What is permanent and total disability for veterans?

When men and women serve in the United States military, they risk their physical safety for the good of the country. In many cases, people leave the military as healthy as they entered and go on to pursue other career paths. However, others are not as lucky. Many suffer serious physical and mental disabilities that make it difficult or impossible for them to work.

As this blog has mentioned in the past, disabled veterans are entitled to a variety of benefits following a disabling injury. In order to qualify for these benefits, the Veterans Association gives them a disability rating. If the person receives a rating 100-percent permanent and total disability, then the veteran qualifies for certain expedited Social Security disability benefits.

When does a person receive a 100-percent disability rating? According to section 3.340 of the Code of Federal Regulations, a total disability exists when a person is unable to work in any substantially gainful occupation. A total disability can include either a physical or mental ailment and may or may not be permanent.

On the other hand, a permanent disability is one that is expected to last for the rest of a person’s life. These disabilities include the loss of a person’s eye sight, the loss of limbs and other diseases where there is only a remote chance of recovery. Temporary issues cannot qualify a person for a permanent rating unless a person is left bedridden, without sight or loses the use of limbs.

Veterans’ issues can be very complicated for people, especially those learning to cope with a serious disability. People should seek specific legal advice — which this post cannot provide — when facing these issues.

Source: Legal Information Institute, ” 38 CFR 3.340 – Total and permanent total ratings and unemployability,” accessed March 4, 2015