While it is a difficult process, there are a few options to increase your VA disability rating.
How Do I Increase My VA Disability Rating?
Under certain circumstances, VA may increase your disability rating in light of new evidence that your condition has deteriorated. Or, you may think that your condition has worsened since you were initially granted your disability rating and thus file a claim for an increased rating.
If you think your service-connected condition warrants a higher disability rating than the one it is currently assigned, there are two routes you can take depending on which best fits your situation:
- File a Notice of Disagreement; or
- File a claim for an Increased Rating
File a Notice of Disagreement
When you file a 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. If you think the disability rating VA has assigned is too low, you have 1 year from the date of the notification letter you received with the decision to file a Notice of Disagreement for an increased rating.
File a Claim for an Increased Rating
The disability rating VA assigns in its initial rating decision may be satisfactory at the time. But what happens if later on, you feel that rating is no longer sufficient? If you are outside of the 1 year appeal window to file a Notice of Disagreement with VA’s initial decision, perhaps consider filing a new claim for an increased rating. You can submit any new documentation or evidence you have supporting that your service-connected disability has worsened. VA will treat this as any other claim and issue a rating decision in response.
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.
How VA Assigns Disability Ratings
Disability ratings are assigned based on 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 rating. However, if your symptoms have worsened and you believe your symptoms 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.
Is There Anything Else I Need to Know?
Yes. When you ask the VA to take another look at your disability rating, the VA reviews your entire claim file. It does not only look for evidence in support of your claim. If the VA feels your condition has actually improved, or that it initially assigned you too high of a rating, the VA reserves the right to decrease your disability rating.
Before filing a claim for an increased rating, do your research. Talk to your doctor and your attorney about how realistic your request is, and make sure you have actual medical evidence to support your claim for a higher rating.
We will ensure that your claim is strong enough to withstand scrutiny from the VA.
Have Questions? Call 401-331-6300 to Get Help from Our Team
The VA system is notoriously tough to navigate. It can be frustrating and often futile to do it on your own. But the team at Chisholm Chisholm & Kilpatrick LTD is here to help you. We have helped many disabled veterans receive the benefits they rightfully deserve, and we can put our experience and resources to work for you.
If you think your VA disability rating is too low and that you should be receiving a higher disability rating, we may be able to help. Call now for a free evaluation: 401-331-6300.« Return to the Veterans' Resource Center
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