Nearly 4 million veterans in the United States receive some sort of disability payment. When veterans experience service-connected disabilities, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) assigns disability ratings to determine the level of compensation and support they are entitled to receive.
These ratings are not set in stone and can be adjusted if your condition worsens or if you believe you deserve a higher rating. In this article, we will explore the process of how to increase your VA disability rating.
Understanding VA Disability Ratings
A VA disability rating is a percentage assigned to veterans based on the severity of their service-connected disabilities.
Ratings can range from 0% to 100%, with higher ratings corresponding to more severe disabilities. The rating not only determines the level of financial compensation but also eligibility for additional benefits, such as healthcare and vocational rehabilitation.
The Importance of an Accurate Rating
Having an accurate VA disability rating is crucial because it directly impacts the benefits you receive. A higher rating means more financial support and access to specialized care.
If you believe your current rating does not accurately reflect the extent of your disability, it’s essential to explore the process of increasing it.
When Should You Increase Your VA Disability Rating?
If you want an increase your VA disability rating, there are a few things that you need to consider. Let’s take a look.
Significant Worsening of Your Condition
One common reason to consider an increase in your VA disability rating is a significant worsening of your service-connected condition. If your condition deteriorates, and it is directly related to your military service, you may be eligible for a higher rating.
Newly Discovered Service-Connected Disabilities
In some cases, veterans may discover new service-connected disabilities that were not initially recognized by the VA. If you have evidence to support your claim, you can seek an increase in your rating for these newly identified conditions.
Difficulty in Daily Life
If your current disability rating does not adequately account for the challenges you face in your daily life due to your service-connected disabilities, it may be time to pursue an increase. Difficulty in performing routine tasks or maintaining employment could be valid reasons for seeking a higher rating.
The Process of Increasing Your VA Disability Rating
There are a few key steps that you need to go through when you are increasing your VA rating. We’ll take you through these now.
Gathering Medical Evidence
To support your claim for a higher disability rating, you’ll need to provide substantial medical evidence. This may include medical records, doctor’s opinions, and any new test results that demonstrate the worsening of your condition or the presence of new disabilities.
Filing a Claim for Increase
To initiate the process, you will need to file a claim for an increase in your disability rating with the VA. You can do this online through the VA’s official website or by working with a Veterans Service Officer (VSO) or a VA-accredited attorney.
VA Compensation and Pension (C&P) Exam
Once your claim is filed, the VA may schedule a Compensation and Pension (C&P) exam. During this examination, a VA healthcare provider will evaluate your condition and provide an updated assessment.
Be sure to attend this exam, as the results will significantly influence the outcome of your claim.
Wait for a Decision
After the C&P exam, the VA will review all the evidence and medical records you’ve provided. The length of time it takes to receive a decision can vary, but you can check the status of your claim online or through your VSO.
Appealing a Denied Claim
If your claim for an increased rating is denied, you have the right to appeal the decision. This process involves presenting additional evidence or challenging any errors in the VA’s decision-making.
The Importance of Professional Assistance
Getting increased disability compensation on your own can be a challenge. Sometimes it pays to get a helping hand from someone.
Veterans Service Officers (VSOs)
Veterans Service Officers are individuals trained and accredited by veterans’ organizations to assist you with your disability claim. They can provide guidance on the application process, help gather the necessary documents, and represent you in your interactions with the VA.
Another option is to consult with a VA-accredited attorney who specializes in veterans’ disability claims. These attorneys are well-versed in the intricacies of VA law and can provide legal representation if you need to appeal a decision.
Additional Resources and Support
In addition to the steps mentioned above, veterans seeking to increase their VA disability ratings can benefit from various resources and support networks. Here are some types of organizations and support systems to consider:
Veteran Service Organizations (VSOs)
Veteran Service Organizations are groups established to advocate for and assist veterans in various aspects of their lives, including navigating the VA disability claims process.
These organizations often have experienced service officers who can help you with your claim and provide guidance on increasing your rating.
Online Support Communities and Forums
Numerous online forums and social media groups are dedicated to helping veterans navigate the VA disability system.
These communities offer a platform for sharing experiences, asking questions, and receiving advice from others who have gone through similar processes.
Veterans Affairs Office
Your local Veterans Affairs office can be a valuable resource for information and support. They can provide guidance on the claims process, direct you to local resources, and help you understand the available benefits and services.
Support groups, either in-person or online, can provide emotional and practical support to veterans facing challenges with their VA disability claims.
These groups often consist of individuals who have firsthand experience with the process and can offer guidance and empathy.
Let Veterans Educating Veterans Be Your Guide
At Veterans Educating Veterans (VEV), we understand the challenges that veterans face when navigating the VA disability claims process, especially when trying to increase your VA disability rating. Our mission is to empower veterans with knowledge and support to ensure they receive the benefits they rightfully deserve.
Our dedicated team of veterans and experts is here to guide you through the complexities of the VA system, whether you’re seeking to increase your disability rating or require assistance with other VA-related issues. You served your country; now let us serve you.
Contact Veterans Educating Veterans for personalized support and expert guidance on your VA disability journey.