VA Can Assign Service-Connected Veterans a Zero Percent Disability Rating

Many veterans are confused when VA grants their claims for service connection only to assign a zero percent disability rating. Veterans assigned a zero percent rating are not able to receive compensation for this disability.

Wingard v. Shinseki

Congress expressly gave VA the authority to pay veterans with disabilities determined to be 10, 20, 30, 40, 50, 60, 70, 80, 90, and 100 percent disabling. However, in creating the rating code, it was unclear whether Congress allowed VA to rate service-connected disabilities at zero percent. In Wingard v. Shinseki, No. 11-1214 (Vet. App. Aug. 16, 2013), the Court determined that the advocate from Congress does allow VA to rate service-connected veterans as zero percent disabled and thus deny any compensation.

Although this is a frustrating decision for veterans assigned a zero percent rating for a service-connected condition, any veteran who feels that the service-connected condition has worsened may file a claim for an increased rating. To receive an increased rating the veteran would not need to go through proving that the condition is related to service again, only that his conditions are consistent with one of the compensable ratings.

Is Your VA Disability Compensation Rating Too Low?

If you have received a disability rating that you feel is too low or have an existing disability that has grown more severe over time — we can help. In fact, we may even be able to help you if your initial disability rating was 0 percent and you did not qualify for benefits. Call or contact us and ask to speak with an advocate. The consultation is free. We only receive payment for our services if we are successful on your behalf.

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