The goal of the VA disability rating system is to ensure that veterans are appropriately compensated for disabilities caused by their service to our nation. To do this, the VA has established the schedule of ratings, complete with diagnostic codes meant to represent the average impairment in earning capacity caused by a disability. However, since the schedule of ratings is based on “average” impairment and isn’t tailored to individual cases, there are some cases where the rating schedule that the VA has created doesn’t reflect a veteran’s circumstances. In these cases, a veteran may argue that his or her condition be rated on an extraschedular basis. This means that the VA will look beyond what is on its rating schedule to the individual circumstances of a veteran’s case.
When evaluating a veteran for an extraschedular rating, the VA applies a three element test (the “Thun” test) to determine whether an extraschedular rating is warranted.
Extraschedular ratings can be hard to come by, but in some cases they are warranted. This is particularly true where the veteran’s disability causes symptoms or problems that are not frequently associated with the disability. Keep in mind that a similar rule applies to veterans who are seeking a 100% rating based on individual unemployability (TDIU) but do not have a high enough overall rating to be considered for a TDIU.
The first step towards adjusting to life after a wartime injury is to contact a skilled veterans disability attorney.