Considering the difficulties many veterans face in obtaining disability compensation—lengthy wait periods, denied claims, conflicting opinions from medical professionals—it’s easy to understand why, once you start receiving benefits, you might not pay much attention to your disability compensation ratings or the things you must do to help maintain them.
Unfortunately, it’s as important to stay informed on the status of your VA disability rating now as it was during the application process. There are several issues that can cause the VA to reduce your rating and, along with it, your disability compensation.
What can cause a reduction to my VA disability rating?
There are several reasons a veteran may see a reduction in his benefits, including, but not limited to:
- Unprotected ratings – If you haven’t been rated a total (100%) disability, or your existing rating has not been in effect for five years or more, it is considered unprotected and may be re-evaluated for potential reduction by the VA.
- Incarceration – Veterans rated at 20% or more may have their ratings reduced up to 10% when imprisoned for a felony at the local, state, or federal level for periods exceeding 60 days.
- Material improvement – Even total disability can be reduced if the VA can prove a “material improvement,” or discernable progress in the veteran’s capacity to “function under the conditions of daily life.”
If you receive a letter from the VA saying that you may have your benefits reduced, take action immediately to protect the support you need and deserve. The VA cannot reduce your rating without at least giving you the opportunity for a physical evaluation. Information about this pre-reduction examination may be included in the initial communication; if you are given an appointment, don’t miss it.
Any time you receive notification from the VA about a potential change in your benefit status as a disabled Texas veteran, it’s a good time to review your situation with a results-oriented Dallas veterans’ disability lawyer. Arrange for a private case review now by filling out the quick contact form below or calling toll-free: 800-800-6353.
by Paul B. Burkhalter Managing Partner of Morgan & Weisbrod, Board Certified in Social Security Disability Law.