The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs has created a ‘rating’ system for assessing the severity of applicants’ disabilities. The rating system is extremely complex. However, to simplify the issue, there are two important things that all veterans should know about their disability rating:
- The amount of benefits you are entitled to recover will depend on your VA disability rating; and
- The ratings are issued in 10 percent increments (0 percent to 100 percent) and they are meant to approximate impact on earning capacity that is caused by the disabling condition.
Of course, it should also be noted that a person’s disability is never ‘static’. Indeed, it is common for disabilities to change. Many veterans report that their medical condition has become more severe as time passes. When this happens, an individual’s VA disability rating must be updated to accurately reflect the current state of the psychological and physical health. Here, our experienced Chicago veterans benefits attorneys explain the process for changing your VA disability rating.
Four Steps to Modify Your Disability Rating
Step 1: Carefully consider the circumstances- Technically speaking, you cannot file a request to have your disability rating increased. Instead, you can only file to have your overall case reviewed. This is a very important distinction, because it means that it is possible for your rating to be changed downward. If that happens, your benefits would actually be reduced.
Step 2: Prepare the medical evidence- To successfully get your rating changed to a higher level, you will need strong supporting medical evidence that backs up your case. You should be able to provide extensive evidence in your favor. For the best results, you should always work with an experienced attorney through this part of the process. Your attorney will be able to help you prepare a compelling claim.
Step 3: File the claim – To get your disability rating changed, you will need to file the VA’s official Supplemental Claim for Compensation form, also known as 21-526b. Please be sure that this form is filled out properly before submitting your claim.
Step 4: File an appeal – Finally, if your initial request for a change is not successful, you can file an appeal. After receiving a decision, it is imperative that you act quickly to protect your appeal rights. If you wait too long, you may not be able to appeal.
Do You Need Legal Advice?
Our team can help. If your psychological or physical condition has worsened, and you need to seek a change in your disability rating, please contact our team today. At the Comerford Law Office, LLC, our experienced Chicago veterans benefits attorneys will be happy to review your claim, free of charge, and help you determine exactly what you need to do next.