Permanent and Total Ratings (P&T)

A Total Rating (100%) becomes a “Permanent and Total Rating” (P&T) once it has been in effect for a significant period of time (usually 2-5 years) and it is medically assumed that the condition is unlikely to improve throughout the rest of the veteran’s life.  Permanent and Total Ratings are assigned at the VA’s discretion for both stable conditions (neither getting better or worse) and progressive or degenerative conditions (getting worse over time), as in the case of incurable degenerative diseases like Parkinson’s Disease.

Permanent and Total Ratings only apply to VA Disability, not DoD Disability, since all DoD ratings are already permanent and do not change over time.

For a Permanent and Total Rating to be given for a single condition, that condition alone must qualify for a 100% rating and be considered permanent.

In the case of illness or injury where the original cause passes, but residuals remain, a Permanent and Total Rating can be given if the residuals altogether meet all of the requirements. For example, if an infection causes irreversible blindness, then that blindness alone qualifies for a Permanent and Total Rating even though the infection is cured.

Permanent and Total

If a veteran has multiple conditions, none of which are rated 100%, they can still qualify for a Permanent and Total Rating if the permanent conditions together combine, using VA Math, to a 100% rating. For example, if a veteran has their entire left leg amputated, a 90% rating, and has Alzheimer’s rated 70%, their total combined rating would be 100%. Both conditions are undeniably permanent, so together they would qualify for a Permanent and Total Rating.

Once a 100% rating is given the status of Permanent and Total, it cannot be changed in the future. The VA does not require regular re-examinations of Permanent and Total Ratings, and the veteran can expect to receive the full benefits of a Total Rating for the remainder of their life.

See our VASRD Principles discussion of Total Disability Ratings for additional information on Permanent and Total Ratings.

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Permanent and Total Ratings FAQs

What are Total Ratings?

Total Ratings are 100% ratings given for DoD Disability or VA Disability when a veteran's conditions are so severe that they are unable to work at all. Often they are also unable to care for themselves.

Are Total Ratings permanent?

Not at first. All Total Ratings start off temporary until it is clear that the conditions will not improve in the future. The VA can then make the rating Permanent and Total.

Am I eligible for a Permanent and Total Rating?

You are eligible for a Permanent and Total Rating if you have had a condition or group of conditions that qualify for a 100% rating for a significant time and none of then are expected to ever improve.

How do I apply to make my rating permanent?

If you are already rated 100%, then the VA will make your rating permanent once it has shown a history of no improvement and is no longer expected to improve in the future. While you do not technically apply for permanent status, if your conditions show a significant period of stability, you can submit a claim for an increased evaluation, asking them to consider permanent status.

Am I eligible for VA Disability?

You are eligible for disability benefits from the VA if you have one or more medical conditions that you can prove are service-connected.

How long does it take to receive my disability benefits?

You will receive your first payment within 1-2 months after your claim has been determined.

How much money will I receive for my permanent rating?

Congress determines the amounts paid each month for a 100% rating for VA Disability. These amounts are updated every few years or so. You can find the current rates on our VA Disability Chart page.

When can my Total Rating become Permanent and Total?

In order for a Total Rating to be declared permanent by the VA, it must show a history of no improvement and not be expected to improve in the future.

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