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VA Disability Rating

How to Increase Your VA Disability Rating

by Ruhia

Did you know that many veterans leave disability benefits on the table? We’ve all heard the stories. Veterans struggle to navigate the complex bureaucracy surrounding disability benefits. In the end, they may not receive the full amount they’re entitled to. This article will guide you through strategies to increase your disability rating and maximize your benefits.

So, buckle up, and let’s get started.

Gather More Evidence

Understanding your disability is the first step in getting the benefits you deserve. We recommend reviewing your medical records and service records. Identify areas where more evidence could bolster your claim.

Talk to your doctor and make sure they understand the full extent of your disability. Obtain copies of all relevant medical records and any other documentation that supports your claim.

Also, consider obtaining buddy statements. These are written statements from friends or family members who can vouch for you.

While gathering evidence, focus on the following aspects:

  • The severity of your disability
  • Frequency of symptoms
  • Impact on daily activities
  • Treatment history

Having a comprehensive record of these aspects can significantly improve your disability claim’s success.

File for Secondary Conditions

Did you know that secondary conditions can also impact your disability rating? When a service-connected disability leads to additional health problems, these secondary conditions may be eligible for disability benefits as well.

Review your medical records and consult with your doctor to identify any secondary conditions. Clearly explain how your secondary conditions are related to your primary disability. Just like with your primary claim, gather the necessary documentation to support your secondary condition claims. Examples of common secondary conditions include:

  • Sleep apnea caused by PTSD
  • Depression resulting from chronic pain
  • Diabetes complications due to medication

Identifying and filing for these secondary conditions can lead to a higher disability rating.

Request a Reevaluation

Sometimes, disabilities worsen over time. Has your condition deteriorated since your last evaluation? If so, you can request a reevaluation to update your disability rating.

Contact the VA to schedule a new Compensation and Pension (C&P) exam. Bring updated medical records and any other relevant documentation to the exam. Clearly communicate the current state of your disability to the examiner. During the reevaluation process, be prepared to discuss:

  • Changes in your symptoms or disability level
  • New medical treatments or medications
  • Effects on your ability to work or complete daily tasks

Appeal Denied Claims

Fighting for your rights is crucial when it comes to disability claims. If you believe your claim was unjustly denied, don’t be afraid to appeal the decision. You typically have one year from the date of the decision to appeal. Use the appeal process as an opportunity to submit additional documentation.

Consider working with a VA-accredited representative or attorney to help with your appeal. There are different types of appeals, such as:

  • Notice of Disagreement (NOD)
  • Request for Reconsideration
  • Board of Veterans’ Appeals (BVA)

Choose the most suitable appeal option based on your claim’s specifics and the reason for denial.

Utilize Special Monthly Compensation

Special Monthly Compensation (SMC) is an additional benefit. It is for veterans with severe disabilities or specific circumstances. This extra payment can make a significant difference in your monthly compensation.

Check the VA website or consult with a representative to see if you qualify for SMC. Provide documentation to support your eligibility and ensure that your claim for SMC is processed accurately.

SMC benefits can be awarded for various reasons, such as:

  • Loss of limb function
  • Total blindness or deafness
  • Need for regular aid and attendance

Being aware of these criteria can help you determine if you’re eligible for additional compensation.

Be Persistent

Navigating the VA disability system can be a challenge, but don’t give up. Be persistent in pursuing your claims and advocating for yourself. Stay organized by keeping track of your paperwork, appointments, and deadlines. Respond to any requests for information promptly and thoroughly. Being persistent also means;

  • Staying up-to-date on your medical treatments
  • Following your doctor’s advice

Regularly attend medical appointments and adhere to treatment plans. This can demonstrate your commitment to managing your disability.

Use Available Resources

There are numerous resources available to help veterans navigate the disability claims process. Reach out to local veterans service organizations, VA-accredited representatives, or attorneys who specialize in disability claims. Examples of resources include:

  • Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW)
  • Disabled American Veterans (DAV)
  • American Legion

These organizations can provide assistance with claims and appeals. They will also connect you with other helpful resources.

Also, check out this calculator to help estimate your potential disability benefits.

Stay Informed about VA Policy Changes

The VA frequently updates policies and regulations related to disability benefits. Staying informed about these changes can help you take advantage of new opportunities to increase your disability rating. Here are a few ways you can stay informed;

  • subscribe to VA newsletters
  • follow their social media accounts
  • regularly check their website for updates

Being proactive in staying informed can ensure that you’re always on top of any changes that might impact your benefits.

Consider Vocational Rehabilitation

Does your disability affect your ability to work? You may qualify for the VA’s Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment (VR&E) program. This program helps disabled veterans find suitable employment or receive training to improve their job prospects.

Participating in the VR&E program can improve your overall quality of life. It can also provide additional evidence of the impact of your disability on your daily life.

Keep Track of Your Progress

As you work to increase your disability rating, it’s essential to keep track of your progress. Maintain a detailed record of your medical appointments, submitted claims, appeals, and any correspondence with the VA. Staying organized can make it easier to track your efforts and identify areas where you might need additional support or evidence.

Secure Your Well-Deserved Benefits With the Correct Disability Rating

Increasing your disability rating and getting the benefits you deserve doesn’t have to be an uphill battle. By following the steps in this article, you can maximize your disability benefits and improve your quality of life. Remember, you’ve earned these benefits through your service. It’s crucial to advocate for yourself and seek the support you need.

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