Total and Permanent Disability VA Ratings: The Differences Between P&T and 100 Disability (2023)

When a former service member makes a disability claim through the United States Department of Veterans Affairs, the VA assigns a disability rating to their claim.

This rating is based on how much the disability impairs their ability to work so that the disability compensation can make up for lost wages. If they are unemployable, the compensation would need to cover the loss of full-time wages.

In some cases, a veteran has a disability that qualifies for a 100 percent disability rating, AND their disability is permanent.

In these cases, an eligible veteran would receive a total and permanent disability va rating. This rating makes veterans eligible for VA disability compensations, social security benefits and a number of other VA disability benefits for the veteran and their family members.

We will break down the basics of permanent and total disability ratings below.

Meaning of Permanent & Total Disability Benefits

First, let’s break down each word in the phrase “permanent and total.” Permanent means that a veteran has a disability that has no chance, or close to no chance, of the disability improving.

The Department of Veterans Affairs considers a disability to be permanent when the medical evidence shows that it is reasonably certain the severity of the veteran’s condition will continue for the rest of the veteran’s life.

In determining this, the VA is allowed to take into account the veteran’s age.

Ratings are assigned to disability based on the VA’s rating schedule. A rating is meant to represent how much the disability leads to functional impairment.

In other words, the rating reflects the severity of the disability.

Total means a veteran’s disability is rated at 100% disabling.

While the VA has the final say on whether a Veterans Affairs claim warrants permanent and total disability, some common conditions associated with this type of rating may include loss of use of both legs, total blindness, or a condition that causes a veteran to be bedridden.

If a disability is rated at 100%, then that indicates the veteran is completely or totally disabled.

Of course, the higher a disabled veteran is rated, the higher the VA disability compensation awarded.

Total and Permanent Disability VA Ratings: The Differences Between P&T and 100 Disability (1)

A veteran might have a VA disability rating at 100% , but it might not be considered a permanent disability.

If a disability is not considered permanent, it is called temporary disability. Vice versa, a veteran could have a disability that the VA has determined is permanent, but it is not rated at 100%, so it isn’t total.

However, when a veteran has a disability that is considered permanent AND total, there are certain disability benefits that come into play.

It’s also important to note that former military service members who qualify for total disability based on individual unemployability (TDIU) may not always receive a permanent and total disability rating.

The VA can award TDIU for disabilities that are temporary, but that’s not the case with permanent and total disabilities.

We will break down these distinctions in more detail below.

Can You Be Rated 100% Permanent and Totally Disabled and still Work?

Yes, but there are exceptions. First, let’s discuss VA unemployability (TD IU ) better known as IU , this is a rating that is more complicated than just a regular 100% scheduler rating.

A schedular rating is when the veteran’s ratings combine to 100%.

A veteran can claim IU when he is unable to maintain substantially gainful employment because of his service-connected disability.

Substantially gainful employment is a VA term for not being able to work.

When considering IU, the VA looks at what the veteran earns. If the veteran makes less than the poverty level , then the VA considers that the veteran cannot work.

Alternatively, the VA considers if the veteran is in sheltered employment.

This kind of job is where a veteran works for a family member or friend. It can also be where a boss gives a veteran breaks that he may not give others.

To qualify for IU, there is a complicated formula .

Essentially, the veteran must have one disability rated at 60% or at least 70% combined rating of disabilities.

The VA will not award a 100% rating simply because the veteran met the initial criteria for IU.

A veteran must provide evidence showing he is unable to work in both a physical and a sedentary work environment.

Temporary 100% Disability Rating

The VA gives this rating when a veteran has been hospitalized for 21 days or longer.

Alternatively, the VA awards the rating when a veteran’s service-connected disability required surgery that resulted in an over 30-day convalescence period.

The VA will pay the veteran at the 100% rate while the veteran is in the hospital or convalescence period.

Total and Permanent Disability VA Ratings: The Differences Between P&T and 100 Disability (3)

Additional Benefits to Permanent and Total VA Rating

If a disabled veteran has a permanent and total disability rating, they do not have to worry about getting scheduled for VA re-examinations .

The VA has already made the determination that the medical evidence shows the disability is not going to improve when they found the disability to be permanent.

Veterans who are awarded a permanent and total rating may be eligible for additional VA benefits, including:

CHAMPVA (The Civilian Health and Medical Program of the Department of Veteran’s Affairs)

This is a comprehensive health care VA benefit program for spouses and children of veterans.

If a veteran has a P&T rating, their spouse and children can receive health care benefits under this program.

Also, if a veteran who passed away had a P&T rating at the time of death, their surviving spouse and children can receive health care benefits under CHAMPVA

Note: the veteran’s cause of death must have been from a service-connected disability.

Chapter 35 Dependents Educational Assistance Program

This provides education and training opportunities for eligible dependents (spouse, son, daughter, stepchildren, adopted children) of a veteran who has a P&T rating.

Unlike CHAMPVA, if a veteran dies from a non-service-connected disability, dependents can still receive Dependents Educational Assistance benefits as long as the veteran had a P&T rating when they passed away.

There is a lot of information regarding Dependents Educational Assistance VA benefits, so for more details on this program, click here .

Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (DIC)

DIC benefits only become applicable when the veteran has passed away . If a veteran had a P&T rating for the 10 years immediately prior to their death, qualifying dependents would be eligible for DIC benefits .

However, if the veteran had a permanent and total rating for LESS THAN 10 years prior to their death, qualifying dependents are only eligible for DIC benefits if the veteran’s cause of death was service-connected.

Faster Reviews of Social Security Disability (SSD)

Veterans who have a rating of 100 percent Permanent and Total also are eligible for expedited review of applications for Social Security disability benefits.

A VA 100 percent P&T rating does not ensure you’ll qualify for Social Security disability. Medical evidence used to qualify for a Total and Permanent rating will be helpful for obtaining Social Security Disability benefits.

Certain State-Level Benefits

State-level benefits for veterans that have a P&T rating include:

  • No fee drivers licenses and license plates
  • Free Fishing & Hunting Licenses
  • Federal parking in airports, federal spaces in camp grounds and parks
  • Access to all bases and commissaries
  • Property taxes

For example, in Florida, a veteran with a P&T rating and an honorable discharge is exempt from paying property tax on their residence.

For a comprehensive list of each state’s benefits, click here .

Many veterans ask if they can work while receiving permanent and total disability payments.

Typically, the answer is no. You may be able to hold sporadic employment like pet sitting, house sitting, babysitting, or other odd jobs while receiving permanent and total disability payments.

You can learn more about these veterans’ benefits on the VA website, and the links are linked above.

Total and Permanent Disability VA Ratings: The Differences Between P&T and 100 Disability (4)

How to Get Permanent and Total Disability Ratings from the VA

You can’t file a VA benefits claim for a permanent and total disability rating, but you can submit a letter to your VA regional office requesting they find you permanent and total.

When submitting this request, you should also send medical evidence that shows your service-connected disability or disabilities are not going to improve in the future.

The VA typically makes a determination of permanent and total on their own, but if you have not been found permanent and total, it is worth letting the VA know why you should be due to your service-connected medical conditions.

If you’re unsure whether you’ve been found eligible for total disability individual unemployability, first look at your rating or combined rating decision .

Some compensation rating decisions will include a permanent and total box that will be checked if the VA found you to be permanently and totally disabled, and qualifying for the individual unemployability benefit.

Another indicator of rating decisions is if there is some language that says something like “eligibility to Dependents Educational Assistance Benefits (Chapter 35 DEA benefits) has been established.”

Disabled veterans who have questions about their VA disability claim can contact the attorneys at Hill & Ponton.

Our law firm focuses on veterans’ disability law, providing legal advice and representation to veteran clients and their family members.

If the VA has denied your claim or you disagree with the rating in your claim decision letter, contact us today for a free case evaluation.

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What is the difference between VA 100% P&T and 100%? ›

The difference between a 100% rating and permanent and total (P&T) disability is that the VA may schedule a reexamination for a veteran with a 100% service connection to see if the condition has improved, whereas a vet who is P&T is not expected to improve and not scheduled for further evaluation.

Can veterans work with 100% permanent and total P&T VA ratings? ›

Veterans rated with a 100% Permanent and Total VA disability rating do not face any restrictions on work activity, unless the veteran was awarded this rating through Total Disability based on Individual Unemployability (TDIU).

What is the difference between 100 permanent and total disability? ›

Permanent and Total Disability for Veterans

Remember, total disability is considered any impairment of mind or body that makes it impossible to gain substantial employment. Permanent disability refers to impairment that is likely to continue through the person's life.

How much does VA disability pay for 100% P&T? ›

A Veteran with a 100 percent disability rating and no dependents will receive approximately $3,300 a month from the VA, based on VA compensation rates for 2022. A 100 percent disabled Veteran may receive additional amounts of compensation for a spouse, dependent children or parents.

How much will 100 P&T VA disability pay in 2023? ›

Although the 2022 adjustment of 5.9 percent was already substantial, the 2023 adjustment is even higher. With the 8.7 percent COLA increase, veterans with a 100 percent disability rating and no dependents will see an extra $289.89 added to their disability compensation, yielding $3,621.95 per month.

Can a 100 P&T veteran get Social Security? ›

A Veterans Affairs compensation rating of 100% P&T doesn't guarantee that you'll receive Social Security disability benefits. To receive disability benefits from Social Security, a person must have a severe impairment expected to last at least one year or to result in death.

Does VA reevaluate P&T? ›

The VA assigns a rating of permanent and total disability (P&T) when a totally disabling condition is not anticipated to improve over time. If you receive a P&T rating at any time, it is protected. Veterans with a P&T rating are not reevaluated and receive monthly benefits at 100% for the remainder of their lives.

Can the VA reevaluate total and permanent disability? ›

The VA does not reevaluate permanent conditions. When a disability is determined to be permanent, the rating, payment, and benefits will not change for the rest of the Veteran's life. A Veteran's service-connected illness or injury can be determined to be a permanent disability but not a total or 100% disability.

Can you still work with 100 permanent and total VA disability? ›

If your 100% VA Disability Rating comes because you qualify for the 100% rating specified for a single (or combination of multiple) service-connected conditions using the Schedule of Ratings, then you have NO limitations on your ability to work.

Can a 100 P&T veteran be re evaluated? ›

VA Can Reevaluate all of the Veteran's Current Awards.

If a veteran has a 100% P&T rating but opens a new claim for Special Monthly Compensation (SMC), the VA Rater may see that one or more conditions have improved, have that condition re-evaluated, and subsequently REDUCED.

Is total and permanent disability forever? ›

If VA rates you as permanently and totally disabled, your disability rating should not be reduced. Permanent and Total Disability means your service-connected condition is 100 percent disabling with no chance of improving.

How many veterans have a 100% disability rating? ›

A single 100% rating means that the condition you're experiencing is severe and totally disabling. A combined rating of 100% is not a total disability because a person may be able to maintain substantially gainful employment with a combined 100%. More than a million veterans receive benefits at the 100% rate.

Can 100 P&T VA disability be reduced? ›

When can a permanent and total disability rating reduced? If you have a 100% Permanent and Total (P&T) rating, it's unlikely you'll be re-evaluated or have your rating reduced, unless you've done something to trigger a VA review of your case.

Is 70% PTSD a permanent VA disability? ›

The veteran's total disability due to PTSD is permanent with no likelihood of improvement. The 100 percent rating for PTSD is total, permanent, and static in nature.

How much is special monthly compensation for erectile dysfunction? ›

SMC has a category termed “loss of use of a creative organ.” Under this category, SMC (k), you can receive monthly compensation for erectile dysfunction, which in 2022 is nearly $120 a month.

What happens to my VA disability when I turn 65? ›

No, VA disability does not stop at age 65; nor does it stop at age 67. VA disability benefits are for the life of the disabled veteran! And in some instances, the veteran's VA benefits can pass to the surviving spouse. At age 65, a disabled veteran may also become eligible for VA pension benefits.

What is the 55 year old rule for VA disability? ›

Based on the results of the exam, your disability rating may increase, decrease, or stay the same. Once you turn 55, you are typically "protected" and will no longer have to attend an exam to prove that your condition has not changed unless there is reason to suspect fraud. This is sometimes called the 55-year rule.

How do I get the $16728 Social Security bonus? ›

To acquire the full amount, you need to maximize your working life and begin collecting your check until age 70. Another way to maximize your check is by asking for a raise every two or three years. Moving companies throughout your career is another way to prove your worth, and generate more money.

Is the VA disability pay going up in 2023? ›

VA disability pay for 2023 increased by 8.7%. The new disability compensation rates took effect on December 1, 2022. See the current VA disability pay chart, and calculate your monthly compensation.

Will the VA disability increase in 2023? ›

Disabled veterans and military retirees will see a nearly 9% cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) in their monthly benefits from the Department of Veterans Affairs in 2023, the most significant jump since 1981.

How often does VA reevaluate 100% disability? ›

Basically, the VA can reevaluate your disability rating every 2 to 5 years unless your rating is permanent or protected. Depending on the results of the reexamination and reevaluation, you may see a reduced rating. Some conditions are likely to fluctuate in severity over time. An example of this?

What is the 10 year rule for VA P&T? ›

VA's 10-year rule states that the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs cannot terminate service connection for a disability that has been in place for at least 10 years unless there was evidence of fraud at the time of the grant.

Why is my VA disability rating not permanent? ›

VA disability ratings generally are not permanent. Rather, they are subject to review by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) at any time. If VA finds that your situation or condition has changed since you received your initial rating, it may assign you a new rating—or cease your benefits altogether.

How long does permanent VA disability last? ›

If VA assigns you a 100% rating, it has the option of also designating you permanently and totally disabled. If you receive this designation, your benefits are safe for the rest of your life. The only exception is if VA later determines you obtained your benefits via fraud.

What is the max VA disability back? ›

When dealing with a range of motion issue, you can receive a 100% disability rating for your back condition if you have stiffening of the entire spine. Additionally, a 50% rating for complete thoracolumbar spine stiffening and a 40% rating for the stiffening of the whole cervical spine are possible.

How long does it take to become permanent and total VA disability? ›

20 Years: Continuous Rating.

What if my disability check is not enough? ›

When your disability check isn't enough to live on, you may have additional options at your disposal. For example, you may qualify for extra help in specific areas such as health care costs, food, and housing. Different federal, state, and local programs may be available.

How to increase PTSD rating from 70 to 100? ›

Increasing your 70% PTSD Rating to 100%
  1. Method 1: Appeal the Decision or File a New Claim. The most straightforward approach is to appeal VA's decision on the original claim. ...
  2. Method 2: Prove Individual Unemployability (TDIU) ...
  3. Method 3: File for a Secondary Service Connection. ...
  4. Assistance with Your Claims and Appeals.

How does the VA determine P&T? ›

To be eligible for permanent and total disability (P&T) compensation, a veteran must be affected by a service-connected disability that is both “total” and “permanent.” To warrant a permanent and total disability rating, the veteran must have a condition that is fully disabling and does not show signs of improvement.

Can VA disability ratings be higher than 100 percent? ›

Ultimately, the VA does not award disability ratings higher than 100 percent. Once veterans reach an 100 percent rating, the VA will pay them the highest compensation level regardless of additional disability ratings unless the qualify for SMC.

How does the VA decide to P&T? ›

Bear in mind that to receive P&T, you must meet both of these requirements. You must be both 100% disabled and possess medical evidence that your condition will not improve. This is the rarest of the three scenarios in which your rating is protected.

Is a physical disability always permanent? ›

Physical disabilities limit a person's movement, stamina, or overall functioning. A disability can be temporary, long-term, or permanent. Someone can become disabled because of injury, illness, or genetic disorders.

Can veterans fly for free? ›

Service members and their families can use Space-A flights – formally known as Military Airlift Command or MAC flights – to travel around the country and world at a reduced cost or for free.

Why is it so hard to get 100 percent VA disability? ›

As you might expect, it is difficult to obtain a 100% VA disability rating with just one service-connected disability. Most veterans who receive a 100% rating have two or more disabling conditions. Often, these conditions have a secondary service connection.

Why are there so many disabled veterans? ›

Less restrictive and more liberal laws have led to the explosion of disability claims by veterans. During the Revolutionary War, disability payments came only when a service man lost a limb, but now, problems stemming from diabetes and sleep apnea, just to list two examples, are basis for disabled veterans claims.

How do I get my VA PTSD increase from 50 to 70? ›

Anecdotally, we believe 50% is the most common rating VA assigns for PTSD with emphasis on relationship issues and panic attacks. In order to get 70%, there has to be evidence of SIGNIFICANT issues with PTSD symptoms affecting most areas of your life.

How far back does VA pay for PTSD? ›

The VA typically only pays disability compensation going back to the date of discharge to veterans who apply for their VA disability benefits within one year of being discharged.

Is 50% PTSD a permanent VA disability? ›

Yes, PTSD is considered a permanent VA disability. The Department of Veteran Affairs recognizes post-traumatic stress disorder as a serious, life-altering mental condition and will award disability benefits to qualified veterans suffering from PTSD.

What does VA 100% P&T mean? ›

Permanent and total disability, or P&T, refers to veterans whose disabilities are total (i.e. rated 100% disabling by VA) and permanent (i.e. meaning they have a minimal chance or no chance of their condition ever improving).

What is the VA P&T rule? ›

The VA assigns a rating of permanent and total disability (P&T) when a totally disabling condition is not anticipated to improve over time. If you receive a P&T rating at any time, it is protected. Veterans with a P&T rating are not reevaluated and receive monthly benefits at 100% for the remainder of their lives.

Can permanent and total disability be taken away? ›

Every VA disability rating can be reduced by the VA for a variety of reasons, so the short answer is yes, the VA can take away a permanent and total disability rating, but it is not common.

How many 100 P&T veterans are there? ›

For the purpose of this report, the OIG used the term P&T to signify permanent and total status. nearly three million to nearly 4.8 million veterans, or a 61 percent increase. For the same period, the number of 100 percent disabled veterans increased from about 260,000 to more than 680,000, or a 161 percent increase.

Can you work with 100 P&T PTSD? ›

Can I work with a 100 PTSD rating? Yes! You can still work with a 100 percent scheduler PTSD rating. Veterans with a 100 VA disability from the VA for PTSD also qualify for Special Monthly Compensation.

How hard is it to get P&T at the VA? ›

To receive a P&T disability rating, a veteran must have one disability rated at 100%, or multiple disability ratings that combine to equal 100%. Alternatively, TDIU has a complicated formula that requires the veteran to prove they cannot work in a substantially gainful work environment.

What is the VA 5 year rule P&T? ›

The VA disability 5 year rule allows the VA to ex-examine your VA disability rating within 5 years of your initial examination if your condition is expected to improve over time. However, the VA may still change your disability rating past the 5-year deadline if your condition has significantly improved.

Can VA disability 100 P&T be reduced? ›

Every VA disability rating, whether it's deemed P&T or not, can be reduced by the VA for a variety of reasons. However, if you have a 100 Permanent and Total (P&T) rating, it's unlikely you'll be re-evaluated or have your rating reduced, unless you've done something to cause the VA to review your case.

What's the most you can make on permanent disability? ›

resources-supports.htm. During the trial work period, there are no limits on your earnings. During the 36-month extended period of eligibility, you usually can make no more than $1,470 ($2,460 if you are blind) a month in 2023 or your benefits will stop. These amounts are known as Substantial Gainful Activity (SGA).

How do I know if my 100 VA disability is permanent? ›

How to Know When Your Disability Rating is Permanent. Take a look at the decision letter VA sent you when granting benefits (i.e., your Rating Decision's Notice of Action letter). On some Rating Decisions, there is a Permanent and Total box that will be checked if your 100% disability is permanent.


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