Do you think the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has rated your service-connected disability too low?
The VA uses a strict rating code system to determine just how "disabled" a veteran really is, at least according to them. This often results in a disability not being rated accurately and not reflective of your actual impairment.
If a service-connected disability has symptoms that are not exactly as described in the VA rating criteria (diagnostic codes), and are causing what you consider to be significant problems with your job, or requiring frequent days missed due to doctor appointments, etc.., then you may be entitled to a higher rating. This can result in more compensation each month under the "Extra-Schedular" ratings.
After you have been found to have sustained a service-connected disability, the VA then rates the severity of that disability and how it affects your "earning capacity". The rating is based upon a Diagnostic Code that tells the VA Rater what percentage of impairment your disability is entitled to receive based upon medically documented symptoms and findings. This percentage of impairment then coverts into a monthly dollar amount. For example, a 10% rating will pay a veteran only $133.57 per month, yet a 40% rating will pay $589.12 per month.
The VA rating system and its diagnostic codes cannot cover every situation, even if the VA has applied the rating system properly to begin with. This is why many veterans receive unfair evaluations.
An example of where a claim MIGHT be sent out for an "extra-schedular" evaluation would be as follows: The veteran has a knee injury that limits his range of motion enough to qualify for a 20% rating. However, he also has instances where the knee will lock up, or maybe give way. Perhaps it swells and causes increased pain if he is walking or standing for more than even 10-15 minutes. In this instance, an "extra-schedular" rating MIGHT apply.
If the VA determines that the veterans’ symptoms do fall outside the VA rating code standards, such as mentioned above, then they next must determine if the symptoms cause "marked interference with employment" or "frequent hospitalizations". If it does, then they are required to send your case to the "Director of the VA Compensation and Pension Service" who will then determine if the disability really does require an "extra-schedular rating".