There are two ways to get an increased rating from the VA for your service-connected disability. If you just recently received a rating decision from the VA, youou can appeal the portion of the VA’s decision relating to your disability rating. You have one year from the date of the notification letter accompanying the rating decision to file a Notice of Disagreement with the rating you received. If you do not have an appealable decision, you can file a new claim for an increased rating. .
Either method can work, but you only have one year from the date of the rating decision’s Notice of Action letter to file your appeal. Before you appeal your decision by filing your Notice of Disagreement (NOD), you should understand the VA’s process for determining disability ratings.
How the VA Assigns Disability Ratings
Disability ratings are assigned based on the VA’s Schedule for Rating Disabilities. This schedule assigns a particular rating based on a veteran’s symptoms. If your symptoms match the rating you were given, you may not have a strong case for receiving an increased disability rating.
However, if you have test results or a medical opinion from a physician that correspond to a higher disability rating than the one you were given, you may be entitled to an increased rating. Consult with a veterans attorney for help with your appeal if you need help figuring out the proper rating for your disability.
Filing a New Claim for an Increased Rating
If you have been receiving service-connected disability compensation but your disability has worsened over time, you may want to file a new claim for an increased rating. Since the VA has already decided that you have a service-connected disability, you will only have to prove that your symptoms have worsened to the point that you now deserve a higher rating.
You may also file a new claim for a secondary service-connected disability. For example, if your service-connected back injury has affected your gait, causing knee problems, you may be entitled to additional compensation for this secondary disability. Technically, this is not an increased rating for your initial disability, but it can still result in increased compensation.
You may also be eligible for Total Disability Based on Individual Unemployability (TDIU) if your disability or disabilities have worsened to the point that they prevent you from performing mental or physical tasks required to get and keep gainful employment.
Any of these methods can be used to increase your rating and receive additional VA disability compensation.
Navigating VA’s laws and regulations is complicated. Choose an experienced veterans lawyer to help you with your claim or appeal for an increased rating. Our veterans attorneys have over 25 years of experience. Click here to contact us for a free case evaluation.