Are you worried about getting a low VA rating because you take medicine, go to drug rehab, or something else to make your disability better? VA disability lawyers can help you get your fair share from the VA even if you’re trying to improve your quality of life in spite of them.
There are a lot of rumors, truths, and misinformation almost every time you hear something about the VA rating system. There is so much misinformation about the VA rating process that most people can’t determine fact from fiction. One thing that is absolute is that the VA rate is based on your disability and what you can do while having it.
Legal experts will often explain in layman’s terms what that means if you are taking medicine or attending a drug rehab program. Most of the time, it means your VA rates are impacted. The next question is often whether or not your VA rates stay the same if your drug condition improves?
Going to treatment is a step in the right direction. Please keep reading if you want to know more about how your VA rating can increase as you continue to move forward with positive steps in drug rehab.
In this article about VA ratings and drug rehab:
- VA Rating Process
- Can You Lose Your VA Disability?
- VA Compensation Rates
- Can Drug Rehab Make You Lose VA Disability in California
- Can Drug Rehab Get You a VA Rating Increase?
- Will Drug Rehab Make Me Lose My VA Disability Benefits?
- Drug Rehab, Mental Health Conditions, and VA Disability
- VA Disability Rating Help
- Can Taking Medicine or Going to Drug Rehab Lower My VA Rating?
- Winning A Drug Rehab VA Rating Case
VA Rating Process
The VA rating process has four steps. The steps are:
- Rating Review
At every single step, your VA disability rating can change and fluctuate. To even begin the VA rating process, you need to know how the VA defines its overall VA rating program. The VA states that your VA benefits process begins if you have a medical condition that causes a physical inability to perform.
The VA rating criteria include factors like an injury, illness, a mental or psychological condition that affects your ability to function in society. It all begins with a VA examination to determine if you meet any of the VA rating criteria terms and conditions.
Here one of our VA disability lawyers goes over the questions Woods and Woods, The Veteran’s Firm, is often asked about veterans’ disability claims and appeals.
Can You Lose Your VA Disability?
It can be difficult for veterans to even ask for help sometimes. Part of their training includes you putting away physical and emotional pain so you can accomplish your mission, right? We deal with the VA every day and although they aren’t perfect, the VA will usually help if you ask for assistance with mental health conditions.
Mental health conditions can include everything from depression to PTSD. Treatment for these conditions may include drug rehabilitation. The VA will help you deal with your disability by awarding your disability rating based on your worst day. If you are taking medicine or going to drug rehab, your VA rating will not be impacted.
Chances are, your VA disability rating will fluctuate, which will impact your compensation level. Your VA disability rate is always based on what you can do, so it is important to plan for your VA disability rating. Since your disability symptoms may fluctuate, you may want to keep a journal or at least a few notes about how and when your disability affected you. Be sure to note any effect it had on your job, family life, and other relationships. These details will be important evidence in your case and at your C&P exam.
VA Compensation Rates
The minimum compensation rates for veterans with a 10% or 20% disability rating are as follows.
Monthly payment (in U.S. $)
- 10% – $144.14
- 20% – $284.93
Above 30%, the VA takes your dependents into consideration. If you are married, have children, or even have parents that are dependent on your care, that can be added to your monthly VA check.
That means it’s never too late to file with the VA and as long as you can prove your condition. You cannot lose your VA disability rating for any reason. You can even go to drug rehab and have your VA ratings increase.
Can Drug Rehab Make You Lose VA Disability in California
No matter where you live, if you struggle with alcoholism or addiction, it’s vital you know the VA will rate your disability based upon the substance abuse disorder. Substance abuse disorder VA ratings can be due to alcohol or dependence on drugs. Remember, the VA rates disabilities based on what the veteran can do.
If you’re in rehab, you’ve already started down a positive path to help you increase your VA disability rating. Rehab VA disability claims are difficult because they often need to be a secondary-connection to a mental health disability.
Veterans in California can find many VA residential and outpatient drug treatment centers that will help them. The veteran’s first steps towards recovery often include detoxing under medical supervision and a follow-up of intensive therapy at a center. Whether it is because so many bases are stationed there or because of the state’s laws, California seems to be an easy place — on paper — to find drug addiction support.
Even though there are a lot of rehab options in California, that won’t change your disability case. The VA is required to give you a rating based on your symptoms, conditions, and service connection no matter where you live. You can even move overseas and that won’t affect the amount the VA gives you every month.
In this video, one of our clients that was in the Navy didn’t realize the ringing in his ears was a VA disability until long after his service.
Can Drug Rehab Get You a VA Rating Increase?
It’s important to know that there are benefits if you are taking medicine or going to drug rehab. If you have a substance abuse disorder, such as alcoholism or dependence on drugs, it can increase your VA benefits. Success at an alcohol or drug treatment facility will go on your medical records. Such medical records, as well as buddy letters, all add up to paint a full picture of your disability.
There are still five methods the VA uses to determine service connection for drug rehab ratings:
- Direct service connection – the clear link between service and current condition
- Presumed service connection – disability automatically expected from VA (e.g., Agent Orange-related conditions)
- Pre-existing injury aggravated by military service – condition gets worse during the time in service
- Secondary service connection – a condition caused by a service-connected condition (e.g., sciatic nerve damage)
- VA medical malpractice – condition worsened by VA negligence or malpractice
If you are taking medication, whether you are in rehab or being provided outpatient therapy, the VA cannot consider your medications to help determine your disability rating. The issue was settled by a 2012 decision of the Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims and their decision was a resounding no.
In this video, on of our VA compensation lawyers explains the difference between a 100% VA Rating and TDIU.
Will Drug Rehab Make Me Lose My VA Disability Benefits?
Veterans suffering from a drug addiction could have started with VA disability pain medication. Pain medication and disability walk hand in hand, and with that comes a few big risks that can result in addiction. That’s why drug rehab is usually always approved by the VA.
The VA knows there is a link between drug addiction and veteran suicide. The VA never penalizes you for seeing a counselor or going to rehab when you need it. With that said, some addictions are easier to claim than others.
Most drug rehab VA claims are easier to process through the VA than medical conditions caused by war wounds. But if you’re going through a medical condition rehab, your disability benefits can be lowered to 10%. If you have a substance abuse disorder or addiction such as alcoholism, your VA disability rating can also be negatively impacted.
We take free calls from veterans every day to answer these questions. Since every single veteran has had a different experience, we treat every caller as an honorable individual. Our team can answer your questions for free. If we help you file your claim, you won’t be charged a dime until we win and your back pay comes in. Our fees are covered by a percentage of the total back pay you receive. You get to keep most of your retroactive payment, tax-free.
Drug Rehab, Mental Health Conditions, and VA Disability
If you have a mental health condition and cannot work, the VA will look at it. The decisions the VA makes are usually very clear-cut based on your medical records. We look over your records and interview you and even your friends and family (with your permission of course) to paint a complete picture of your disability.
We would like to use as much of the following evidence as we can gather for your appeal or initial application:
- your medical records
- testimony of your experience in the service
- buddy statements from others in your unit
- lay statements from family or even school teachers of how you were before and after your service
- Recent legal president set for ongoing VA disability cases
Often, veterans show up to work, do well for themselves, and live in a healthy manner in the present day. That’s what counts in the VA disability rating system. When it comes to drug rehabilitation for addiction, don’t wait to get yourself some help.
If you require drug rehab, you should seek help from a treatment center before filing for disability benefits. The VA can be receptive to helping veterans fight any type of mental illness or addiction. If you’ve had a mental health condition like PTSD or are fighting addiction and cannot work, the VA will consider that as we apply for TDIU. We will begin working as soon as you call because the VA disability process can take years.
You can also have your treatment center or social worker call us to work on your case on your behalf. There is no need to waste time applying for VA disability. We won’t charge you until after we win your case, so you have nothing to lose.
Talk to Us About Your Claim: (866)232-5777
VA Disability Rating Help
An experienced, knowledgeable, and an innovative lawyer can navigate the most complex eligibility requirements. By using the skills of an experienced VA disability attorney, you can receive help in:
- Helping you understand the VA’s regulations and benefits
- Negotiate with the VA on your behalf
- Obtain your full benefits package
- Provide additional compensation for a disability
Here are some tips on your C&P exam from one of our VA disability lawyers.
Can Taking Medicine or Going to Drug Rehab Lower My VA Rating?
There are a few conditions that get a lower rating if they can be controlled with medications. This is not common, however, so the VA usually rates you according to how you’re doing at your worst. Timing is also an important factor. The more often you experience a debilitating symptom, the higher your VA rating for that illness.
The VA does not consider you for a higher or lower VA rating disability if you take medicine. They don’t consider a higher or lower VA rating disability if you are going to rehab. A record of rehab progress (or lack thereof) could help your claim.
Winning A Drug Rehab VA Rating Case
When a veteran is awarded disability benefits, the amount is based on the Schedule for Rating Disabilities. The VA is also looking at what medicine or treatment the veteran is taking in conjunction with the disability rating. Sometimes when these factors are taken under consideration, a veteran’s overall rating for disabilities will be lowered.
Medicine and treatment can affect veterans’ overall rating for disabilities because they put more pressure on the body. Also, taking these medications or going to rehab can cause side effects such as mood swings, anxiety, sleeplessness, and withdrawal symptoms. If those are strong enough to keep you from work, we need to work them in as secondary conditions. You don’t want to assume the VA understands or automatically does anything. We need to spell out your complete mental and physical picture of them.
At Woods and Woods, the Veteran’s Firm, we’ve helped thousands of veterans with their VA disability applications and appeals. We’ve been adding staff and lawyers during the Covid pandemic to better serve disabled veterans in difficult times.
Call us today to discuss your VA disability appeal or your first application. The call is free and we won’t charge you a single fee until we win your case. We even pay for the postage for all of the documentation you send to our office. You can look for a VA disability attorney near you or call us and join the thousands of veterans living off of VA disability thanks to Woods and Woods.
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