Total and Permanent Disability VA: The Definitive Guide to Securing 100% P&T Status (2023)

Total and Permanent Disability VA, also known as 100 percent P&T, applies to veterans whose disabilities are Total (any impairment of mind or body which is sufficient to render it impossible for the average person to follow a substantially gainful occupation) AND Permanent (impairment is reasonably certain to continue throughout the life of the disabled person).

Many veterans mistakenly interchange “Permanent” and “Total,” when, in fact, they have very different meanings.

For example, a veteran can have a Total disability that’s temporary, such as a total knee replacement OR a Permanent disability rated less than 100 percent, such as Sleep Apnea that’s been rated at 50 percent for the past 10 years.

Veterans can also be BOTH Permanent and Total, not just one or the other.

The major benefit of being deemed both “Permanent and Total” or 100 P&T is that veterans are protected from a VA ratings reduction.

This means the VA can NEVER reduce your VA rating!

Furthermore, being rated 100 percent P&T entitles you or your family to a host of additional VA benefits, which are highlighted in this post below.

Table of Contents

  • What is the permanent disability definition?
  • What is the total disability definition?
  • What is the total permanent disability definition?
  • Total disability ratings for pension based on unemployability and age of the individual
  • What are some of the VA 100 percent permanent and total disability benefits?
  • CRDP Eligibility
  • About The Author

What is the permanent disability definition?

The VA deems a disability “Permanent”when it is reasonably certain, based upon medical evidence, that the level ofimpairment will continue for the rest of the veteran’s life. In this instance,the VA can take age into consideration when determining whether a disability ispermanent. Thus, it can be more difficult for younger veterans, typically under55 years old, to be considered permanently disabled.

What is the total disability definition?

Total disability will be considered to exist when there is present any impairment of mind or body which is sufficient to render it impossible for the average person to follow a substantially gainful occupation. Total disability may or may not be permanent. Total ratings will not be assigned, generally, for temporary exacerbations or acute infectious diseases except where specifically prescribed by the schedule.

Total ratings are authorized for any disability or combination ofdisabilities for which the Schedule for Rating Disabilities prescribes a 100percent evaluation or, with less disability, where the requirements ofparagraph 16, page 5 of the rating schedule are present or where, in pensioncases, the requirements of paragraph 17, page 5 of CFR 38 Part 4 are met.

Ratings of total disability based on medical history.In thecase of disabilities which have undergone some recent improvement, a rating oftotal disability may be made, provided:

(1) That the disability must in the past have been of sufficientseverity to warrant a total disability rating;

(2) That it must have required extended, continuous, orintermittent hospitalization, or have produced total industrial incapacity forat least 1 year, or be subject to recurring, severe, frequent, or prolongedexacerbations; and

(3) That it must be the opinion of the rating agency that despitethe recent improvement of the physical condition, the veteran will be unable toaffect an adjustment into a substantially gainful occupation. Due considerationwill be given to the frequency and duration of totally incapacitatingexacerbations since incurrence of the original disease or injury, and toperiods of hospitalization for treatment in determining whether the averageperson could have reestablished himself or herself in a substantially gainfuloccupation.

What is the total permanent disability definition?

Permanence of total disabilitywill be taken to exist when such impairment is reasonably certain to continuethroughout the life of the disabled person. The permanent loss or loss of useof both hands, or of both feet, or of one hand and one foot, or of the sight ofboth eyes, or becoming permanently helpless or bedridden constitutes permanenttotal disability. Diseases and injuries of long standing which are totallyincapacitating will be regarded as permanently and totally disabling when theprobability of permanent improvement under treatment is remote. Permanent totaldisability ratings may not be granted as a result of any incapacity from acuteinfectious disease, accident, or injury, unless there is present one of therecognized combinations or permanent loss of use of extremities or sight, orthe person is in the strict sense permanently helpless or bedridden, or when itis reasonably certain that a subsidence of the acute or temporary symptoms willbe followed by irreducible totality of disability by way of residuals. The ageof the disabled person may be considered in determining permanence.

Total disability ratings for pension based on unemployability and age of the individual

Allveterans who are basically eligible and who are unable to secure and follow asubstantially gainful occupation by reason of disabilities which are likely tobe permanent shall be rated as permanently and totally disabled. For thepurpose of pension, the permanence of the percentage requirements of §4.16 is arequisite. When the percentage requirements are met, and the disabilitiesinvolved are of a permanent nature, a rating of permanent and total disabilitywill be assigned if the veteran is found to be unable to secure and followsubstantially gainful employment by reason of such disability. Prior employmentor unemployment status is immaterial if in the judgment of the rating board theveteran’s disabilities render him or her unemployable. In making suchdeterminations, the following guidelines will be used:

(1)Marginal employment, for example, as a self-employed farmer or other person,while employed in his or her own business, or at odd jobs or while employed atless than half the usual remuneration will not be considered incompatible witha determination of unemployability, if the restriction, as to securing orretaining better employment, is due to disability.

(2)Claims of all veterans who fail to meet the percentage standards but who meetthe basic entitlement criteria and are unemployable, will be referred by therating board to the Veterans Service Center Manager or the Pension ManagementCenter Manager under §3.321(b)(2) of this chapter.

Total and Permanent Disability VA How to check P&T status

The only way to know for sure is to review your VA Rating Decision Letter, which is mailed to you in a yellow enveloped via regular US mail. You can also review your VA Benefit Summary letter by logging into your eBenefits account. Once logged in, click “Manage” across the top, then “Documents and Records,” then “VA Letters,” and finally “Benefit Summary – Veteran Benefits.” Scroll down and check the section that says, “You are considered to be totally and permanently disabled due solely to your service-connected disabilities.” It will either say YES or NO in this block. This letter will also show if you are in receipt of Special Monthly Compensation due to the type and severity of your service connected disabilities.

Can I apply for 100 percent P&T?

While you don’t really apply for P&T, there are some steps you can take to secure Permanent and Total Disability status. If you have a 100 percent VA disability rating and believe your level of impairment is reasonably certain to continue throughout your life, you can write a letter to your VA Regional Office requesting a permanent VA rating. With your letter, you should include medical evidence (like treatment records) showing that your medical condition cannot be expected to improve in the future. You may be able to obtain a VA permanent disability letter from your doctor as well, which highlights in their medical opinion, whether your disabilities are likely to improve in the future. You can also open a new claim inside eBenefits or and type the disability of “Request for 100% Permanent and Total VA Disability” and upload medical evidence, buddy letters, and a letter from a doctor.

What are some of the VA 100 percent permanent and total disability benefits?

Here are some of the VA 100 permanent and total disability benefits.

#1. No Cost Healthcare and Prescription Medications and VA Co-Pay Reimbursement

Veteransare charged a copayment for nonservice-connected care provided directly by VAor through a community provider (doctor) outside of VA. The copayment amount isbased on the type of health care service you receive and your financialsituation. Copayment rates for each service are listed below.

SomeVeterans may be exempt from paying copayments and may qualify for free healthcare and/or prescriptions based on special eligibility factors. You can exploreyour eligibility for VA health care benefits using the online Health BenefitsExplorer tool or by contacting VA at 877-222-VETS (8387).

Click here for a useful explainer link!

#2. Dependents Educational Assistance (DEA)

If your disabilities are determined to be 100 Permanent and Total (P&T), the DEA allows your spouse and children to be eligible for certain educational benefits.

A child is authorized 45 months of accredited schooling. VApresently pays a monthly stipend of around $805.00 for a fulltime student,subject to change. They can receive guidance counseling, tutors, etc. If achild has been in school and then the veteran receives a retroactive benefitthat includes the school dates, then the student can file for reimbursement forthe months that he/she qualified on the retroactive date.

If the VA deems it appropriate, a student may receive anextension on the initial 45 months. A qualified student is usually 18-26 yearsof age, but I’ve seen some using the benefit up to 32. Usually the latter isbased on a large retroactive benefit granted to the veteran.

A dependent spouse can also qualify for schooling. The dependentstudent or spouse must handle all the necessary paperwork.

Survivors’ and Dependents’ Education Assistance

#3. CHAMPVA Health Insurance for Spouse and Dependent Children

This is an excellent benefit for the spouse and children of a veteran rated at 100 P&T.

Veterans must receive their care at the VA, but their dependents can receive care at private medical facilities.

CHAMPVA is a fantastic program for veterans rated at 100 permanent and total.

>> 3 Minute Explainer Post: Is CHAMPVA Good or Bad? <<

Veterans rated at the 100 percent permanent and total level must apply for CHAMPVA insurance benefits directly on behalf of their dependents:

VA Health Administration Center CHAMPVA

Phone: (800) 733-8387

Fax: (303) 331-7804

Email: [emailprotected]

Unfortunately, ChampVA does NOT cover Dental or Optometryexpenses.

#4. Dental Coverage

All 100% service-connected veterans are allowed free dentalcare.

Veterans going through Vocational Rehabilitation are alsoeligible for dental care.

You can simply call the VA facility closest to you and makea dental appointment.

VA Dental

#5. Uniformed Services Identification Cards

The veteran, spouse and children can apply for this card.They are very similar to our old military I.D. cards. They are issued by theDepartment of Defense and allow you to access military facilities.

Next Generation Uniformed Services ID Card

If VA did not attach a letter/application, then call yourVA Regional Office and ask them to send you a Cover Letter stating simply thatyou are “100% Total or Permanent and Total”. Be sure they understandthat it cannot say anything less than 100%. At the same time ask them for the“Uniformed Services I.D. Card Application”. I would suggest that youdo not try filling the application out as it’s one of the most complex one’sI’ve ever seen. Just take it with you when you apply or ask for assistance froma Benefits Representative.

VA Regional Office: 1-800-827-1000

Call the administrative department at your nearest MilitaryBase and ask when they do the I.D. cards. I recommend not filling out theapplication that is provided. It is very complex. Simply take the applicationand your DD-214 (You), Marriage License (Spouse) and Birth Certificates(Dependent Children). They will make the I.D. cards.

The veteran’s ID is marked “PERM” and is forlife. The spouse/children I.D.’s are marked “TEMP” and must berenewed every 5 years.

These cards will say “MWR” on them. This means“Morale, Welfare and Recreation”. You can use facilities at militarybases to include: Exchanges, Commissaries and Recreation facilities. The lattercan include Tickets for concerts, boating, weight room, etc. You can even rentitems like boats, BBQ’s, lawn mowers, rototillers, etc.

100 percent disabled veterans are authorized to fly“Space A” on USCG transportation!

Disabled Veterans Now Eligible For Space-A Travel

You can stay at “Bachelors Enlisted/OfficerQuarters” (BEQ/BOQ) on military bases for $15-30 a night or you can usetheir “Lodging” which can run $45-75.

#6. Free and discounted Hunting Tags and Fishing Licenses

Check disabled veteran benefits by state here:

Military Benefits Info

#7. Property Tax Breaks for Veterans 100% VA P&T

Most states have property tax breaks for disabled veterans.Typically, a veteran must own the home and you need to use it as your primaryresidence. You can check disabled veteran benefits by state here:

Military Benefits Info

#8. Golden Access Passport

The name of this passport has been changed, but thebenefits are very similar. If you have the old passport then you can use it asthe Federal government will not give you a new one.

The new passport is called “America the Beautiful –National Parks and Federal Recreational Lands Pass”.

The pass allows for 50% off Camping/recreation in FederalParks. Some State and County Parks will honor it.

Be sure to take your Rating Decision letter with you for proof:

#9. Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (DIC)

The DIC “Clock starts Ticking” once a veteran israted 100% “Total” or “Permanent and Total”. This allowshis spouse and dependent children under 18 years of age to receive a monthlybenefit if:

a) The veteran passes of a“service-connected” disability within the first 10 years of beingrated 100%.

b) If the veteran lives thefull 10 years then he can pass of any disability.

Currently the monthly payment for DIC is approximately $1,400.00,so this gives the spouse about 1/2 of the veteran paycheck when he/she wasalive.

#10. Travel Pay Reimbursement of $0.415 cents per mile

All veterans are allowed travel reimbursement for scheduledVA appointments if they are rated 30% service-connected or higher.

VA will also pay travel pay on a “needs basis”. This meansif a veteran is under a certain income level then he/she will be paid forscheduled visits.

VA will pay for travel to Compensation and Pension (C&P)exams.

VA Travel Pay Reimbursement

#11. Independent Living Services Program (ILSP)

This is a little-known benefit designed to assist anydisabled veteran to live a better quality of life despite their service connecteddisabilities.

The program shows up briefly on the VocationalRehabilitation Form 28-1900. I believe that VA has changed the wording on the formto further disguise the program. In fact, they changed the name to “IndependentLiving Program”. Here is a link to the VA Form 28-1900:


You’ll note on the instructions under “RehabilitationServices” is states the following:

“If training is appropriate, VA will provide medical anddental care treatment, employment assistance to get and keep a suitable job,and other services you may need. If a vocational goal is not currently feasiblefor you, VA may provide services and assistance to improve your capacity forliving independently.”

Here is a link to the Independent Living Program on the VA website: VR&E Independent Living Track

The Independent Living program is to make sure that eacheligible veteran is able, to the maximum extent possible, to live independentlyand participate in family and community life increasing their potential toreturn to work. Services may include the following:

#12. Waiver of VA funding fee for home loan

Generally,all Veterans using the VA Home Loan Guaranty benefit must pay afundingfee. This reduces the loan’s cost to taxpayers considering that a VA loanrequires no down payment and has no monthly mortgage insurance. The funding feeis a percentage of the loan amount which varies based on the type of loan andyour military category, if you are a first-time or subsequent loan user, andwhether you make a down payment. You have the option to finance the VA fundingfee or pay it in cash, but the funding fee must be paid at closing time.

Youdo not have to pay the VA funding fee if you are a:

  1. Veteranreceiving VA compensation for a service-connected disability, OR
  2. Veteranwho would be entitled to receive compensation for a service-connecteddisability if you did not receive retirement or active duty pay, OR
  3. Survivingspouse of a Veteran who died in service or from a service-connected disability

VA Home Loans

#13. Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment (VR&E)

You may be eligible toreceive Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment (VR&E) services to helpwith job training, employment accommodations, resume development, and jobseeking skills coaching.

Veteran Readiness and Employment (VR&E)

#14. Concurrent Retirement and Disability Pay (CRDP)

Concurrent Retirement and Disability Pay (CRDP) allows military retirees to receive both military retired pay and Veterans Affairs (VA) compensation. This was prohibited until the CRDP program began on January 1, 2004.

CRDP is a “phase in” of benefits that graduallyrestores a retiree’s VA disability offset. This means that an eligibleretiree’s retired pay will gradually increase each year until the phase in iscomplete effective January 2014.

You do not need to apply for CRDP. If qualified, you will be enrolled automatically.

CRDP Eligibility

You must be eligible for retired pay to qualify for CRDP.If you were placed on a disability retirement but would be eligible formilitary retired pay in the absence of the disability, you may be entitled toreceive CRDP.

Under these rules, you may be entitled to CRDP if…

  • Youare a regular retiree with a VA disability rating of 50 percent or greater.
  • Youare a reserve retiree with 20 qualifying years of service, who has a VA disabilityrating of 50 percent or greater and who has reached retirement age. (In mostcases the retirement age for reservists is 60, but certain reserve retirees maybe eligible before they turn 60. If you are a member of the Ready Reserve, yourretirement age can be reduced below age 60 by three months for each 90 days ofactive service you have performed during a fiscal year.)
  • Youare retired under Temporary Early Retirement Act (TERA) and have a VAdisability rating of 50 percent or greater.
  • Youare a disability retiree who earned entitlement to retired pay under anyprovision of law other than solely by disability, and you have a VA disabilityrating of 50 percent or greater. You might become eligible for CRDP at the timeyou would have become eligible for retired pay.

If you have any questions regarding your CRDP payment from DFAS, call 800-321-1080.

For questions concerning disability ratings or disabilitycompensation, please contact the VA at 800-827-1000.

#15. [NEW!] VA Student Loan Forgiveness Program

President Trump signed an executive order on August 21, 2019, which relieves and discharges the Federal Student Loan Debt of veterans who are Totally and Permanently Disabled with a 100% P&T VA Rating or 100 percent totally disabled based on an individual unemployability rating.

>> Click HERE to apply now for VA student loan forgiveness if you’re 100 percent permanent and total or 100 percent total based on individual unemployability. <<

The Total and Permanent Disability (TPD) discharge program relieves eligible veterans from having to repay a William D. Ford Federal Direct Loan (Direct Loan) Program loan, Federal Family Education Loan (FFEL) Program loan, and/or Federal Perkins Loan (Perkins Loan) Program loan or complete a TEACH Grant service obligation on the basis of a total and permanent disability rating.

Eligible veterans must complete a TPD discharge application andsend it, along with any required documentation of your eligibility fordischarge, to Nelnet, the TPD discharge servicer.

The TPD discharge application applies to ALL your federal student loans and TEACH Grant service obligations.

At VA Claims Insider, we’ve seen hundreds of fellow disabled veterans in our VA Claims Insider Elite Membership Program get their student loans forgiven entirely — a truly unbelievable benefit that is potentially worth hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Yes, the VA student loan forgiveness program is 100% legit and an unbelievable benefit for disabled veterans who meet the eligibility criteria outlined on the TPD discharge official site.

To learn more about applying for a TPD discharge and to obtain aTPD discharge application, visit the TPD dischargewebsite and see the “Application Process” located HERE.

Veterans can let Nelnet know that you want to apply and requesta TPD discharge application by phone or email.

If you do, any required payments on your federal student loanswill stop for 120 days to give you time to submit your application and anyrequired supporting documentation.

You can contact Nelnet by email at[emailprotected] and by phone at 1-888-303-7818 Monday–Fridayfrom 7 a.m.–2 a.m. Eastern time (ET), and Saturday from 8 a.m.–7 p.m. ET.

For additional ways to contact Nelnet, and to get more information about applying for a TPD discharge, visit the TPD Discharge Official Website HERE.

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About The Author

Brian Reese

Founder & CEO

Brian Reeseis a VA benefits expert, author of the #1 Amazon Bestseller You Deserve It: The Definitive Guide to Getting the Veteran Benefits You’ve Earned, andfounder of VA Claims Insider–“The Most Trusted Name in Education-Based Resources for Veterans.”

His frustration with the8-step VA disability claims processled him to create“VA Claims Insider,”which provides U.S. military veterans with tips, strategies, and lessons learned for successfully submitting or re-submitting a winning VA disability compensation claim.

Brian isalso the CEOofMilitary Disability Made Easy, which is the world’s largest free searchable database for all things related to DoD disability and VA disability claims and has served more than 4,600,000 military members and veterans since its founding in 2013.

His eBook, the“9 Secrets Strategies for Winning Your VA Disability Claim”has been downloaded more than 300,000 times in the past three years and is the #1 rated free VA disability claims guide for veterans.

He is aformer active duty Air Force officerwith extensive experience leading hundreds of individuals and multi-functional teams in challenging international environments, including a combat tour to Afghanistan in 2011 supporting Operation ENDURING FREEDOM.

Brian is a Distinguished Graduate of Management from theUnited States Air Force Academy, Colorado Springs, CO and he holds an MBA from Oklahoma State University’s Spears School of Business, Stillwater, OK, where he was a National Honor Scholar (Top 1% of Graduate School class).


How do I know if my 100% VA disability is permanent and total? ›

How do I know if my VA rating is permanent? Sometimes VA award letters specifically say the rating decision is permanent or have a box checked that indicates it as such, but that's not always the case. If the decision doesn't say it's permanent, but no future exams are scheduled, it may be a permanent rating.

How many veterans are 100 P&T? ›

For the purpose of this report, the OIG used the term P&T to signify permanent and total status. nearly three million to nearly 4.8 million veterans, or a 61 percent increase. For the same period, the number of 100 percent disabled veterans increased from about 260,000 to more than 680,000, or a 161 percent increase.

Can the VA take away 100 permanent and total disability? ›

Yes, the VA has the authority to reduce your disability rating, including the 100% Permanent and Total (P&T) rating. However, it doesn't happen overnight! Veterans Affairs needs to provide justification for such reductions.

Can veterans work with 100% permanent and total P&T VA ratings? ›

Veterans rated with a 100% Permanent and Total VA disability rating do not face any restrictions on work activity, unless the veteran was awarded this rating through Total Disability based on Individual Unemployability (TDIU). 100% schedular permanent and total ratings are protected from being reduced.

What is the difference between 100 and 100 P&T VA disability? ›

The difference between a 100% rating and permanent and total (P&T) disability is that the VA may schedule a reexamination for a veteran with a 100% service connection to see if the condition has improved, whereas a vet who is P&T is not expected to improve and not scheduled for further evaluation.

Does VA reevaluate P&T disability? ›

Permanent and Total Disability

This means they have a single condition that is both rated at 100% and not expected to improve during their lifetime. They do not receive reevaluations, and their 100% monthly benefits remain the same for the rest of their lives.

Can a 100 P&T veteran draw Social Security? ›

A Veterans Affairs compensation rating of 100% P&T doesn't guarantee that you'll receive Social Security disability benefits. To receive disability benefits from Social Security, a person must have a severe impairment expected to last at least one year or to result in death.

Do 100 percent disabled veterans pay federal taxes? ›

Federal Taxes

Disability benefits received from VA, such as disability compensation, pension payments and grants for home modifications, are not taxable.

Is VA permanent and total disability forever? ›

VA disability ratings at 100 percent are not automatically permanent; however, they can be granted permanent status in certain situations. For example, if a 100 percent rating is in place for 20 years or more, VA is not going to reduce that rating unless there is evidence of fraud in the initial rating assignment.

Is 70% PTSD a permanent VA disability? ›

Yes, PTSD is considered a permanent VA disability. The Department of Veteran Affairs recognizes post-traumatic stress disorder as a serious, life-altering mental condition and will award disability benefits to qualified veterans suffering from PTSD.

Does the VA spy on veterans? ›

And their work practices does appear to be spying on Veterans. Then we have this if a Veteran is thought (suspected) to have obtained their rating via FRAUD. They have a duty to report the same to the VA Office of The Investigations and their SPYING is similar to what a Police Detective Engages in.

Can you get SSDI if you have 100 P&T VA disability? ›

Although a rating of 100% P&T disability from the VA is not a guarantee for Social Security disability approval, it does automatically entitle the veteran to an expedited processing of their Social Security case.

Can 100 percent disabled veterans fly space A? ›

Authorized disabled veterans can travel in the continental United States (CONUS) or directly between CONUS and Alaska, Hawaii, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Guam and American Samoa. Disabled veterans must have a DD Form 2765, Defense Department ID Card (Tan), in order to fly Space-A.

How do I get totally and permanently disabled in VA? ›

Certain types of service-connected disabilities automatically are deemed to support a VA rating of Permanent and Total Disability. They include the irreversible loss of use of both hands, both feet, one hand, and one foot, loss of vision in both eyes, or the Veteran being permanently bedridden.

What determines permanent and total VA disability? ›

To be eligible for permanent and total disability (P&T) compensation, a veteran must be affected by a service-connected disability that is both “total” and “permanent.” To warrant a permanent and total disability rating, the veteran must have a condition that is fully disabling and does not show signs of improvement.

Can you work with a 100 permanent and total VA rating? ›

Veterans rated with a 100% Permanent and Total VA disability rating do not face any restrictions on work activity, unless the veteran was awarded this rating through Total Disability based on Individual Unemployability (TDIU).

Is 100 PTSD rating permanent and total? ›

Such a rating can range from 0 to 100 percent. A rating of 100 percent signifies that you are completely and permanently impaired occupationally and socially. The VA will deem you to be permanently impaired when it is certain that the condition will remain for the rest of your life.

How much will the VA 100 permanent and total disability benefits be in 2023? ›

Although the 2022 adjustment of 5.9 percent was already substantial, the 2023 adjustment is even higher. With the 8.7 percent COLA increase, veterans with a 100 percent disability rating and no dependents will see an extra $289.89 added to their disability compensation, yielding $3,621.95 per month.


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