How Do I Know If My VA Disability Is Permanent and Total

Examine the decision letter from the VA to see if your VA disability is permanent. The letter should include a permanent and total disability rating, phrases such as “static” or “protected,” and no mention of any future exams.

A permanent disability rating provides several benefits from the VA, including long-term stability and peace of mind, knowing your payments will not be lowered any time soon. But how can you know if your disability rating is permanent or static?

This article will cover practically everything you need to know about a VA permanent disability rating. We will go over fundamentals such as the concept of static disability and a list of conditions that often receive a static or permanent rating.

What is a Permanent Disability?

A static disability is one that the VA considers to be rather permanent. As a result, if the VA provides a rating for a static condition, there is typically no need for further inspection or re-evaluation to determine whether or not the condition has improved. 

For an impairment to be called static, at least one of the following elements must be constant in the condition:

  • Severity
  • History, or
  • Nature

Examples of Permanent VA Disabilities

Static disabilities have a significant influence on a person’s everyday life and are assumed to be steady. Here are some conditions that the VA considers to be static disabilities:

Loss of limb

Another example of a static impairment is limb loss or amputation. Veterans who have lost one or both hands or feet while serving will be granted a permanent disability rating. 


Total blindness in both eyes is a permanent impairment. Permanent blindness caused by military service is unlikely to improve over time. As a result, the VA is unlikely to conduct more tests and continue to grant disability compensation.


Conditions like quadriplegia or paraplegia result from spinal cord injuries and cause motor function loss. In nature, these conditions are unlikely to improve considerably over time. As a result, such diseases may result in a lifelong disability rating.

Chronic organ failure

Chronic organ failures, such as end-stage renal illness, are regarded to be static impairments. 

Severe respiratory disease

Severe respiratory disorders include Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD), severe asthma, and others. Such impairments can deteriorate over time and then reach their maximum degree, at which point the VA rating remains constant. 

Severe mental health conditions

While the majority of static conditions are physical diseases, several mental health issues may also be eligible for permanent VA ratings. Bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, or severe post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) may necessitate long-term, continuous therapy and will almost certainly result in a permanent rating.

Can the VA take away a static disability?

Even while benefits for a static disability are often deemed permanent, the VA has the discretion to re-evaluate certain conditions and modify the rating if significant improvements are observed. In certain cases, the VA has the authority to terminate a veteran’s fixed disability compensation –

  1. Fraudulent claims: Veterans who submitted false information or obtained benefits via dishonest means may lose their disability payments. If a veteran provides fraudulent medical information or conceals real facts, the VA can revoke their benefits, even if they are permanent.
  2. Substantial improvement: Even while most static impairments remain unaltered over time, there may be certain cases where a veteran’s health has improved as a result of such issues. In exceptional cases, the VA may review the veteran’s medical records over time and re-evaluate their status by medical examination. In some circumstances, the VA may lower the rating rather than remove the impairment totally.

Protected VA Disability Ratings

The VA safeguards or protects some VA disability ratings from being modified or revoked. Although the VA has the authority to re-evaluate any rating under certain situations, protected VA ratings are extremely unlikely to change. 

Here are some examples of when your VA disability ratings may be protected:

Stabilized ratings

A VA rating is stable when it remains the same over an extended period of time (five years or more). In these situations, the VA seldom reduces or retracts benefits, and they can only do so if there is sufficient medical proof proving significant improvements.

Permanent and Total Disability ratings

Disabilities that receive a 100% VA rating and have no hope of rehabilitation are classified as Permanent and Total Disability. In this instance, the VA is unlikely to accept re-evaluation examinations from veterans assigned to the rating. They can, however, revoke the benefits if fraudulent claims are made.

100% total ratings

A total disability rating is when a veteran’s condition is graded 100%, and total ratings remain unaltered unless the VA can demonstrate significant health gains.

How do I know if my disability rating is permanent?

Although the VA has the authority to re-evaluate any disability rating, there are several circumstances in which you may determine whether your rating is permanent or not. Knowing this will keep you from being concerned about losing your benefits or receiving less money. 

Here are some ways to understand the stability of your service-connected condition –

  • Check the rating decision: Examine the letter you received from the VA on your rating. Look for phrases such as “permanent and total.” You have a permanent disability rating if they are present or the box next to them is ticked.
  • Stable condition: If your condition is steady for an extended period of time and has few possibilities of improving in the future, you will most likely get a static rating.
  • Age: Older veterans are more likely to get a permanent disability rating compared to younger ones.

According to 38 CFR § 3.327, some specifications of disability will exempt veterans from having to take future re-evaluations and examinations. However, the VA has the right to change its decision at any time. VA Disability Coach can help you in case you face the threat of getting your VA disability rating reduced. 


To conclude, any disability being considered static by Veterans Affairs would require the condition to be stable. If you have received a 100% total rating or have had the same rating for several years, you likely have a permanent rating with a lower probability of being reduced by the VA.