Has the service-connected disability you suffer as a veteran grown worse over time? It may be possible to increase your VA rating, which can mean greater monthly benefits. Although the process isn’t always easy, you do have a few options available to you.
Steps to Increase Your VA Rating
The VA understands that a service-connected disability can worsen over time, especially as a veteran grows older. You can request an increase in your disability rating whenever you need one by providing the VA with new evidence of your worsening condition and asking for a rating review.
4 Essential Elements to Increasing Your Disability Rating
There are four things you must be able to prove to increase your disability rating and receive more benefits.
- The medical diagnosis of your disability.
- The evidence to prove the disability is service-connected.
- A link between the first two items by way of a Nexus Letter.
- The severity, frequency, and duration of your symptoms.
Your medical records are crucial in proving your disability is worsening. These records must reflect any hospitalization, medications, treatment plans, or therapy that you have received from a VA hospital or other public/private military service hospital.
Can I Receive a 100% Disability Rating?
Yes, achieving a disability rating of 100% is possible, but it is not easy. A 100% disability rating allows you to receive maximum monthly benefits. Proving you are completely disabled and need this high rating involves strong evidence and extensive documentation from medical professionals, co-workers, friends, and family.
However, if you have not received a 100% disability rating, you may still be able to receive the same compensation through the Total Disability for Individual Unemployability (TDIU) program. This program helps those unable to maintain or obtain gainful employment due to their service-connected illness or injury.
4 Ways to File for an Increase in Your Disability Rating
- File an appeal with the VA.
- File a new claim for a rating increase.
- File for TDIU (Total Disability Individual Unemployability)
- File a secondary service connection.
Timing is key. If it has been more than a year since you received your initial disability rating, you can use Form 21-526EZ or Form 21-4142 to apply for a rating increase. However, if it has been less than one year and your disability or condition is already getting worse, or you disagree with the rating you initially received, it is a little more complicated to apply and your best chance is to work closely with a claims consultant or attorney.