Recently I attempted to watch the film Interstellar. Without hesitation I can declare that this film is the second most confusing thing I’ve ever dealt with in my life. Though the film contains a lot of discussion of physics, time travel, parallel universes-and even the incredibly far fetching idea that Matthew McConaughey could be an astronaut-the movie makes perfect sense compared to VA math. VA math is simply the most confusing and obtuse concept ever imagined. In my mind 40 plus 40 should equal 80. Now, that may be a controversial stance on math, but it is fact. If I have 40 Skittles, and I add 40 more Skittles to the 40 I already have, I now have 80 Skittles. In the mind of the VA though, you might only have 60 Skittles.
Ok, it’s time for me to stop being such a smart aleck and get to the point. VA math does not really make sense to many people. The use of a rating scale is what causes weird percentages. So, unless you have the scale in front of you, or you have a great memory, it makes it difficult for quick calculations. I happen to work with individuals who are savants. They can estimate the monthly amount without hesitation. I however spent all my time in college avoiding math courses and instead focused on communications. That unfortunately does not help me much when it comes to calculating VA disability percentages. So, when I need to calculate percentages I am left with two options; I can ask someone, or I can go hide in the supply closet and hope the problem goes away.
But wait; don’t we live in the 21st century? I can reserve a rental car, order a pizza, and even share my thoughts on the latest Bradley Cooper film from my phone without making a single call. Surely there is someone out there who developed an application for VA Math. Good news…someone felt our pain and developed a tool for the rest of us.
One of the areas I have the most difficulty with is attempting to figure out how much a Veteran will receive at a given percentage level. For instance, a Veteran filing alone will receive a different amount at 30% than a Veteran filing with a spouse and a child dependent. For a single Vet, the current amount paid for 30% is $400.93. However, at 30%, a Vet with a child and a spouse will receive $483.75. There is obviously a big difference between those two amounts. Before I would have had to look up the rating, then added the amount in for a spouse, and then a child, and that would have given me the proper amount. Instead, what I am doing now is much simpler. All I do is pull out my Samsung Galaxy Note 3, (Because adults use Android products) open up my application, and it will calculate these ratings for me.
In the past year we have seen some great electronic resources that can help deal with the everyday headaches of VA disability, especially VA math. The first item I wish to discuss is the phone app I mentioned earlier. It’s actually quite helpful. The app is actually referred to as VetCalc and is available on both Apple devices and Android phones. That covers most people. For the 3.6% of people who use Blackberry or Windows operating systems on their phone, you’re out of luck.
VetCalc was developed by Andrew McKeown. The application is actually quite simple to use. It asks the user to enter in their service connected percentage, and then it will ask if you’re single or married, and finally it will ask how many children and dependent parents you have. After all of this information is entered, it will calculate your monthly income amount. It’s actually quite handy. There are a couple of drawbacks though. For one, it does cost $0.99. Granted, that’s not some large amount of money, but most Veterans won’t have to use it very often. I quickly downloaded it because it can help me with my job and I can use it often. It also does not calculate your percentage. You have to know that ahead of time.
What if you are trying to figure out if your overall combined rating is correct? Well, put your abacus away because we have found a great free online VA Disability Calculator. The MicroHealth website has this tool available for everyone now. All you have to do is put in your disabilities, the ratings, and then it will calculate your combined rating. The greatest thing about this feature is that it takes all of the guess work out of the calculations. For instance, if you enter in a rating for PTSD at 30%, Left Knee at 20% and Tinnitus at 10%, it shows that your overall combined rating is 50%.
The calculator even considers rounding. On the VA Scale, 30% plus 20% equals 44%. As you already know, the VA only rates Veterans in multiples of 10. When your combined rating equals a number that is not a multiple of 10, the VA will either round up or down. A number ending in a 4 or lower is rounded down, whereas a number ending in 5 or above is rounded up. In other words, if your combined rating is 33%, the VA will round down to 30%. However, if your combined rating is 37%, the VA will round up to 40%. The calculator shows both the cumulative number, and your overall rating. It simply rounds up or down depending upon the number.
Overall, VA math is very confusing process. However, with tools like the ones mentioned in this blog, VA math does not have to be so difficult. If you’re a Veteran who is struggling to get the benefits you deserve, give me a call today for a free consultation. Our toll free number is 1-877-526-3457. If you’re not able to talk at this time, fill out this form, and we will call you at a more convenient time.
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