There may come a time when your disability worsens, or you develop a secondary condition directly linked to your service-connected primary disability. You can file for a rating increase with the VA in these situations.
This process involves submitting medical evidence that supports your claim and attending a Compensation and Pension (C&P) exam. It can be challenging to achieve a higher rating, but it is possible.
1. Contact an Attorney
You stepped up for your country and are now struggling to get the veteran’s disability benefits you need to survive. It’s frustrating that you haven’t received a fair rating for your illness or injury, but it is possible to increase your rating. It’s important to gather medical evidence to support your claim for a higher disability rating.
This can include records from your military medical file, private doctors, and VA medical centers. Additionally, it is important to provide buddy statements from people who served with you and witnesses who can testify that your condition has worsened.
A qualified VA disability attorney can help you gather the medical evidence necessary to prove that your condition has worsened and deserves an increased disability rating. Your disability benefits can provide crucial financial support during challenging times, helping you to cover essential expenses.
Whether applying for your initial rating or appealing your current one, an experienced attorney can guide you through the process and fight for what you deserve.
2. File a Request for Reconsideration
If you have received a rating decision from the VA that is less than what you deserve, you can ask the agency to reconsider its determination. This is also known as a reopening of your case. This process can be quicker than a traditional appeal or filing a new claim.
If your disability worsens, you may be entitled to an increased compensation rate. This is usually based on evidence, such as medical and hospital records, statements from family members and friends, and other documentation showing how your original condition has worsened.
Having an accredited representative help you file a request for reconsideration can increase your chances of a successful outcome. An attorney can look at the full scope of your case and identify any errors in the original decision or additional evidence that would strengthen your claim. It is important to act quickly as there are strict deadlines for appealing a decision on your VA disability rating.
3. File an Appeal
If you are unsatisfied with your VA disability rating decision, you have one year from the date on the Rating Decision letter to file a Notice of Disagreement (NOD). This will reopen your claim for a new review.
This is also an opportunity to submit any new evidence you didn’t offer the first time, such as additional medical records or supporting statements. A professional accredited representative can help you determine how much your supplemental disability claim is worth and provide a list of necessary documents for a successful appeal.
You can also request a higher-level review, like reevaluating your case with a senior reviewer. You cannot submit any new evidence for a high-level review, but you can ask that your file be given a fresh look. During this process, the senior reviewer may consider other factors, such as your age or any other relevant factors that may positively affect your rating.
4. File a Secondary Service Connection Claim
Sometimes, a veteran will develop an illness or injury unrelated to their in-service disability. These are known as secondary conditions. The VA is not required to award compensation for these illnesses or damages unless the veteran can prove a connection between their new condition and a medical event, accident, or disease they were exposed to during military service.
The key is to submit as much medical documentation and evidence as possible with your secondary claim. This includes military medical records, private healthcare providers, and nexus letters referencing scientific studies establishing the link between your illness or injury and an event in service.
If you have already been awarded a secondary service-connection claim, it is important to remember that your disability rating can be increased at any time. The best way to do this is by submitting additional medical or lay evidence that shows how your condition has worsened and is interfering with your ability to work and maintain gainful employment.
In conclusion, there are several strategies and resources available to veterans looking to increase their disability benefits. By thoroughly understanding the VA’s rating system, gathering thorough medical evidence, and appealing unfavorable decisions, veterans can increase their chances of receiving higher compensation for their service-connected disabilities.
Additionally, seeking assistance from veteran service organizations and legal professionals can provide invaluable guidance throughout the process. Remember, advocating for your rights as a veteran is not only important for your own well-being but also for future generations of service members. Take action today to ensure you receive the benefits you deserve for your sacrifice and dedication to our country.