Va Disability Rating For Bulging Disc
While the VA often uses range of motion testing to give a disability rating for bulging discs, your condition may instead be evaluated under the diagnostic code for intervertebral disc syndrome , if certain criteria are met. Depending on how many incapacitating episodes occurred within a one-year time frame, the VA may give you a disability rating for IVDS ranging from 10% to 60%.
Evidence Of Change In Condition
The VA can also order a reexamination at any time if there is new, material medical evidence that your disability has gotten better, at least temporarily. For example, if you have cancer and it goes into remission, the VA will call you in for a reexamination for the purpose of reducing your benefits.
If the VA temporarily decreases your benefits, you can request an increase of your condition worsens again. Going back to the example above, if your cancer comes back, you can request an adjusted disability rating to increase your benefits.
To request an increased rating after your disability, worsens all you need to do is write a letter to the VA regional office stating you believe an increase is needed and providing medical evidence to support an increase. A word of caution, however. Sometimes when you request an increase, you will actually end up getting a decrease in benefits. If that happens, you can appeal this decrease in the same way that you can appeal a denial of VA benefits.
What If I Have More Than One Disability
We use a method called the whole person theory to determine what we call your combined disability rating. We do this to make sure that your total VA disability rating doesnt add up to more than 100%. Thats because a person cant be more than 100% able-bodied.
Read below to find out more about how we calculate your combined disability rating.
Total Disability Based On Individual Unemployability
Veterans whose VA disability ratings do not combine to a scheduler 100% could qualify for Total Disability based on Individual Unemployability which is a program that compensates Veterans who are unable to obtain and maintain a substantially gainful occupation due to a service-connected disability at the 100% rate. Veterans can appeal their 90 percent VA disability rating or file for an increase in order to be considered for TDIU.
Step Three: Compile Medical Evidence
In order to justify an increase in your disability rating, your disability must have worsened. The VA will not just take your word that you are feeling worseyou will need to compile medical evidence supporting your claims.
If you have been treated by private doctors, you will need to include Form 21-4142 with your request for an increase. This form will authorize your private doctors to speak with the VA and release your medical records.
If you have only been treated by VA doctors, you will need to submit the name and address of the VA Medical Center or other military facility which has your relevant treatment records.
Get The Va Disability Benefits Help You Deserve
Woods and Woods has teams of lawyers, doctors, paralegals, psychologists, experts, and case managers ready to help you win your VA disability benefits claim. We were founded in 1985 to fight for injured and disabled people. Today, our VA-certified disability attorneys have helped thousands of veterans appeal bad VA decisions.
Woods and Woods law firm is dedicated to representing disabled veterans nationwide. It doesnt matter where you live, we can fight the VA for you.
Woods & Woods offers help with your application at no cost. Our law firm has helped thousands of veterans receive VA disability benefits for free during the application process alone. If your application is denied, you have the option to hire us for your appeal.
You can start the process of appealing your 90 percent VA disability rating by giving us a call. Our VA disability compensation lawyers offer free legal consultations to any veteran, spouse, or caretaker that needs assistance. We can take a look at your claim and figure out what is the next step you should take. Ask all the questions you have and well answer them. Learn your rights as a disabled veteran.
What Is A Claim For Increased Rating
When the VA grants service connection for your service connected disability, it will assign an initial rating. However, medical conditions are rarely static, and will frequently almost always get worse.
So, when your medical condition or disability gets worse, you may want to consider filing a claim for an increased rating and seek a higher disability rating
Here are 6 scenarios where you might want to consider filing a VA disability claim for an increased rating:
Method 1: 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.
Showing Up For The Reexamination
It is very important to show up for this examination. If you don’t show up, don’t call to reschedule or explain your absence , and especially if you do this more than once, your benefits will be automatically reduced or terminated.
Bear in mind that in some cases, a reexamination could actually lead to an increase in your benefits, but this is pretty rare. However, this does occasionally happen when a vet’s disability has gotten worse.
Step Five: Appeal If Necessary
If your request for an increase has been denied, or if your benefits were decreased after a reevaluation, you have the right to appeal the VAs decision.
If you are considering filing an appeal, make sure you have the assistance you need to make a successful claim. Call Vets National Advocates today, and have your benefits claim reviewed for free. You fought for our country, now let our advocates fight for you!
Contact A Veterans Disability Claims Attorney Today For Help
If you think your VA disability rating is too low or should be increased, you should seek an experienced attorney to help you present the strongest case possible. To get started, please contact a veterans disability claims attorney at Turley, Redmond and Rosasco by using our online form or calling us at 877-693-2529, 516-745-5666 , 631-582-3700 , or 631-399-0400 . We serve New York City and Long Island, including Nassau County and Suffolk County
When Not To Expect A Reexamination
In certain cases, the VA will not ask you to come for a reexamination, and if they do, it may be an error on their part. If you are part of one of the groups listed below and you get a letter asking you to show up for the reexamination, call the phone number on the letter you receive to explain why you think you should not have to go.
VA normally does not schedule reexaminations for veterans:
- over age 55
- with static disabilities, such as loss of a limb
- with a disability resulting from disease that is of a permanent nature
- who have been assigned the minimum rating for their disability
- who have a combined disability rating, and the individual ratings that were combined are so high that even if one or two of these ratings were reduced, the combined disability rating would remain the same.
If you are not subject to reexamination, your disability rating cannot be reduced.
If you do have to attend an examination, the VA can only reduce your benefits in some situations. Go on to the next page to learn about VA disability benefit reductions.
What Is A Va Disability Rating
When a veteran applies, and is approved for, VA service-connected disability benefits, the Department of Veterans Affairs assigns a disability rating based on the severity of the condition.
Ratings can range from 0 to 100 percent, in increments of 10 percent. A rating from 10 to 100 percent qualifies the veteran for monthly compensation.
File For A Rating Increase For A Worsened Condition
If you feel that your initial rating is no longer satisfactory due to your condition having gotten worse, you may file a claim for an increased rating based on new and relevant evidence that shows that your disability has worsened. The VA treats claims for increased ratings the same way it treats original claims and will assign a rating based on the evidence you submit. As such, the VA could either increase or decrease your rating.
Options After Receiving A 0% Rating
When submitting a VA disability claim, establishing a service connection is half the battle. Since youve already accomplished this, dont give up hope. You can file an appeal if you believe your disability should have been rated at a higher percentage. An experienced veterans benefits attorney can help you determine what medical evidence will be most helpful in supporting your case.
If you choose not to file an appeal and your condition later worsens, you can file for an increased rating for your condition. It is common for many types of disabilities to worsen over time, and having already established the service connection will make your application easier to process.
What Can I See Once I Sign In
Youll see your VA combined disability rating and a list of your individual disability ratings. Youll also be able to see which of your individual disability ratings are service-connected. Service-connected disabilities are injuries or illnesses that were causedor made worseby your active-duty military service.
Tips To Get A Higher Va Disability Rating In 2021
- Tip #2: Get Completed for Conditions Already Service Connected
- Tip #3: File for Secondary Service Connection with Medical Nexus Letters
- Tip #4: Obtain a VA Buddy Letter from a First-Hand Witness
- Tip #5: Nail Your Compensation and Pension Exam
Okay, lets explore in detail, the Top 5 Ways to Increase Your Service-Connected VA Disability Rating in 2021, regardless of your current VA disability rating or how many times youve been denied VA benefits in the past.
Why You May Want A Higher Disability Rating
If your health condition has worsened recently, its important to increase your VA disability rating using new evidence to reflect your current state. Veterans should also file a claim to increase their rating if their condition has deteriorated since they were granted their disability rating initially.
Since 1965, two generations of military veterans at the Berry Law Firm have helped thousands of military veterans obtain the disability benefits they have earned. We know the way forward. We can help you gather or develop the evidence you need to file your claim in order to get the higher VA disability rating you deserve.
Requesting Compensation For A New Disability
You normally do this if you are already getting VA disability, or have filed before and were denied. For example, you hurt your back while in the military so the VA is paying you disability compensation for a bad back. Now, you realize you are having hearing issues that may be related to your military service.
In this case, you just have to file a new disability claim with the VA. Some disabilities may have time limits, and you do have to document everything just like any other application for VA disability.
What A 0% Rating Means
A 0% rating is also referred to as a non-compensable VA rating. It means, the VA recognizes you have a service-connected disability, but your current condition isnt severe enough to qualify for monthly cash benefits.
Even though it doesnt include monetary compensation, a 0% rating comes with several benefits, including:
- Access to free medical treatment for your condition at the VA, if income requirements are met
- Access to free prescription drugs necessary for your condition, if income requirements are met
- A higher priority for healthcare eligibility
- Reimbursement for travel costs related to seeking care from a VA medical facility or a VA authorized care provider
- The right to apply for life insurance through the Service-Disabled Veterans Insurance Program
- A 10-point veterans preference while applying for federal employment
- Use of both online and in-person commissaries, exchanges, and morale, welfare, and recreation retail facilities
Filing For An Increase To An Existing Disability
There may come a time that your disability begins to worsen. You may have more pain, have new symptoms, or find that your existing disability causes other issues. For example, your service-connected back injury leads you to favor one leg over the other, causing knee pain.
To file for an increase, you normally go through the same procedure you went through when you initially filed for compensation. You will need medical proof that your condition has gotten worse. This can be from either the VA doctor or a private doctor. You can file your increase request using or by filling out a VA Form 21-526b.
If you have medical information from a private doctor, you must submit a VA Form 21-4142, which authorizes that doctor to share information with the VA.
If you are seeing a civilian doctor as part of the Veterans’ Choice program, you may not need the VA Form 21-4142, but it never hurts to have one on file.
Combining Multiple Disability Ratings
If you have a single service-connected back condition that has been given a low disability rating, its crucial to consider the secondary conditions it may have caused, as well as any other service-connected disabilities you have to increase your compensation.
The VA Combined Rating Table uses a specific formula to combine the percentages of each of your disabilities. While the VA doesnt add the percentages, the result of combining smaller disability ratings can effectively increase your disability rating and maximize your compensation.
Here is a video explaining how the VA combined ratings table works from one of our Veterans Disability Lawyers.
Potential Barriers To Appealing Your 90% Va Disability Rating
Although there are many benefits to appealing your 90% VA disability rating, there are also several barriers. Specifically, the VA disability appeals timeline can be very lengthy and difficult to navigate. Additionally, in limited cases, VA may be able to reduce your disability rating if you appeal. That is, if VA reviews your condition again and finds that it has improved, there may be grounds for a rating reduction.
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.
Is It Difficult To Increase Your Va Benefits Rating
VA Disability Claims for increased ratings can be tricky. It is important, for instance, to know what the requirements are for a higher rating under the applicable VA diagnostic codes. For example, many orthopedic disabilities, such as or knee, are rated on how much the disability limits the veterans range of motion. While pain is one of the symptoms which affects the veterans quality of life the most dramatically, VA does not consider whether the veterans pain is worse when determining whether the veteran is entitled to a higher disability rating for a spinal disability. Because of that, if a veteran bases his claim for increased rating solely on the fact that his pain has increased, he will probably not receive a higher rating. It is important, then, to know how to ask for a disability rating increase on your VA claims.
Determine What Requests Youll Need To Make
Youll need to request a reconsideration from the VA if its been more than a year since you were awarded VA disability benefits. Our lawyers will be able to help you fill out VA Form 21-526EZ, which is needed to do this.
If its been less than a year since you were awarded VA disability benefits, youll need to file an appeal. Our VA disability lawyers will be able to help you with the multiple requests needed to appeal your disability rating.
Qualifying Circumstances For An Increased Disability Rating
A veteran who believes that their assigned disability rating does not adequately represent their impairment should challenge VAs decision with the help of an attorney. If the local VA office rated the applicants disability too low or their condition has worsened over time and now warrants a new rating, they should consider appealing the assigned rating.
Veterans who are unable to work as a result of their service-connected disabilities may qualify for a total disability rating based on individual unemployability . Former servicemembers who feel that they are not receiving the benefits they deserve should consult with a VA-accredited attorney for help with increasing their disability rating, including the possibility of obtaining TDIU.
Since there are specific guidelines for each disability rating which differ for each medical condition, it is important to carefully review your medical records before applying for an increased rating or appealing the rating assigned. We can advise you on how to best prepare an appeal for an increased VA disability rating.
#3: The Tdiu Rating 100% When You Cant Make A Living
This is a unique type of rating that occurs when a Veteran, because of his or her service-connected conditions, is unable to engage in substantially gainful activity.
In such cases, the Veteran will be rated at 100% disabled due to TDIU, even though the total schedular VA Disability Ratings are not 100%.
38 CFR 4.16a has what I call the 60/70-40 Rule if your ratings reach those specific schedular levels, you may be entitled to a TDIU 100% rating.
38 CFR 4.16b has another way its confusingly called extra-schedular TDIU.
In a nutshell, if your service connected conditions, whether they are rated 90% or 10%, are severe enough to cause you to be unable to get substantially gainful activity, you can get a 100% TDIU rating.
These are tough claims to prove, but just know that you do not have to meet the 60/70-40 Rule to qualify for a 100% TDIU rating.
What Kinds Of Back Conditions Are Eligible For Higher Disability Ratings
The VA has specific criteria for rating disability for back conditions based on the VA range of motion chart for back pain and other symptoms. Depending on the part of the spine thats frozen and whether its in a favorable or unfavorable position a different rating is assigned. If the entire spine is frozen, you will be eligible for a 100% disability rating.
A 40% disability rating for the thoracolumbar spine is assigned when range of motion is reduced and flexion is less than 30 degrees, or the entire region is frozen in a favorable condition. The rating can increase to 50% if the physician conducting the VA spine exam determines there is unfavorable ankylosis of the entire thoracolumbar spine.
The major difference in the thoracolumbar condition that can increase the rating from 40% to 50% is whether the spine is frozen in a condition that is favorable or unfavorable.
A favorable position means that your spine is frozen in an upright, or neutral position.
To receive a 50% disability rating for unfavorable ankylosis means that there is fixed flexion or extension. This means that there is no range of motion and your spine is frozen in a position that is unnatural, or unfavorable.
Still Not Convinced Consider This:
- Private life insurance is otherwise often out of reach for veterans on a fixed income, who are single parents, or who are self-employed. Having an insurance policy can be an enormous benefit to your family should something happen to you.
- 127 days is the average number of days it takes the VA to process a disability claim â longer, if your case is complicated. Filing a claim now while you feel OK gives you the breathing room to wait, instead of enduring a long turnaround time when your knee/back/shoulder/eye injury is acute and causing you a lot of pain and discomfort.
- Having a service-connected rating gets you past the toughest part of the VA claims process â proving the “nexus” of your injury and your military service.
- The further you get from your military service the harder it is to prove service-connection.
- It’s by far easier to fix a low â or non-compensable ratingâ¦..or to fight for an earlier effective dateâ¦than it is to prove service-connection in the first place.
- Once your service connection is established, you can always apply for a ratings increase.
- 0% + 0% = 10% – if you have two non-compensable ratings that interfere with employment, the VA is supposed to increase your rating to 10%.
For more details about any of this information, or to file a claim, please visit one of our Field Offices to meet with a Veterans’ Service Officer.
What Are Disability Ratings
A disability rating is a percentage based upon the severity of your service-connected injury and the impact of your service-connected conditions and symptoms on your ability to work and to perform day to day tasks. The VA determines the veterans compensation rating based upon the diagnostic evidence the veteran submits. It will then assign a disability rating from 10% to 100% according to the Schedule for Rating Disabilities, which is a comprehensive list of every condition covered by the program and their level of severity. Generally, the more severe the injury, the higher the disability rating.
How To Increase A 70% Ptsd Disability Rating To 100%
Post-traumatic stress disorder is a common mental health disorder among veterans, and its symptoms can vary from mild to severe depending on the individual and the traumatic events they have experienced. Flashbacks, nightmares, anxiety, and uncontrollable thoughts are just some of the symptoms veterans with PTSD must deal with, and because of this, VA offers disability compensation to those who can prove a service connection.
As common as PTSD is, however, it may not always be rewarded with the appropriate VA disability rating. Ratings assigned for PTSD are 10, 30, 50, 70, and 100%, and are largely based on a veterans social and occupational impairment. For most veterans, it may not be easy to get a higher rating on a first claim, much less 100% disability based off it. For that to happen, your condition must be severe enough, and you must build a strong claim supported by medical records and nexus statements, buddy statements, and perhaps even employment and financial history to prove diminished earning potential.
Option #1: Supplemental Claim For Increased Rating
The Supplemental Claim for Increase when used to challenge a ratings decision within one year is filed using VA Form 20-0995. The only difference between a supplemental claim for increased rating filed within a year of the most recent VA ratings decision on that same condition and a supplemental claim for increased rating filed more than a year after the most recent VA ratings decision on that same condition is that the supplemental claim for increase filed within a year of the last VA ratings decision is considered continuously pursued and could lead to an earlier effective date.
Technically, you are going to be adding new and relevant evidence to a claim, and you are going to want to use VA Form 20-0995 to file this claim .