On this site, we use the term “Rating Authorities” to refer to the people who make the rating decisions for Military Disability.
Rating Authorities are individual caseworkers who are assigned to each VA Disability Claim.
Before 2009, the DoD had their own Rating Authorities, but this caused inconsistencies within the military disability system. To fix this problem, the Integrated Disability Evaluation System was set up to streamline the disability rating process by merging the DoD Disability Process with the VA Disability Process.
The Integrated Disability Evaluation System got rid of the DoD’s Rating Authorities. Now, the VA’s Rating Authorities make the rating decisions, and the DoD “borrows” and uses those ratings as their own.
The only time the DoD makes any rating decisions separate from the VA is when a service member is placed on TDRL. This occurs when a service member has a condition that makes him Unfit for Duty but is expected to improve or worsen significantly within the next 5 years.
When on TDRL, the initial rating decision is made by the VA’s Rating Authorities. After that, however, the DoD will regularly review the conditions during the TDRL period, and the Physical Evaluation Board (PEB) will become the DoD’s Rating Authorities, updating the service member’s ratings to reflect any changes in his conditions.
The Rating Authorities discussed on this page are just the first level. If a veteran disagrees with the Rating Authorities’ decisions, they can submit appeals to higher authorities. See our Is Your Rating Wrong? page for a complete description of the appeals processes.