What You Need to Know Before You Request an Increase in Your VA Disability Rating
You are already eligible for veterans’ disability benefits. However, your medical condition is not the same as it was when you first applied for benefits. Your health has gotten worse and you are left wondering what you should do. One option is to request that your disability rating be increased to reflect your current medical condition. However, before you do that there are some things that you should know so that you can protect your fair recovery of benefits.
How an Increase Is Valued
An increase in veterans’ disability benefits will be granted if your medical condition is worse than it was when you initially applied for benefits. Your medical condition may be worse if one of the following is true:
Your disability has gotten worse.
You have developed a new disability as a result of your previous disability.
You are experiencing a new service-related disability.
Your financial need for benefits is irrelevant to the determination. The cost of living, additional financial responsibilities, and other financial hardships will not be considered when you are requesting an increase in disability rating. The only thing that is relevant to your claim is your disability.
Your disability rating is assigned on a scale of 0 percent to 100 percent, with 0 percent indicating that you are not at all disabled and 100 percent indicating that you are totally disabled. You may receive veterans’ disability benefits if your disability rating is 10 percent or higher.
The amount of your monthly benefits is based on your disability rating. Typically, you receive more in your monthly disability check if you have a higher percentage of disability. However, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) uses complicated formulas to determine the exact amount of your disability payments. It is possible that a small increase in the percentage of your disability will not have an impact on your monthly benefits.
How to Request an Increase in Your Disability Rating
The procedure for filing a request for an increase in your veterans’ disability rating depends on when you were first awarded benefits. For example:
If you were initially awarded benefits within the last year, then you should file an appeal rather than a request for reconsideration. You will then need to go through the steps of an appeal which may include hearings and court proceedings.
If you were initially awarded benefits more than one year ago, then you can make a request for reconsideration. A request for reconsideration can be made by filling out Form 21-526B and mailing the form to the VA Regional Office (VARO). VARO will notify you that your request has been received. After that, VARO will review your claim and may schedule a Compensation and Pension exam. Then, a ratings veterans service rep will make a determination about your request for an increase.
Whether you are filing a request for reconsideration or an appeal, it is important to have all of the required medical evidence to support your claim. It is this medical evidence that will determine whether or not you are eligible for an increase in your disability rating.
Work With an Experienced Lawyer to Get the Veterans’ Disability Benefits You Deserve
When you request an increase in your disability rating, the VA will review your eligibility for veterans’ disability benefits. The VA could decide to increase your benefits as you requested, to keep your benefits at their current level, to reduce your benefits, or to find you ineligible for any benefits.
Before you put your VA disability benefits at risk, it is important to speak with an experienced veterans’ disability lawyer. Your attorney will review your claim with you, review all relevant medical documentation, and help you decide what action to take. We will also represent you in an appeal or a request for consideration, as appropriate, if it is likely to increase your disability rating.
To learn more about your specific claim and about whether you should pursue an increase in your disability rating, please contact us directly via this website or by phone to schedule a free and confidential initial consultation.