The VA’s disability rating schedule is determined by law and your disability rating is assigned based on your symptoms. While it can be frustrating when you receive a rating that feels too low to compensate you for your symptoms, you will only be able to receive an increased rating if the VA has applied the law incorrectly or if you provide additional evidence showing that your condition warrants a higher rating.
The VA Schedule for Rating Disabilities is quite complex, so it can be difficult to understand if you have a legitimate reason to appeal your claim. You may want to consult with a veterans attorney before beginning the appeals process. If you determine that you have a good reason to appeal, you must first file your Notice of Disagreement (NOD).
How to Complete Your Notice of Disagreement
The appeals process is lengthy, averaging over 3 years, and sometimes taking longer. One reason for this is that the VA completes a new review of your claim every time you submit new evidence.
To reduce the length of the appeals process, submit all the evidence you have when you initially submit your NOD. If you have documented evidence that your symptoms are severe enough to entitle you to a higher rating, submit copies of these documents with your NOD.
You should also explain in the narrative section of the NOD your reasons for appealing. Understanding the Schedule for Rating Disabilities will help with this section because you will know exactly what evidence the VA is looking for.
For example, if the VA determined that your irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) was moderate, you would typically be assigned a 10 percent rating. “Moderate” would mean that you have frequent episodes of bowel disturbance and abdominal distress. If your symptoms actually include constant abdominal distress and diarrhea or constipation, your symptoms should be considered “severe”, which would entitle you to a 30 percent rating.
By understanding what the VA is looking at when assigning your rating, you can provide the right evidence, and point them in the right direction with your narrative statement. Some rating issues are more complex than others, so consider getting help from a veterans law practitioner to present the strongest possible case during your appeal.
If you are not sure if you have received the correct disability rating, talk to an experienced veterans lawyer about your case. The veterans advocates at Chisholm Chisholm & Kilpatrick have over 25 years of experience helping veterans get the compensation they deserve. Contact us today for a no-cost case evaluation.