VA Disability Calculator

Disclaimer: Our VA disability calculator is only an estimated calculation. It relies solely on input from the user.

How to Use Our VA Disability Calculator

Find out how to calculate your VA disability compensation with our VA disability calculator by watching with this helpful explainer video below:

Getting the Most from Your Service-Connected Disability Benefits

Even in peacetime, military service is a hazardous occupation. 

Service members can work in environments that often expose them to extreme noise, hazardous substances, and the risk of injury from many possible sources. 

These can lead to persistent illnesses, hearing, vision, and cognitive impairments, ambulatory difficulties, and chronic physical and mental problems including traumatic brain injuries, depression, substance abuse, post-traumatic stress disorders, and in some cases even suicide. 

Alone or in combination, these consequences of service can hinder or prevent qualifying for post-service employment and lead to reduced quality of life for affected veterans and their families.

The need for veterans to understand how to qualify for and get the most from service-connected VA disability pay has never been greater than it is today. Having a service-connected disability is increasingly prevalent among American military veterans, and the severity of those disabilities is getting worse: 

  • On average, one-fifth of military veterans—more than five million people—receive disability compensation payments. Gulf War era veterans are more than half of all veterans receiving service-connected disability benefits, and Vietnam era veterans are another one-quarter of the overall number.
  • The number of new VA benefit recipients who have a combined service-connected disability of 50 percent or more has been increasing since 2009, doubling between that year and 2013. Nearly half of Gulf War era and Vietnam-era veterans with a service-connected disability are in the 50-plus percent disability rating area.
  • Almost 40 percent of post-9/11 veterans who have a service-connected disability have a VA disability rating of at least 70 percent. Six of every ten veterans who have the highest service-related disability ratings have more than one disability.
  • The number of disabilities that veterans report has increased significantly compared to historical data. The typical number of disabilities per person among Gulf War-era veterans is eight. This is twice the number of the next highest group, Vietnam-era veterans, who in turn had almost twice as many disabilities as veterans of World War II and the Korean War. 

What are the top 10 most common service-connected disabilities?

According to the Veterans Administration, the most frequently reported service-connected disabilities among new claimants are, in descending order:

  1. Persistent ringing in the ears (Tinnitus)
  2. Knee problems (Limitation of knee flexion)
  3. Back problems (Lumbosacral or cervical strain)
  4. Range of motion problems in the arms
  5. Scars and burn injuries (from second degree burns)
  6. Hearing loss
  7. Range of motion problems in the ankles
  8. Pain or paralysis in the legs (Sciatic nerve paralysis)
  9. Migraine headaches
  10. Post-traumatic stress disorder

What Are The Types of Disability Benefits Veterans Can Receive?

The VA provides disability benefits to US military veterans who have experienced a disabling event while on active duty. According to 2020 US Census data, in 2018 more than 3 million US service veterans were receiving monthly service-connected disability compensation.   

Generally, to qualify for VA disability benefits you must show a current physical or mental health disability that has a service connection. 

Proving a service connection includes filing a claim for VA disability benefits and in most cases undergoing a Compensation and Pension examination. If the VA concludes that you have a service-connected disability, then it will assign a disability rating to you from 0 to 100 percent, in 10-percent increments.

In some circumstances, instead of requiring you to show a service connection to the disability, the VA will presume that a service connection exists. Examples of presumed service-connected circumstances include exposure to Agent Orange, asbestos exposure, Gulf War Illness, exposure to ionizing radiation from above-ground nuclear weapons testing, exposure to industrial solvents in the water supply at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, exposure to burn pits in Iraq or Afghanistan, and being a prisoner of war.

You, your spouse, and dependent parents and children whose disability claims the VA accepts might qualify for the following kinds of benefits:

  • Monthly disability compensation: Monthly compensation benefits are available to veterans with at least a 10 percent disability rating. 
  • Access to healthcare through VA facilities: All disabled veterans are entitled to this benefit, including those with 0 percent disability ratings that do not qualify for monthly disability benefits. Healthcare benefits include dental care, vision care, medical checkups, prescriptions, and low-cost life insurance. The VA also compensates travel to and from approved healthcare appointments.
  • Civilian Health and Medical Program (CHAMPVA): This is a cost-sharing benefit that covers some of the health insurance costs of surviving spouses and children not otherwise eligible for TRICARE medical insurance coverage.
  • Program of Comprehensive Assistance for Family Caregivers: This program can provide a financial stipend, health insurance access, mental health counseling, and caregiver training for family caregivers of eligible veterans who were seriously injured in the line of duty.
  • Camp Lejeune Family Member Program: Spouses and children of veterans who lived at Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune for at least 30 days between August 1953 and December 1987 may be eligible for VA benefits if they experience certain medical conditions.
  • Spina Bifida Health Care Benefits Program: This program is for biological children of veterans of the Korean and Vietnam conflicts. It helps pay for medical treatment for birth defects and other medical conditions related to Spina Bifida.
  • Dependency and Indemnity Compensation: This is a tax-free compensation benefit for surviving spouses, children, and parents of veterans whose service-connected disability causes their deaths.
  • Combat-Related Special Compensation: Ordinarily, disabled military veterans who are also receiving military retirement payments can have their retirement payments reduced by the amount of their disability compensation payments. The Combat-Related Special Compensation benefit offers tax-free payments to some of these veterans if their service-connected disability was the result of combat, hazardous duty, or war simulation training, exposure to certain weapons or their effects, or any activity that resulted in a Purple Heart award.

How the VA Determines Your Disability Benefits

If you are a disabled veteran or believe you have a service-connected disability, then how much you can receive in disability benefits depends on your combined VA disability rating. You can use the VA combined rating calculator to determine your monthly disability compensation.

How Does the VA Calculate Disability Ratings?

The VA can calculate your disability rating in a number of ways. 

One way is your original claim for a service-connected disability. If your disability worsens over time, you can file a claim for an increased disability rating for the original claim. 

Or, if you already have a disability rating but are experiencing one or more secondary service-connected disabilities, you can file a secondary claim.

Original Claims

An original disability claim is usually one that has a direct service connection. This means that the disability arose while you were in military service. 

When you file an original VA disability claim, in addition to documentary evidence you provide to support your service-connected disability claim, the VA may ask you to undergo one or more medical claim examinations. 

Some Claims are Presumed to be Service-Connected

Not every original benefits claim requires a claim examination. 

For example, if you have one or more of some identified chronic, tropical, or prisoner-of-war related illnesses or diseases, have cancer related to service-connected radiation exposure or to water contamination at Camp Lejeune, or have disabilities connected with herbicide agent exposure, then by law as long as you meet certain other eligibility requirements the VA will presume that your disability is service-connected. 

These requirements can include, depending on the disability, serving for 90 days during a war or after December 31, 1946, serving at Camp Lejeune between 1953 and 1987, or being able to show that a chronic, tropical, or prisoner-of-war related disease or illness manifests itself to at least a 10 percent disability level within a set period of time.

If the VA requests you to have a medical exam, the reason why is to help the VA to decide whether your benefits claim is service-connected and to assess the severity of the disability.

Also, if you have an existing service-connected disability rating, then a claim exam can determine whether your current disability rating needs to be increased because of a worsening condition. 

Receiving Your Service-Connected Disability Rating

The results of your claim examinations go to a VA claims processor, who takes them into account when determining what your disability rating is. If you have a compensable disability, then this rating is measured in 10 percent increments, from 10 to 100.

Your disability rating is the base number to use with the VA disability rating calculator. The calculator’s results can vary considerably depending on additional factors that might apply to your disability claim. 

These factors include how many compensable disabilities you have, whether you have a spouse and any dependent children, and whether either or both of your parents are living with you as dependents.

If you have multiple disabilities, then instead of considering each disability rating separately or simply adding them together in a sum, the disability calculator uses a formula to calculate a combined rating for them all. 

The formula works as follows:

  1. Sort the multiple disabilities in descending order of severity.
  2. Use the VA Combined Ratings Table to calculate a combined rating for the two most severe disabilities. For example, in the excerpt from the table below, if your most severe disability rating is 40 percent you begin by tracing down the left-side column of the table to the 40 figure. Next, if your next highest disability rating is 30 percent, then you trace right from the 40 percent figure you just located on the left-side column, until you are underneath the second disability’s percentage number on the top row: 
combined ratings table

In this example, when you trace the intersection between the 40 percent and 30 percent disability figures in the table, the number you see is 58. 

  1. Take the number result from calculating the first two disability ratings, and round it to the closest 10-percent amount. In our example above, rounding the 58 figure to the closest 10 percent increment gives a combined disability rating of 60 percent.
  2. If you have three or more compensable disabilities, then repeat what you did in step 2 above, but instead of rounding the 58 figure to 60 like you would in step 3 you keep the original figure and use it as the first number on the left-side column. Then trace right until you are under the third-highest disability rating. If your third service-connected disability has a 20 percent rating, then here is how the Combined Ratings Table would work:
combined ratings table

If your third disability rating is your last one, then your combined disability rating for all three disabilities would be a combined VA disability rating of 70 percent (rounding up the 66 percent figure to the nearest 10 percent). 

If you have four or more disabilities, then you repeat the process in step 4, taking the 66 percent figure to use in the left-hand column of the table and then tracing to the right from it until you are under the fourth disability rating in the top row. 

Repeat this process until you have calculated your last, least severe disability into the table. 

When you round the final figure, that will be your combined disability rating.

Increased and Supplemental Disability Rating Claims

You file an application for an increased disability rating in the same way you would file an original VA disability claim. 

You will need to send with your benefits claim supporting evidence from a medical professional, layperson, or both to support your claim that your existing disability has become worse. 

A supplemental claim is connected with your original claim, except in this case the VA denied your original benefits claim and you are reviving it with new evidence.

Secondary Service-Connected Disability Claims

A service-connected disability is “secondary” if it is one that is linked to an existing service-connected disability. 

Sometimes, one disability will eventually cause another disability to arise. 

Examples the VA uses are arthritis as a secondary disability from an existing service-connected knee disability, or if you develop heart disease as a result of high blood pressure that you were diagnosed with as a service-connected disability.

Another way to qualify a second disability for benefits is to show that you had a pre-existing disability that your service-connected disability made worse. 

This is not the same as a secondary service-connected disability: the difference between the two is that a service-connected disability causes the secondary service-connected disability, while a service connected disability does not cause a pre-existing disability but rather aggravates it.

Bilateral Factor Claims

Service-connected disabilities that affect both arms, both legs, or skeletal muscles that work in pairs can be especially limiting because they make it difficult or impossible for you to compensate for injury to one limb by using the other. The VA recognizes this problem and provides an additional benefit for it: the Bilateral Factor Disability Rating.

Qualifying for the Bilateral Factor requires staying within the following criteria:

  • The injuries must be to both arms, or both legs, or to a pair of skeletal muscles, but not to combinations of arms and legs or different sets of skeletal muscles. It can be helpful to think of drawing a horizontal dividing line across your body, along where your torso meets your hips and legs. A horizontal pairing or arms across the torso, or across both legs, is acceptable for Bilateral Factor disability coverage. But any “diagonal” pairing of an arm and a leg across the dividing line will not qualify. 
  • The injuries to both limbs or skeletal muscles do not need to be identical. For example, you can have a knee injury in one leg and a foot injury in the other and qualify for the Bilateral Factor disability benefit.
  • You can qualify for the Bilateral Factor benefit for an injury that is not directly to an arm or leg, as long as the injury affects your use of that limb. For example, a compensable hip injury that affects your use of one leg, or a compensable shoulder injury that affects your use of one arm, can still qualify even though these injuries are not to the limbs themselves.
  • The injuries to both limbs must be compensable for VA disability benefits. If the injury to one limb is at 0 percent, for example, then the Bilateral Factor benefit does not apply because the 0 percent disability is non-compensable.
  • Before any other disabilities you may have, you must first calculate your qualifying Bilateral Factor disabilities into a single combined rating and apply the Bilateral Factor amount to that. Then you use that sum to calculate any further disabilities into your overall combined disability rating.

Example: Now that we have the basics of the Bilateral Factor down, let’s consider an example of how it  works—and the difference it can make in your comprehensive disability rating. We will assume that you have an injury to your left elbow that is a 50 percent disability rating, and an injury to your right wrist that is a 20 percent disability rating.

First, we go back to our VA combined rating calculator. We begin by using just the two limb disability ratings, even if you have additional disabilities to add later: 

combined rating table

We start with the higher 50 percent disability for the left elbow, then trace right to the column underneath the 20 percent disability for the right wrist. This leads to a combined disability rating of 60 percent.

Next, we apply the Bilateral Factor.

This equals 10 percent of the combined rating.

In our example, 10 percent of 60 percent is 6 percent. This 6 percent figure is the Bilateral Factor amount, and we add it to the 60 percent to reach a new combined rating of 66 percent. Then, as always, we round that figure to the nearest 10 percent, which boosts the combined disability rating from 66 percent to 70 percent.

This is the power of the Bilateral Factor. This new 70 percent combined rating is what you will then use if you have to add more disabilities to your combined rating, just like we calculated in our examples above.

In this example, there is another major benefit that comes from the Bilateral Factor boost.

As we will see later on below, if you cannot hold a job because of a service-connected disability, and have a 70 percent combined disability rating, calculated with at least one disability rating of 40 percent or more, then the Bilateral Factor can qualify you for the Individual Unemployability Compensation Benefit—which increases your effective combined disability rating to 100 percent.

Thus, courtesy of the Bilateral Factor, in this example we see an increase of 40 percent in your disability rating, from 60 percent to total disability. Although you may not receive such a dramatic boost if you benefit from the Bilateral Factor, it can nonetheless make a positive difference in the amount of service-connected disability compensation you are eligible for.

Using the VA Disability Pay Chart

Once you have your combined disability rating, you can use it to begin your monthly VA disability compensation payment amount calculation with the 2024 VA disability pay chart. 

How much VA disability pay you are entitled to receive depends on a multi-layered analysis of how your disability rating and your living situation come together to reach a final result. 

We will walk through this procedure next.

The First Level: Compensation for 10 to 20 Percent Service-Connected Disabilities

The lowest level for service-related disability compensation is for veterans with combined disability ratings of 20 percent or less. This is also the simplest calculation because at this level the VA does not consider whether you have any dependents.

Disability ratingMonthly payment
Source: U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, “2024 Veterans Disability Compensation Rates

The Second Level: Compensation for 30 to 100 Percent Service-Connected Disabilities

Beginning with disability ratings at 30 percent, the VA begins to consider your dependents in the benefit amount calculation. This is also known as the “30 percent rule.” 

Benefits for your dependents are not automatic. You must apply for them, and the people you apply for must qualify.

The best time to apply for dependent disability benefits is at the same time you file your own application for disability benefits. 

This may not always be possible: for example, your initial disability rating may be less than the minimum 30 percent level needed to claim dependent benefits, but because of a worsening condition, it may exceed that level at a later time, or you might add a child to your family after your initial application.

You can do this online or with a paper-based application using the same form as you would for an initial dependent disability benefit application.

Let’s begin then, by seeing who can qualify as a dependent.

Dependent Spouses

Despite the existence of a legacy regulation that defines a spouse as a person of the opposite sex, the VA does recognize same-sex marriages for dependent spouse purposes. Unlike with parental disability benefit claims below, there are no income or asset restrictions placed on spousal disability benefits eligibility.

You can apply online for dependent spousal benefits, unless your marriage is a common-law marriage, in which case you must deliver a hard copy of your application to your local regional VA office in person or by mail.

Dependent Children

For VA disability compensation purposes, your child must meet the following criteria to be eligible for dependent benefits:

  • The person must be your legitimate or illegitimate child, a stepchild, or a child you have legally adopted before that person turns 18.
  • The person must be unmarried.
  • The person must be under 18 years of age, subject to some specific exceptions, including:
    • Someone who is pursuing a VA-approved course of instruction at an educational institution, in which case dependent benefits eligibility extends to age 23.
    • Someone who is incapable of being self-supporting before turning 18 and who was either a member of the veteran’s household when reaching that age or who was adopted by the veteran no matter how old that person is.

Like with spousal disability benefits, you can apply online for your dependent children.

You use the same application form that you would for a spousal benefit application, Form 21-688c, unless the application is for a child who is between 18 and 23 years old and is attending a VA-approved course of instruction. In this case you will file VA Form 21-674.

Dependent Parents

To receive additional benefits for a dependent parent, that person must first qualify as being your dependent.

How you do this depends on some different factors, including whether that person is your parent for VA purposes, how much income that individual makes, and the value of select assets of that person.

The VA has rules to help you with these considerations:

Who is a parent?

The VA defines a parent as a biological or adoptive mother or father, or a person who served as your parent for at least one year before you started your military service.

Who is a dependent parent? 

What makes a parent a dependent parent can be determined by whether that person’s income and net worth are below a threshold dollar limit or if a parent who has substantial income and assets has correspondingly high expenses. 

Conclusive dependency 

If a parent’s income is less than a certain monthly income amount, then under VA regulations that person automatically qualifies as a dependent parent.

This threshold is $400 monthly for one parent not living with the other, and $660 if both parents live together or if a parent remarries and is living with the new spouse.

Also, if either parent is under a legal or moral obligation to support another relative, each such person might qualify you to receive another $185 in monthly benefits.

Needs-based calculation 

If your parents do not qualify for conclusive dependency, you may still be able to qualify them as dependents.

When you apply for dependent benefits for them, the VA will assess their income from all sources and the current value of some of their assets like bank accounts, bonds, stocks, and annuities.

The VA will then offset against the income and assets personal expenses, including some medical costs and household-related budget items like rent, taxes, groceries, utility bills, and home repairs and maintenance.

If this calculation satisfies the VA that your parents are financially dependent on you, then they qualify for the dependent parent benefit. 

Unlike with VA Dependency and Indemnity Compensation benefits, which are paid to dependents of deceased veterans, no published income limits apply to disabled parent benefit eligibility.

Parents with high income but who also have high medical expenses, for example, may still qualify as dependents if they still must rely on you for support.

You apply for the dependent parent benefit by using VA Form 21-509, “Statement of Dependency of Parents.” Note that, unlike applications for dependent spouses and children, which you can submit online, the application to add a dependent parent must be submitted by mail.

Our VA Disability Calculator lets you include your spouse, dependent children, and dependent children into your combined VA rating.

Check the appropriate boxes and fill in the proper numbers in the fields, and the calculator will automatically include them in your monthly disability compensation estimate.

Do You Qualify for Additional Disability Benefits?

Individual Unemployability Compensation

Sometimes your disability, although not 100 percent, can still keep you from being able to work. 

If this happens, you might still qualify for a 100 percent disability rating if you meet both requirements below:

  • You must have a qualifying disability rating.
    • If you have one disability rating, then it must be at least 60 percent.
    • If you have two or more disability ratings, then you must have a combined rating of at least 70 percent, and one of the individual disability ratings must be at least 40%.
  • Your service-connected disability keeps you from holding a steady job to support yourself financially.

If you meet these requirements, then the VA will increase your disability compensation to the same rate as a veteran who is rated at 100 percent service-connected disability.

You can file for total disability for individual unemployability (TDIU) at the same time you file your service-connected disability benefit application. You will need to complete two additional forms with your application package:

  • VA Form 21-8940, “Veteran’s Application for Increased Compensation Based on Unemployability.”
  • VA Form 21-4192, “Request for Employment Information in Connection with Claim for Disability Benefits.”

Special Monthly Compensation

Some disabilities are so severe that they can interfere with your ability to perform basic life activities like dressing, bathing, or even feeding yourself. They can confine you to bed for long periods of time, or even require you to live in a nursing home. 

In these situations, you might need the help of another person to care for yourself. 

Special Monthly Compensation (SMC) benefits can be available to help offset your costs connected with this need.

The main requirement to qualify for SMC benefits is that you must while serving have lost, or lost the use of, a body part or organ. Qualifying examples include:

  • Loss, or loss of use, of a hand or foot.
  • Loss of sight in one eye (the eye has light sensitivity only).
  • Deafness in both ears (no air or bone conduction).
  • Losing the ability to communicate by speech.
  • Joint immobility or paralysis.
  • Loss, or loss of use, of a creative organ.
  • Loss, or loss of use, of both buttocks.
  • Loss of breast tissue from a mastectomy or radiological treatment.
Combining SMC with Other Service-Connected Disability Benefits

You can qualify for SMC benefits on a number of levels, depending on the severity of the underlying disabilities. 

Level One: “SMC-K” Benefits. Some SMC benefits come in addition to your regular service-connected disability benefits, up to a certain combined dollar amount. 

The term “SMC-K” is the VA code for these added SMC benefits. 

These combined benefits are subject to a dollar amount maximum: they cannot add up to more than the benefit amount you would receive if your disability resulted from any of the following “SMC-L” disabilities:

  • Loss of both feet.
  • Loss of one foot and one hand.
  • Blindness in both eyes (5/200 or less visual acuity).
  • Being permanently bedridden.
  • Requiring regular aid and attendance from another person.

For SMC categories SMC-L through SMC-N, the VA uses an additional “1/2” category to fine tune disabilities that are less than full disabilities. For example, in the following VA description of SMC-L 1/2, you can see the following variations from the SMC-L disabilities above:

SMC-L 1/2 designation requirements
Source: 2024 VA Special Monthly Compensation Rates | Veterans Affairs 

For the sake of simplicity, we will not go over all the “1/2″ variables of each SMC category, but you should be aware of them if you are thinking about qualifying for SMC disability benefits instead of basic disability benefits.

Level Two: “SMC-M” Disabilities. As the severity of your SMC disabilities increases, so do your possible SMC benefits. SMC-M is the VA term to describe the following disabilities that qualify for a higher monthly benefit in lieu of the basic disability benefit:

  • You lose, or lose the use of, both hands. 
  • You lose, or lose the use of, both legs in a way that prevents natural knee movement with a prosthetic device.
  • You have blindness in both eyes (total blindness or light perception only).
  • You are so disabled that you require regular aid and attendance from another person.

Level Three: “SMC-N” Disabilities. 

  • You lose, or lose the use of, both arms in a way that natural elbow action with a prosthetic device is impossible.
  • You lose both legs to amputation, and cannot use prosthetic devices to replace them.
  • You lose one leg and one arm to amputation in a way that they cannot be replaced with prosthetics.
  • You lose both eyes (loss, not loss of use) or are totally blind.

Level Four: “SMC-O” Disabilities.

  • You suffer two or more disabilities in Levels One through Three above, with no disability being considered more than once.
  • You experience service-connected bilateral deafness rated at 60 percent or more and also suffer service-connected total blindness (20/200 or less acuity).
  • You suffer service-connected total deafness in one ear or bilateral deafness rated at 40 percent or more and are also blind to the point of having only light perception or less.
  • You lose both arms to amputation in a way that cannot be compensated for with prosthetics.

Your maximum SMC benefit amount, no matter how calculated, cannot be more than what you would receive if you qualify for Level Four above.

SMC Benefits for Aid and Care

If you have reached the maximum amount of SMC disability benefits allowable, and you are bedridden, housebound, or need the help of another person to perform basic life activities, then you may be able to receive additional SMC aid and attendance benefits. 

Aid and attendance support can come from a licensed healthcare professional, or someone helping you under the supervision of a licensed healthcare professional. 

The person being supervised does not need to be a healthcare professional; a spouse or other relative living with you or even a friend of yours can provide you with aid and attendance services. 

If you need aid and assistance services to stay at home instead of at a nursing home or other assisted living care facility, then you can qualify for a greater amount of SMC aid and assistance benefits. 

You can also qualify for this greater benefit amount if you have suffered a traumatic brain injury that requires someone to support you with aid and assistance to avoid having to leave it for a care facility.

If your spouse is totally blind or has 5/200 or lower visual acuity in both eyes, or is a patient at a nursing home because of a mental or physical incapacity, then based on that person’s marital status with you he or she may also qualify for aid and attendance benefits.

Our VA Disability Calculator lets you factor in spousal aid and attendance in Step 2.

SMC Benefits for Being Permanently Housebound

If you have one service-connected condition the VA rates at 100 percent and have another single or separately combined disability rating of at least 60 percent, then you can qualify for the “permanently housebound” SMC disability benefit. You can also qualify as being permanently housebound if, because of your disabilities, you are substantially confined to your home for the rest of your life.

Note that the permanently housebound benefit is an alternative to the aid and attendance benefit above. You cannot qualify for both at the same time.

Applying for SMC Benefits

You can apply for SMC benefits using VA Form 21-526EZ to initiate the benefit claim and VA Form 21-2680 as an additional form for the SMC claim.  

You will need to include supporting evidence with your application to show how your injury, illness, or other disability affects your ability to perform the activities of daily living listed above. 

Also, if you are already in a nursing home or other assisted living facility, then you will need to include VA Form 21-0779 with your benefit application.

The 2024 VA Disability Pay Chart

Now that we have reviewed the basics of how the VA calculates your combined VA disability ratings and decides whether you qualify for any additional benefits for your dependents and special conditions, we can better understand how the VA calculates the amount of your disability benefits.

The VA provides helpful tables to estimate your basic disability benefit payments. We have made them easy for you to use by building them into our VA Disability Calculator, but to help you understand where the calculations come from we will illustrate parts of these tables below to explain how they work. 

Start by finding your specific dependent status in the left-side column. Next, trace right until you match your combined disability rating in the top row of the table. 

For example, the table below is for disabled veterans with no dependents, or if they have dependents but they have no children: 

Calculating Your Basic Disability Benefit Amount

Dependent Status30%40%50%60%
Veteran alone524.31755.281,075.161,361.88
With spouse586.31838.281,179.161,486.88
With spouse and 1 parent636.31904.281,262.161,586.65
With spouse and 2 parents686.31970.281,345.161,686.65
With 1 parent574.31821.861,158.161,461.65
With 2 parents624.31887.861,241.161,561.65
Source: U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, “2024 Veterans disability compensation rates

The table below is one you would use if you have one dependent child:

Dependent Status30%40%50%60%
Veteran with 1 child only565.31810.281,144.161,444.88
With 1 child and spouse632.31899.281,255.161,577.88
With 1 child, spouse, and 1 parent682.31965.281,338.161,677.88
With 1 child, spouse, and 2 parents732.311031.281,421.161,777.88
With 1 child and 1 parent615.31876.281,227.161,544.88
With 1 child and 2 parents665.31942.281,310.161,644.88
Source: U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, “2024 Veterans disability compensation rates

If you have additional children, you use another table to calculate their benefit amounts:

Dependent status30% disability rating (in U.S. $)40% disability rating (in U.S. $)50% disability rating (in U.S. $)60% disability rating (in U.S. $)
Each additional child under age 1831.0041.0051.0062.00
Each additional child over age 18 in a qualifying school program100.00133.00167.00200.00
Source: U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, “2024 Veterans disability compensation rates

More tables exist for combined VA disability ratings of 70 to 100 percent. They use the same categories as the tables for 30 to 60 percent, so we will not show them here.

Additional Tables for Special Monthly Compensation

If you or your spouse qualify for SMC disability compensation, the VA uses separate tables to set your additional disability benefit amount. Here are some examples:

In the table below, “SMC-K” is the term the VA uses to refer to SMC benefits you can receive in addition to your basic disability benefits. 

For each qualifying SMC-related disability, your disability benefit amount increases by the monthly payment amount shown, up to three times.

SMC letter designationMonthly payment
(in U.S. $)
How this payment variation works
SMC-K132.74If you qualify for SMC-K, we add this rate to your basic disability compensation rate for any disability rating from 0% to 100%. We also add this rate to all SMC basic rates except SMC-O, SMC-Q, and SMC-R. You may receive 1 to 3 SMC-K awards in addition to basic and SMC rates.

When you go into SMC-L and higher disability benefit amounts, it becomes apparent that they can add up to much more than basic disability benefits. 

Here are VA tables for SMC-L through SMC-N benefits, including additional amounts for spouses who receive aid and attendance:

2024 basic SMC rates

Like with basic disability benefits, the benefit amount you receive increases if you have dependents:

2024 basic SMC rates
2024 basic SMC rates added amounts

Because our purpose here is to familiarize you with how the VA calculates your SMC disability benefits and not to duplicate the VA website, we will not cover all the possible variations. 

What you should take away, though, is that calculating your service-connected disability amounts can be time-consuming, and—especially for SMC benefits—potentially confusing. That is why we have prepared a simplified VA rating calculator for you to use.

How to Use Our 2024 VA Disability Calculator

Our VA Disability Calculator assumes that you already know what your individual and combined VA disability ratings are, and the kind of disabilities you have. All you have to do is to enter your disability ratings, let us know how many dependents you have, and tell us if you have a spouse receiving aid and attendance. 

We do all the “VA math” for you to calculate your 2024 VA disability compensation estimate.

Let’s show an example of how our disability calculator works.

Remember the Bilateral Factor example we used earlier, with the 50 percent left elbow disability rating and the 20 percent right wrist disability rating that eventually became a combined disability rating of 100 percent?

The VA Disability Calculator also lets you fine-tune your monthly benefit eligibility estimate to include your spouse, dependent children, and dependent parents.

Particularly if you have any disabilities that qualify for SMC disability benefits, your actual benefit eligibility may vary considerably from the 2024 VA calculator estimate.


VA disability and benefits laws and regulations are many, and they can be challenging to understand if you are not already experienced with them. If you need help with any of these questions— 

“What is the difference between VA pension benefits and VA disability benefits?”

“Do I have a service-connected disability?”

“Am I eligible for special monthly compensation disability benefits?

“How do I make a disability benefit claim with the VA?”

“How do I know whether I or my spouse qualify for aid and attendance benefits?”

“How does the VA calculate my disability benefit amounts?”

“What do I do if the VA rejects my claim for disability benefits?”

“What should I do if my disability status changes, like a dependent child getting married or my existing disability condition worsens?”

—or if you have any other questions about VA disability claims, benefits, and appeals, at Stone Rose Law we can help you not only answer them but also take action. 

As the largest military and veteran’s benefits firm in the state of Arizona, led by seasoned trial attorneys and military veterans, our firm has the knowledge, training, and experience necessary to obtain the veterans benefits you have earned.