Option #: Notice Of Disagreement And Appeal To The Bva
If you file a Notice of Disagreement and appeal to the BVA, then be sure to use the current Notice of Disagreement form. The VA is rejecting appeals that use outdated Notice of Disagreement forms.;Another way that the VA has made it easier on veterans know you have to comb through their maze of a website to find out if the form they want you to use is the current form, and you only find out when they send you notice that they are rejecting your firm. Veterans first, right?
Also, if you file a Notice of Disagreement and appeal to the BVA, think long and hard about which hearing/evidence lane you want. Remember, there are three.
Here is a quick reminder of the three lanes:
Direct Appeal Docket : This lane is for veterans who do not want to submit either evidence or argument, and do not want to attend a;hearing before a BVA Veterans Law Judge. The BVA will look only at the evidence that was in the file when the appealed decision was issued. Theoretically, this type of appeal is going to be decided in 365 days by;the BVA, but I doubt that will come to pass. More important, this option is not entirely different from the Higher Level Review process listed below.
Hearing Docket: This lane is for veterans who want a hearing before the BVA. You will get either a video conference hearing or a hearing at the BVA in Washington DC. Unless your appeal is a;legacy appeal you will not get a;Travel Board hearing.
Should Veterans Apply For Increased Ratings From The Department Of Veterans Affairs
This is a question best answered on a case-by-case basis. There are no guarantees that the VA will raise your disability rating, and your entire file may be subject to review not just the condition you want to have reviewed.
So the answer is not simple, but there are ways you can get closer to a decision. One of those is to examine the VA Schedule For Rating Disabilities, also known as 38 CFR Book C.
Reviewing this document can go a long way toward helping you understand what the VA is looking for, how the agency rates your specific condition, and what the compensation percentages are.
As mentioned above, the VA is willing to re-examine your medical claim, but if you dont understand how the VA does this, under what conditions additional compensation may be justified, and what the maximum compensation might be for your condition, you take a big risk in getting re-evaluated.
Standard Va Disability Claims
With standard VA disability claims, the VA gathers evidence and compiles all supporting documents.
If the VA is unable to obtain a needed document, they may require your help. When help is required, it typically applies to documents not held by a federal agency, such as private medical records, employer information, and documents from state or local governments.
As with all claims programs, be prepared to provide your DD214 , service treatment records, VA medical records, and private medical records about your claim. Those needing help applying for their VA disability claim may also work with an accredited attorney, claims agent, or Veterans Service Officer .
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Option #: Higher Level Review
The Higher Level Review is a review of your claim by a rating specialist who is more experienced than the one who initially rated your claim. It is not the same as a under the Legacy system. At the DRO conference, you could introduce evidence and argument. In a Higher Level Review, you cannot. Think of the Higher Level Review process like you are passing your claim to an unknown person behind a curtain. Youll get either a yes or no answer, with little or no explanation.
As it turns out, and I know you will be shocked to hear this, but the Higher Level Review is pretty much useless. As the saying goes here in Arkansas, its as worthless as a tit on a boar hog. #WPS
In all seriousness, the reviews of the Higher Level Review process seems to be that your time is better spent doing anything else. Ive not met anyone lawyer or vet who has had a good experience with Higher Level Review. While its early in the AMA process, and things can change, we all know that with the VA things never really do change.
How Do Disability Ratings Work
For Veterans, the amount of financial compensation and help that they receive is based on their disability rating. This is a percentage, from 0 to 100 percent, that details and determines how much compensation a Veteran will receive. The amount itself is determined in a myriad of ways, but it generally comes back to doctors assessing the level of the disability and communicating their professional opinions to the VA. The VA will then take that assessment and balance it with other factors and medical history behind the Veterans injuries.;
For the veterans disability rating to be accepted by the VA, it needs to be service-connected. That means that the disabling injury needs to be ensured that its original source and origin come from the Veterans time in the line of duty and an event that happened there. The doctors will go through the medical history of the Veteran and make sure that the injury does, in fact, appear to be connected fairly directly to the events that happened while the Veteran was in service.;
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Va Disability Compensation Cola Raises
Note: Increases in VA Service-Connected Disability Rates are tied to the same Cost of Living Adjustments provided by the Social Security Administration. These are the same rates the government uses for determining the cost of living increases for Social Security recipients, military retirees, and federal civilian retirees.
2014 was the first year the VA has included amounts above a flat dollar amount. In previous years, the amount was rounded down to the nearest dollar. This change wont make a huge difference now, but if this policy remains in place, it will compound over time.
Here are the most recent COLA raises:
How Va Assigns Disability Ratings
Disability ratings are assigned based on VAs Schedule for Rating Disabilities. ;This schedule assigns a particular rating based on a veterans symptoms. ;If your symptoms match the rating you were given, you may not have a strong case for receiving an increased rating.
However, if your symptoms have worsened and you believe they now fall under the criteria for a higher rating, filing for an increased rating may be warranted. ;Evidence such as test results or a medical opinion from a physician can help show VA that your condition has worsened.
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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.
The Va Updates Rating Criteria For Musculoskeletal Conditions
An update was made by the Veteran Benefits Administration regarding the rating criteria for musculoskeletal conditions. VA updates rating criteria for musculoskeletal conditions on February 7, 2021, and there are some things you need to be aware of because they can potentially affect your veteran benefits.
The musculoskeletal conditions that qualify for disability in this list are the most current list of VA disability ratings as of February 2021.
The main goal of this update was to ensure that the Veteran Benefits Administration is using current medical terminology by removing obsolete conditions. The last time an update like this was made was 50 years ago so this is long past due.
In addition to removing obsolete musculoskeletal conditions, the Veteran Benefits Administration added musculoskeletal conditions that did not previously have diagnostic codes and then also is trying to clarify ambiguities in the rating criteria.
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How Do Ratings Work For A Disability I Had Before Entering The Service That Got Worse Because Of My Service
If you get disability benefits for a preservice disability, we;base your monthly compensation amount on the level of aggravation. Level of aggravation means how much worse your preservice disability got because of your military service.
For example:;If you had an illness or injury that was rated as 10% disabling when you entered the military, and it became 20% disabling due to the effects of your service, then the level of aggravation would be 10%.
Increasing Reducing And Severing Disability Ratings
Obtaining an award is not the end of the process. Except under very specific circumstances, VA disability ratings can be increased, decreased, or completely ended . Claimants, of course, enjoy the right to apply for an increase in disability rating whenever the evidence shows that the condition on which a rating was based has gotten worse. On the other side of the coin, VA has the authority to request claimants receiving compensation attend medical examinations and can, if the underlying condition improves, decrease a rating or even end compensation for that claim.
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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.
What Is Special Monthly Compensation
Special monthly compensation is an additional compensation that is paid to veterans with certain needs and disabilities. This is in addition to any disability compensation the veteran is receiving. An example of a SMC is Aid & Attendance. Review the following articles to learn more about SMC:
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File An Appeal To Increase Your Va Rating
When you file an initial claim with VA for service-connected compensation, VA will issue a rating decision either granting or denying your claim. ;If VA grants your claim, the rating decision will also include an effective date and a disability rating. ;The effective date and disability rating will ultimately determine how much compensation you have been awarded.
If you think the disability rating VA has assigned is too low, or the effective date is incorrect, you have one year from the date of the notification letter you received with the decision to file a Notice of Disagreement for an increased rating in the legacy appeals system.
When you receive an unfavorable decision under the;Appeals Modernization Act, you have three review options to choose from: the higher-level review lane, the supplemental claim lane, and the Notice of Disagreement lane .
Va Announces Changes To Its Disability Rating Schedule
The Department of;Veterans Affairs has updated the musculoskeletal and muscle injuries portion of its rating disabilities schedule to reflect medical information used to assess veterans medical records and determine their VA disability rating.
Acting VA Under Secretary for Benefits Thomas Murphy said the changes are based on both scientific and medical information and reflect cited, published materials available to the public.
During the course of finalizing this rulemaking, from various veterans service organizations and veterans to ensure fair evaluations are established. VA claims processors will use this update to make consistent decisions with greater ease, he said in a statement Wednesday.
The change to the VA Schedule for Rating Disabilities was effective Feb. 7.
The change ensures that the portion of the VASRD uses current medical terminology by removing obsolete conditions, clarifying ambiguities, and providing detailed and updated criteria for the evaluation of musculoskeletal and muscle injury disabilities, including adding conditions that previously did not have diagnostic codes,” according to the department.
Learn more about the complete list of updates to the rating schedule here. Veterans with questions regarding this VASRD update may contact VA at 800-827-1000.
Reach Julia LeDoux at .
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What Is Va Disability Compensation
VA disability compensation is paid to veterans who are determined to be disabled. To receive disability compensation from the VA, the veteran’s disability must be service connected. This means the disability either developed or was aggravated during active military service. To learn more about VA disability compensation review the following:
Va Rating For Hypertension: Basic Eligibility Criteria
In order to be eligible for a VA rating for hypertension, a veteran must meet three criteria by law:
- #1. Medical diagnosis of Hypertension in a medical record
- #2. Your Hypertension was caused or made worse by your active-duty military service OR by another service-connected disability for secondary service connection
- #3. Persistent and recurring symptoms of Hypertension
If you think you have hypertension, but dont have a medical diagnosis,;pick-up the phone and call the VA mental health facility nearest you;to make an appointment right away!
If youre trying to increase your VA rating for hypertension, you need to prove to the VA that your symptoms are now worse and warrant a higher rating by law.
The #1 best way to increase your VA rating for high blood pressure is to have medical evidence showing the worsening of your symptoms over time.
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What Is Hypertension In Veterans
According to the Mayo Clinic, hypertension is a common condition in veterans whereby the long-term force of the high blood pressure against your artery walls can cause a variety of health problems, such as heart disease or stroke.
Generally, blood pressure is determined in two ways: The amount of blood your heart pumps and The amount of resistance to blood flow in your arteries.
The more blood your heart pumps and the narrower your arteries, the higher your blood pressure.
A blood pressure reading is given in millimeters of mercury and it has two numbers.
These two numbers will affect your final VA disability rating for hypertension:
- Top Number ;The first, or upper, number measures the pressure in your arteries when your heart beats.
- Bottom Number The second, or lower, number measures the pressure in your arteries between beats.
What Evidence Can You Use To Prove Your Condition Is Getting Worse
One of the most important pieces of evidence you can use to prove your disability is getting worse is your medical records. You can use records from a VA hospital or another public or private military service hospital. Records that reflect your hospitalization, medications, and treatment plans including therapy, are crucial to proving your case.
The good news is that youve already been approved for your initial claim, so you dont have to go to the lengths this time around that you did when you initially had to show your disability. You simply need to provide proof that things have changed, and if you have difficulty obtaining this proof, one of our skilled VA attorneys can help you get it. In addition to updated medical records, the VA may also require you to undergo a medical exam with one of their appointed medical professionals, so it is good to be aware of that ahead of time.
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The Daily Journal Of The United States Government
This site displays a prototype of a Web 2.0 version of the daily Federal Register. It is not an official legal edition of the Federal Register, and does not replace the official print version or the official electronic version on GPOs govinfo.gov.
The documents posted on this site are XML renditions of published Federal Register documents. Each document posted on the site includes a link to the corresponding official PDF file on govinfo.gov. This prototype edition of the daily Federal Register on FederalRegister.gov will remain an unofficial informational resource until the Administrative Committee of the Federal Register issues a regulation granting it official legal status. For complete information about, and access to, our official publications and services, go to About the Federal Register on NARA’s archives.gov.
What Is A Presumptive Disability
This is when the VA presumes that certain disabilities were caused by military service. There is a presumption that the circumstance of the veteran’s service caused the condition and disability benefits is awarded. An example of this is a veteran who served in Vietnam is presumed to have been exposed to Agent Orange. To learn more about presumptive conditions review the following:
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