Disabilities often worsen over time, resulting in more severe symptoms than when you initially received your approval for VA disability compensation. In this case, you may want to consider filing a new claim for an increased disability rating.
You have the right to file a new claim whenever you believe your symptoms have worsened enough to entitle you to an increased rating. If this is the case for you, you can file a new claim and submit new evidence supporting your claim for an increased disability rating. This will typically require medical evidence showing that your symptoms have worsened.
There are also two other ways that deteriorating health may warrant a claim or appeal for additional VA compensation: secondary disabilities and Total Disability Based on Individual Unemployability (TDIU).
Secondary Service-Connected Disabilities
If you have a service-connected foot disability that causes you to walk with a limp, this could lead to back problems down the road. Would you be entitled to additional compensation for your back condition?
Possibly. This would be considered a secondary service-connected disability. Clearly, your back pain was not directly caused by your military service, but it was caused by your service-connected disability.
In these cases, you will need medical evidence confirming your diagnosed secondary disability. More importantly, you will need medical evidence showing that your service-connected disability caused your secondary disability. Back pain could be caused by many different factors that you will need a doctor’s opinion to support your claim that it was caused by your service-connected disability.
Total Disability Based on Individual Unemployability
TDIU is a benefit that awards certain veterans compensation at the 100-percent level, even though their service-connected disabilities have not been rated at 100 percent. The main requirement is that your service-connected disabilities render you unable to perform physical and/or mental tasks necessary to obtain and maintain gainful employment.
You can apply for TDIU if you have one disability rated at 60-percent or higher, or if you have multiple disabilities, with one rated at 40-percent or higher and a total rating of at least 70-percent. You will have to show that your disability is causing you to be unemployable, but you can still apply if you occasionally perform odd jobs.
If you need to appeal your case or seek an increased rating, get help from an experienced veterans law practitioner. Our veterans lawyers have helped thousands of veterans with their VA claim appeals. Contact us for a no-cost consultation.