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What Does It Mean to Be 100% Disabled by the VA?

U.S. military veterans are entitled to monthly compensation for service-related disabilities.  

When a veteran files a disability claim with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, the VA determines if the disability resulted from serving in the military and assesses its severity. The VA then assigns the disability a rating from 0% to 100% based on how much the condition limits the veteran’s ability to earn a living. 

What is a 100% disability rating from the VA? 

VA adjudicators assess the severity of a veteran’s condition according to a rating schedule of common medical conditions veterans face; the symptoms of each; and ratings for those symptoms. If a condition isn’t on the schedule, the rating officer looks for a condition with similar symptoms and impairment levels. 


The higher the disability rating, the higher the monthly compensation. Compensation rates change every year based on cost-of-living adjustments. As of December 1, 2022, for a single veteran without dependents, the VA compensation rates are: 


  • $0 monthly for a zero disability rating; 
  • $165.92 for a 10% rating; 
  • $327.99 for 20%; 
  • $508.05 for 30%; 
  • $731.86 for 40%; 
  • $1,041.82 for 50%; 
  • $1,319.65 for 60%; 
  • $1,663.06 for 70%; 
  • $1,933.15 for 80%;  
  • $2,172.39 for 90%; and 
  • $3,621.95 for 100%. 


What do 100% disabled veterans receive? 

If your service-connected conditions are severe and prevent you from employment opportunities, you may be eligible for a 100% rating.  There are several ways to get a 100% rating.  

100% schedular VA ratings 

A 100% schedular rating can be from one debilitating service-connected condition or a combined rating of all your service-related disabilities, and it’s based on the symptoms listed in the VA’s Rating Schedule 

If a veteran has multiple service-connected conditions, the VA will “combine” those ratings using a special Combined Ratings Table. VA “math” is different than normal math.   

For example: 


  • A 50% rating plus a 50% rating does not equal 100%; it equals a 75% rating, which rounds to 80%.  
  • A 90% rating plus a 50% rating equals a 95% rating, which rounds to 100%.  


It is important to consult VA’s Combined Rating Table, or a VA attorney or advocate, to determine whether your ratings are added accurately and what evidence you need to reach a 100% rating. 

VA individual unemployability (TDIU) 

The VA can award full disability benefits even if your combined disability rating doesn’t add up to 100%. You must, however, prove that the service-connected disability or disabilities  prevent(s) you from maintaining meaningful employment. 

That said, you can also receive TDIU benefits while still working, provided you can show that your employer has taken significant steps to accommodate you for the job. 

If your service-connected condition(s) are preventing you from gainful employment or requiring you and/or your employer to provide accomodations for you to work, you should consider raising the issue of TDIU to the VA.   

Total and permanent VA ratings 

Total disability is when a single service-connected condition is rated at 100% and will not improve over time.  With a permanent and total rating, the VA will not re-evaluate you or reduce your benefits for the remainder of your life. 

Temporary total VA ratings 

For certain conditions, the veteran faces severe symptoms and then the condition improves.  Thus, the VA will award a temporary 100% rating, and then the rating will be reduced when the symptoms change or subside.  In such a case, the VA will be re-evaluating the veteran at certain increments, so the veteran will need to be on alert for correspondence from the VA and provide evidence of ongoing or worsening symptoms and side effects. An example of this is when a veteran has cancer, such as prostate cancer, and the cancer or organ is removed.  Another example is when there is a transplant, such as a kidney transplant. 

Benefits for veterans 100% disabled 

Veterans with a 100% VA rating qualify for several additional benefits outside monthly disability compensation. Some of them include: 

Priority group one healthcare 

The VA assigns veterans to one of eight priority healthcare groups based on their military service history, disability rating, income level, other pension benefits, and whether they’re eligible for Medicaid. If listed among the priority one healthcare group, a veteran stands to receive the following benefits: 


  • Hearing aids and vision care 
  • Healthcare dependency 
  • Medical adaptive equipment 
  • Medical travel benefits 
  • Preventive care and some inpatient hospitalizations services 
  • Dental care 

Family benefits 

CHAMPVA, which stands for the Civilian Health and Medical Programs of the Department of Veterans Affairs, has a program that allows the families of veterans who are rated 100% permanently and totally to receive health care.  

The Survivors’ and Dependents’ Educational Assistance (DEA) program offers education and training to qualified dependents of veterans who are permanently and totally disabled because of a service-related condition, or to dependents of service members who died while on active duty or as a result of a service-related condition. 

Exchange and Commissary Benefits 

100% VA rated veterans can use their Health Identification Card to shop at discounted rates at commissary stores and exchanges or access the Coast Guard installations and the Department of Defense. 

Above 100% VA Rating Benefits 

Some veterans may have severe conditions beyond the schedular rating criteria. As such, they’re accorded additional benefits such as special monthly compensation to compensate for their extreme conditions. 

Win Your 100% VA Rating Case Today 

Getting a 100% VA Rating isn’t that easy as you must present a compelling case. Let us help you present the best possible case for the highest rating. We have the tools necessary to win your VA rating case. Contact us today for an appointment. 

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