When Veterans file for VA disability benefits, they will receive a percentage rating for each service-connected disability. Ratings range from 0% to 100% and are given in 10% increments to describe how serious a condition is. There are five possible ratings for a traumatic brain injury (TBI): 0%, 10%, 40%, 70%, and 100%.
How the VA Evaluates a Service-Connected TBI
Ten separate areas that must be evaluated as part of a TBI claim:
- Impairment of memory, attention, concentration, and executive functions
- Altered judgment
- Inhibited social skills
- Orientation (awareness of date, time, location, and others around them)
- Diminished motor activity
- Visual-spatial disorientation
- Subjective symptoms such as depression and anxiety that can’t be measured with objective tests
- Neurobehavioral effects such as irritability, unpredictability, verbal aggression, and lack of cooperation
- Impaired ability to communicate verbally or in writing
- Consciousness (whether or not the Veteran is in a coma or vegetative state)
The Veteran Affairs Schedule for Rating Disabilities (VASRD) allows five ratings for each category: 0, 1, 2, 3, and 4. Each rating corresponds to a disability percentage:
A Veteran is then assigned a total disability rating based on their highest score in any of the 10 categories. For example, a Veteran who receives a 4 rating in the communication category because they are unable to communicate verbally or in writing will automatically receive a 100% disability rating. A Veteran whose highest rating is a 3 in the neurobehavioral effects category because they have one or more behaviors that interfere with workplace or social interaction will receive a 70% disability rating for their TBI.
Additional Factors to Consider
Veterans with a service-connected TBI often suffer from secondary conditions that will have their own rating and can potentially increase their total disability rating. Parkinson's disease, seizures, dementia, depression, and hormone deficiency can qualify for a presumed service connection under certain circumstances. Other conditions may be eligible with appropriate medical evidence linking the diagnosis to the Veteran’s TBI.
A Veteran with a severe TBI who is unable to dress, feed, or otherwise care for themselves may qualify for SMC (t), a level of Special Monthly Compensation for Veterans with debilitating residuals of a TBI. This rating is granted instead of the 100% disability compensation and pays at a rate that is designed to accommodate the added expense of an in-home caregiver.
Request a Consultation Today
Veterans benefits lawyer Sean Kendall and his team will work to obtain the maximum possible compensation for your service-connected TBI. Contact our office today to schedule a free, no-obligation initial consultation.