When the Department of Veterans Affairs approves your VA disability claim, they assign a disability rating. This rating determines the amount of monthly compensation you can receive based on the severity of your injury. But what happens if your symptoms get worse? Or what if you develop additional symptoms or a new illness connected to your disability or because of treatment?
This post will explain how the VA calculates their disability ratings. We’ll also look at how to file for an increase in a VA disability rating.
What is a VA disability rating?
When you file a VA disability claim, you need to prove your injuries and have documentation on the severity of your symptoms. Based on this information, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) assigns a rating from zero to 100% in increments of 10%. They base the rating on the severity of your symptoms. If you have a rating from ten to 100%, you’re eligible for VA disability benefits.
Your rating determines the amount of your monthly benefit payments. You’re considered unemployable if you have a disability rating of 60% or more. You’re also unemployable if you have more than one disability and your combined rating is 70% or more.
Many veterans have multiple disabilities or develop more as they get older. These are called combined disabilities and can work together to help increase your rating. The combination isn’t as straightforward as adding one rating to another. Instead, a special table called the combined ratings table determines the total rating amount.
Why would I want to increase my VA disability rating?
Your symptoms were assessed by a doctor when you applied for VA disability benefits. But what if you develop new symptoms over time? These new symptoms could affect how you live and how much you can work.
You can apply to increase your VA disability benefits if your condition gets worse. Essentially, a higher rating means higher monthly benefit payments. These can help cover additional medical expenses or lost wages.
How to increase a VA disability rating
Working with a VA-accredited attorney is highly recommended if you want to apply to increase your VA disability rating. They can help you gather the new and necessary information and documentation. They can advise you on how best to file for an increase in VA disability benefits.
There are several ways you can apply to increase your VA disability benefits.
1. Filing a new claim to increase your VA disability rating
Suppose you have a current VA disability rating, but your condition worsens. In that case, you can apply to increase your VA disability rating. This application is similar to when you filed for benefits the first time. You need to show a medical report from your doctor that your symptoms have increased or your current disability is causing other issues.
2. Appealing a claim to ask for an increase because the condition is worse or you disagree with the rating
If the VA denied your initial claim or you disagree with the disability rating for your condition, you can file an appeal. There are three options for appeals.
Notice of disagreement: You must file a Notice of Disagreement within one year of the initial decision. This appeal goes directly to the VA Board for review.
High-level review: You can also ask for a high-level review of your claim. This is when a more experienced VA specialist takes a new look at your claim. You can’t submit new evidence in this kind of review. It’s simply another look at your previously submitted claim.
Supplemental claim: You can also ask for a supplemental claim appeal, allowing you to submit new and relevant evidence for your claim. Your VA-accredited attorney can help you navigate through the appeals process and ensure your documents are submitted correctly and on time.
3. Filing for a secondary service connection
A secondary service-connected disability is a new condition that developed due to the first disability or its treatment. For example, suppose you have a disability as a result of a head injury and develop migraines or mental health issues later on. In that case, these could be considered secondary service connections. You may be entitled to compensation for these secondary disabilities.
How a VA-accredited attorney can help
Filing an initial claim for VA disability can be a complex process. Filing to increase your VA disability rating can be even more complicated. It’s essential to know that when you apply, the VA will examine your entire file and ask about any claims, even those already approved. They may want proof that you still have a disability and that it continues to affect you to the same degree.
Working with a VA-accredited attorney is essential to ensure you have all the evidence you need. They can help get medical reports from your doctor and make sure to file all the proper paperwork on time. They will ensure your claim is as strong as possible to help you get the compensation you deserve.
If you want to increase your VA disability rating, contact LegalASAP. We can connect you with our network of experienced and trustworthy VA-accredited attorneys. They can help you navigate your case and get the best result possible.