Older male veteran with a prosthetic leg and a 100% VA disability rating sitting down on steps

How to Get a 100% VA Disability Rating

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Veterans with incapacitating illnesses or injuries face a challenging process to secure a 100% VA disability rating and corresponding benefits.


  • Securing a 100% VA disability rating is difficult for many vets as it requires presenting strong evidence of service-related conditions and their severity.
  • Veterans can establish a 100% rating through multiple service-connected conditions under the VA’s percentage system.
  • Key steps to improve the chances of a 100% rating include hiring a VA-accredited lawyer, attending C&P exams, keeping detailed medical records, and submitting thorough claims.
  • A 100% VA disability rating grants veterans the maximum level of VA benefits and allows them to work without losing eligibility, though many face significant life challenges.

Veterans who receive VA benefits at the 100% level are said to be on Total Disability. Generally, the most straightforward way to qualify for Total Disability is to get a 100% VA disability rating. It often takes veterans years to reach this level.

In the meantime, many accumulate medical bills, struggle to find work, and cope with a lower quality of life due to a lack of support. Our veterans disability claim appeals attorneys share your frustration with the system. We want to help you secure the maximum disability benefits the VA has to offer.

Get in touch with us by calling (855) 933-5201 or use our contact form to schedule a free consultation. We’ll review your case and formulate a detailed plan addressing how to get a 100% VA disability rating for your injuries. 

What Veterans Need to Do to Get a 100% VA Disability Rating

To achieve a 100% VA disability rating, you need to ensure that each of your conditions meets the standard criteria for a service-related disability so that they contribute to your overall rating. In short, that means for each disability, you need to present evidence of a diagnosed medical condition that can be attributed to your military service.

Pre-existing conditions exacerbated by military service also qualify as service-connected disabilities. Once you have established that your mental and/or physical conditions qualify under those requirements, the next hurdle is convincing the VA of the severity of each disability.

Your symptoms must meet or exceed the description of 10% disability for a condition to be compensable. If you are seeking a 100% VA disability rating based on multiple service-connected conditions, remember that the VA relies on a percentage system to calculate overall ratings. You can’t just add your ratings together to get your combined total.

It is in your best interest to secure the highest (accurate) disability rating for each of your conditions in order to reach 100% using the VA disability calculatorAlthough many decisions are outside of your control, there are actions you can take to give your case the best chance of getting a 100% VA disability rating.

  • Hire a VA-accredited veterans disability appeals lawyer to advocate for you
  • Attend your C&P exam and come prepared
  • Keep a record of your symptoms and medical information
  • Ask your friends, family, and colleagues to write statements supporting your claim
  • Gather evidence of a clear connection between your disability and your military service
  • Submit a thorough, evidence-based claim that documents the key components of eligibility

What it Means to Have a Total Disability Status With the VA

Simply put, a 100% VA disability rating means that you have one or more service-related conditions that have a combined rating of 100%, the maximum level of disability. A 100% rating can encompass physical injuries and illnesses, as well as mental conditions.

Vets with 100% disability ratings not only have access to the highest level of VA benefits, but they also acquire a Total Disability status. With this status, a vet is still allowed to work, if they want to, without jeopardizing their eligibility.

That being said, many veterans who qualify for Total Disability based on a 100% VA disability rating face considerable challenges taking care of themselves and their families, working, socializing, and more.

The VA Decides Your Rating Based on the Severity of Your Symptoms

A veteran may have a 100% VA disability rating for a single condition, or lower ratings for multiple conditions that accumulate to 100% based on “VA math”. To secure a disability rating of 100% for an individual condition, you must be exhibiting the most severe level of symptoms for that particular illness or injury.

Each condition has a different diagnostic definition of 100%. For example, a 100% VA rating for insomnia means that the vet is experiencing delusions, can’t function in their job or relationships, and is at risk of harming themselves or others. On the other hand, a 100% VA rating for hypothyroidism is characterized by myxedema, which can result in a coma.

Trust the Veterans Disability Claims Lawyers of VetLaw to Help You Get a 100% VA Disability Rating

Our team can help you overcome significant obstacles in the VA appeals process. We have considerable experience with the common pitfalls that hold veterans disability benefits claims back.

Whether you need to establish a clear in-service connection, increase your VA disability rating for a specific condition, or claim a pre-existing condition, we are ready to get to work on your appeal.

VetLaw has been a credible source of outstanding legal advice for veterans for the past decade. Our veterans disability benefits denial attorneys are undeterred by tough cases like helping vets seeking a 100% VA disability rating. Give us a call at (855) 933-5201 or use our contact form to schedule a free consultation.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can you get 100% VA disability benefits without a 100% VA disability rating?

Some veterans may qualify for the compensation rate associated with a 100% VA disability rating even if they possess a lower rating. For example, vets who meet the criteria for the VA’s 70/40 rule may be eligible for Total Disability due to Individual Unemployability.

 Although their combined disability rating is not 100%, the combination of multiple service-related injuries has rendered them incapable of holding onto a steady job. In cases like that, the VA is willing to supplement their loss of income at a higher level. 

Is a 100% VA disability rating permanent?

Vets with a Total Disability status do not automatically qualify for a Permanent disability status. What it comes down to is whether the VA expects your disability to improve. For example, a veteran with a Traumatic Brain Injury may have a 100% VA disability rating in the immediate aftermath, but their providers anticipate that they will recover most of their functioning. 

In that instance, the VA may request a follow-up C&P exam later on to determine if a 100% VA disability rating is still warranted. However, after a certain period of time, the VA’s 5, 10, and 20-year rules also function to restrict the VA from eliminating or lowering a vet’s disability rating.

What is the 2024 compensation rate for vets with a 100% VA disability rating?

According to the 2024 compensation rates, a single veteran with no dependents and a 100% disability rating would be eligible for $3,737.85 a month. Veterans who are supporting a spouse, parents, or children qualify for higher rates of monthly compensation based on their Total disability status.