Should I Appeal My 70 Percent VA Disability Rating?
As you probably know, if you appeal your 70 percent VA disability rating, the VA has an opportunity to lower your rating. If you truly believe you deserve only a 70 percent VA disability rating, appealing may not be in your best interest.
However, do understand that a large number of veterans successfully appeal their ratings.
Winning a VA disability appeal isn’t impossible. You just need to understand how to appeal correctly, write briefs, submit evidence, create new medical reports with experts, legal precedence – okay, you get the idea, there’s a lot that goes into the appeals process. Appealing a 70 percent VA disability rating is not as easy as filling out a couple forms like many Veterans Service Officers would have you believe.
This article explores two different scenarios veterans with a 70 percent VA disability may be considering. The first is appealing for a 100% rating and the second scenario is appealing for TDIU benefits. The next two sections cover the pros and cons of both legal strategies.
Appealing a 70 Percent VA Disability Rating for a 100% Rating
Currently, a 100 percent rating pays $1,600 more per month than a 70 percent VA disability rating. This large increase in benefits is why so many veterans fight their rating for years. Veterans that receive a 100% rating are also eligible for many extra benefits that a veteran with a 70 percent rating is not entitled to. For example, the children of veterans with a 100% rating can get money for college.
The VA regularly gives veterans that deserve a higher rating a 70 percent VA disability rating. The VA makes a lot of mistakes and forces many veterans to go through the VA disability appeals process.
We want to warn you the jump from a 70 percent VA disability rating to a 100 percent rating can be tough. You can’t just add one more 30 percent disability to your rating to obtain a 100 percent VA disability rating. Remember, two 40 percent ratings do not equal an 80 percent rating. The Combined Ratings Table is what the VA will use to determine your rating. VA math is complicated and many veterans don’t understand how to use it.
70 Percent VA Disability Rating & Individual Unemployability
Because the jump to a 100 percent rating is so difficult, many veterans with a 70 percent VA disability rating may want to consider appealing for Total Disability Individual Unemployability (TDIU) benefits. These benefits are designed for veterans who cannot work from service-connected disabilities.
TDIU benefits pay veterans the exact same amount as a 100 percent rating. However, you don’t have to obtain a 100 percent rating to be eligible. Veterans with TDIU won’t get all the 100% rating benefits like free college for their children, but at least they have the opportunity to be paid at the 100 percent compensation rate.
Veterans who do obtain a TDIU rating can also receive money for dependent children, dependent parents, and Aid & Attendance benefits. The VA unemployability requirements and income limits do prevent veterans with a TDIU rating from earning over the poverty level. If you are receiving 70 percent VA disability compensation and want to keep working full time, TDIU benefits may not be for you.
Below are the eligibility guidelines for TDIU benefits. As you can see, veterans with a 70 percent VA disability rating can be eligible for TDIU benefits in a couple different ways:
Total Disability Individual Unemployability Eligibility
- You must be a veteran
- You must have at least one service-connected disability rated at least 60%, OR
- Two or more service-connected disabilities at least one disability ratable at 40% or more with a combined rating of 70% or more.
- You must be unable to maintain substantially gainful employment as a result of service-connected disabilities (marginal employment, such as odd jobs, is not considered substantial gainful employment for VA purposes).
FAQ: 70 Percent VA Disability
How much does a 70 percent VA disability rating pay?
Currently, a 70% VA rating pays $1,365.48 per month. Some veterans with a 70% rating will receive a little bit more if they have dependent children and dependent parents or if they receive Aid & Attendance benefits.
How long do I have to appeal a 70 percent VA disability rating?
You have one year from the date your last decision was made to appeal. Your Rating Decision letter will have the date by which you must submit a Notice of Disagreement (NOD) with the VA. This document just lets the VA know you intend to file a formal appeal later. The NOD will end the one year period you have to appeal. But once you’ve done this, you are now in the appeals phase.
Can I appeal if my last Rating Decision was over a year ago?
Not right now. You should consider filing an Increased Rating application. You can’t just jump right into the appeals process if your last decision was over a year ago. If you are unsure how long it has been, your last Rating Decision letter should have all the dates you’ll need.
What if I have stopped working since I received my 70% rating?
If you are receiving 70 percent VA disability compensation and it’s been over a year since your last Rating Decision, you may consider filing a claim for TDIU benefits. As discussed earlier, there are a couple different ways for unemployed veterans with a 70 percent VA disability rating to get paid at the 100 percent compensation rate.
What if I appeal and my rating is lowered?
Unfortunately, this can happen. However, you can fight your lowered rating further in the appeals process. Some veterans believe that initial lowered rating happens because the VA is trying to scare them out of appealing. Our VA benefits appeals lawyers think it’s really just due to a broken system that is consistently failing veterans.
How long does the VA disability appeal process take?
You won’t like this answer. If you are unhappy with your 70 percent VA disability rating and want to appeal, be prepared for a long battle. Veterans disability appeals can take years. Veterans are regularly waiting 4-5 years to get their appeal before a Veterans Law Judge (VLJ).
Can I afford a lawyer to appeal my 70 percent VA disability rating?
Yes. The VA disability compensation lawyers at Woods & Woods only charge if your appeal is successful. Our fee is 20% of back pay and case expenses. Be aware that many lawyers charge up to 33% of back pay for appeals! Woods & Woods never asks for money up front and we never touch any of your future benefits. If your appeal is not successful, you pay our VA disability denial lawyers nothing – not even a penny.
Talk to Our Veterans Disability Lawyers About Your 70% VA Rating
Since 1985, Woods & Woods has successfully filed thousands of appeals against the VA. Our nationwide veterans disability benefits law firm can help veterans across the entire United States. We are a nationally recognized leader in the fight for disabled veterans. Woods & Woods has developed an innovative system for helping veterans get the benefits they deserve. We have even taught other law firms how to help veterans. Our veterans benefits lawyers share their knowledge with other lawyers at national conferences regularly.
When you hire Woods & Woods, you’ll get a team of lawyers, case managers, case analysts, support staff, doctors, psychologists, and vocational experts working on your appeal. As one of our clients told us before, “I felt like I hired the Marines once Woods & Woods took over my case.” We work diligently, smart, methodical, and we don’t get pushed around by the VA.
Because of the demand for our services, we unfortunately can’t accept every case. But to help veterans, we have developed a nationwide network of VA disability lawyers. In other words, if we currently can’t accept more cases, we’ll get you in touch with a qualified partner law firm. Our mission is to help as many disabled veterans as we can.
Free VA Claim Consultation
Are you overwhelmed with the VA claims process? Want to know if you have a case? Give our veterans disability benefits lawyers a call. We can talk about your 70 percent VA disability rating and examine what you should do next. Remember, there’s a chance we look at your rating and tell you to accept what you have. We’ll be brutally honest with you about your claim. There is never a cost for a consultation.
Free Help With Your Application
Need help with your application? Just give us a call and we’ll see how we can assist. We never charge for help with your application. If your rating increase is approved with your application, you owe us nothing. If you receive back pay from an increased rating application, it’s all yours, we won’t accept any money for help with your application.
You Only Pay If We Win Your Appeal
Woods & Woods will only accept a fee if your appeal is won. If your appeal is not won, you pay nothing. Our veterans disability benefits lawyers have never and will never ask clients for money upfront. We understand many disabled veterans couldn’t afford to hire a lawyer by paying upfront. Our contracts are relatively simple and very straight-forward.