flag Permanent and Total Disability

Permanent and Total Disability

Permanent and Total Disability (also called 100% P&T or T&P) is a term and status that is often misunderstand and used incorrectly. It’s important to understand the difference and how a veteran can be one or the other OR both. Permanent and Total Disability is when a veteran’s disabilities are total (VA rated them 100% disabling) and permanent (likelihood for improvement is not probable or close to zero).

Permanent and Total Disability Differences
Permanent Disability

A disability is considered permanent when it is most likely the disability/condition/symptoms will be present and cause impairment for the rest of the veteran’s life. Age is often a factor the VA considers when determining this. A permanent disability can be rated less than 100%.

Total Disability

Total disability is defined as the inability, from injury or illness of the body or mind, to perform the material and duties or responsibilities of a substantially gainful occupation. Total disability is a 100% disability rating. It’s important to note that total disability is not always permanent. 

*If a veteran has both permanent and total disability, the VA can never reduce their ratings and they can access additional VA benefits.*

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There are some cases where permanent and total disability is usually automatically given. They include:

  • Irrevocable loss of use or the loss of both hands or feet (usually from paralysis or amputation)
  • Irrevocable loss of use or the loss of one hand and one foot (usually from paralysis or amputation)
  • Permanently bedridden or helpless
  • Loss of sight in both eyes
  • Long term diseases or injuries that are incapacitating and unlikely to improve with treatment
How do you know if your disability rating is permanent?

Check the decision letter you received from the VA granting you your ratings. You can look at the physical copy or login to your account here.  Your benefit summary – veteran benefit page should give you this information. There will likely be wording of “The effective date of when you became totally and permanently disabled due to your service-connected disabilities” if you are P&T disabled and rated as such.  It may also say that no further or future exams are scheduled, indicating this is considered a permanent disability and rating. Some letters may include wording like “eligibility to Dependents Education Assistance Benefits (Chapter 35 DEA benefits) has been established.”

If it says future or further exams are scheduled, that indicates your rating is temporary and not permanent. You can also find step-by-step instructions in a video format here.

How do I get my rating to be permanent?

If you have reason to believe your condition is permanent and will not improve over time, you should write a letter to your VA regional office requesting that your disability be permanent or total. You will need to include medical backup or evidence to support your request. This could mean you need to see a medical professional to get a second opinion or updated medical support and documentation.

You can also open a new claim inside eBenefits or at VA.gov and type the disability of “Request for 100% Permanent and Total VA disability”. Uploading medical evidence, buddy letters, and doctor’s letters and support will help this claim.

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What are the additional benefits from having BOTH permanent and total disability?
  • VA healthcare for your dependents (CHAMPVA)
  • Educational assistance for your dependents (DEA program)
    • Read more about veteran career and education benefits on our blog post here!
  • Free dental care 
  • Healthcare and prescription medicines at no cost, and VA co-pay reimbursements
  • Visit this site to see more possible benefits
  • Be sure to check out your state’s unique veteran benefits here
What’s Next?

We offer free consults to veterans to help determine if we are able to work with them and make a difference in their benefits and ratings! We are proud to be able to help over 95% of the veterans who come our way. Get started by learning about our process and signing up for a free consultation with an experienced team member using the button below!

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