A 21st Century System for Evaluating Veterans for Disability Benefits


The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) uses a rating system called the VA Schedule for Rating Disabilities, better known as the Rating Schedule, to determine compensation for veterans who have acquired or aggravated injuries and diseases during military service.  The Rating Schedule is based mostly on degree of impairment--; i.e., loss of body structures and systems.

As requested by the Veterans Disability Benefits Commission, the Institute of Medicine has issued the report, A 21st Century System for Evaluating Veterans for Disability Benefits, which examines and recommends improvements in the medical evaluation and rating of veterans for the benefits provided by the VA.

This report recommends the VA:

  1. comprehensively update the entire Rating Schedule and establish a regular process for keeping it up to date,
  2. dedicate staff to maintaining the Rating Schedule and reestablish an external advisory committee of medical and other disability experts to assist in the updating process, and;
  3. examine the current statutory purpose of VA's disability compensation program (to compensate for average loss of earning capacity) and expand it to include compensation  for nonwork disability and loss of quality of life.