Can VA Take Away Your Disability Rating?
The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) can take away your disability rating if it determines you received your rating fraudulently, or if it determines it made a “clear and unmistakable error” when issuing your rating.
For example, if someone steals another person’s identity to obtain disability benefits, VA will stop those benefits as soon as it receives notice of the fraudulent activity.
Or, if VA determines it erred when it issued your rating (e.g. a rating specialist determined your medical condition was more severe than it actually is), it may take away or reduce your rating.
What VA Must Do to Take Away Your Disability Rating
If VA decides to take away your disability rating, it must first send you a notice. This notice must discuss why VA is proposing to sever or reduce your benefits, and include paperwork for you to respond to the proposal. You may have the option to request a hearing.
Our team at Chisholm Chisholm & Kilpatrick LTD may be able to help you during this appeal.
In Many Cases, VA Will Reduce Rather Than Sever
There are certain circumstances in which VA can issue a rating reduction as well.
If VA receives “new and material” evidence proving that your condition has improved since you last received a rating, it may attempt to reduce your rating. It may also do so if it determines your condition has improved following a periodic reexamination.
For veterans receiving Total Disability Based on Individual Unemployability (TDIU) benefits, VA can revoke TDIU if it determines that you are able to obtain and maintain substantially gainful employment for at least 12 months.
When VA Cannot Take Away Your Disability Rating
VA regulations do provide protections in certain situations:
- your condition has been service connected for at least 10 years;
- you have a disability that VA has found to be permanent in nature;
- your condition has maintained the same disability rating for 20 years or more.
Our Team May be Able to Help You Argue Against Rating Reductions
While it is difficult for VA to take away or reduce a disability rating, it is still possible. The team at Chisholm Chisholm & Kilpatrick LTD may be able to help you fight to keep your disability rating.