Understanding Permanent and Total VA Disability

Understanding Permanent and Total VA Disability

Most disabled veterans today are aware that the Department of Veterans’ Affairs (VA) rates disabilities using a bizarre calculation that many people jokingly call “VA Math.”  But what many veterans do not realize is that you can be determined to be permanently and totally disabled (P&T) even if you don’t reach a 100 percent disability rating. That’s right. Some veterans can be found to have “perm total” disability with less than a 100 percent rating. Once a veteran reaches this point, there are a number of added benefits that they may not even know about.

What is P&T?

A permanent and total disability VA disability is one from which you will never recover and which totally impairs you. Some conditions are generally considered permanent and total, such as:

  • Amputation of both legs
  • Amputation of both arms or hands
  • Loss of sight in both eyes (blindness)
  • Loss of hearing in both ears (deafness)
  • Terminal incurable diseases

Permanent But Not Total Disability

Just because you are very sick or have a debilitating condition does not automatically mean the VA will consider it permanent or total. Some injuries and conditions may be permanent (i.e. loss of a finger), but not total. Losing one finger may be a permanent injury, but the VA will likely not consider it a “total” disability, because you are likely still able to function and use the hand. You’ll get a rating for a disability—just not total disability.

Total But Not Permanent Disability

It may seem strange, but you can have a total impairment, such as cancer or renal failure, but the VA can consider these to be temporary total disabilities. You may be eligible to receive your rating and compensation for a limited time period or until the condition is treated and improves. For instance, if you suffer from certain types of cancers relating to your military service, the VA may determine (whether correctly or not) that you have a high likelihood of recovery. The VA may then determine that although your disability is total, it is not permanent.

P&T With Less Than A 100% Rating

When a veteran’s disability results in a determination of “Total Disability Based on Individual Unemployability” (or TDIU), it is possible to receive a permanent and total disability determination from the VA even with a rating of less than 100 percent. There are two ways a veteran can receive permanent and total disability based on the inability to work:

  • At least one rating of 60 percent or more
  • More than one disability, so long as one is at least 40 percent and the total combined rating is at least 70 percent

Some veterans may even qualify for TDIU while still working. However, the rules are very narrow, and there are a lot of exceptions. It’s important to discuss your situation with an experienced VA disability lawyer who can assess your medical condition and your limitations to determine how to best approach the VA with your claim or appeal.

Working With An Attorney

The VA denies most claims initially. Even if you succeed in your initial claim, your rating may not be correct. If you believe you are due permanent and total disability, either based on your medical condition or unemployability, contact Klok Law Firm LLC to speak with one of our trained and experienced VA accredited lawyers today.