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Military & Veteran Lawyer > Blog > Military Disability Information > Bilateral factor when considering your disability rating percentage

Bilateral factor when considering your disability rating percentage

If you are suffering from the same disabling conditions on both your left and right sides, here is the relevant language from Army Regulation AR 635-40 to increase your rating by 10%.  It does not apply automatically and the PEB must consider this when finalizing your rating.

AR 635-40

B-12 (c). Converting combined ratings. After all percentages have been combined, the resulting combined value is converted to the nearest number divisible by 10. Combined value ending in 10 will be adjusted upward. If the combined AR 635–40 • 8 February 2006 55 value included a decimal fraction of 0.5 or more as a result of applying the bilateral factor, the fraction is converted to the next higher whole number; otherwise, the decimal fraction is disregarded. (Example: If the combined value is 64.5, first round off the fraction to make the combined value 65, which in turn is rounded to 70. If the combined value is 64. 4, the decimal fraction is disregarded and the combined value of 64 is rounded off to 60.)

B–13. Bilateral factor When a partial disability results from injury or disease of both arms, or both legs, or of paired skeletal muscles, or pelvic or shoulder girdle injuries resulting in extremity impairment, the ratings for the disabilities of the right and left sides will be combined as usual, and 10 percent of this value (called the bilateral factor) will be added (that is, not combined) before proceeding with further combinations, or converting to degree of disability. The bilateral factor will be applied to such bilateral disabilities before other combinations are carried out, and the rating for such disabilities, including the bilateral factor as above, will be treated as one disability for the purpose of arranging in order of severity and for all further combinations. a. The terms “arms” and“legs” are not here intended to distinguish between the arm, forearm, and hand, or the thigh, leg, and foot, but to describe to the upper extremities and lower extremities as a whole. Thus with a compensable disability of the right thigh (for example, amputation), and one of the left foot (for example, pes planus), the bilateral factor applies, and similarly, whenever there are compensable disabilities affecting use of paired extremities regardless of location or specified type of impairment. (Except as noted in c, below.) b. The correct procedures when applying the bilateral factor to disabilities affecting both upper extremities and both lower extremities is to combine the ratings of the disabilities affecting the four extremities in order of their individual severity and apply the bilateral factor by adding, not combining, 10 percent of the combined value, thus attained. c. The bilateral factor is not applicable unless there is partial disability of compensable degree in each of two paired extremities or paired skeletal muscles. Special instructions regarding the applicability of the bilateral factor are provided in various parts of the VASRD, for example, 5003, 7114–7117, 8205–8412. The bilateral factor is not applicable in skin disabilities rated under Code 7806.

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