If you become incapacitated because of a service-connected condition, you may be eligible for a temporary 100 percent rating during your period of incapacitation. This is true even if your typical combined rating is less than 100 percent. Temporary total ratings are only available to Veterans that do not receive a monthly payment at the 100 percent rate – either by a scheduler rating or through individual unemployability. Although this 100 percent rating is only a temporary rating, if you are hospitalized or otherwise incapacitated because of a service connected condition, additional benefits are available to you. There are three types of temporary total ratings: prestabalization ratings, hospitalization ratings, and convalescent ratings.
Prestabalization Temporary Total Ratings
A prestabalization rating is available to Veterans that are injured while in service and are discharged or retired before the condition stabilizes. If you do not get severely injured or suffer a severe illness before you are discharged, or if you heal prior to discharge, this does not apply to you. Prestabalization ratings can be assigned at either the fifty percent or 100 percent level. VA likely will conduct an examination to determine the correct rating percentage to assign during or after the stabilization period. During the first year following discharge, VA cannot lower the prestabalization rating. However, VA can increase the prestabalization rating to a permanent and total 100 percent rating, or a rating for individual unemployability. Veterans with prestabalization ratings should use this year to develop all necessary evidence and claims to ensure their rating is not reduced after the stabilization period.
Hospitalization Temporary Total Ratings
A hospitalization rating is available to Veterans that are hospitalized for a period of longer than 21 days for a service connected condition. If the Veteran is hospitalized for a non-service connected condition, but receives some treatment on a service connected condition for 21 days or more, the Veteran may qualify for a total rating for the time spent treating the service connected condition. The 21-day period begins on the first day of continuous hospitalization, and ends on the last day of the month when the Veteran is discharged from the hospital. If the hospitalization period is not 21 consecutive days, benefits are not available. The period of hospitalization can be for treatment or for observation. In addition to filing a claim for a temporary total rating, the Veteran would also likely benefit from filing a claim for an increased rating claim for the condition causing hospitalization.
Convalescent Temporary Total Ratings
Convalescent ratings are available when Veterans need time to recover following a hospital discharge or outpatient visit for a service connected condition. Temporary total ratings for convalescence are available when a surgery requires at least one month to fully recover, when the residual effects of a surgery are extreme and require more than a month, or when a major joint is immobilized by a cast. Medical records or a note from your doctor must demonstrate that a specific period of convalescence is required for the Veteran to fully recover. In extreme circumstances, VA will pay a temporary total rating for convalescence for up to six months. It may be beneficial to also file a claim for an increased rating of the service connected condition if you must file a claim for a convalescent rating.
If you need help determining whether you qualify for a temporary total rating, Veteran Esquire Legal Solutions, PLLC, is able to help. Contact our Veterans Law Attorney to schedule a free case consultation today.