VA disability ratings generally are not permanent. Rather, they are subject to review by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) at any time. If VA finds that your situation or condition has changed since you received your initial rating, it may assign you a new rating—or cease your benefits altogether. In limited cases, you may receive a rating that is permanent and protected from change.
Receiving a letter from the Veterans Benefits Administration (VBA) requesting that you submit to a medical exam because your benefits are under review can be jarring and even scary. What happens if VA severs or severely reduces your benefits? How will you pay your bills? A veterans disability lawyer can help you get through this situation with the best chance of keeping your current rating.
Call today for a free VA disability case evaluation.
When VA Can Re-Examine and Reduce Your Disability Rating
When VA approves you for disability benefits and assigns you a rating, it leaves itself the option to reevaluate your condition. If the agency believes your circumstances may have changed, or that your condition is not as severe as it was when you first received approval, it may schedule you for a re-examination.
What Happens When VA Re-Examines and Proposes to Reduce Your VA Disability Rating
Before the VA can reduce your disability rating, the agency must send you notice of its proposal to reduce. Upon receipt of this notice from VA, you have the right to request a hearing, where you—and your attorney, if you choose—can argue against a rating reduction.
For a free legal consultation, call 1-888-373-4722
When VA Cannot Change Your Disability Rating
In two specific situations, your VA disability rating has protection from change. That means, if you have one of the “protections,” VA cannot reduce your rating unless it has evidence that you obtained it via fraud (for example, you submitted forged medical records that made your condition sound worse than it actually was).
VA Classifies Your Disability as Permanent and Total
Permanent and total disability is a special classification used by VA when it believes that a veteran’s condition is so severe that the condition will never improve.
Once you receive this classification, your rating is mostly safe. Only in very rare situations, such as fraud, can VA lower the rating of a veteran who has a permanent and total disability.
You Have Had the Same Disability Rating for 20 Years
If you have had the same disability rating for at least 20 years, it becomes a “de facto” permanent rating. In this case, VA may not reduce it unless—as with a permanent and total rating—it uncovers evidence of fraud.
Will I Qualify for Any Disability Payments?
If you are an active or former member of the military community and are currently suffering from a disability that affects your life, you could be eligible for disability benefits through VA.
You must submit a number of documents and other paperwork in order for your claim to be accepted. Among these documents is:
- Proof that you served in the military (or are a qualifying dependent of a veteran)
- Evidence of your disability (such as documentation from a qualified healthcare provider)
- Any supporting evidence of a link between your service and your disability
Additionally, you could be required to provide past employment information and more.
Because the claim process can be confusing, many face denial or receive a lower disability rating than expected. When this happens, it could be helpful to review the situation with a VA benefits lawyer. A legal team can help walk you through the decision review process, such as assisting with paperwork, answering any questions that might come up along the way, and advocating for your right to benefits.
Examples of Qualifying Disabilities
Any disability, regardless of severity, could be considered for veterans benefits. Examples of qualifying disabilities include but are not limited to:
- Combat injuries that have had a long-term impact on your physical well-being, ability to work, or the quality of your everyday life
- Injuries sustained during training
- Emotional effects of your service, including anxiety, depression, substance abuse or addiction, and more
- Hearing loss, damage to your eyes or vision, and other sensory injuries
- Much more
Even a minor disability can impede your ability to enjoy life on a daily basis. More severe injuries can affect every facet of your life and could even keep you from working and earning the wages you depend on.
After dedicating yourself to the service of your country, you deserve to be taken care of. If you have a qualifying injury, filing a claim can help secure a brighter future for you and your loved ones. A lawyer near you specializing in VA disability claims will be able to help you sort out your options if VA denied your initial claim.
How Are VA Disability Payments Disbursed?
If you successfully file a disability claim and receive your rating, you will soon begin to receive monthly payments. Your payment amount will be directly associated with the rating of your injury. However, your rating can be adjusted if your injury worsens or if you request a decision review.
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Are Disability Benefits Taxable?
Typically, disability payments for veterans are not taxable. If you believe you are being taxed on your payments in error or you have specific questions about your disability compensation, reaching out to a financial professional or tax specialist could be worth your time.
Hiring a Veterans Disability Lawyer Can Help
If you did not receive an accurate rating based on your service-connected disability or you have general questions about your claim, consulting with a legal professional could prove beneficial. A legal team in your area with experience in VA claims can help you file the necessary paperwork to get the benefits you deserve.
VA benefits lawyers can keep your case on track, offer general support, and help you with many of the VA disability issues you may face. Call today for a free case evaluation.