I began working as a Veteran’s Disability Compensation in August of 2019. My previous practice centered mainly around personal injury and similar tort claims. When I started with Gardberg and Kemmerly, I thought that this line of work would be similar. I quicky learned that while similar, there were many facets at play when reviewing a case for VA disability compensation. Different levels of disability, various income requirements, and even politics should often be considered when reviewing these cases. I wanted to take some time on my 3-year work anniversary to discuss what I have learned in my 3 years with Gardberg and Kemmerly.
Unlike with Social Security Disability compensation, the VA provides varying levels of disability. Each diagnosis, or set of symptoms, has a specific evaluation (percentage of disability) that goes along with that condition. Furthermore, the VA does not simply add the percentages. The VA will “combine” the new evaluation, with the existing overall evaluation, to determine the appropriate new overall evaluation. The additional evaluation is seen as a disability affecting that percentage of the remaining ability percentage. For example, if the Veteran was rated at fifty percent for his sleep apnea, and obtains a new evaluation of fifty percent for his PTSD, the additional 50% is seen as a decrease of 50% in the Veteran’s remaining 50%. (i.e. 50% + (.50 x .50 ) = 75%, which would then round up to an overall evaluation of 80% disabling).