Two american flags and a dog tag on a white background.

RI Veterans: Did you know? (VA Math, events, resources, discounts), 9-2-2023 – John A. Cianci

by John A. Cianci, contributing writer on veterans issues

Did you know the Providence Veterans Administration Medical Center (PVAMC), Chalkstone Ave, in Providence offers FREE tax preparation for veterans starting February 5-April 15, 2023? The services are available onTuesday, Wednesday, & Thursday. February 5—April 15, 2023. This free service is for veterans enrolled in PVAMC. The service is by appointment only, 401-273-7100, Ext. 2025  

Let’s start off with a question from one of our readers.

I am rated 60% for headaches, 30% for shoulders, 20% for ankle, and 10% for tinnitus,10% for shoulder, however, my VA compensation is only 80%, Can you explain  how the VA determined to only give me 80% disability compensation when all my disabilities ratings add up to 130% ? Sean, Exeter

Welcome to VA Math.

VA math may be different from the sum of your individual ratings.

Veterans need to prepare themselves for an explanation that defies what basic math taught to them in elementary school is. One must also conclude whoever thought of the VA math method to determine a veteran’s combined percentage was nuts! Seriously nuts.

It took years for me to understand how 60 + 30 + 20 + 10 + 10 = 80% disability compensation, although the sum of the equation is 130.  

Let’s start at the beginning. What is VA Math? VA Math is the math used to combine the military disability of multiple conditions to give a veteran a single overall, or “combined”, rating. In other words, if a person has more than one condition that is rated for military disability, then each of the ratings are combined (note that the key word here is “combined” not “added”) together using VA Math to give one overall rating. This single rating is then used to determine the exact type and amount of military disability the veteran receives.  

Let’s begin by understanding how VA Math works. Each condition is a percentage of the disability of the service member. When combined together, however, each percentage is not a percentage of the entire service member but a percentage of what is left after other percentages have been subtracted. Got that? No? Well, here’s an example:

A veteran’s entire body is equal to 100%. Let’s say the veteran has three rated conditions. The first is a knee injury that is rated 30%. The second is a shoulder injury rated 20%. The last is a back injury rated 10%. Instinct would assume that the combined rating would be 60% (30 + 20 + 10 = 60). Unfortunately, that’s not the case with VA Math.

First start with the largest rating, 30%. This rating is then subtracted from the total body rating of 100%. Of the total body, now only 70% remains. So instead of simply subtracting 20 for the shoulder’s 20%, you can only subtract 20% of the 70 that is left, which is 14 (0.2 x 70 = 14). 70 minus 14 is 56. Now, since only 14 was subtracted from the total body, only 14 is added to the total combined rating. (Take a deep breath. Following along with the table below might help…)

Now for the last 10%. Again, we can only subtract 10% of what is left of the total body. Thus, 10% of 56 is 5.6 (0.1 x 56 = 5.6). 56 minus 5.6 is 50.4. And again, since only 5.6 was subtracted from the total body, only 5.6 is added to the combined rating. So far, veteran’s rating is 30% + 14% + 5.6% = 49.6%.

Once all the conditions are counted, then the total combined rating is rounded to the nearest 10. 49.6%, therefore, equals 50% total disability.

Depending on the veteran, the list of conditions can sometimes be pretty long, and the VA Math becomes even more confusing.

Don’t worry if you don’t understand the aforementioned explanation, the VA website has a VA math calculator which is easy to use,

The VA needed a way to combine the ratings for various conditions to get the veteran’s overall rating. VA Math was created to combine the ratings in a way that reflects the diminishing effect additional conditions have on a veteran’s overall functioning and ability to work.

In conclusion, veterans must continue to educate themselves on the VA claim process to ensure to maximize their benefits earned while serving as a member of the military.



February 11, 2023 , Saturday, Veteran Empowerment Day. The event is being held by the VFW.  The Veterans of Foreign Wars appreciates your interest in attending the Empowerment Day at the Wyndham Hotel, 240 Aquidneck Ave. Middletown RI. 02842 on 02/11/23. To get the most out of this day, we would like for anyone who is interested in attending, to please fill out some basic information about anyone attending the event.  We would like this event to empower you and your family to be educated in benefits and resources you and your family may qualify for.  

The Veterans of Foreign Wars Auxiliary will have youth activities for children ages 5 and older.  

The Veterans of Foreign Wars, Department of Rhode Island, have created a safe space for learning and networking. The day will be as follows:  


·      0715-0830  

·      Free Breakfast  

·      Registration  

·      Veteran Organizations and Service Providers, exhibitors and resources.  

·      The ballroom will be available for a meet and greet with Organizations, Service Providers, exhibitors and resource tables.  

·       0830-0835  

·      Four Chaplains Ceremony  

·      Ceremony to remember Four Chaplains Day, usually celebrated on Feb 3rd, every year, in recognition of four Army Chaplains who acted in the spirit of heroic sacrifice and humanitarianism, on board a sinking ship in WWII.  

·      0835-0845  

·      Introduction to the Commander-in-Chief, Tim Borland, being present to speak to our attendees and kick off the empowerment day.  

·      0845-0900  

·      Introduction to classroom staff and sponsors  

·      Attendees will be able to meet all classroom staff of the day.  

·      0900-0915  

·      Transition of classes and visit Service Providers.  

·      0915-1000  

·      Session 1: A – D  

·      1000-1015  

·      Transition of classes and visit Service Providers.  

·      1015-1100  

·      Sessions 2: The next set of top 4 classes that were chosen by the attendees register. E-H  

·      1100-1115  

·      Transition of classes and visit Service Providers.  

·      1115-1200  

·      Sessions 3: A – D  

·      1200-1230  

·      Transition of classes and visit Service Providers.  

·      1230-1430  

·      Student scholarship luncheon*  

·      Patriot’s Pen / Voice of Democracy  

·      All attendees for the days events are invited to our following events where we will be honoring the State of Rhode Island winners of the two scholarship programs that the Veterans of Foreign Wars provide to grades 6th – 8th and 9th – 12th. The winner of Voice of Democracy scholarship will have a paid trip to the national rewards banquette located in Washington D.C. where they will be able to bring one parent paid for by the Veterans of Foreign Wars. The winners at the national level will be awarded $35,000 by the Voice of Democracy Scholarship (grades 6th-12th) and $8,000 by the Patriot’s Pen (grades 6th-8th).  

Tuesday, February 21, 2023 at 7pm. Letters From Home The McVinney Auditorium in Providence is going to be the host for the official Rhode Island stop of the  tour, which will take place on Tuesday, February 21, 2023 at 7pm.  This is the official Rhode Island stop of the 50-ststes tour. Letters From Home was founded in 2010, featuring music from the soundtracks of WWII, Vietnam, and beyond. This vaudevillian-style singing & tap dancing duo has honored our veterans, active military heroes and their families, by uniting the nation through music.  

The show’s idea came from Pat Dearth, a veteran of the United States Coast Guard. Since its inception, Letters From Home has performed over 900 shows across the country. A documentary on the group produced by “Our State” Television (David Hardy) won an Emmy award in 2015. In 2019, Erinn and Dan traveled to Normandy, France to perform during the 75th Anniversary of D-Day festivals where they sang the National Anthem on June 6th at sunset on Omaha Beach. Letters From Home returned to Europe in May 2022 to perform for WWII Veterans touring in The Netherlands and Belgium. The task of a nationwide tour has always been a dream of Letters From Home’s founder, Erinn Dearth,and during the pandemic it became more of a calling than ever. “The show is high-energy and should make everyone smile,” said Dearth, “but it’s also a message of hope in a country that is a bit divided at the moment.” Dearth hopes that those who come to see the show will walk away with a song in their hearts and a new perspective on patriotism. Dan Beckmann, the other half of the pair, is also an accomplished professional photographer. He will be documenting the tour in a photo blog in addition to directing a documentary of the 50-States tour. One of the tours sponsors is Footsteps Researchers, a global team of military researchers that help their clients retrace the footsteps of those who served in WWII. The founder of Footsteps Researchers, Myra Miller will serve as Tour Manager and is very excited, “to meet veterans across the country and thank them for their service. We want to pack the venues with young and old alike to share the energetic and fun performances of Letters From Home!” To view the tour route or to purchase tickets in the state nearest you, visit


RESOURCES & ongoing groups  

Below are all the groups the Providence Vet Center is currently offering.  As this list changes, I will provide updates. Please send me any questions that you may have, thank you for your time!  

***All Vet Center Groups require that the Veteran be enrolled with the Vet Center prior to attending. To check eligibility or for questions, please contact the Vet Center at (401) 739-0167 or reach out to our Veteran Outreach Program Specialist (VOPS) via email at [email protected]***  

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder Group (PTSD) – 2nd and 4th Tuesday of the month from 2:00 – 3:30 p.m. (Group is only active September through May)  

Global War on Terrorism (GWOT) and Vietnam Veterans PTSD Group – 2nd and 4th  Wednesday of the month from 9:30 – 11:00 a.m.  

Vietnam Veteran PTSD Group – 1st and 3rd Monday of the month from 10:30 – 12:00 p.m. and 5:30 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.  

Art Expression Group – Every Thursday from 9:00 – 12:00 p.m.  

Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF)/Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF)/Operation New Dawn (OND) Group – Every Wednesday from 11:00 – 12:00 p.m.  

Stress Management – Every Thursday from 9:00 – 10:00 a.m.  

Low Impact Walking Group – Every Tuesday from 9:00 – 10:00 a.m.  

Guitar 4 Veterans – Every Wednesday from 7:00-8:30 p.m.  

Monday Mindfulness Group – Every Monday from 10:00 – 11:00 a.m.  

Yoga Group – Every Friday from 12:00 – 1:00 p.m.  

Moral Injury Group – Every Friday from 10:00 – 11:00 a.m.  

Modern Warrior Support Group – 1st and 3rd Monday of the month from 2:30 – 4:00 pm.  


Discounts for Veterans  


No Problem Plumbing and Heating LLC 15% military discount , ask for Ron Gaynor, (401) 568-6666. Veterans must provide proof of eligibility with a VA Card, VA ID Card, or RI State license with veteran identification.  


Applebee’s – Military Discount. With more than 2,000 locations, Applebee’s is a family grill restaurant. Applebee’s gives 10% off for active duty and veteran. Last verified 07/31/2022.  

Denny’s – Hartford Ave, Johnston offers 10% discount for veterans and active duty. Denny’s is a table service diner-style restaurant chain. Last verified 07/31/2022.  

Outback Steakhouse – 10% Discount to active and veterans. Last verified 07/28/2021  

99 Restaurant & Pub – The 99 Restaurant & Pub offers a 10% military discount to members of

Veterans Advantage. Available at select locations only. Bring valid military ID  



Advance Auto Parts – 10% for Active Duty, Veterans, and families. Last verified 07/28/2021  

Bass Pro Shops –  Offers a 5% discount to active-duty military, reservists, and National Guard. Sign up and verify your status online or bring your military ID when you shop at your nearest Bass Pro store (source).  

BJs Wholesale – Reduced membership fee. BJ’s offers all military personnel over 25% off their Membership. Last verified 07/28/2021  

Lowes – Enroll in the Lowe’s Military Discount Program to activate your 10% discount – “Our way of saying Thank You” to our active duty, retired and military veterans and their spouses with a 10% discount on eligible items. Verification of your military status is fast and easy through our partner, is our trusted technology partner in helping to keep your personal information safe.  

GameStop – is offering a 10% in-store military discount on all pre-owned products, collectibles, and select new products. Available to current and former military members who bring any valid proof of service or when they verify through  

Home Depot – Offers a 10% off military discount on regularly priced merchandise for in-store purchases for active duty, retired military, and reservists at participating locations. Customers are required to show a valid government-issued military ID card to redeem this offer.  

Kohls – 15% discount offers for active military, veterans, retirees, and their immediate family members a 15% discount on purchases made on Mondays, in store only. In order to receive the military discount, eligible customers must present proper identification along with any tender type.  

Jiffy Lube – HONORING VETERANS ALL DAY EVERY DAY! – We didn’t want to wait for Veteran’s Day to express our appreciation and gratitude for your service. That’s why every Team Car Care owned and operated Jiffy Lube® service center is offering our BEST discount of 15% OFF as a “Thank You” to the men and women of our Armed Forces for their service to our country. *Disclaimer*- I.D. required. No coupon is required. Excludes batteries and brakes, alignment, and diagnostic services. Available only at 3 select locations listed below:  

Tioque Ave, Coventry RI – Bald Hill Road, Warwick RI – Park Ave, Cranston RI  

Michaels – offers a 15% off military discount on the entire in-store purchase including sale items for active duty, retired military, guard, reservists, veterans, and family members. How to get –  

1.    Create an Account. Log in or create a Michaels Rewards account.  

2.    Get Verified. Provide your military information to get verified instantly.  

3.    Go Shopping! To use your discount online and in store, just sign into your account or provide your Michaels Rewards phone number at checkout.  

O’Reilly Auto Parts – 10% discount on in store items for Active Duty, Veterans and families.

Last verified 3/4/21


If you are a retailer and or a veteran aware of a business not listed above, please forward to:[email protected]:  the business’s name, location, and military and veteran discount offered.  

If you have an event, meeting, other pertinent veteran information, or email questions or help needed, contact the Italian American War Veteran Service Officer, John A Cianci, [email protected], ITAM Office 1-(401)677-9VET(9838)  


To read all columns in this series go to:  

John A. Cianci is a Veteran Service Officer. Retired, U.S. Army MSgt., Persian Gulf War and Iraq War combat theater.

Cianci, a combat disabled Veteran, served in Desert Shield/Storm and Operation Iraqi Freedom. His awards include Bronze Star, Combat Action Badge, Good Conduct, and others.

Cianci belongs to numerous veterans organizations – Italian American War Veterans, American Legion, Veterans of Foreign War, United Veterans Council of Rhode Island, and many more organizations. He is an active volunteer assisting veterans to navigate federal and state benefits they have earned. He is Department of Rhode Island Department Commander Italian American War Veterans and Veteran Service Officer.

He is a graduate of Roger Williams University (BS Finance), UCONN business school* (Entrepreneur Bootcamp for Veterans), Solar Energy International Residential, Commercial and Battery Based Photovoltaic Systems certificate programs, numerous certificates from the Department of Defense renewable energy programs, including graduate of the Solar Ready Vets Program.