South Carolina veterans leaving the military with a service-connected medical condition have the right to receive VA disability benefits. Greenville is home to many brave hearts in this situation. Unfortunately, before actually enjoying these benefits, they all have to go through a lengthy and strenuous process that involves filing a VA disability claim, undergoing the C&P Exam, obtaining the VA Disability Rating, and, sometimes, appealing the Rating Authority’s decision. Counting on the help of an experienced Greenville VA disability attorney throughout this process can save them a lot of time and headaches.
Just like everywhere else in the country, for the veterans in Greenville, VA disability benefit calculations depend on the disability rating. In order to make sure they receive the benefits they deserve, it is important for them to understand what the disability rating represents, what its calculation involves, and what they can do if they consider the rating unfair.
The VA Disability Rating and Its Influence on VA Disability Benefits in Greenville, SC
As mentioned above, after filing the claim for VA disability benefits, Greenville veterans have to undergo a C&P exam during which a physician examines them and identifies the exact nature and severity of their conditions. The physician then passes one’s report to the Rating Authorities.
After analyzing the medical report and the other evidence veterans submit with their claim, the Authorities (caseworkers in charge of evaluating the veterans’ conditions and rate them according to the VA Schedule for Rating Disabilities) assign a VA Disability Rating to every condition in the medical report.
Working with a Greenville VA disability attorney from the very beginning of the disability process can help veterans avoid paperwork and support their claims with further medical documents and evaluations proving their disability, so as to make sure they receive the highest disability rating possible in their situation.
Disability Ratings Explained
The VA Disability Rating basically determines the percentage of the veteran’s body that became disabled as a result of the respective service-related condition or injury. If the veteran has several conditions, the caseworker has to calculate the Total Combined VA Disability Rating.
For this calculation, the authorities consider the entire body of the veteran as 100%. To find out the Total Combined Disability Rating, they deduct each disability percentage, starting with the highest. However, they only deduct the first disability percentage from 100%. They deduct the following percentages from the remaining percentage. Let’s take an example: a veteran with 3 disability ratings: 30% for a knee injury, 20% for a back injury, and 10% for an arm injury.
To calculate the Total Combined Disability Rating, the caseworker will subtract the first 30% from the 100%, the following 20% from the remaining 70% (20% x 70 = 14, 70 – 14 = 56), and the last 10% from the remaining 56% (10% x 56=5.6, 56 – 5.6 = 50.4%). This leaves the veteran with 50.4% of the body functional, and 49.6% (100% – 50.4% = 49.6%) Total Combined Disability Rating. The caseworker then rounds this rating to the nearest 10, so the veteran’s total disability rating becomes 50%.
The Total Combined Disability Rating also takes into account the “Bilateral Factor”, an addition applicable when a veteran has disability ratings for both arms or legs. This factor relies on the idea that a veteran with both arms or legs affected will have a harder time getting by than one with only one arm or leg affected.
In theory, the total bilateral factor adds 10% to one’s disability rating. In practice, it’s not 10% of the total rating, or 10% as a new condition, but 10% of the combined ratings of the arms or legs affected. In some cases, the bilateral factor does not help the veteran at all. In other cases, however, due to the rounding to the nearest 10, it can increase their Total Combined Disability Rating by as much as 10%, and even help the veteran qualify for a higher category of VA disability benefits.
Every 10% added to the Total Combined Disability Rating increases the VA disability benefits Greenville veterans receive. The amounts start from approximately $130 for 10% to almost $3000 for 100%, with further increases available for those with children, spouses, and parents.
Unfortunately, sometimes, C&P exams are superficial and inaccurate and caseworkers make mistakes when calculating one’s Total Combined Disability Rating. That is where a Greenville VA disability attorney can make a difference. Besides being able to evaluate one’s case and identify mistakes, your VA disability attorney can also help you file an appeal and have your disability rating recalculated.
Consult with a VA Disability Attorney in Greenville, South Carolina Today
Do you want to file a VA disability claim in South Carolina and you don’t know where to start and what documents to include? Are you convinced that the caseworker miscalculated your Total Combined Disability Rating and you want to file an appeal? In either case, you need a skilled, knowledgeable, and experienced Greenville VA disability attorney on your side.
With over three decades of experience serving the disabled, Robert J. Surface is the man you need. Your South Carolina disability lawyer can help you obtain all of the VA disability benefits that a Greenville veteran in your situation can receive. Contact us now for a free consultation with a VA disability attorney.