VA Disability Rating Critera: What is a Non-Compensable Disability?
Have you filed a VA claim and received a 0% disability rating for one or more medical issues? Are you unsure about filing a VA claim, wondering if it’s even worth the trouble because you don’t think your condition warrants compensation?
When you prepare to retire or separate from the military, one of your out-processing appointments should typically be a VA disability benefits briefing where you learn about submitting a claim to the Department of Veterans Affairs for service-connected medical issues.
Whether or not you believe your claim will be approved by the VA, you should submit one to establish a service connection to your medical issues where applicable. Submitting a claim to the VA is time-consuming, but VA healthcare and disability compensation are significant parts of your post-military benefits.
It’s well worth the time, even if the VA assigns you a 0% disability rating for your claimed medical issues. Why? Being VA-rated at 0% for any disability in its “schedule” of service-connected medical issues does not mean you get NOTHING.
You may not receive VA compensation for a 0% medical condition, but being VA-rated, even at zero, opens the door to care and benefits through the VA system.
What Is a Non-Compensable Disability?
According to the VA official site, “If you receive a 0% disability rating for a service-connected condition, we call this a non-compensable disability. It means you can’t get disability compensation (payments) for this condition.”
As mentioned above, those with 0% ratings may be eligible for other VA benefits. But you have to submit the claim to become eligible.
What Do Veterans Get with a Zero Percent VA Disability Rating?
There are various benefits to filing a VA claim, even if you get nothing more than a 0% disability rating. They include
- Access to the VA healthcare system
- VA Travel Pay
- VA Dental Care
- VA Vision Care
- VA Life Insurance
Frustrated with your VA disability rating? Get help to increase your rating!
VA Health Care
Veterans with a 0% disability rating still qualify for routine care, referrals, prescriptions, and refills.
VA Travel Pay
The VA Beneficiary Travel program allows you to submit a travel voucher to be repaid for expenses related to travel to and from approved medical appointments.
VA Dental Care
The VA official site reminds veterans that those who qualify for VA dental care “may be able to get some or all of your dental care through VA.”
VA Vision Care
The same is true for eye care as for dental. If you have a 0% rating, you may qualify for some or all vision care from the Department of Veterans Affairs.
Veterans Affairs Life Insurance (VALife)
VALife is a low-cost insurance program offered to qualifying veterans with service-connected disabilities.
Related: Guide to Military Life Insurance
What to dD if You Get a 0% VA Disability Rating
Some veterans don’t realize (at first) that they can appeal a VA decision on disability ratings. If you think your condition warrants more than 0%, or if the 0% condition has gotten worse over time, you may be reevaluated by the VA, but this must be applied for and is not automatic.
You should also be evaluated for medical conditions that were not apparent when you were discharged but appeared within one year of discharge.
According to VA.gov, those with chronic medical conditions appearing within 1 year after discharge from active military service “may be eligible” for VA disability compensation.
VA.gov advises, “Eligible conditions include high blood pressure (hypertension), arthritis, diabetes, or peptic ulcers.” Learn more at VA.gov or begin the claims process by filling out VA Form 21-526 EZ.
About the author
Editor-in-Chief Joe Wallace is a 13-year veteran of the United States Air Force and a former reporter/editor for Air Force Television News and the Pentagon Channel. His freelance work includes contract work for Motorola, VALoans.com, and Credit Karma. He is co-founder of Dim Art House in Springfield, Illinois, and spends his non-writing time as an abstract painter, independent publisher, and occasional filmmaker.