the Medal of Honor. Your eligibility for health care services is also based on the advice of a VA primary care doctor and the current treatment standards for any health conditions you may have.
As a member of Priority Group 1, you will be entitled to:
- Treatment for illness and injury
- Preventative medical coverage
- Therapy to improve your ability to function
- Services to enhance the quality of your life
VA Pension Plan
You may qualify for a VA pension plan, a tax-free benefit offered to wartime veterans based on financial need, disability, and age. To participate in this program, you must have a total and permanent disability. Your disability does not have to be service connected., which is not true of disability compensation. However, you can’t get VA pension payments and disability compensation at the same time. If you are eligible for both, you’ll get whichever benefit provides the greater amount.
Veteran Readiness and Employment Benefits
The VA offers Veteran Readiness and Employment (VR&E) services if your disability rating is at least 10 percent and you did not receive a dishonorable discharge.
Through this program, you can receive services to help with job training, education, employment, resume building, and job search skills. There are also resources for veterans looking to start their own businesses and independent living services for severely disabled veterans who cannot work in a traditional employment setting.
VA Home Loan Guarantee
Eligible veterans and military spouses can take advantage of the VA’s home loan guarantee program, with the VA guaranteeing a portion of the loan to help you receive more favorable mortgage terms, including:
- No down payment
- Low interest rates
- Limited closing costs
- No need for private mortgage insurance
These loans are from private lenders, and the VA guarantees to cover a portion of any loss.
There are time-of-service requirements, but you may not have to meet them if you have a service-connected disability. Your time of service requirement depends on when you served and whether you were on active duty or in the National Guard or Reserves.
Free Tax Return Preparation
The IRS offers free tax return preparation for all disabled veterans through its Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program. Volunteer tax preparers have tax law training, and there is a quality review check before they file your return. VITA is a nationwide program, and you can use the VITA Locator Tool to find a site near you.
Concurrent Retirement and Disability Pay (CRDP)
The Concurrent Retirement and Disability Pay program (CRDP) bars disability deductions from retirement pay for some veterans. Thus, you can simultaneously receive military retirement pay and Veterans Affairs compensation. There is no deduction or offset of your retirement benefits if you have at least a 50 percent VA disability rating and are one of the following:
- An active duty retiree with at least 20 years of service experience
- A reservist with 20 years who has reached the retirement age of 60
- A temporary Early Retirement Authority retiree with less than 20 years of service due to force management requirements
If you qualify, the VA automatically enrolls you, and you will receive your full retirement pay and your disability pay.
Social Security Disability Benefits
In addition to your VA compensation payment, you may be eligible for Social Security disability benefits. Medicaid and Medicare health benefits from Social Security can supplement your VA health care. There are two types of Social Security disability benefits: SSI and SSDI.
Supplemental Security Income (SSI)
To qualify for Supplemental Security Income, you must be over 65, blind, or disabled, and have limited resources and income. However, VA disability payments count as income that offsets SSI payments. Thus, it may be hard to qualify while receiving VA disability benefits.
Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI)
Social Security Disability Insurance isn’t dependent on income or resources. Eligibility is based on how many work credits you have earned and strict disability criteria, including the following:
- You cannot do substantial work due to your disability
- You must have or expect to have your condition for at least a year or expect it to result in death
If you are approved, you receive SSDI and your VA disability with no offsets.
Are Veterans Rated at 50 - 90 Percent Eligible for TDIU?
If you cannot work because of your service-connected disability, you may qualify for Total Disability based on Individual Unemployability (TDIU). TDIU allows disabled veterans who don’t qualify for a 100 percent disability rating to receive additional compensation when they can’t maintain gainful employment due to their disability. Eligibility requirements include the following:
- At least one service-connected disability rating of 60 percent or more; or two or more service-connected disabilities, with at least one rated 40 percent or higher; or a combined disability rating of 70 percent or more
- Inability to hold down a steady job due to service-connected disability
With a 50 percent VA disability rating, you usually need a rating change to get TDIU benefits. There is an exception if the VA Ratings Board determines you are unemployable. In this case, it sends a statement to the Compensation Service to give you extra consideration.
How Can I Increase My 50 - 90 Percent VA Disability Rating?
There are several ways to ask the VA to increase your disability rating. You can do these yourself, but given the complexities of the appeals and other rating change processes, you may want help from a VA-accredited attorney or advocate.
You have one year from the date you received your VA decision notification to appeal your rating. There are three ways to appeal, including:
- Higher-Level Review – A senior claims adjudicator reviews your initial claim with no new evidence
- Supplemental Claim – You provide new evidence, such as medical records that weren’t included in your original claim
- Board of Veterans Appeal – A veterans law judge hears your case with or without new evidence. You can also request a hearing at this level.
Submit a New Claim
You can file two types of new claims to change your VA disability rating. An increased claim asks for a higher disability rating because your service-related condition has worsened. You must submit new medical evidence with your increased claim.
You can also file a new claim asking for additional monthly support, special monthly payments, or a change to your Individual Unemployability status. If the unemployable status is granted, you receive the same benefits as someone with a 100 percent disability rating.
Add Another Condition to Your Rating
You can file another claim if you have a new condition linked to the one for which you receive benefits. For example, if you injured your knee during your service and have a 50 percent disability rating, you may develop arthritis later.
You can file your claim online, by mail, or in person at a VA regional office. You can also do so with the help of an attorney or advocate. You must submit medical evidence of your new condition. Additionally, you can add supporting statements from family, friends, and others aware of your condition to help your case.
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