How to Increase Your Veterans Disability Rating
Increasing veterans disability benefits ratings can be done if your conditions have worsened since your last rating decision. For example, suppose two years ago on your last rating decision you received a combined rating of 50% for PTSD and schizophrenia veterans benefits. Since that time, your conditions have become worse and are affecting your life more than two years ago when you applied. That veteran should file to increase their VA disability rating. Read below to see the steps to increasing veterans disability benefits ratings.
Steps to Increasing Veterans Disability Benefits Ratings
Step One: Understand Your Claim First, if you have received a VA disability benefits decision within the last twelve months, you need to file an appeal, not increase your rating. If it has been longer than twelve months, only then can you attempt increasing veterans disability benefits ratings.
Step Two: Compile Medical Evidence You are going to have to show the Veterans Administration that your service-connected conditions have worsened since your last VA disability ratings decision. This should be done through medical evidence. For example, our veterans disability benefits lawyers often work with doctors, psychologists, and vocational experts in veterans’ claims to get the evidence needed to win increased ratings claims.
Step Three: File Increase Increasing veterans disability benefits ratings can be done by filling out Form 21-526b. We highly suggest you attach a brief to this form that lays out your claim. If you need a copy of this form you can call our law firm and we’ll send you one for free.
Step Four: Receive Decision The Veterans Administration will make a decision on your increased ratings claim. If you are approved, congrats! If not, you will need to begin a VA benefits appeal. After a denial, you can try increasing veterans disability benefits ratings by filing an appeal.
The Difference Between Appeals and Increased Ratings
Appeals: VA disability appeals are for veterans who received a decision within the last twelve months. Appeals are only to be filed when you are challenging an open VA claim.
Increased Ratings Claim: You should only try increasing veterans disability benefits ratings that have a closed appeal period. That means you received the decision over twelve months ago and did not challenge it by filing an appeal.
Individual Unemployability and Increased Ratings
If your conditions have worsened since your last rating decision and as a result you can no longer work, Individual Unemployability benefits may be available. Individual Unemployability benefits pay the same as a 100 percent veterans benefits rating but do not require veterans to obtain a 100 percent rating. The difference between a 100 percent rating and Individual Unemployability is the evidence required.
Our Individual Unemployability lawyers recommend submitting evidence from former employers that show employment issues. You can have former employers write up short statements that link your service-connected impairments to your unemployability. For example, a statement would say “John missed lots of days at work because of his PTSD, which we all know is from his time in Iraq.” While these statements are not determinative of your claim, they can help tell a general story of employment issues from service-connected disabilities.
Individual Unemployability benefits are also available to veterans who work, but have accommodations. For example, veterans that can’t sit long, can’t stand long, can’t talk to customers because of PTSD, etc. Many veterans that have accommodations work for family members and therefore get accommodations that aren’t available at most workplaces. For example, veterans that are allowed to come-and-go as they please at work because of mental conditions.
FAQ: Increasing Veterans Disability Benefits Ratings
What if I was denied my rating increase? The VA denies lots of claim – this is no surprise to you. If you had your VA disability denied you might be able to appeal. Veterans have one year to appeal ratings increase denials.
Can the VA reduce my rating? This is a very common question. Many veterans call our firm and ask “can the VA reduce my veterans disability Benefits rating?” Unfortunately the answer is yes. That is why we highly suggest you only try increasing veterans disability benefits ratings when you sure you are entitled to the increase.
How long does a ratings increase claim take? Here is the best answer we can give you: it depends. The VA claims process is unpredictable and it is hard to give an honest answer. Our VA Disability lawyers have some clients who are approved in a matter of months, while other claims take years for a decision.
What impairments are eligible? Lots of conditions qualify for veterans disability benefits. As a general rule, any mental or physical condition that is related to your military service is eligible. However, if attempting to increase your veterans disability benefits rating, you need to already have service-connected conditions.
Get Help Increasing Veterans Disability Benefits Ratings
Want more help increasing veterans disability benefits ratings? Talk to our increase VA disability rating attorneys. Woods & Woods VA certified disability attorneys have helped thousands of disabled veterans. We offer free VA claim evaluations to any veteran and their family members. You can ask us all the questions you have about increasing veterans disability benefits ratings – we’ll answer them at no cost. For help, please fill out the contact form or call us toll-free (866) 232-5777.