We know Veterans can be awarded a 100% rating for their service-connected disabilities. But the VA can also award a Veteran a temporary 100% rating. Let’s take a look at the three types of temporary 100% disability ratings that a Veteran can get.
1. Hospitalization Ratings
A 100% rating is available for periods of hospital treatment for a service-connected disability for more than 21 days. If you are hospitalized for a non-service-connected disability, you can still get assigned a 100% rating if during that hospitalization you were treated for a service-connected disability for more than 21 days. The rating is effective from the first day of the hospitalization and ends the last day of the month that you were discharged from the hospital.
2. Convalescent Ratings
A Veteran is entitled to a temporary 100% rating when a Veteran needs time to convalescence following a hospital discharge or outpatient release.
What does convalescence mean?
Convalescence is the act of regaining or returning to a normal or healthy state after surgical operation or injury.
The three circumstances for convalescence:
- The Veteran has undergone surgery that requires at least one-month convalescence
- The Veteran has undergone surgery that resulted in severe postoperative residuals
- The Veteran has a major joint that has been immobilized by a cast
What do you need to prove convalescence?
You will need medical evidence to establish that you need a convalescence rating. It is enough for your doctor to say that you cannot return to work. You will want to ask your doctor to specify in the discharge report whether convalescence is needed and the length of time that will be needed.
For how long are you entitled to convalescence ratings?
The 100% rating would be effective from the date of hospital admission or outpatient treatment and continue for one to three months from the first day of the month following discharge or release. Further extensions can be granted for up to six months if approved by the VA. The temporary 100% rating can last for up to one year.
3. Prestabilization Ratings
A Veteran may be assigned a 100% rating if:
- They suffer from an unstabilized condition,
- That condition was incurred in service,
- The condition resulted in severe disability, and
- That condition makes substantially gainful employment not feasible or advisable
Some examples might be:
- If you had a car accident in service and suffered a head injury, and have residuals from that head injury
- If you were in combat during service and suffered gunshot wounds and now have residuals from those wounds
If you are entitled to a 100% rating for these conditions or individual unemployability, then you will not be assigned a prestabilization rating. Prestabilization ratings are meant to be for the immediate period following discharge from service and continue without reduction for a 12-month period after discharge. The VA is supposed to examine the Veteran between 6 and 12 months after discharge. At that point, they can either change the rating to a regular 100% rating or keep the prestabilization rating. The VA may not reduce a Veteran’s rating until after the 12 months. So if you are receiving a 100% prestabilization rating, the VA can assign you a regular 100% schedular rating, or TDIU, but they cannot lower your rating.