How To Get Increased Disability Compensation
Did you know that you can have your VA disability compensation benefit increased by the Department of Veterans Affairs?
Many types of medical conditions get worse over time. If you are getting disability benefits from the VA, you have the right to request that your rating be increased if your medical condition gets worse or causes your health to deteriorate.
Before you file for an increase in your disability rating, make sure you know what you can expect from the VA, and be prepared for both the best and worst outcomes you might face after requesting a disability rating increase.
There are basically three different courses of action you can take when applying for an increase in disability benefits: requesting compensation for a new disability; filing for an increase to an existing disability because the condition has gotten worse, or you can disagree with the VA’s current disability rating decision.
Pros: Appealing A 90 Percent Va Disability Rating
- If your 90 percent VA disability rating appeal is successful, your pay will be increased by over $1,000 per month.
- Veterans that obtain a 100% VA disability rating obtain special benefits like college benefits for their children.
- Veterans have two ways to get a rating higher than 90% VA disability rating: TDIU benefits or a 100% rating.
- While appealing can be complex, with proper evidence you can win.
Veterans Compensation Benefits Rate Tables
Rates : 10% – 20%
Basic Rates – 10%-100% Combined Degree Only Effective 12/1/19
|Veteran with Spouse & One Parent||$527.69|
|Veteran with Spouse and Two Parents||$568.69|
|Additional for A/A spouse||$48.00|
|Veteran with Spouse;and One Parent||$1,644.17|
|Veteran with Spouse and Two Parents||$1,741.17|
|Additional for A/A spouse||$111.00|
|Veteran with Spouse;and Child||$525.69|
|Veteran with Spouse, One Parent and Child||$566.69|
|Veteran with Spouse, Two Parents and Child||$607.69|
|Veteran with One Parent and Child||$510.69|
|Veteran with Two Parents and Child||$551.69|
|Add for Each Additional Child Under Age 18||$25.00|
|Each Additional Schoolchild Over Age 18||$83.00|
|Additional for A/A spouse||$48.00|
|Veteran with Spouse;and Child||$1,636.17|
|Veteran with Spouse, One Parent and Child||$1,733.17|
|Veteran with Spouse, Two Parents and Child||$1,830.17|
|Veteran with One Parent and Child||$1,604.17|
|Veteran with Two Parents and Child||$1,701.17|
|Add for Each Additional Child Under Age 18||$60.00|
|Each Additional Schoolchild Over Age 18||$194.00|
|Additional for A/A spouse||$111.00|
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What Each Rating Means
100% rating: Completely unable to function socially or at work with symptoms such as severely inappropriate behavior, ongoing hallucinations or delusions, consistent threat of harming self or others, unable to remember basic information such as names of close relatives, severe confusion and disorientation, and/or inability to care for self.
70% rating: Unable to function in most social and work areas with symptoms such as obsessive behaviors, illogical speech, depression and panic so persistent that it interferes with ability to function, suicidal thinking, inability to control impulses , neglecting self-care such as hygiene, inability to handle stress, and/or inability to maintain relationships.
50% rating:Some impairment in ability to function socially and at work with lack of reliability and productivity, due to symptoms such as trouble understanding, memory loss , poor judgment, mood disturbances, trouble with work and social relationships, and/or having one or more panic attacks weekly.
30% rating: Some trouble functioning socially and at work, occasionally inefficient with work or unable to perform work tasks, but generally able to care of self and speak normally. Symptoms can include depression, anxiety, chronic difficulty sleeping, mild memory loss, suspiciousness, and panic attacks .
10% rating: Mild symptoms creating work and social impairment when under significant stress, or mild symptoms managed successfully with continuous medication.
How To Apply For Va Disability Benefits
The Department of Veterans Affairs recommends eligible Veterans apply for disability compensation benefits through the VA’s eBenefits online portal. However, Veterans may also apply by mail with VA Form 21-526EZ, in person at your regional benefits office, or with help from a trained professional.
In any case, you will need access to your DD214 , the medical evidence of the disability, and dependency records .
If you have yet to separate from service, you may still apply using the Benefits Delivery at Discharge program. To be eligible for the BDD, you must:
- Be on full-time active duty , and
- Have a known separation date, and
- Your separation date is in the next 90 to 180 days
If you have less than 90 days until separation, you may still file a fully developed or standard claim.
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Additional Ways To Receive Smc
There are also other ways to increase your VA disability rating pay over 100% and receive SMC. For example, if your service-connected condition causes blindness or deafness, or it is severe enough to cause paralysis or a bedridden state.; Another qualifying factor is if your service-connected condition makes you homebound, or unable to leave your house.; There are many disabilities that are related to your limbs that may make you eligible.; Missing or paralyzed limbs are common.; However, the rules surrounding SMC are complex and many people misunderstand the nature of what kind of disability qualifies.
How Do You Increase Your Va Disability Rating
Once your claim for disability benefits has been approved, you can request an increase in your VA rating whenever you need one. The VA is well aware that a veterans condition can grow worse over time, and that as you age this is more likely to happen. All you need to do to seek an increase in your VA disability rating is to request the VA review your rating and provide evidence that your condition is worsening.
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Proving A Service Connection
Once you have an official PTSD diagnosis, youll need to be able to prove a service connection for your condition. In essence, a service connection is a specific incident or set of circumstances that could have caused your condition. In the case of PTSD, almost any aspect of military service is enough to be a service connection.;
If you served in a combat zone, were taken prisoner, or lost friends in the service, those can all qualify as service connections. Harsh service conditions, such as poor hygiene conditions or inhumane discipline can also qualify. The incident you use as your service connection will need to be something documented in your military records.
Va Disability Increase Tip #: File For Secondary Service Connection With Medical Nexus Letters
Many VSOs, Attorneys,and Veterans focus on primary disabilities for direct service connection.
However, didyou know youre also eligible for secondary VA disability claims and somethingcalled secondary service connection?
Secondary service connection in VA claims requires a showing of causation.
A showing ofcausation requires that the secondary disability be shown to be proximatelycaused by or proximately aggravated by another service-connected disabilityin your body.
The firstpart can be satisfied with any existing medical evidence in service treatmentrecords, VA medical records, or any private medical records.
The secondpart can be satisfied with a veterans existing service-connected disabilityrated at 0 percent or higher.
The third part can be satisfied with a Medical Nexus Letter for secondary condition completed by a qualified medical professional.
The major benefit of going after secondary service connection in a VA disability claim is its typically easier to prove the Nexus requirement, especially if youve been out of the military for more than one year.
And of course, if youre trying to increase VA disability rating, make sure to consider secondary VA claims!
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Cons: Appealing A 90 Percent Va Disability Rating
- The VA disability appeal timeline is lengthy and veterans get frustrated by the time a claim takes.
- The VA disability appeals process is complex and confusing to veterans.
- The VA can reduce your rating if you appeal. But dont worry, you can appeal that decision too.
- Getting the right evidence can be hard for disabled veterans. Doctors reports, psychologists reports, vocational expert reports, oncologists reports, and more are often needed to win an appeal.
Woods & Woods VA attorney discusses how to increase your VA disability rating:
How The Va Rates Mental Illness
While the VA has different diagnostic codes for different mental illnesses, such as 9411 for PTSD and 9434 for depression, all mental health conditions are rated under the same criteria from the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders , published by the American Psychiatric Association. These criteria will be explained below.
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How Do You Increase Your Rating For Ptsd
If your doctor or your VA disability claim came back with a denial or a PTSD rating that is too low, take a look at the factors that increase veterans PTSD ratings.
If you served in the military and you now have post-traumatic stress disorder you may qualify for VA disability compensation. But applying for this compensation can be a confusing process. You may not get a fair disability rating the first time. What do you do if your disability rating is too low?
There are a few things you can do to make sure you get a fair rating for your condition. Read on to learn how to increase a VA disability rating for PTSD.
Va Benefits Increase Tip #: Get Dbq Forms Completed For Conditions Already Service Connected
Disability Benefit Questionnaire Reviews, also known as DBQ forms, are the #1 best way to increase your VA disability rating for conditions that are already service connected at 0 percent or higher.
Yes, we know the VA removed public use DBQs from its website, BUT, did you know you can still use DBQs in 2021 AND the VA rater must consider it as evidence of record?
Also, you can get something called a Disability Benefits Report completed by a private medical provider for conditions that are already service-connected.
What is a VA DBQ Form?
A DBQ is a standardized .pdf form created by the Department of Veterans Affairs to give veterans more control of their VA claim.
Obtaining a DBQ from a qualified medical provider enables veterans to present their VA disability condition, mainly the medical diagnosis by ICD Code and your current symptoms of your VA disability, to the VSR and RVSR at the VA for rating purposes.
And guesswhat else veterans?
The majorbenefit of using DBQs is that many times the VA will grant a veteran a higherVA rating based upon the information in the DBQ ALONE!
Yes, youheard me correctly
For simple disability increases, the VA Raters are authorized by regulation to grant a VA rating increase using the DBQ by itself.
Now, itsstill very likely youll get a C&P Exam, but at least you have your medicalinformation baselined by another medical professional PRIOR to the C&P Exam.
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A Few Key Rating Principles And Pointers
How To Appeal Your 90% Va Disability Rating
Under certain circumstances, VA may increase your 90 percent VA disability rating without prompting. Here, it is likely that VA evaluated new evidence supporting the fact that your service-connected condition has worsened.; If you think your service-connected condition warrants a higher disability rating than the one it is currently assigned, there are two routes you can take depending on which best fits your situation: file an appeal; or file a claim for an increased rating.
What Are Va Disability Ratings
VA disability ratings are percentages assigned to service-connected conditions based on the severity of the conditions.; VA uses the VA Schedule for Rating Disabilities to assign diagnostic codes and disability ratings for service-connected conditions.; The VASRD is located in Part 4 of Title 38 in the United States Code of Federal Regulations.; The VASRD explains how conditions will be evaluated for purposes of receiving a VA disability rating.
Each rating criteria will describe symptoms and/or treatment for the specific condition, and VA will assign a percentage, ranging from 0 to 100, according to each set of criteria.; These ratings are assigned at 10 percent increments.; Overall, VA disability ratings are meant to compensate veterans for the average impairment in earning capacity caused by their service-connected condition.; Generally, the more severe a disability is, the higher the VA disability rating will be.
Each percentage increment corresponds to a dollar amount.; In other words, the higher the veterans disability rating, the more compensation they will receive each month.; When a veteran has multiple service-connected conditions, each with its own individual rating, VA does not simply add them together they are combined using VA Math.
Appeal The Decision Or File A New Claim
The most straightforward approach is to appeal VAs decision on the original claim. You have up to one year after the first rating has been assigned to do so. If its been past one year, you can simply file a new claim. In either case, its strongly recommended that you present more evidence to bolster your claim and improve your chances of a more favorable decision.
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Va Disability Ratings Are Not Always Permanent
Many disability ratings are temporary and the VA retains the right to reexamine the disability rating at any time. If they wish to reexamine you, you will receive a Notice of Reexamination letter in the mail which will include a scheduled appointment date.
Make sure you attend this appointment or reschedule, as the VA can reduce or terminate your benefits rating if you fail to attend this scheduled appointment. After the VA reexamines your condition, they will make a recommendation to increase, decrease, or leave your benefit at its current rating.
There are times when your ratings may be protected, based on the type of disability, how long you have held the rating, your age, or other factors. Here is more information about VA Disability Reexaminations and Benefits Reductions.
Should I Appeal My 90 Percent Va Disability Rating
Maybe. Many veterans who are receiving a 90 percent VA disability rating should be receiving a 100 percent VA disability rating. The Veterans Administration often incorrectly rates veterans. ;Veterans with a 90 percent VA disability rating will receive $1,783.68 while vets with a 100% rating will receive $2,978.86. If you were incorrectly rated years ago, you could have lots of missing back pay you are owed. Some veterans find they have many years of missing back pay and it could amount to a substantial amount. We highly suggest you contact a;veterans disability attorney;to find out if you have years of missing back pay.
You may also want to see if any laws have changed since your last Rating Decision. Occasionally the VA will update the way it rates certain impairments. Sometimes those law changes can benefit veterans.
If you do appeal your 90 percent VA disability rating for a 100 percent rating or TDIU, be prepared for a lengthy appeal. The VA is currently celebrating because the backlog of appeals dipped by 28,000 claims to nearly 450,000 outstanding appeals. The VA also has been ordering unwarranted examinations, so be prepared for that possibility.
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How The Combined Disabilities Rating Calculation Works
To determine a veterans qualification for benefits, the VA rates the extent of that veterans service-related disability in 10% increments, going from 0% to 100% . Many veterans, especially as they age, have multiple disabilities, which the VA rates as combined disabilities.
However, the combined disabilities rating calculation is not a straightforward system. For example, a disability rated at 20% and a second disability rated at 30% yield a combined rating of 44%, according to the VAs Combined Ratings Table not 50%, as you might expect. Further, once you reach a disability rating of 80%, each additional disability then increases the combined rating by only 2% for each additional 10% rating.
In other words, ratings of 80% and 10% combine to make 82%, ratings of 80% and 20% combine to make 84%, and so on.