How to Understand a VA Rating Decision

A VA rating decision is the first decision received after filing a claim for service-connected compensation. The VA Rating Decision will inform the veteran that the VA has reviewed their claims and made a decision on whether the claimed conditions are related to service. If service connection is granted, the Rating Decision will also establish a disability rating for each condition and an effective date for the rating. The Rating Decision is almost always issued in conjunction with the VA award letter which indicates a veteran’s disability rating along with the corresponding amounts of monthly compensation.

How is a VA Rating Decision Organized?

A VA Rating Decision is broken down into several sections as follows:


The introduction section is where the VA provides a brief overview of the veteran’s service and claim history. It typically includes the veteran’s dates, locations, and branch of service. Furthermore, it will typically indicate the date that the VA received the veteran’s claim.


The decision section will be in numbered format and go through each condition individually. For each condition, it will indicate if service connection was granted and if so, what rating was assigned along with the effective date for the rating. If the service connection was denied it will also say so in this section.


The evidence section of a VA Rating Decision simply lists all of the evidence the VA looked at when making its decision.

Reasons for Decision

This portion of the decision is the most detailed. This is where the VA provides the rationale and bases for their decision. They will go through each condition and provide an analysis for why service connection was granted, why a rating was assigned, and where the effective dates came from. If service connection was denied, it will explain why.

What is a Rating Code Sheet?

At the end of the VA Rating Decision, there is a document called a rating code sheet. This sheet will display all of the conditions that are subject to compensation. They will also provide the diagnostic code for each condition used to assign the disability rating. Below the name and diagnostic code for each condition there will be information about the effective date of past and current ratings.

Veterans Help Group have been supporting veterans in getting the benefits they deserve since 1995. If you or a loved one served, we are here to help. Call Veterans Help Group at 855-855-8992 or complete our free veterans benefits case evaluation form.

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