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Claims For Increased Disability Ratings

Posted by Gregory M. Rada | Disability Compensation,State Veteran Benefits

Once service connection is in effect for a disability, a veteran can file a claim for increased rating at any time. Once a veteran requests an increased rating, the VA will schedule them for a C&P examination, and after the examination, the VA will issue a rating decision that either increases the rating or continues the existing rating, or in rare cases, proposes to reduce the rating.

When making a claim for increased rating, it can be helpful to have the assistance of an experienced representative. A good representative will prepare the veteran for the VA examination to ensure the veteran understands how the VA rates the disability, which can help maximize the chances of receiving the increased rating. 

What is a VA Disability Rating?

A VA disability rating is a percentage given by the VA to a veteran’s service-connected disability. Ratings can range from 0 to 100%, in increments of 10%. The higher the rating percentage, the greater monthly compensation the veteran receives for their condition. 

The VA assigns ratings by using the Schedule for Rating Disabilities. The Rating Schedule sets forth the criteria for ratings for each type of disability. For example, to receive a 70% rating for PTSD, the medical evidence must show that the PTSD causes “deficiencies in most areas” of the veteran’s life.

Filing a Claim to Increase Your VA Disability Rating

The process for filing a claim for increased rating is straightforward. You can either submit the claim online via VA.gov, or by downloading a VA Form 21-526EZ and submitting the form to VA in person or by mail.

If you have any private treatment records that support your request for an increased rating, you should submit those to VA as well. Alternatively, you can ask the VA to obtain your private treatment records by completing and submitting a VA Form 21-4142, which authorizes the VA to obtain private records. If you receive your treatment from the VA, they will automatically obtain those records.

After you submit the claim, the VA will schedule you for a C&P examination to determine whether your symptoms support a higher rating or not. Shortly after the exam, the VA will issue a rating decision that could increase the rating, continue the existing rating, or propose to decrease the existing rating.

I recommend contacting me before filing a claim for increased rating because you want to make sure there is a realistic chance that your rating will be increased. Anytime the VA examines a disability, there is a chance that you could get a bad examiner who says that your disability has improved which then prompts the VA to try and reduce your rating.  

Increased Disability Rating FAQs

 1. When Can I Make a Claim for Increased Rating?

You can make a claim for increased rating any time as long as you are service connected for the disability. You simply need to submit the claim and the VA will proceed with examining you and will then issue a rating decision. 

 2. What do I do if VA Proposes to Reduce a Rating?

I suggest that you reach out to an attorney to assist with fighting the proposed reduction. At a minimum, you will have 30 days to request a personal hearing and you should do that. At the hearing, which will be conducted via telephone, you’ll have a chance to speak with a VA rater to explain why the VA should not reduce your rating.

Increasing your disability rating can be a relatively straightforward process, but it usually helps to have the assistance of a skilled VA disability lawyer on your side. Call me today at (844) 838-4488 to discuss your case.