Can the VA Reduce Your Disability Benefits? What You Need to Know About a Reexamination Notice

Some links below are from our sponsors. Here’s how we make money.

Advertiser Disclosure: Opinions, reviews, analyses & recommendations are the author’s alone. This article may contain links from our advertisers. For more information, please see our Advertising Policy.

default image
Did you know it’s possible for the VA to reduce your VA disability rating? When you are awarded a VA Service-Connected Disability rating, the VA retains the right to reexamine you to determine if your disability is still present and warrants the original rating. In short, it is possible for the VA to increase, reduce,…

Did you know it’s possible for the VA to reduce your VA disability rating? When you are awarded a VA Service-Connected Disability rating, the VA retains the right to reexamine you to determine if your disability is still present and warrants the original rating. In short, it is possible for the VA to increase, reduce, or terminate, disability benefits based on a reexamination. But don’t let this scare you: not every veteran’s disability rating is scheduled for a reexamination, and not every rating will change.

For example, some service-connected disability ratings are considered protected, and will not be changed. Veterans with a P&T Rating (Permanent and Total) will usually not be scheduled for a reexamination. The same thing goes for injuries that are considered permanent or static. These include injuries that will never change, such as a missing limb.

However, some medical conditions are not considered permanent and may be subject to reexamination. Let’s take a look at VA Reexaminations to better understand the details of why, when, and how, the VA reexamines disability ratings, and whether or not your rating will be reviewed in the future. And if your VA disability rating is reviewed, keep in mind reviews work both ways: they can increase or decrease your rating, depending on supporting evidence and documentation.

Why the VA Reexamines Veterans with a Service-Connected Disability Rating

The why is easy to answer. Not all medical conditions are permanent. Some injuries heal over time, at least to some degree. The VA wants to ensure they are compensating you for your injuries at an appropriate rate.

When you are assigned a disability rating, the VA also determines if they will want to reexamine you in the future. This typically only happens for injuries that have a reasonable expectation of improving over time. Reexaminations are usually scheduled within two to five years after the initial examinations, or they can take place any time there is material evidence in your change of condition. You will receive a Reexamination Letter detailing what will take place, and when.

Notice of Reexamination Letter

The VA must send you a reexamination letter before they can change your service-connected disability rating. It’s essential that you attend this appointment, or work to reschedule it for a better time.

If you don’t attend the appointment or provide supporting evidence for your case, the VA can reduce or terminate your benefits. The Notice of Reexamination should include contact information where you can reschedule your appointment if necessary.

The VA may send a Notice of Reexamination at  pre-scheduled interval (such as the aforementioned two to five years), or when they have material evidence there has been a change in your medical condition. This could be evidence that your situation has improved or disappeared. You have 30 days to request a hearing if you wish to contest the VA decision, and you have up to 60 days to submit evidence that a reduction in your rating is not warranted.

Keep in mind, the VA cannot reduce your service-connected disability rating without first sending you notice. Failure to do so on their end should result in a full reinstatement of your benefits.

When the VA Will Not Schedule You for a Reexamination

The VA will typically not request to reexamine your rating under the following conditions:

  • The veteran is over age 55.
  • The disability is static (such as a loss of limb).
  • The disability is considered permanent and is not expected to improve (e.g. blindness, deafness).
  • The disability is already at a minimum rating for that particular disability.
  • Reducing an individual rating would not affect the total combined disability rating.

These conditions are significant. The VA will not schedule are reexamination for permanent and static disabilities, so you can safely assume those ratings will remain the same. Age 55 is significant because it represents an age at which the VA assumes the veteran is too old to reasonably reenter the workforce (keep in mind VA disability ratings represent your ability to perform work at the level you were able to before you had the injury while you were serving in the military).

Finally, the VA will not look to reduce your VA disability rating when reducing one rating wouldn’t have a material impact on your overall disability rating. This applies to veterans with multiple medical conditions and disability ratings.

If you have been contacted by the VA to have your case reexamined and you meet any of the above criteria, then contact them with the phone number listed on your Notice of Reexamination and explain why you do not believe you should be reexamined. You may be able to have the reexamination canceled. The VA will not usually be able to reduce your disability rating without a reexamination, so your rating should be safe if you meet any of the above criteria.

Protected VA Disability Ratings

Certain VA disability benefits are considered Protected Ratings, according to the VA (though others say the term “protected” is a misnomer). This is where it helps to be able to find and read the appropriate regulations or find an expert who can help you through the task. Here is a document that quotes some of the ratings protections for the 10- and 20-year rules (Word doc on VA site).

  • 5-year rule: If the rating has been in effect for 5 years, it cannot be reduced unless your condition has improved on a sustained basis (The VA must have documentation supporting this is a permanent improvement).
  • 10-year rule: A service connected disability rating cannot be terminated if it has been in effect for 10 years. Compensation can be reduced if evidence exists that the condition has improved. The sole exception is if the VA can prove fraud, in which case the VA can terminate the benefits.
  • 20-year rule: If the rating has been in effect for 20 years, it cannot be reduced below the lowest rating it has held for the previous 20 years. The only exception is if the VA can prove fraud.
  • 100% rule: The VA must prove your medical situation has materially improved and as a result, you are able to perform substantial work.

What do these protected ratings mean? Basically, if you have had a VA service-connected disability rating for 5 years or more, the VA must prove your condition has improved on a sustained basis before they can reduce or terminate your disability rating.

After 10 years, the VA can only reduce your rating; they cannot terminate it (absent proof of fraud).

After 20 years, your rating cannot be reduced below the lowest rating you have held for the last 20 years. These distinctions are important because some ratings can vary over the years, based on the medical condition.

For example, let’s say you have a knee injury that warrants a 30% disability rating when you complete your initial VA evaluation. After 5 years, the VA cannot reduce this rating below 30% unless they can prove the injury has healed on a sustained basis. If it has improved to the point the injury warrants a lower rating, or the injury no longer exists, the benefit can be reduced or terminated.

After 10 years, the benefit can no longer be terminated, but it can be reduced if the VA can document substantial sustained health improvements. After 20 years at that rating, your benefit can no longer be reduced below its lowest rating or terminated (unless there is proof of fraud).

The 100% rule is much more difficult to have decreased. The VA must prove your health has materially improved, and you are now able to perform substantial work. If all of your injuries still leave you unemployable, then it is likely your benefit will not be reduced.

Most veterans with a 100% rating have one or more major service-connected medical conditions, and possibly additional multiple less-severe injuries. The VA must prove the veteran is able to perform substantial work even with this assortment of medical conditions.

Reducing Your Disability Rating – VA Must Prove Change in Condition

The VA needs to establish substantial evidence of a change in condition before any change can occur to your service-connected disability rating. This puts the onus of the work on them. But you still need to be proactive to protect your rating.

If the VA sends you a Notice of Reexamination, you need to show up for your scheduled appointment, or reschedule it, if possible. If you miss your scheduled appointment, the VA can reduce or terminate your rating without additional warning. Reestablishing your rating could take some time, or may be impossible, barring a legitimate reason for missing the appointment.

You can also request a hearing if the VA wishes to reduce your rating. You may find it helpful to enlist the help of a lawyer or your own medical professionals (be sure to obtain copies of your medical records from the VA if you are currently using VA health care for your medical needs). You will want to ensure you have sufficient documentation to support your claims – whether you believe the rating should remain the same, or if it should be increased.

A Reexamination is Not the End of the World

A Notice of Reexamination can actually result in an increased disability rating if the situation warrants it. The VA will not go out of their way to increase your benefits rating for you.

However, if the situation is warranted by your examination, then they will increase your disability rating. Keep this in mind if you are scheduled for a reexamination. It’s also important to understand that requesting an increase in disability ratings can result in a decrease if the VA can prove your medical condition has improved over time.

I recommend reading this article on having your VA disability claim denied to have a better understanding of your options and the appeals process.

Bottom line: A VA disability rating is not always a static rating that will remain unchanged over the course of your lifetime. Your rating may remain unchanged, but it could also increase or decrease, depending on circumstances. If you feel there is a problem with your rating, it is best to find someone who specializes in VA disability claims and see if you can get them to help you with your claim.

Where to Get Help If You Receive a VA Reexamination Notice

Note: I have received many inquiries relating to specific disability ratings and medical conditions. I am not medically trained and  I am not authorized to speak on behalf of the VA. So I’m not comfortable commenting on specific medical conditions or situations. Please do not leave personal medical information in the comments section of this site, and please don’t send it via email.

Instead, I recommend contacting a benefits counselor at Veterans Service Organization. Many organizations have trained counselors that offer free Veterans Benefits Claims assistance. These benefits counselors are able to offer one-on-one assistance and can help you review your VA benefits claim. This can be extremely valuable as it can help you avoid common pitfalls, and help your claim to be completed more quickly and accurately.

Get Instant Access
FREE Weekly Updates! Enter your information to join our mailing list.

Posted In:

About Ryan Guina

Ryan Guina is the founder and editor of The Military Wallet. He is a writer, small business owner, and entrepreneur. He served over 6 years on active duty in the USAF and is a current member of the IL Air National Guard.

Ryan started The Military Wallet in 2007 after separating from active duty military service and has been writing about financial, small business, and military benefits topics since then. He also writes about personal finance and investing at Cash Money Life.

Ryan uses Personal Capital to track and manage his finances. Personal Capital is a free software program that allows him to track his net worth, balance his investment portfolio, track his income and expenses, and much more. You can open a free Personal Capital account here.

Reader Interactions

Comments

  1. Ryan Guina says

    Thank you for reading this article! Please note that I have closed the comments section on this article. There are over 250 comments on this article – most of which deal with very specific situations. Unfortunately, I am unable to answer specific questions regarding one’s VA disability claims or specific medical conditions.

    The best course of action is to contact a veterans benefits counselor at your county VA office, or an organization such as the DAV, AMVETS, VFW, American Legion, or similar Veteran Service Organizations.

    These organizations have trained benefits counselors who should be able to review your personal and medical situation and provide a better answer to your question than I can provide.

    Alternatively, if you prefer to use the anonymity of the Internet, you can use the Physical Evaluation Board Forum, which offers an excellent community that offers advice on VA disabilities, ratings, and the military medical board process.

    Please use our Contact Form to notify us of any editorial changes that need to be addressed in this article. Please do not send questions related to reduced VA disability benefits or reexamination notices. Unfortunately, I will not be able to answer them.

    Thank you for understanding, and thank you for your service!

  2. Candice Coschino says

    I have been rated at 80% since April 2010 for Epilepsy. I had a re-exam 2016 came back fine. I had another one October 2018. Now I get a notice they want to reduce to reduce to 20%. The verbage they used is “there is some improvement” in your condition. I thought it has to be substantial improvement if its been more than 5 years? I haven’t had a seizure in years but I have to be on medication for the rest of my life to avoid them. How is this substantial?

  3. D. Leo says

    HI, Va contacted my husband that they overpayed him and wants him to pay the amount back. Now he says he can’t qualify for VA benefits anymore. He was rated as 100% disabled although it wasn’t considered as permanent. is this true?

    • Ryan Guina says

      Hello D. Leo,

      Thank you for your question. These aren’t questions I can answer via email. I recommend your husband speak with a veterans benefits counselor at his county VA office or a Veterans Service Organization such as the DAV, AMVETS, etc. They will be able to give him one on one advice based on his specific needs.

      I wish you and your family the best.

  4. Michael Steinway says

    Have a question. I was given a 10% rating on my nose. I broke it while on active duty and a few other things I am waiting on. Anyway the nose issue after 4 years they discontinued my rating with a letter. No re-examination just a letter stating that it was being discontinued. My VSO stated that they could not legally do this. I was turning 55 at the time. I still have another case going for MST and PTSD and I signed the Rapid form and they have taken over a year for this they keep moving the decision back what should I do on this? Thank you for you input.

    • Ryan Guina says

      Michael, I recommend working with your VSO. If that doesn’t get you anywhere, you may consider hiring a lawyer that specializes in VA disability ratings and compensation. I wish you the best, and thank you for your service!

  5. Ryan says

    Hi, I have a 100 percent rating of TDIU for seven years and need to know the exact VA form to serve the VA for rescinding and terminating the full VA disability and compensation rating, and giving the VA notice to never contact me. Thanks!

  6. TJ says

    Hello Ryan,
    I have been service connected at 30% for over 10 years now. My condition is degenerative and has gotten worse over the years. The regs indicate that based on my symptoms, I should be at 60%. I want to file for an increase but my civilian provider did a genetic test and found a 50% chance that my condition is genetic (even though no one in my family has it).
    Will the VA cancel or reduce my 30% rating because of this?
    Thank you in advance.

    • Ryan Guina says

      Hello TJ, I’m not a medical expert, so I can’t comment on individual medical conditions. I’m simply not qualified.

      The best thing to do is speak with a qualified veterans benefits counselor at a veterans service organization. They have training and should be able to help you with your claim. You can find one at your county VA office, or with some veterans service organizations.

      I wish you the best, and thank you for your service!

  7. Steven W Wantz says

    I have been 50% disabled for PTSD for 11 years and I recently received a letter that the VA plans to reduce the rating to 30% based on reexamination that too place in February of 2018. During that exam I do remember mentioning some recent improvements, but they have not been sustained since then. I am guessing I should talk to a local VSO to find out what I can do? It seems odd that they are going to reduce based on one examination after I’ve had the rating or 11 years.

    • Ryan Guina says

      Hello Steven, Yes, the best thing to do is contact a VSO for individualized support.

      The VA can reduce ratings if they show improvement. The best thing you can do is provide evidence or a testimony that the improvements have not been sustained.

      I wish you the best, and thank you for your service!

  8. Jim Burnett says

    I am at 60% …. 10 % hearing . 10 % tennitus . 50 % Mental health. My VSO guy had me put in for 20 increase due to having to give up my job driving truck , And going on SS disability . Not only do I not get it . They propose 20 % decrease . I just had my disagreement hearing . Hearing Officer granted me a Reexamination . My VSO guy just took a new job not working with American Leagion anymore . How worried should I be ??? I am 60 been told to old for reexame

  9. robert Gilbert says

    can va reduce your disability rating after prostate surgery and also i was rated at 70% prior to cancer discover and was given a rating of 100% for cancer. now that my surgery is over will my 100% be reduced and how will it affect my disability rating of 70%

    • Ryan Guina says

      Hello Robert, Can the VA reduce your rating? In some cases, yes, it can be possible. Will they? That is unknown. Unfortunately, it’s not possible for anyone to predict what will happen, especially via email. Your best bet is to work with a Veterans Benefits Counselor for your claim. They will help you work with the VA. If your rating is reduced you can always file an appeal.

      I wish you the best of health. Thank you for your service.

  10. gloria says

    Hi,
    I recently received 30% for my back and multiple 10% for other conditions, totaling 70% compensation. I understand that VA can contact me for reexamination of my back but would they also re-exam for other conditions that already has the lowest rating of 10%?
    Thank you

    • Ryan Guina says

      Hi Gloria, it’s impossible to say whether or not the VA will reexamine your medical conditions, and if so, whether they will reexamine all of them or only some of them. The best thing you can do continue to maintain good medical records, document anything else that comes up regarding your conditions (including your routine appointments), and be prepared for a reexamination if one occurs. If you are scheduled for a reexam, you may consider consulting with a veterans benefits counselor at your county Veterans Affairs office or through a veterans service organization such as the DAV, AMVETS, etc. They have trained counselors who may be able to help you prepare for the reexam and avoid any mistakes on the paperwork side of things. I wish you the best of health, and thank you for your service!

  11. Brad Lee Converse says

    My PTSD was 50% and now it is 30%. I finish filling for an increase in 06/26/2018 . I just check Ebenefits and it does show increase in the areas I file for but it also shows my PTSD ratting had decreased by 20% I am not getting an increase. I have not received any notification for this. Nor did I receive a Reexamination Notice. My original ratting was 80%. It as if they just change the numbers so it added up to the original ratting. Is this a mistake ? Can they just change the numbers around to make it whatever percentage they want?

  12. Christopher Thomason says

    I have C&P re-evaluation.. I am currently rated at 70 % for ptsd for over 5 years. Can my diasability benefits be reduced?

    • Ryan Guina says

      Hello Christopher, I believe PTSD is considered to be a temporary disability rating because it is a condition that can improve over time. That does not mean that it will improve or that your rating will be decreased. That only means the condition can improve with treatment. So the answer is, yes, your rating could potentially be reduced. But there is no way to know until after the VA makes its decision. You can always consult with a veterans benefits counselor at the VA or a Veterans Service Organization (DAV, AMVETS, VFW, etc.) for advice regarding your reevaluation. And you can always file an appeal if the VA determines your rating should be reduced. I wish you the best, and thank you for your service!

    • George says

      Just remember the Veterans Benefits Administration is not your friend.
      The Veterans Administration is composed of many departments. i.e. Veterans Medical, Veterans Vocational Rehab, Veterans education etc.

      The one to watch out for is the Veterans Benefits Administration. The Compensation and Pension guys. Again they are not your friend. This is the place all the disability horror stories come from. They can and will tell you laws on what is not reduce able but only the exact law and no more. It is does not benefit them to tell you an angle to approach, they will not. They are hired guns to reduce the Veterans Administration costs. They live under a budget each year that they cannot exceed to pay disabled Vets. (In other words the more actual disabled vets the harder it can be to get increases and more pressure from them to reduce benefits.)

      Your best bet is your States Veterans Officer. You can reach them through your County.

      Never, never relay on the Veterans benefits administration. The VBA. They will give the minimum information that makes their job easier ONLY. Always, always appeal your case until you wear them down. It could take years and most likely will. The government, not just the VBA works with generally denying you the first time. This is a built in filtering system, which as a taxpayer, i am glad they have but not in the case of disabled vets. So they will take 80% of all cases and deny service connection and once you prove that they will deny compensation. This is a given on all decisions. Initial claims, ongoing claims for increase etc. Any medical evidence you show them will be cherry picked for information that helps them deny you. Most vets, especially with PTSD do not have the energy to fight them. Contact your county VSO (veterans service officer) that is funded in part by state. Good luck.

  13. John says

    I am a Vietnam-era vet honorably discharged in 1975. A few months after that I visited the VA attempting to get service connected injuries to both knees and both ankles treated and ended up getting disability rating on all four 20+10+10+10 totaling 50%. I was re-evaluted within five years and those ratings held. Forty-three years later, I’m approaching 65, moving toward private insurance and am looking into what medication coverage might be provided by the VA for conditions no-service related…diabetes, high blood pressure, etc. 1. Are medications for typical non-service connected illnesses covered by the VA?. 2. Is my current percentage rating secure after 40 years? I heard something about a new rating system that may combine all four injuries to establish a new (possibly reduced) total percentage rating)

    • Ryan Guina says

      Hello John, Thank you for contacting me. To answer your questions:

      1. Sometimes. It often depends on income or other factors. The only way to know for sure is to contact the VA.

      2. I don’t have an answer here. As you mentioned, the current disability rating method combines ratings and 20+10+10+10 would not equal 50%. This article gives you an idea of how the VA combines disability ratings. You may want to contact the VA (anonymously if you need to) to ask this question. You can also contact a Veterans Service Organization, such as the DAV, AMVETS, VFW, etc. They have trained benefits counselors who may be able to assist you with this question.

      I wish you the best of health, and thank you for your service!

  14. Sean McGahee says

    I just had a stroke last year and it was caused by my back pain, TBI, severe migraines, anxiety and PTSD all pushing my blood pressure too high (no heart or artery issues after extensive testing). I have thus put in for an increase as well as a secondary for the stroke. I was placed on the “permanent disability list” back in 2010. I went to 3 CMP appointments and am now just awaiting my final decision on the increases/secondary. After reading the posts here it is now worrying me quite a bit… I was told upon leaving Active Duty, that once placed on the “permanent disability list” you can only be increased in rating, never decreased. Was I given false in formation? Also, it is awful sad and suprising that everyone here is only getting the same response to their questions. Something along the lines of “you need to ask DAV, VFW, etc”. I HAVE ALREADY given power of attorney to the “Paralyzed Veterans of America” when it came to having them file my claim so that I dont mess anything up due to my stroke. Can you please give me ANY reassurance or the lack of when it comes to my particular situation? It would be quite helpful in taming my anxiety over this issue. Thank you kindly for your time and to all the veterans posting here or those simply reading along like I was, I wish you all the very best and may God help you each through this process!

    • Ryan Guina says

      Hello Sean,

      Thank you for your comment.

      I read every comment here, but I am a private individual. I do not work for the VA, I am not medically trained, and I am not a trained benefits counselor. So I cannot give answers with 100% certainty. I also cannot comment on individual medical conditions.

      This is why many of the comments recommend speaking with someone at a Veterans Service Organization such as the DAV, AMVETS, etc. They have trained benefits counselors who can offer individual assistance, advice, and recommendations. Anyone trying to do so via this website, or via email will only have some of the information and may give misleading advice, potentially through no fault of their own.

      Regarding your situation — I cannot answer with 100% certainty (for all the reasons provided above). However, it seems to me that your condition has not improved. Therefore, it is very unlikely that the VA will downgrade your rating.

      The best course of action is to continue working with the Paralyzed Veterans of America of another Veterans Service Organization that you trust. They will be your point of contact and help you better understand your claim and any requirements you need to do with the VA.

      I wish you the best of health, and thank you for your service.

  15. James says

    The VA gave me a sims test, do anyone know what that’s for? Do they give it to all personnel for a TBI claim?

    • Ryan Guina says

      James, this is outside my area of expertise. I recommend speaking with a Veterans Service Officer at a Veterans Service Organization. They have trained counselors who can offer assistance for your claim and help you file any required paperwork. I wish you the best, and thank you for your service!

  16. James Daggers says

    I am considered permanent and total disabled right now. I’m 57 years old and my disability rating was 80% but I’m getting paid for a 100% do to unemployability. I have now received a letter stating that if I don’t fill out form 21-41-40 Employment Questionnaire that they will lower my disability rating back down to 80%. I’m very confused as to what permanent and total mean. I haven’t worked in over 10 years and now I’m concerned they will take away my disability. I guess I’m asking is this normal? After reading so many questions on this thread it certainly seems the VA is concerned more about taking money away from us rather than help us. Best of luck to everyone on here.

    • John Morgan says

      Yes, whenever they can take they will try. It is a dumb system and they change the rules to allow them to meet quotas. For example, they considered me to be Permanent and Total. After twenty years they suddenly changed their mind and claim I am not Permanent and Total even though I have documents from them stating that I am. They claim documents are missing from my file. You have to keep every piece of documentation and even that is not good enough. You have to print out their regulations because ten years later they will change their regulations and make it retroactive.

      This is what they told my Congressman….”He has preformatted documents stating he is P&T. This is not the same as having a rating of P&T.”

      How do you make sense of that? Are they saying I fabricated the documents? Are they saying the signatures on the documents are not valid? They have lost their minds.

      I have now request P&T again…and/or get an attorney.

  17. michelle says

    So I have been reevaluated for two things and only one for hypothyroidism and the other is chronic migraines, the hypothyroidism was the only thing updated, does this mean that the chronic migraines that render me useless want change. I lost my job because of the migraines, and I was wondering if I should challenge it with my civilian doctor, or if I should wait and see if they will update the information. It says for my hypothyroidism that the effective date was when they filed for the reevaluation and the migraines for when I first got out of the services.

    • Ryan Guina says

      Michelle, it is recommend to work with a veterans benefits counselor for one on one assistance with your claim (try DAV, AMVETS, VFW, American Legion, etc.). They are trained and can provide much more help than can be offered through a comment in this forum. I wish you the best!

  18. James says

    I recently had two C&P One was which will increase for my PTSD the other was for sleep apnea. Then I waited, I was denied sleep apnea but they gave me an increase on my PTSD. But while looking at my ratings I noticed that they changed my ratings for TBI from 30% to 0% service-connected I’m a little confused and don’t understand why they did this?

    • Ryan Guina says

      Hello James, Thank you for your comment. The best thing to do is consult with a veterans benefits counselor at the VA or a Veterans Service Organization. They have trained counselors who can review your profile and ruling and give you a personalized response based on your specific situation. Anything else would be guesswork. I wish you the best, and thank you for your service!

  19. Bob says

    Can you please add related information on nonservice-connected pensions? Are there reviews of these? Do the same time limits apply? Since the pension doesn’t have percentages and whether you receive it is all or nothing, what sorts of improvements disqualify someone from a nonservice-connected pension?

    • Ryan Guina says

      Hello Bob, Thank you for contacting me. I’m not sure what you mean by nonservice-connected pension. Is this also known by another term, or do you have a reference? I will do my best to research this topic –but I’m not sure where to start.

      Thank you!

  20. Andrew says

    This may need updating, as their policies may have changed.

    I have a 70% rating for PTSD, static disability, claim decision was in 2015.

    I recently filed a new claim, in regards to a respiratory condition that started during my tours in Iraq. Did not mention my PTSD, nor did I re-open the disability. I believe, as does my therapist, that the rating is accurate.

    Had a C&P exam scheduled this morning which I anticipated was for this respiratory condition, but on entering, was introduced to a psychologist, who stated she was there to review and update my PTSD rating.

    So, either they are now reviewing even static disabilities, or they are using newly filed claims as an excuse to re-evaluate static disabilities.

    Either way, it was a greatly unpleasant experience, and I now worry about my rating, where I have not for the last three years.

  21. Dennis says

    I am rated at 100% for ptsd, I have an exam for p&t claim. Can va reduce My rating from this exam if they want

    • Ryan Guina says

      Dennis, PTSD is a condition that can improve over time, so the VA often reexamines veterans to see if progress is being made. The VA can’t simply “reduce a rating if they want.” They reexamine the veteran and make a recommendation based on their exams. It would be a good idea to go to the exam (failure to do so could lead to an automatic reduction). It’s also a good idea to visit with a veterans service organization to see if any of their counselors can assist you with this or offer advice. I wish you the best, and thank you for your service!

    • Joey says

      Hi Dennis,
      i am a vet in the same situation. What advice/knowledge do you have for other vets about the reevaluation process as 100%Ptsd?
      thanks
      joey

  22. Michael says

    I have been on disability for 8 years for anachronism and neck injuries in Iraq 2004. They gave me 90%/plus 10% unemployable.Can they reduce my rate my

  23. Frank says

    I have been receiving 100% for prostate cancer for 15 months
    I served in Nam 68-69 USMC
    I have had 2 c&p exams but they have done no test only asked questions.
    I am now waiting for a decision to see if they will reduce my 100% rating.
    My question is can they reduce me with out doing any physical exam

  24. Jeff says

    I have a 30% service connected rate, but have been listed in the VA hospital system as 100% for some years now. I have brought this to the attention of the hospital a number of times over the years. The 100% even moved from one hospital to another when I moved states. Was wondering if you have ever seen this before.

  25. Michael francis says

    I recently learned that my 2 disability ratings are static my question is when does a static disability change? Also im over the age 55 and ive heard the VA wont reexamine vets over the age 55 is this true?

    • Ryan Guina says

      Hello Michael, Thank you for your question. Based on the information you provided, your disability ratings are considered protected.

      A static disability is one that cannot change: for example, lost limb, blindness, deafness, or other physical or medical conditions that cannot change.

      Ratings are also usually considered protected for veterans over age 55, or when the condition has persisted for at least 5 years at the same rating, or 20 years total.

      I wish you the best of health, and thank you for your service!

  26. Leon Larkin says

    Last year in December I had a C&P reexamination for my lower back because they said it looks like it has improved! At the C&P exam, the doctor said my back hasn’t improved and it was far worst than they thought! I have tracked the status on Ebenefits and it shows that the claim is closed since Feb 1 but I never received a decision or anything pertaining to the claim. Right now it’s in Historical Claims but there is nothing to see other than file an appeal! My question is, is this normal and shouldn’t I receive something explaining some sort of end results to the claim?

    • Ryan Guina says

      Hello Leon, Thank you for contacting me. To be honest, I don’t have a good answer for you. It’s possible the VA simply closed out your reexamination. But I’m not sure if they are supposed to send you a notice about it. You can contact them and ask for copies of your medical records, or ask if the policy is to send out results of reexaminations.

      That said, it’s probably worth filing a new claim since the doctor stated your condition is worse. I would contact a veterans benefits counselor at the VA or with a Veterans Service Organization. They have counselors who offer free claims assistance specific to your situation. They should be able to help you with filing a new claim.

      I wish you the best of health, and thank you for your service!

  27. Wayne says

    I am 100% P&T for Agent Orange since 1998. Age 70 Cancer 2 times. Over 10 years since last bout. never called for re-exam. Scared to go to va for other problems since it’s been so long since cancer has appeared again. Have nine more months to reach 20 year mark. Afraid they will reduce %. Suggestions?

  28. Terry says

    I received a letter of reexamination. It states that they want to reduce my percentage from 50% to 0%. I suffer from severe depression and ptsd. If my benefits are taken away I will lose everything. I barely leave the house now let alone think about trying to find work based upon my condition. What can I do. This action basically signs my death certificate

    • Ryan Guina says

      Hello Terry, I recommend speaking with a veterans benefits counselor at the VA or with a Veterans Service Organization such as AMVETS, DAV, VFW, American Legion, etc. They have counselors who offer free claims assistance on a case by case basis. They should have someone who can offer customized assistance based on your medical conditions and other factors. I wish you the best and thank you for your service!

  29. Thabile says

    I am on a 70% disability rating and have been for nearly two years. I am concerned that my mail is not reaching me in South Africa where I urrently reside, as I have not received mail correspondance as of yet. I contacted the VA when my monthly payment was considerably altered, to the point that I cannot survive. I was then informed that a notice had been sent out two months prior, I stated that I had not received any such thing and seeing as this was an emergency, could I not be informed by other means and I was denied. Who may I contact? Can I receive the notice at an embassy? How can this be rectified? Who do I contact?

    • Ryan Guina says

      Hello Thabile, Thank you for your question. I recommend contacting someone at one of the major veterans service organizations such as the DAV or AMVETS. They have trained benefits counselors who can act on your behalf to help you resolve this situation.

      Note that I’m not sure what type of international locations they have, so you may have to do most or all correspondence via Skype, video conferencing, phone, or email. I wish you the best, and thank you for your service!

  30. Thomas says

    I had 2 sleep studies on active duty and was initially issued a cpap machine while on active duty. Not long after getting out i got with the va and now receive 50% for sleep apnea. I have an older machine and other sleep issues, so we scheduled another sleep study to get more information. I can never sleep deeply in the studies with all the things they hook up to me. During this last study they said I did not need the cpap machine during the night. Should I be worried about my rating changing or being terminated, or is my service connected rating protected? Does the original sleep study on active duty Trump the recent study? Thank you, Tom.

    • Daniel says

      I had the same done, got the VA to do another sleep study to upgrade my CPAP machine, been a month now have not heard anything yet. How did it turn out for you?

  31. D Deryl Downey says

    I’m in a very similar sounding situation to Ron Brandt. I just received a Notice of Reexamination in the mail today. I’m at 80% SC. My wife is extremely worried that, at 47 years old, out of work since I got hurt, and 3 children below the age of 18 in the house, we are going to lose a substantial portion of my disability.

  32. Ron Brandt says

    Ryan. I am on a four year 80% unemployable, giving the 100% benefits. I am up for reevaluation. I have 80% ptsd service connected. My four years is coming up and my condition has gotten worse taking stronger anxiety medications, frequently having panic attacks. I see my psychiatrist once a month. I don’t want to get into personal things, but I have to sleep alone due to intense nightmares and cold sweats. My wife is too scared to leave me alone with our twelve year old daughter, because of the meds, mood swings and unpredictable attacks. What’s my chances of remaining at 80% non-employable?

    • Ryan Guina says

      Hello Ron, Thank you for contacting me. Unfortunately, I’m not qualified to give advice on individual cases. I don’t have the experience, and I’m not medically qualified. I recommend working closely with a Veterans Service Organization when going for your reexamination. Many VSOs, such as DAV, AMVETS, VFW, American Legion, and others have trained benefits counselors that offer free claims assistance. They are better qualified than I to help you with your claim, and can better answer specific questions about your claim and odds of it being upgraded. I wish you the best, and thank you for your service!

  33. Jeff says

    I’ve been rated at 40% for my back injury that I sustained in the military going on 30 years now. I spoke with a VA TEgional Disability counselor and he suggested that I fill out paperwork and apply for a rating for Sever Stenosis in the spine. I have documentation in my rehab records about 6 months ago and 3 years ago showing my ROM to be below 30 but the rating examiner rated me at 0-50 and took 20% away saying that my condition has improved. Some of these service officers have told me that my rating was protected including the one that told me to request a rating secondary to my current rating but later changed his tune when I confronted him about it saying of yeah they can take it away anytime you go up for an evaluation. I haven’t submitted the rehab records to the va for a re-evaluation yet and I did get my 20% back through my new rating but I lost my 40 overall which was my security blanket in case I couldn’t work because of my back condition. I’m seriously dumbfounded how I could have gotten a ROM up to 50 degrees forward flexion. My left, back and right are 0-5. I just want other veterans to be aware of this.

  34. Lacher says

    I have a question I am service connected veteran with a 60% disability rating and refiled for an upgrade because condition worsened after 19 years can my compensation be reduced or is it protected.

    • Ryan Guina says

      Hello Lacher, Thank you for contacting me. From what I understand, your rating is protected after a certain amount of time, unless the VA determines there was fraud involved or in other limited circumstances. That said, if your condition has not improved in 19 years and has gotten worse, then the likelihood of having your rating reduced is very small. I recommend working with a Veterans Service Organization on your claim. They have trained counselors and many offer free claims assistance. I wish you the best of health, and thank you for your service!

  35. Jason says

    Question Im service connected 30% for my entire back ad constant back spasms. A year ago I was rear ended by a van the ended in my car being totaled and my back in worst shape. Will this be help against me when filing for an increase? My back was worse prior tot he wreck already.

    • Ryan Guina says

      Hello Jason, Thank you for contacting me. I am not sure how the VA will view this. It’s possible the VA will grant you a greater award if they determine your underlying injury was made worse by the car accident. But I can not say for certain. The best thing to do is apply for an increase in your award level, and use assistance when filing your claim to make sure everything is documented and worded properly. You can often get free claims assistance from one of many Veterans Assistance Organizations such as the DAV, AMVETS, American Legion, VFW, and similar organizations. I wish you the best of health, and thank you for your service!

    • George says

      Actually you need to contact your state Veterans service officer. That can be done at thru the county. VSO such as Disabled Veterans of America are a complete waste of time. I am 50 years into this crap. I am at 100% but it took that long. I am guessing that Ryan has never dealt with the non profit Veterans groups for a disability issues.

      Why the State? They are motivated to get you money that comes from the Feds that the State would normally have to pay. Example would be welfare, food stamps etc. You may never have to draw these at state level and they can get you off these programs if you get an increase. The state pays them, they are not volunteers. They have attorneys for Veterans that go to the appeal judge with you. The attorney costs you nothing.

    • Ricki says

      Also beware that C+P compensation is not your friend period. You auto accident that shows your back is worse, more likely than not will be used against you when requesting an increase. An excuse of why they wont grant it or wont grant it hight. Always, always appeal a decision if you can. If you cannot use the State VA attorney to do it for you.

      Always appeal whether you have “new evidence” or not. Get it in front of a washington judge. It is generally or can be done over a teleconference hearing.
      V.A. does not do well under an outside judge. Right now they lose 53% of cases.
      Its how I was awarded. Remember the benefit, by law, must go to the Veteran. Many decisions are overturned because the Veterans Administrations version of “benefit to veteran” is different and VERY strict compared to the courts. Dont be afraid of courts. It will give you experience and you have nothing to lose. Its held in a conference room often with just a screen, tables, chairs. It is informal. The Judge knows you have not been up against the VA before. They are not friends of the VA and the VA is not your friend.

  36. Sean G. says

    I have RA 2 joints at 20% and 18 at 10%… I calculate 95% (with 9 Bilateral bonuses). I also have Depression at 50% which they indicate they want to reevelauate. I will be initially rated at 100%. Can I expect P&T based on this?

  37. Tom B. says

    If you get a joint replacement is that considered an improvement for your condition or does it make it more permanent?

      • Michael Smith says

        I am 100% P&T and not scheduled for any future exams. I am considering shoulder replacement surgery of which is rated at 40%. Will the VA reconsider my P&T and bring me back in for a C & P exam if I have the surgery?

  38. Dwight B says

    I have not received a letter of reexamination, only a notice that my ratings will be reduced next year. I last had a reexamination nearly a year ago and I was never told it was for these reasons, instead the exam was for me applying for IU. Should I file a NOD and get documentation from my civilian doctor to challenge this?

    • Ryan Guina says

      Dwight, your plan sounds like a step in the right direction. In addition, I recommend working with a Veterans Service Organization to walk you through this process. Many organizations offer free benefits claims assistance and have trained benefits counselors who can assist you with specific questions regarding your claim, the process and steps to take, and which additional information you will need. Having a second set of eyes can be very valuable when processing your claim and/or appeal. I wish you the best, and thank you for your service!

  39. Santos Alvarado says

    How about the Age thing, I am 59 and guess the 55 yr is not true. I had my hearing from 30 to 0. My hearing got better, sure would like to know how it got better when I wear hearing aids.

    • Ryan Guina says

      Hello Santos, Thank you for contacting me. I recommend speaking with a Veterans Benefits Counselor to get individual assistance with your claim. Many organizations offer free benefits claims assistance, including the DAV, AMVETS, American Legion, VFW, and more. I wish you the best, and thank you for your service!

  40. Elfuerte says

    If you are 57 and you get 100 percent rating for PTSD. What are the chances of being re-evaluated.

  41. vanessa Mata says

    Hello,

    I received a reexamination letter and recently had my appointment. How long is the process after seeing the doctor? Thank you.

    V/R

    VRM

  42. Dorothybb says

    I am a 71 year old female veteran. I am a combined total of 80% SC disability. I retired a couple of years ago. However, I had to retire because of the stress of my position in HR. My stress was caused by higher younger managers who felt that if you actually met age and service retirement (55 & 30), the workplace was no place for you. Because I was good at my position by being rated excellent to outstanding on my annual Performance Ratings, another plan was used. The plan then became increasing work, calling in auditors. Constant 0inquiring when are you retiring? Inquiring among other office staff, had they heard me say when I was going to retire. Therefore, in order to leave before I would have to face additional mental health issues, I retired. I have been advised that I can now apply for IUD because I was forced into retirement which has caused my existing conditions to worsen. I would have loved to retired when I wanted too rather than when management think I should.

    Please advise

  43. JB says

    I spent 4 years in the Marines in the grunts. I have several documented cases of Pes Planus in my medical record. My entrance exam shows no pes planus but my exit exam states foot problems. I’ve had problems with my feet since I got out in 1986. I recently filed a claim and received 0%. My complaint is I believe it should be higher due to my feet being normal before entering and being flat after being discharged. I know they’re vets who had flat feet on their entrance and became worse while being in the military and were compensated. How is the VA determine these different decisions?

  44. Uxotech says

    Hey there,

    I am rated 100% and I’m not due for another evaluation until 2021. I am wondering if my service connected disabilities would entitle me to be rated as permanent and total:

    70% – PTSD with chronic pain syndrome and depressive disorder
    60% – Bladder injury and leakage
    30% – Loss of testicles
    30% – Kidney Stones, chronic
    10% – Tinnitus
    10% – Scars

    I have a few others that are rated at 0%.

    Would it be beneficial for me to ask the VA for a permanent and total rating?

    thank you,

  45. Joy Calmese says

    Hi, thank you for your continual updates for the military and retirees. Have you heard anything about receiving one check (either your disability check or your retirement check from the military), not both in 2018?

    • Ryan Guina says

      Hello Joy, Thank you for contacting me. No, I have not heard anything about this. I will update our site if we learn of any changes to the military retirement system.

  46. Matt says

    Please help!!!!

    A VA called me and told me that I need to call 1800 827 1000.
    To set up an Examination!

    Is this normal? Don’t they just send you a letter? Or are they asking me to volunteer to be examined?

    I’m rated 70 PTSD , depression , alcohol
    Reciving 100% Was told not Pand T

  47. James says

    Thank you for what you do. I had a C and P exam for tinnitus and hearing loss and was rated not service connected for both. It’s been over a year, so I can’t appeal them now. My question is how can I reopen both claims and get a rating for them.

  48. Mike Smith says

    How can the 100% rule be right. With the exception of MH ratings, vets with 100% can and do work.

  49. Nhu Nguyen says

    I got medically discharged in May or 2016 with a 100% rating but it’s not permanent nor total. In my benefits letter, it stated that I should get re-examined within a year, so May 2017. It’s end of March, and I still have not received a Notice of Re-examintation letter from the VA nor do I even see any VA appointments scheduled for me in May. I have heard that this happens because the VA gets backlogged. When should I expect that letter?

    • Ryan Guina says

      Hello Nhu, Thank you for contacting me. I don’t have a good answer for you. The best I can say is to contact the VA and ask them. Also make sure you keep your information up to date in the VA system (phone number, address, email, etc.). You don’t want to miss any scheduled appointments because you didn’t receive the appointment notice. Best of luck, and thank you for your service!

  50. GigglesGI says

    Hello Ryan,

    Thank you for your information and commitment to easing the stress and pain of all of us out of the loop. One question:
    Initial claim for PTSD and other knees, ankle, hands. C/P Exam went well contractor said kinda to effect…doesn’t look like you will be working again and total social and employment impairment. My wife kinda casually had this conversation with him. Trying to hold onto part time job. Claim now in Preparing decision approval. Should I stop working Drs already put me on FMLA twice since claim started. Should I stop working now.

    • Ryan Guina says

      Hello GigglesGI, Thank you for contacting me. Unfortunately, that’s a question I can’t answer. I don’t know enough about your personal, professional, or health situation to give that kind of advice. I recommend asking your doctor, or speaking with a veterans benefits counselor at a Veterans Service Organization such as the DAV, VFW, AMVETS, etc. They have trained benefits counselors who should be able to help you. I wish you the best of health, and thank you for your service!

  51. Greg says

    I was initially given a 40% rating upon exit form the Army for my back. shoulder, and acid reflux. I asked to be reexamined on my back in 2009 and was raised to 60%. The VA Reg. Office requested a re-examination on my back in 2014. I was raised again to 70%. I just received another request for re-examination on my back. My question – how many times will they keep requesting before they considered it permanent?

  52. Keith says

    I’m currently at a 80% rating, which was originally 50% before my first appeal. I also received a 10% army rating before my discharge from my injuries. I was wounded in combat in 2009 and nearly killed, and after all this time I’ve decided to appeal the rating because of the ongoing problems I live with. I want them to take responsibility for my TBI (blast knocked me out for around 15 minutes), loss of movement in my leg (20+ surgeries), and my right hip which was fractured in the blast. My question is, will it be worth my time to hire an attorney, and if I receive 100% disability can I still work? I’m currently represented by the MOPH, but to be honest I don’t feel like they are completely invested in the outcome. Any advice would be appreciated, thank you.

    • Ryan Guina says

      Hello Keith, Thank you for contacting me, and I’m sorry to hear about your injuries. I wish you a full recovery.

      Regarding your claim – this is outside my level of expertise. That said, I believe you have a legitimate reason to appeal your rating and you have every right to pursue an appeal. Each situation is unique and requires a personalized answer. I’m not qualified to do this, so I recommend speaking with a veterans benefits counselor at a Veterans Service Organization, such as the DAV, AMVETS, etc. They have trained benefits counselors who can assist you based on your unique situation. Again, I wish you a full recovery.

  53. Tim says

    The hottest thing going in the military is hurt your back hurt your knee and you can get disability and and never made it out of Boot Camp it’s not fair that veterans that served in the war can get no money but these people can work a full-time job living big houses and drive fancy cars somebody need to do a research on all of this

  54. WILLIAM SLAGLE says

    Hello, I am at a confusion point in my claim. this is what it says combined rating 100% the 100% is for 1 70%+40+30+30+10+10+10+10+10+10 and a few 0s
    next line it says
    You are considered to be totally and permanently disabled due solely to your service-connected disabilities: No
    but if i log into the dmdc.osd.mil page it says my affiliation is DAV perm and total

    so am i temp or perm and why does it say no but has 100%

  55. Crystal G says

    I was approved 3/2009 with an effective date of 6/2008 for 100% for total combined mental health disability. 1st would the 5 and 10 year start in 2008 or 2009? I had a re-eval in the spring 2015 which kept my disability the same and just recently had 1 and they kept it at 100% even though I have a part time job that does agitate the areas of my mental health. Secondly, due to some of my medication I am on has impacted other issues like excessive weight gain to the point of being considered obese by doctors charts which puts pressure on my lower back which is disabiling with lumbar spinal stenosis, aquired deformity of pelvis, and degenrative disc disease, my cholesterol is high enough for medication and also I was just diagnosed with diabetes but out of 12 of my blood tests 9 of my A1C levels have been over 6.0 since 2009 and the last 1 had put me as being type 2 diabetic for medication to try and help lower it? Any possible way of claiming secondary disabilities especially with the diabetes?

    • Ryan Guina says

      Hello Crystal, Thank you for contacting me. I cannot comment on specific medical conditions or VA disability claims because I am not medically trained and I do not work for the VA. I recommend speaking with a veterans benefits counselor at the VA or with a Veterans Service Organization. They have counselors who offer free claims assistance. I hope this points you in the right direction. I wish you the best of health, and thank you for your service!

  56. Paul Hall says

    I have a service service disibility, (30%), back about 1982 – 83 and I am still at 30%. The Army paid me a severance in 1982 of $8,000 and the VA told me that they must re-coup the $8000. so I received nothing from anyone for. After 32 years, some one told me to go to the VA hospital and see if I was still in their system, and I found that I was. All this time I paid for medical out of pocket through employers. I have never asked to re-coup any of that. If i was still in the VA system, My pay should have been restarted after the re-coup, I heard nothing. After going through my VA rep, for about 2 1/2 years, still nothing. I contacted my congressman twice, again I got nowhere. 3 years ago, I applied for an appeal and am now on the docket, (for almost a year now). I read in one of your replys that back pay goes back to the date of your appeal. All of this was kept hidden from me, why wouldnt they go back 32 years. It was the VAs doings, they were wrong to withhold this from me. I would be glad to hear from you on this matter. Thank you so much

    • Ryan Guina says

      Hello Paul,

      Thank you for contacting me, and I’m sorry to hear about your compensation issue. I don’t have much insight into cases such as these. My hope is that you would receive the full back pay from the date the VA should have stopped recouping your severance pay. But I don’t know how this process works. It sounds like you have done everything in your power. The only other option I am aware of is to find a veterans advocate who can help you navigate the system, or try hiring a lawyer who is familiar with the VA system, and may hopefully be able to push this along toward a favorable resolution.

      I wish you the best, and thank you for your service.

  57. Valentino says

    Because of my physical and mental condition I was given incremens of increased rating from 1993 20%-100% with Unemployability status in 2003; but the VA recuped every check, from 1993-2003, Why? because of of the Non-current ruling of Congress 1992. This meant, a retiree could not receive a payment from the service and a Disability check from the VA at the same time. Note this ruling was setup only for retirees of 15-20 yrs plus, and with specified disability ratings. So what happened to people like me, who was on the Early Transition Program? this rulling did not apply. But the VA applied the ruling to my my Early Transition Bonus of $50,000, 2003 and took it all; so was the VA justified for doing that? In my opinion no,!! because Congress changed the law in 2004 to allow Retirees with Disabilities to receive concurrent payments. The VA took my bonus under the old ruling of 1992; therefore, when the new ruling of 2004 was approved VA should use the new ruling to reimburse my bonus. but it hasn’t. AM I UNREASONABLE FOR REQUEST A REIMBURSMENT OF MY BONUS?

  58. Hamid Barek says

    Hi Dear,
    I have 100 % T&P Disability for PTSD since 2011 and I am 53 years of age. Is there a chance that the VA will reexamine me or I am safe.
    Thank you in advance.

  59. JD says

    Hi,
    I was hoping your article would address this but it narrowly missed it. I was TDRL through IDES but after I appealed, it was changed to PDRL 100% and I retired. However, I received my VA packet and it doesn’t say P&T…it just says 100% and when I called VA they said it’s correct that I am not P&T and I should expect a re-eval. I thought IDES guaranteed the same results for both VA & DoD but only the %s match, not the PDRL and P&T. My VA POC at my last base said don’t appeal because it will take over a year and just to go in to the reeval when the notice comes. What would you do?

    • Victor says

      JD,

      First of all, thank you for your service. Also, it’s great to know that you are now retired.

      Secondly, in answer to your question I would allow the process to run it’s course.

      Remember what TDRL stands for, “Temporary Disability Retired List”. TDRL members have physical disabilities that deem them unfit for military duty, but the disability has not sufficiently stabilized to accurately assess its permanent degree of disability.

      So, TDRL is not permanent. Just like any Veteran who is not P&T, you will normally have to have an examination within 5 years after retirement to see if the disability has either improved or has gotten worse. After that final examination, the law requires termination of all retired benefits if the conditions have improved OR if your service PEB recommends permanent retirement you will be retired at that point.

      As far as appealing the decision, remember that the appeals process is a very complex one. You first have to submit a Notice of Disagreement with new and material evidence proving why you need to be permanent. It will then go to the desk of the Decision Review Officer (DRO). (Depending on what state you submit the NOD, this could take up to a 1 or 2 years).

      The DRO will review the case and decide to either agree or disagree with the decision. If he agrees with YOU, then the result will be in your favor. If not, then you have to decide on whether or not to appeal the decision to the Board of Veterans Affairs (BVA).

      This process will take about 5 years to go before the board. About this same time, you will be going to your final 5 year review for permanent status.

      This is not to discourage you. Unfortunately, there are many frivolous claims that make it though the NOD process therefore backing up the whole appeal process.

      I don’t know what service you retired from, but below is a link to the Army’s TDRL process. ALL services go the same exact process, however the Army explains in detail about the TDRL process better than any other service’s website.

      Victor

    • Victor says

      JD,

      In answer to your question, I would allow the process to run it’s course.

      Remember what TDRL stands for, TEMPORARY DISABILITY RETIRED LIST. TDRL members have physical disabilities that deem them unfit for military duty, but the disability has not sufficiently stabilized to accurately assess its permanent degree of disability.

      So, just like other Vets who are 100% but not P&T, you still have to reexamine your disabilities within 5 years. You probably know that after your final examination, your service PEB will determine if your disabilities have either improved or have not. If they have not, you will be permanently retired at that point. If your conditions have improved, you will be removed from TDRL and all retired benefits will be removed.

      Also, let’s just say that you decide to appeal the decision.

      First, you will have to submit a Notice of Disagreement (NOD) to the VA with new and material evidence as to why you need to be permanent. This will then be reviewed by the Decision Review Officer (DRO). (depending on the state you submit your NOD, it could take up to 1-2 years).

      The DRO will then decide on your NOD. If he decides to agree with you, then you are now P&T. If he does not, then you now have to decide if you want to appeal his decision to the Board of Veterans Affairs (BVA).

      If you appeal to the BVA, the process will now take about 5 years before your case makes it to the BVA. The reason is because unfortunately many frivolous claims make it through the NOD process therefore clogging up the appeal process.

      Not to discourage your, but by the end of appeal process you will have already have made it to your 5 year review for your TDRL. This is why your VA rep told you just allow the process to run it’s due course.

      I don’t know what service you retired from, but all of the military services process TDRLs the same way. However, the Army details the process better than any other. Good luck on your decision.

      Victor

    • Ryan Guina says

      Hello Thomas, To be honest, I don’t know. In general, having a 0% disability rating is not a bad thing. It establishes a connection to your military service, and if your condition worsens, it will be easier to have your service-connected rating increased. Having that rating removed completely makes it much more difficult to establish a connection to your service, since you are basically telling the VA there is no health issue, and there never will be.

      Also, even having a 0% rating may be beneficial for certain benefits, depending on program eligibility, state of residence, and other factors. So, I don’t have a good answer regarding whether or not the rating can be removed, but I will say that having it is usually not a bad thing (it normally won’t hurt you), and in many cases, it may be beneficial. I hope this helps.

    • Victor says

      Thomas,

      In order for a disability to be severed, there would have to be a “clear and unmistakable error” on the VA’s part. The VA would send you a letter stating that there is a proposal to “sever” the service-connected disability due to administrative over-site. This happens but on rare occasions.

      If you are requesting that a “0%” rating to be removed, I would be cautious. As Ryan stated, depending on the state that you live you may be cutting out benefits you may want.

      Victor

  60. Larry tate says

    I have VA rate for 60% for PCB I been at this rating for 5 years I still received medication for the rating. I saw the dermatologist in May this year and She said my condition is chronic with no improvement will they drop my rating. I 51 years old

    • Victor says

      Larry,

      If your condition has not improved or gotten worse, how can the doctor opinionate that your rating will be reduced? Do you have a future exam date?

      Victor

  61. Hector says

    I recieved a call from VA and told me i have a appointment for a re-evaluation of one of my Service connected disability.. which i had 10% rating for past 8yrs. Will they be eliminating my rating ? Is that why they are doing a re- eval.?

    • Ryan Guina says

      Hello Hector, Thank you for contacting me. There is no way for me or anyone else to know why the VA is calling you in for a reevaluation. They are most likely just updating their records. A reevaluation can result in one of three outcomes: 1) there is no change to your rating. 2) your rating increases. 3) your rating decreases.

      No one can tell you in advance what will happen. My recommendation is to visit the VA for your appointment and answer any and all questions truthfully. You can also visit a veterans benefits counselor for further information. They may be able to give you some advice regarding what to expect. I hope this is helpful. Best of luck, and thank you for your service!

  62. Gary says

    I was rated at 100 percent for PTSD and 40 percent for TBI and 10 percent for tinnitus. I just received my notice after reviews and all the VA has listed on the paperwork they sent me is for PTSD which is still at 100 percent.

    Is it common that the VA will mail out different notices for different conditions? Or is this a case of the VA just forgetting about or dropping my TBI rating and tinnitus rating altogether?

    Thank you for your response.

    • Ryan Guina says

      Hello Gary, Thank you for contacting me. I don’t have an exact answer for you. It’s possible each condition was rated separately, and they will send a notice for each condition. There could be other reasons. Either way, the VA will not drop a rating without sending you notification and a letter explaining how you can file an appeal if you disagree with their findings.

      I suggest calling the VA for verification. They should be able to give you an up to date status on your conditions.

      I wish you the best, and thank you for your service!

  63. Adam says

    In 2009, the VA did my X-rays and found that I did have spinal injury and rated me at 10%. In 2014, they finally tested for tinnitus and connected it to my injury and raised me to 20%. A couple weeks ago, something caused my injury to flare-up, so I scheduled a dr’s apt and used the e-healthevet site to print something to give the dr an idea of what happened to me. In reviewing the VA noted that my spine was Abnormal and needed attention, but when I asked the VA they just said I would get a notice of my rating and didn’t recommend any additional testing.

    This DR, set me up for an MRI and nerve test. The nerve test didn’t yield anything, but that dr said it could be too early. The MRI showed the C5/C6 now has a herniation and is pressing the nerve and Dr is recommending surgery to replace the disc . So, I put in for an increase to my injury, but should I be including the VA outside of this? Also given the surgery could potentially “fix” my spine I would assume I still wouldn’t be 100% as this should I guess rebuild bone of 6 mo, but I don’t know if it truly “fixes” the problem and if I am at risk down the line. Also to note, the VA X-rays showed the C3/C4 were worse with mention of the C5/C6 and although the C3/C4 is shifted the Dr doesn’t want to touch them and I guess is doing the C5-C7, but I need to get clarification if the one or two discs are being replaced. Would this constitute a re-eval and is my increase not really needed or should I be exploring surgery at all and see what the VA wants to do? Since they didn’t do anything 7 years ago I am not really sure I trust them anymore anyway. I mean compensation is nice, but I’d rather not be in pain and I don’t understand why in 2009 they didn’t recommend further testing or some type of treatment the notes seemed to indicate.

  64. Mark says

    Good morning,

    I am 70% disabled from the va, 20% for my back, 30% for my asthma, 10% for tinnitus, 10% for my wrist from surgery,and 30% for my migraines, I am 29 years old now but I was 25 when I was rated so I’ve been receiving benefits for 4 years with no change in my rating, I didn’t see anything in my award letter about a reexamination date so my question is are my disabilities considered static and permanent in nature or will I eventually be called in for an exam.

  65. Sherry says

    Good Morning,

    I am 100% total/combined (20-30% for hips, knees, back, feet ) and 70% for PTSD/anexity. How often are they given for joint conditions and PTSD? Given my age, am I protected with my disabilities? Just curious….I am 47 years old and I know I am not over the 55 year age limit. I have been receiving benifits since Dec 2014.

    V/R
    Sherry Mooneyhan

    • Ryan Guina says

      Hello Sherry, Thank you for contacting me. The VA periodically reviews each individual case. I don’t know if there is a set schedule set by the VA, or if each condition is monitored based on predetermined conditions. For example, some conditions are considered temporary meaning the condition may improve with time or treatment, and other conditions are considered permanent, meaning there is little to no expectation the condition will improve enough to change the disability rating. Because each individual is unique, there is no set guideline I can give you.

      Your best bet would be to speak with a veterans benefits counselor at the VA or through a Veterans Service Organization such as the DAV, AMVETS, VFW, etc. They have trained counselors who can give you more specific information related to your situation.

      Finally, don’t ignore any reexamination appointments or skip any treatment. Failure to do prescribed treatment or sow up for a reexamination may be cause to have one’s disability rating decreased.

      I hope this is helpful. I wish you the best of health, and thank you for your service!

  66. David says

    I was awarded a 0% for my right knee condition back in January of 2014, but originally put the claim in on December of 2012. I recently requested an increase in my right knee to see if I can get a rating for my knee and filed the new claim in May of 2016. What are my chances of me getting a rating increase if the Doctor who Evaluated me a week ago said my knee condition worsened since my last claim? Also will I get back pay for my knee dating back to 2012 when I originally put in a claim for my knee or 2016 when I refilled a claim for same condition??

    • Ryan Guina says

      Hello David, Thank you for contacting me. I can’t speak regarding the odds for getting a claim approved. I’m not a medical professional and I don’t represent the VA. Generally back pay is awarded to the date you file your claim. If you file an new claim, back pay would be awarded to the date of the new claim. The only time you would receive back pay for the full time would be if the VA made an error in their initial award claim, or if they missed some documentation or test results.

      I would recommend visiting with a veterans benefits counselor to assist you with your claim. Many Veterans Service Organizations such as the DAV, AMVETS, VFW, American Legion, and other organizations offer free claims assistance. I hope this helps. Best of luck, and thank you for your service!

  67. Leslie says

    Ryan, My Fiancé was 100% medically retired at the age of 23 in November 2014 after serving in the marines for 6 years. I read comments above about being given TDUI at 100% and I’m actually not sure If that’s what he was given or not. I’m going to look into that as soon as I get home today and look at his retirement papers. He has not had an appointment since May-June-ish because the VA is hard to get appointments with sometimes. He has not received a Re-Examination letter or anything but his Rating was dropped to 90%. The only reason we knew this is because he checked his bank account and it reflected an amount lower was going to be deposited than what he usually gets so he logged on to e-benefits and it stated 90% but it shows nothing has been updated (except a disability has actually been added on June 5th, 2016) or showing that it has been changed from 100% to 90%. It hasn’t even been a full two years for him to be re-evaluated so I’m not sure what has happened? Are we not supposed to get notified of changes like this? He had been working a part-time job since April because he is actually about to start school at the end of August.

    Thank you! Leslie

    • Ryan Guina says

      Hello Leslie, Thank you for contacting me. We’re working with incomplete information, so this response is a bit of speculation. The first thing to do is to review the retirement papers or VA Disability Award Letter. This will give you a starting point. Then call the VA help line and ask why the compensation rating changed. Their number is: 1-800-827-1000.

      As for the 100%rating: It’s possible he had a 100% schedular rating (the rating equals 100% on the disability rating chart), or 100% TDIU, which means his rating was technically lower than 100%, but the VA declared him unable to work. So they gave him 100% TDIU, which means they pay at the 100% disability compensation rate, even though the actual rating is less than 100%.

      The type of 100% rating is important because you can be employed with a 100% schedular rating, but can only earn a minimal amount with 100% TDIU before the VA determines the veteran is capable of working. If they determine the veteran can work, then they reduce the disability rating to the actual rating instead of the 100% payment.

      Again, the best thing to do is call the VA and ask your questions to them. If you need further assistance, I would contact a veterans benefits counselor who can offer individualized assistance. I hope this is helpful and I wish you and your fiancé the best!

  68. Warren says

    Hello! I was diagnosed with the aggressive form of prostate cancer. Had my prostate and cellular vesicular removed along with lymph nodes It metastasized in my clavicle. Received radiation for it. Had 2 rounds of chemo and am now doing hormone replacement, getting eligard shots every three months plus a daily pill. My cancer doctor says I will never be cured just controlling it This said. I am now receiving VA benefits monthly at 100%, will this amount stay that way? Was just reexamine do last week. Thanks.

    • Ryan Guina says

      Hello Warren, Thank you for contacting me and I’m sorry to hear about your illness. I hope your doctors are able to control the spread of your cancer, and hopefully cure it.

      As for your question – I don’t represent the VA, so I can’t speak for them. In some cases, the 100% disability rating can be Permanent and Total. But it’s not always. Cancer can be one of the times it can be reassessed, because cancer can be cured. Because of this, the VA may request regular examinations to check on your health as well as reassess the disability rating.

      Obviously, a cure is the best case scenario. But if you are 100% cured, it is possible your disability compensation rating may change. I would make sure you keep on top of your medical appointments and seek all treatment as prescribed. And be sure to attend all examinations. I’d check in with a VA benefits counselor if you need specific guidance or feedback. They are trained and can help you understand the process and work on your behalf. Some organizations that offer free benefits counseling include the DAV, AMVETS, VFW, and similar organizations. I hope this helps. I wish you the best of health, and thank you for your service!

  69. Greg says

    I’ve read early that you mention this. The VA will typically not request to reexamine your rating under the following conditions:
    •The veteran is over age 55.

    I just discovered this update to the CFRR. Does this reverse your statement above?

    Title 38: Pensions, Bonuses, and Veterans’ Relief
    PART 4—SCHEDULE FOR RATING DISABILITIES
    Subpart A—General Policy in Rating

    §4.19 Age in service-connected claims.

    Age may not be considered as a factor in evaluating service-connected disability; and unemployability, in service-connected claims, associated with advancing age or intercurrent disability, may not be used as a basis for a total disability rating. Age, as such, is a factor only in evaluations of disability not resulting from service, i.e., for the purposes of pension.

    [29 FR 6718, May 22, 1964, as amended at 43 FR 45349, Oct. 2, 1978]

    • Ryan Guina says

      Hello Greg, Thank you for contacting me. To the best of my research, this does not reverse my statement. I’m not a lawyer, so this article is my best attempt to cover such a broad topic and put it in layman’s terms. This article and this site should not be considered legal advice. That said, I always do my best to fact-check and this article was written after reading several different websites.

      Here are some additional resources that quote age 55 as a protected age for VA Disability Ratings: (Source 1), (Source 2), (Source 3).

      There may be situations when the VA may request a reexamination above the age of 55, thus the article’s use of the term, “typically.” Some situations on which the age 55 wouldn’t apply include for disabilities the VA has rated as Temporary instead of Permanent (temporary disability ratings occur when there is a possibility of recovery), when there is suspected fraud (no statute of limitations that I am aware of), and possibly other situations.

      So the article stands as it is written. I would strongly recommend a veteran seek legal advice if they believe their benefits are being changed improperly, or without due course. There are many lawyers who specialize in VA disability claims and benefits. Veterans advocates or benefits counselors may also be able to assist with a claim or change in rating. I hope this is helpful.

      • Greg says

        Thank you for your quick reply. I was only asking because a friend showed me the updated CFR. One other question – this friend received a phone call from a civilian Doctor’s office setting up a C&P re-exam for Aug 3rd. He called the VA and they told him they just started using outside vendors for their exams since they are so backed up. Does this sound correct? Should he ask to be seen at a VA Clinic instead of this civilian office? Thanks again.

      • Ryan Guina says

        Hello Greg, Thanks for the followup. I haven’t seen the updated CFR – I’m going what I’ve read in other locations. It’s possible there have been updates.

        I don’t have any recommendations regarding whether or not it’s better to be seen by a civilian doctor or the VA. I would contact a veterans benefits counselor from the DAV, AMVETS, or similar organization to get an unbiased opinion. They offer free benefits counseling, and may have a better understanding of the situation as it applies to your friend. They can also offer individualized assistance based on his medical records, history, and other factors. I hope this is helpful!

  70. Reginald Levy says

    Hi I am awarded 100% for Permanent and totally disabled with a mental condition will they want to cut my benefits if I decide to work?

    • Ryan Guina says

      Hello Reginald, Thank you for contacting me. That depends if your rating is officially 100% based on your conditions, or if you have a 100% TDIU rating (the TDIU rating is when your actual rating is less than 100%, but the VA determines you are unable to work). If your actual rating is 100%, you can work without it affecting your disability compensation. If you are 100% TDIU, then you can only earn marginal amounts of income before your disability compensation will be affected.

      I recommend speaking with a veterans benefits counselor for more specific information before taking action. There are some organizations that offer free benefits counseling, including the DAV, AMVETS, VFW, and more. I wish you the best, and thank you for your service!

      • Reginald Levy says

        The Va told me I was able to work but I’m not sure if their just waiting for me to work and then try to take away benefits.

      • Ryan Guina says

        Hi Reginald, If your VA rating is 100%, then you should be able to work without it affecting you. If your rating is less than 100%, but they gave you TDIU (total disability individual unemployability, based on being unable to work), then earning money through work may decrease your rating back to the original rating before it was bumped up to 100%. If you want a third party assurance, then I’d contact the DAV, AMVETS, or a similar organization. They can give you non-biased advice. Best of luck, and thank you for your service!

      • S says

        Please do not listen to this man!!?? If you have %100 for a MENTAL condition they WILL take away your benefits!!!!!

  71. richard wakely says

    I was given VA 100% s.c. 4 years ago. VA just gave me 100% s.c. P&T. My age is 67. Oh it said no exams. Will I be brought in for another c/p? Thank you.

  72. Chuck says

    I had my prostate removed a year and a half ago. Vietnam, agent orange. I am receiving 20% disability. At my last check up a few weeks ago the VA Dr pointed out to me that I am now at 100% for my medical coverage with the VA. I was wondering if the 100% medical coverage will ever change? I just got signed up for medicare a few weeks ago and am wondering about what plans to make for medical coverage for the future. I just can’t figure out if the medical coverage is subject to change? Thanks!

    • Ryan Guina says

      Hello Chuck, Thank you for contacting me, and I’m sorry to hear about your health issues. This questions is a bit above my pay grade. I don’t have enough knowledge of these specifics to give you a firm answer. I recommend speaking with a veterans benefits counselor at the VA or through a Veterans Service Organization such as the DAV, AMVETS, etc. They can give you a personalized review and look up your rating and other specific information. They can also provide you with information regarding how the VA health care will work with Medicare. I wish you the best of health, and thank you for your service!

  73. Tai says

    I have an open claim with a Partial Decision on several conditions, including low back, sciatic nerve, foot, left knee and ankles. I recieved a decision notification letter detailing the ratings, which ended up at 90%. The RSVR did an inferred IU claim, and also added an administrative review claim for my right knee that had been wrongly closed when they were processing this claim.

    Of the requests they made of me for the IU, I sent in a treatment record documenting an epidural steroid injection for my back that happened after the ratings, but there has been no documentation that this improved my back (it hasnt). I also resprained my ankle. I got a steroid injection in my foot.
    Now, I am being told I need to schedule C & P exams for my low back, my ankles, my foot, in addition to my knee, which is the only item on this claim that has not recieved a rating decision, besides the IU.

    My question is, doesn’t the VA have to send re-examination letters for conditions that have already been rated? Can they just tack on to my right knee exam three more exams for my low back, ankles, and foot that were rated just 2 and a half months ago?

    The right knee rating would bring me up to 100%–I did the math. Now, I feel like the VA is trying to prove that something has improved so they don’t have to give me the 100 % rating.
    They are playing hard ball with me big time !

    I don’t know what to do. I have not scheduled the exam, and I am sending in a DBQ from a private provider tomorrow for my right knee condition. Should I not go to the exam, and let the claim close, keep my 90%, and re-file for my right knee?

    Is the rater going by the protocol necessary to re-examine conditions that have already been rated, or can they do whatever they want? As I said this is an open claim, partial decision.

    I am on a short deadline with this, as if I don’t go to this appointment, maybe they can take away all of my increases on this claim. I don’t want to go through a C & P exam because I have in the past experienced ones that I felt were completely off the mark.

    By the way, I submitted private DBQs for all of the conditions that brought me up to 90 % and did NOT get called in for a C & P. It was an FDC claim.

  74. S says

    Thanks for the info– my husband recently was awarded 70% disability for PTSD. We receive the monthly payments, but we did not receive any back pay. He’s been out of the military for about 8 years now. A friend of ours who received the same 70% for PTSD, retired from the military around the same time as my husband, and he was awarded about $25,000 in back pay. This seems bizarre that we would receive zero in back pay. What is the next step– appealing the decision? (We wouldn’t want to risk losing the 70%). Shouldn’t we have received back pay? I’m not sure how to go about handling this. Thanks so much & I really appreciate your input.

    • Ryan Guina says

      Hello S, Back pay is usually awarded to the date the claim was filed, not the date the veteran left military service (unless the claim was filed directly after leaving the military). If the member waited some time before filing the claim, then the VA can only give back pay to the date the claim was filed. I recommend visiting a Veterans Benefits Counselor for more information regarding back pay and filing an appeal. I wish you and your husband the best.

      • Michael K says

        Is that actually possible? To file an appeal for back pay from the time you got out, as opposed to the date the claim was filed?

        When I got back from Iraq in 2004, there was nothing on PTSD. Absolutely nothing. No information, no heads up, nothing. Got my DD 214 and that was it.

        It wasn’t until 2012 I was finally diagnosed. Is that something I could possibly try to pursue? The back pay from 2004 to 2012?

      • Ryan Guina says

        Hello Michael, Thank you for contacting me. To be honest, I don’t know. You would have to be able to prove the medical condition existed at the time of your separation and has persisted since then. I recommend contacting a veterans service organization for assistance with your claim. They have trained benefits counselors who can assist you, often free of charge.

  75. Nakita says

    In 2011 I applied for va disability. In 2013 I was approved and received back pay for the claim. In Oct 2015 I applied for a new FDC to include Individual Unemployability. Also, in 2006 claims I applied for disability after my honorable discharge from the military. I have had a va appointment for my current claim and all of the previous claims. Now, they have taken all of my prior claims from 2006 and 2011 (to include those that were both approved and not approved) and added them my current claim. My current claim was almost closed (if there is such a thing). Why would they add all of my previous claims to my current claim? Also, does the 5 year time limit include the point in which my claim was filed or just the point in which it was approved? Thank you

    • Tim says

      I am age 63. I was in the Marine Corps and I had prostate cancer from agent orange exposure. They took my prostate and took my benefits away. How can I get my benefits back?

      • Ryan Guina says

        Hello Tim, Thank you for contacting me. The best thing to do is contact a Veterans Service Organization for a free consultation (try the DAV, AMVETS, American Legion, etc.). They can help you understand your benefits and help you file a claim or an appeal. I wish you the best of health, and thank you for your service.

  76. Doug says

    Ryan,

    First, thank you for taking the time to respond to everyone’s comments, you have been extremely informative!
    Next, I am rated 50% for PTSD, and have been seeking treatment for it at the VA since I returned from overseas. A year ago I showed up to an appointment and was told it was cancelled. I asked why I had not been notified, and they said my doctor left and they’d have to reschedule me with someone new. Not really an answer, but I moved on. The next available appointment would be at least 3 months away, and they could not refill my meds until I was seen again. I wrote a few secure messages, and a new doctor agreed to see me, and assured me that he would be there long term, and I would never be cancelled on again. 4 months ago it happened to me again. I showed up for 3 appointments in a row, only to find out that each one was cancelled. After the third time, I told them to remove my name from their system and stop scheduling me. Showing up for appointments and being cancelled on is more damaging than not have an appt. to being with. (Looking forward to being seen by a doctor, then getting the door slammed in my face would have had possibly deadly impacts on me a few years ago, and certainly did for a friend of mine)
    So my question is this: Since I refuse to be seen regularly by the VA for mental health, will they hold that against me if they want a re-exam?

  77. Tamara says

    Can you tell me what you need to do in order to become 100% “permanent and total”? I am currently 90%, and fairly confident that once my pending claim and appeal(s) complete I’ll be at 100% scheduler. I realize that this is different than 100% “P&T” which qualifies my dependents for benefits. Aside from waiting for 20 years for my rating to become “protected” is there any way to expedite the “p&t” process?

    • Sam says

      I initially received 50% total disability for multiple injuries in 2001. In 2012 I filed a notice of appeal with the VA before my 12 months time limit was up.
      A few months later I received a lterrer that I was upgraded to an 80% rating and 100% Individual Unemployability, but I would have a future exam for revaluation.

      Two years after that I got a letter from the VA that stated I was 100% TDIU (Total Disability Individual Unemployability) and no further exams are schedualed

      I never had the reevaluation exam and I never applied for the TDIU. The VA awarded me it all on their own.

      I spoke to the DAV rep about wanting to get a 100% Scheduler instead of the TDIU. The rep told me to leave it alone 100% is 100% what ever they call it. IF I reopen the claim it can also go down to.
      And that the VA does not give out 100% scheduler ratings that often because it’s a much more difficult burden of proof for the Veteran to satisfy, so they give the IU rating because it is easier for the claim evaluater to justify.

  78. carl mendiz says

    Hello Ryan,

    This is Carl and I was discharged from the US Navy in 2003 with 20% for my right knee and 10% for hypertension. They took out 20% to to cover the severance pay and before I could even see the 30% they reduced my knee injury to 10%. I tried to get that upgraded back to 30% with no luck. It has been since 2006 since they reduced me. I was told that I did not see the VA hospital very often. Even though my knee was hurting, I could not see the VA hospital too often because I had to work and had a strict attendance policy. I currently have a claim with the PDBR. I believe that I will get denied with the PDBR case so I will have to rely on the VA. They should have not denied me and I told them that. I believe they owe me 10 years of back pay. My knee still hurts and I can not perform my job responsibilities to my fullest because of the pain and instability. What is the correct avenue to approach this issue? Thank you.

    • Ryan Guina says

      Hello Carl, I don’t have direct experience with this type of claim. Because your situation is unique, you need one on one claims assistance. I suggest speaking with a trained benefits counselor with an organization such as the DAV. They can help you file your claim and understand what your pay and benefits will look like if the claim is approved. I hope this is points you in the right direction.

    • Mark D Chevrie says

      I fought for my claim and I attribute my success to writing my congressman and representatives. After 8 long years my claim was approved. I didn’t write them until I had lost everything. My advice is contact your congressman and state representatives and outline your problem and experiences with the claim system. You will get action.

  79. Ccb says

    Hey Ryan, I’m waiting a va decision, my claims were remanded back to ro, I’ve had c&p exams, how long does it actually take for a decision to be issued,

    • Ryan Guina says

      Hello CCB, Thank you for contacting me. I wish I could tell you. I know people who have received a final award from the VA within 3 months, and I know people who had to wait several years. In some complicated cases with multiple claims, the VA may make awards as they are determined (if they can’t resolve the entire claim at once). In those cases, the VA may make an award for XX% for a portion of the claim, then later award a greater percentage for another injury or illness. If this happens, the VA will typically award back pay based on the date the claim was filed, and what the award and payments were for those dates.

      the best I can say is to work with a veterans benefits counselor or claims assistant if you aren’t already working with one. They can help you better understand the process and keep you apprised of the situation. Best of luck, and thank you for your service!

  80. Tom Wright says

    Regarding surviving spouse compensation, the answer is yes, and the info including compensation rates, can be found under, VA Benifit Rates, Dependency and Indemnity Compensation section.
    Just go to VA Benefit Rates, and click on highlighted, Dependency and Indemnity Compensation wording.

  81. Brian Wilber says

    I am a 57 year-old veteran who was recently rated at 100% due to bladder cancer. If or when the cancer goes into remission, is it up to me to tell the VA, and if so, what is the likelihood of a rating decrease?

    • Ryan Guina says

      Hello Brian, Thank you for contacting me. This is a great question, but unfortunately, one I don’t have an answer for. I recommend speaking with someone from the DAV or a similar Veterans Service Organization – they have trained benefits counselors who will have much more hands on experience with similar situations and can hopefully provide you with the answers you seek. I wish you the best in your health, and thank you for your service!

    • Joe says

      According to the VA.Gov website:

      DIC Pay – Eligibility (Surviving Spouse)
      To qualify for DIC, a surviving spouse must meet the requirements below.

      The surviving spouse was:
      •Married to a Servicemember who died on active duty, active duty for training, or inactive duty training, OR
      •Validly married the Veteran before January 1, 1957, OR
      •Married the Veteran within 15 years of discharge from the period of military service in which the disease or injury that caused the Veteran’s death began or was aggravated, OR
      •Was married to the Veteran for at least one year, OR
      •Had a child with the Veteran, AND
      •Cohabited with the Veteran continuously until the Veteran’s death or, if separated, was not at fault for the separation, AND
      •Is not currently remarried

      Note: A surviving spouse who remarries on or after December 16, 2003, and on or after attaining age 57, is entitled to continue to receive DIC
      Evidence Required

      Listed below are the evidence requirements for this benefit:
      •The Servicemember died while on active duty, active duty for training, or inactive duty training, OR
      •The Veteran died from an injury or disease deemed to be related to military service, OR
      •The Veteran died from a non service-related injury or disease, but was receiving, OR was entitled to receive, VA Compensation for service-connected disability that was rated as totally disabling •For at least 10 years immediately before death, OR
      •Since the Veteran’s release from active duty and for at least five years immediately preceding death, OR
      •For at least one year before death if the Veteran was a former prisoner of war who died after September 30, 1999

      How to Apply
      •Complete VA Form 21-534, “Application for Dependency and Indemnity Compensation, Death Pension and Accrued Benefits by a Surviving Spouse or Child and mail to the Pension Management Center that serves your state, OR
      •Work with an accredited representative or agent OR
      •Go to a VA regional office and have a VA employee assist you. You can find your regional office on our Facility Locator page OR
      •If the death was in service, your Military Casualty Assistance Officer will assist you in completing VA Form 21-534a, ” Application for Dependency and Indemnity Compensation, Death Pension and Accrued Benefits by a Surviving Spouse or Child” and mail to the Philadelphia Regional Office

    • Joe says

      Your oncologist will communicate the findings of a post-chemo treatment evaluation at about 6months after your final chemo treatment. After that, you should be scheduled for another ratings evaluation. Occasionally, there is residual damage from chemo/cancer treatment such as nerve damage. These would be considered new rated conditions but your cancer while in remission is considered inactive and is only compensable while actively treated under current guidelines. If your cancer becomes active again (typically there are 6mos follow up appointments for the first 2yrs, then yearly up to the 5th year before medically being declared ‘in remission’ – however, the VA states that your cancer isn’t active if it isn’t being treated, so that could be as early as 6months.

      Leukemia and NHL (Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma) has some changes on the horizon since the recurrence of those cancers has recently been acknowledged by the VA as likely to recur within the 2yr window of the last cancer treatment. That acknowledgement has caused the VA to hold off changing veteran ratings from 6months to now waiting 2yrs after the last treatment before considering the cancer treatment as inactive and non-compensable disability. (Source).

  82. Chris says

    Hi I have been 70% service connected for 10 years in end of Sep. Last time I saw the evaluation Dr he continued the 70% for another 6 years which is this year. I saw on my e benefits page I had a evaluation in July no letter. Then a couple weeks later it was gone no appointment. I quit seeing the VA dr because I wasn’t getting any better and they treat you like crap so I started seeing my own dr. He has me on drugs I cant even drive on. I can barely get out of the house anyways and every dr I see says I have PTSD which isn’t on my disability I get 70 % for major depression disorder with alcohol dependency. On my list of disabilities there is about 10 of them with 0% only 70% for the depression. I know I have a lot of childish fears but like I said I cant even go outside at times unless im heavily sedated with clonazepam. I don’t want to push the govt to give me less because im already barley making it by now. I don’t want more. Will they contact me this year for revaluation. Plus a lot of things have happened to me since the army like I had knee reconstructive surgery for tearing my ACL ligament off. 3 weeks ago I had a Pulmonary embolism I can barely walk without being out of breath. It came from a massive clot in my knee I had surgery in. They said a piece broke free and ended in both lungs with the majority in my left lung and after 2 days in the hospital I was supposed to follow up with the VA which at first he refused to give me blood thinners or even treat me. It Wasn’t till I requested it on e benefits which gets recorded he had no choice. I quit trying to kill myself because I would just botch it or they would save me plus I didn’t want my kids to go through that. I feel like I hit a dead end road with the VA and any info would be appreciated. Thanks

    • Ryan Guina says

      Chris, I highly recommend you speak with someone from the VA or a Veterans Service Organization such as the DAV. There are many people who specialize in helping veterans receive the treatment they need, and they are best equipped to help you. I wish you the best in your health and recovery.

  83. Justin says

    I can attest to what Ryan has said on numerous accounts and remarks. I am 100% VA rating for service connected injuries which were sustained in Iraq. I received my letter for reexamination in 2014 and adhered to the request to have my range of motion checked out by their contracted medical firm QTC appointed doctors. I went to the appointment, got the exam, and within I would say about 90 days (+/-) I received a notice that my overall rating was being dropped from 100% to 90% based on the specific rating to my lower back which had sustained injury from landing on concrete after being blown into the air from enemy mortar fire. My lower back was rated at 60% but the QTC appointed doctor had stated in her notes that somehow my range of motion had improved and that I was walking fine? In the VA letter it had a notice that if you disagreed with the findings to submit a rebuttal within 30 days of receiving the letter. I did that. I hired a lawyer which specialized in this field and he submitted a number of documents to halt these proceedings and request a medical review board. I also had to go out of pocket to get a doctor who could conduct a in depth range of motion medical testing and assessment. This was added with new documentations, reports, and medical papers to support my case. I was never given a PTSD rating in 2009. I was given the term “hyper-vigilant” at a 0% rating although military doctors supported that I had on-going PTSD issues so the lawyer also recommended resubmitting a new claim to seek an increase in the 0% disability rating in hyper-vigilance and change it to PTSD (which I am currently in the process of doing). The VA cannot change your current rating while you have sought a medical review board proceedings. Dealing with the VA and maintaining your benefits has become a second job. One thing is for certain, if you rate VA benefits and you never venture to your local VA medical location in years then rest assured that the “bean counters” within the VA are going to look at your file and think, “this person has X disability rating but never is seen by the VA in over 5 years” and you are going to get a request to be reexamined for certain. Just my .10 cents.

    • Doug says

      When you go to the re-exam, keep something in mind: You may not have gotten better, but you may be more accustomed to the pain associated with X condition. For my back, the doctor said that my range of motion was better, but I told him “It’s no better than it was, but I am more tolerant of the pain, because over time I have gotten a better idea of how far I can move until the extreme pain starts. Bottom line: don’t bend or move as far as you can, only go until you feel even the slightest amount of discomfort.

    • Andy says

      I have a quick question about seeing the VA doctors. I was medically retired after 22 years and have numerous injuries that add up to 100%. My question is I’m not seeing VA doctors I see doctors that tricare pays for since I retired, will the VA think I’m not being treated for my injuries since I don’t get seen by them?
      Thanks

      • Ryan Guina says

        Hi Andy, you can always send the VA doctors copies of your medical records so they have a record of you being treated. I would contact the VA to ask how they handle this. Alternatively, you could contact a veterans benefits counselor to see what they recommend.

  84. John says

    I am 100% SC disabled due to prostate cancer as a result of Agent Orange exposure. This is a temporary rating as I could someday have treatment to remove or “nuke” my prostate. I am 69 yrs old and retired, but have been applying for,jobs at va.gov and usajobs.gov to supplement my retirement income and benefits. I have just been offered a position at VA as a VSR and told to report for work May 2, 2016. Can I assume that taking this job should not affect my VA disability rating or monthly benefit? Is there any other issue I need to be aware of if I take this job?
    Thanks.

    • Ryan Guina says

      Hello John, I’m sorry to hear about your health condition and I hope you are able to receive the care you need for a full recovery. I don’t believe there would be any change to your disability compensation if you are rated 100% schedular (your disability ratings add up to 100%) and you accept a job offer and are able to work.

      Things may change if you have a 100% TDIU (Total Disability Individual Unemployability)rating, which is when your disability ratings don’t add up to 100%, but the VA determines you are unable to work meaningful hours based on your disability. Accepting work with a 100% TDIU rating may affect compensation or your rating.

      I recommend speaking with a local veterans benefits counselor if you have specific questions on this matter, or look up “100% schedular disabled veteran vs. 100% TDIU disabled” on the web, as the difference is important to know and understand.

  85. Zim says

    How can the VA reduce a condition such as hypertension? Currently; I’m taking two different types of medication to control my hypertension. I was diagnosed with this condition prior to retirement and I’ve been retired for 14 years. Initially I was taking 1 type of medication for my condition but about three years ago my doctor added a secondary type of medication to compliment/augment the initial medication prescribed for my hypertension. Can the VA reduce my rating because my reading has improved with new medication? What advice can you give me?

    • Ryan Guina says

      Hello Zim, Thank you for contacting me. I am not an expert on specific medical conditions. I recommend speaking with a Veterans Service Officer at an organization such as the DAV, VFW, etc. They will be able to give you specific advice. I wish you the best and thank you for your service!

  86. Mike says

    Hello Ryan, I am a service connected 100% disabled Vet. I received this rating from the VA back in September 2006, for service in Viet Nam in 1968/69 and Agent Orange medical condtion (non-Hodgkins lymphoma). After checking the Service-Connected Compensation Rates I noticed I was not getting the married with spouse only rate. I contacted the DOV Claims Intake Center to check if my file had noted that was married (45 yrs), it was not recorded in my file. The representative I spoke with was very nice and updated my information and was told to send my marriage certifcate by mail to them. My question to you, will my wife receive any portion of my disability check after my death?

    • Ryan Guina says

      Hello Mike, I am sorry to hear about your health issues. No, unfortunately, the VA does not continue making VA disability payments to surviving dependents after a veteran’s death. There may be certain other survivorship benefits, but I don’t want to quote which benefits might be available, because they may depend on individual circumstances. I would speak to a VA benefits counselor about this, or speak with a representative at a Veterans Service Organization (DAV, VFW< American Legion, etc). I hope this is helpful. I wish you the best of health and a speedy recovery, and thank you for your service!

      • Larry says

        What about the DIC clause I was under the impression that after 8 or 10 years i can’t remember the time limits that the wife will be able to claim dic benefits which is around 1/3 or your t&p rate

      • Joe says

        According to the VA.Gov website:

        DIC Pay – Eligibility (Surviving Spouse)
        To qualify for DIC, a surviving spouse must meet the requirements below.

        The surviving spouse was:
        •Married to a Servicemember who died on active duty, active duty for training, or inactive duty training, OR
        •Validly married the Veteran before January 1, 1957, OR
        •Married the Veteran within 15 years of discharge from the period of military service in which the disease or injury that caused the Veteran’s death began or was aggravated, OR
        •Was married to the Veteran for at least one year, OR
        •Had a child with the Veteran, AND
        •Cohabited with the Veteran continuously until the Veteran’s death or, if separated, was not at fault for the separation, AND
        •Is not currently remarried

        Note: A surviving spouse who remarries on or after December 16, 2003, and on or after attaining age 57, is entitled to continue to receive DIC
        Evidence Required

        Listed below are the evidence requirements for this benefit:
        •The Servicemember died while on active duty, active duty for training, or inactive duty training, OR
        •The Veteran died from an injury or disease deemed to be related to military service, OR
        •The Veteran died from a non service-related injury or disease, but was receiving, OR was entitled to receive, VA Compensation for service-connected disability that was rated as totally disabling •For at least 10 years immediately before death, OR
        •Since the Veteran’s release from active duty and for at least five years immediately preceding death, OR
        •For at least one year before death if the Veteran was a former prisoner of war who died after September 30, 1999

        How to Apply
        •Complete VA Form 21-534, “Application for Dependency and Indemnity Compensation, Death Pension and Accrued Benefits by a Surviving Spouse or Child and mail to the Pension Management Center that serves your state, OR
        •Work with an accredited representative or agent OR
        •Go to a VA regional office and have a VA employee assist you. You can find your regional office on our Facility Locator page OR
        •If the death was in service, your Military Casualty Assistance Officer will assist you in completing VA Form 21-534a, ” Application for Dependency and Indemnity Compensation, Death Pension and Accrued Benefits by a Surviving Spouse or Child” and mail to the Philadelphia Regional Office

  87. scott says

    I have my re examination coming up. I’ve been at the same rating for last 5 years. 70 percent for ptsd and 30 percent for shoulder which are both service-connected. Total rating 90 percent. Was being seen at va pretty regularly and all of a sudden the appointments stopped. I haven’t been seen for ptsd for a couple years now and the symptom’s are still the same if not worse. Will the va re examination reduce my rating because I haven’t been seen in a while thinking that I’m better.

    Thanks for your time.

    • Ryan Guina says

      Hello Scott, Thank you for contacting me. No one knows if your rating will increase, decrease, or remain the same – only the VA can make that determination. My recommendation would be to make an appointment for your PTSD as soon as possible so you can start getting the treatment you need. That is the most important thing to do. Receiving treatment also shows a record of seeking help for an ongoing problem. You should continue to seek treatment even if the VA doesn’t automatically schedule you for an appointment. I hope you receive the treatment you need and that your VA reexamination goes well. Best of luck with, and thank you for your service!

      • Tom Miller says

        Hello Scott,
        Thank You for all the help and for the newsletter you are providing.

        Was diagnosed and rated for PTSD at 70 % and diabetes 2 (agent orange) at 20 % bringing my rating to 80 %. I am also rated 0 % for malaria. I was denied on my hearing loss which I don’t understand. My rating for PTSD has been in effect for 10 years and listed at P&T. I have not been asked nor scheduled for a re examination. I was also granted IU right away.

        I was cautioned repeatedly to not ‘rock the boat’ by asking for additional ratings. I also have been diagnosed and treated for low thread and high blood pressure. I still receive individual treatment for PTSD.

        So, do you think I should put in a claim for the thyroid and blood pressure just to have it my records? I know that I will not receive any additional funds but I would like to receive a rating if it is due.

        Also, after 10 years being on IU, and being age 67,, do you think that my 100% for IU is safe?–or could it be subject to some ‘political’ cuts?

        Thanks,
        Tom–NamVet

  88. James Hickey says

    I am retired Army (1997), with total SC rating of 20%( 10% hypertension and 10% tinnitus). Just got total combined rating at 70%(18 Dec 2015) for Chronic Kidney Disease (60%), decrease in kidney function, disability connected to my SC hypertension. I just turned 60 years old, when should I be expecting my re-examination? Thank You

    • Ryan Guina says

      Hi James, I’m sorry to hear about your health condition, and I wish you the best with your recovery. I’m not sure about the answer to your question. The VA doesn’t always reexamine patients. But they may. The best I can tell you is to contact your medical care specialist or ask the VA if they do this. Alternatively, you can contact a benefits claims advisor with a veterans service organization such as the DAV, and ask them if they know of any set schedules the VA follows.

  89. Anjan says

    Hi Ryan,

    I am currently rated for 3 conditions with 10% each. I had this rating for past 6 years, I have another condition that I applied for and got rejected before. I am planning to reapply for that condition, can VA ask me to do re-examination of other 3 conditions as well when I apply for new conditions?

    Thank you

    • Ryan Guina says

      Hi Anjan, thank you for contacting me. The VA can ask you to do a reexamination if you apply for new benefits. I’m not very familiar with how this process works or how frequently this occurs. My recommendation would be to contact a benefits counselor at a Veterans Service Organization and ask them more about the process and whether it is common for the VA to request a reexamination. They will have hands on experience with claims and reexaminations and should be able to give you an answer based on experience. Best of luck, and thank you for your service!

  90. Fritz G says

    Hi Ryan,

    I’m currently rated at 60%, which include 30% for Hep C, which I acquired around 1973 during the Vietnam War, but which was not diagnosed until early 2000, after which my compensation for it began. This summer, I qualified for and received the expensive ($1,000+ cost per day!) treatment and my blood test is currently negative for the virus, although I need to have this confirmed in 2016. Do you think there’s a chance VA will discontinue my Hep C rating based on this treatment’s results? I am over 67 years old, if that makes a difference, and the VA saved at least 27 years of having to pay me for having been infected during my service (luckily I had medical documentation of being hospitalized for a non–A, non-B hepatitis infection during service), since I wasn’t even tested for it until May of 2000, when I first heard about the hep C virus. Any comments? Thanks for the great site, and for your service to our country and fellow vets.

    • Ryan Guina says

      Hello Fritz, Thank you for contacting me, and I wish you a speedy recovery and the best of health. I make it a personal rule not to comment on specific medical situations for two reasons: 1) I am not medically qualified, and 2) it is impossible for me to predict to any reasonable degree what the VA will do with someone’s disability compensation.

      My recommendation is to speak with the VA about this issue, or speak with a veterans benefits counselor at a Veterans Service Organization, such as the DAV, VFW, etc. They have trained counselors who often have a better idea of what to expect. Again, I wish you the best of health!

  91. Peggy says

    Hi,
    I have a 10% rating for Hep C. With the new Harvoni, that can possibly clear me of this, will it decrease my rating
    thanks

  92. Jessica says

    Hi Ryan,

    I have a service connected disability of 50% for a large hernia in my abdomen. Ive been notified of my reexamination appt. Since my initial rating, I have had elective/cosmetic surgery to fix my hernia because my original request to have it fixed by the VA was denied due to me not being in pain. Will my elective surgery affect my rating?

    • Ryan Guina says

      Jessica, Thank you for contacting me. To be honest, I don’t know. The VA has a set of standards they refer to when deciding disability ratings. I am not a medical professional, and don’t have access to their standards. So unfortunately, I can’t comment on whether or not this may affect your rating. I would speak to someone who helps veterans process claims, such as a representative from the DAV or another organization. They may not be able to give you a perfect answer, but they can help you understand what to expect. I wish you the best with this, and thank you for your service!

  93. somy says

    I am 100% P & T. Total combined rating 100%. PTSD 100, and other things total 100 too. I would like to know I did not see my award letter saying I am unemployable or any thing like that. I did not apply for IU. So I would like to know if I get small job can I go to work and, If I work VA reduce my rating. I would like to reduce the rating, because I am not sure how long if I get job I can work. I saw many 100% veterans are working long time. Please advice me

  94. Aaron says

    Hello Ryan, I read your article and found it to be very informative! A month ago, I received a combined rating of 50% for major depression with Adhd. My question is, what are the chances of being reevaluated along with the time frame? (I’m guessing 2-5 years) Thank you!

    • Ryan Guina says

      Hi Aaron, I don’t have a good answer for a time frame for reevaluations. The VA does not announce reexamination schedules. Some conditions need to be examined more frequently than others, and I’m man-power plays a role. You could try asking a veterans benefits counselor if they have experience with reexaminations and if they know of what kind of frequency you might be able to expect.

  95. Mike S says

    I recently received a letter for a re-evaluation of my left and right shoulders which are both service-connected. My right shoulder was operated on five years ago by the VA and has progressively gotten worse. Left shoulder has stayed the same as far as pain and range of motion. Every time I go for an appointment, I tell the nurse my pain level, which has never been below 7 and where I’m hurting. I have only went to Urgent Care once in the last five years for my pain. I was told that since I haven’t been to Urgent Care very often, the VA will consider this a sign that I’m healed. I can say that I am far from that. I scheduled an appointment with the private doctor who performed the surgery (at the VA’s expense) so I can have a current medical examination report for my C&P at the end of October. My question is about the Urgent Care visits that I was told was not numerous enough. Can you please give me any insight on this? Thank you, Mike S

    • Ryan Guina says

      Mike, I haven’t heard this before. I strongly recommend seeking advice from a qualified benefits counselor at the DAV or another Veterans Service Organization. They can walk you through the claims and appeals process should it reach that point. Best of luck, and thanks for your service!

  96. Michelle says

    Since 2013, I have to go for a re-evaluation every 6-12 months because my autoimmune is thought to improve in the ‘future’ only…it never does. I’ve had the same rating and disease for the past 12 years. I just found out by checking ebenefits that the VA filed a claim for increase with my current diagnosis even though I’m sitting at 100%. I never filed for this. Is this the same as re-evaluation? Are they looking to decrease or is there a chance they will finally determine that my autoimmune diagnosis is permanent?

  97. Steve says

    Hello Ryan, I have a service connected anxiety disorder (similar symptoms to ptsd) when I was discharged from the Air Force in 1995. I was a power lineman during my service and saw some horrible accidents and close calls with myself which caused my anxiety. I did not know I could file a claim for it until recently when I met another veteran and told me I can make a claim. I have VA medical records since 1996 for this issue and after my claim I was awarded 30% benefits. My question is since my SC issue is 20 years old and my rating is only 1 year old would the VA still consider a re-examination for my anxiety issue? Does it fall under the 20 year protection rule?

    Thank you

  98. pat says

    My husband was rated in 2010, service connected Agent Orange 100 % p & t scheduler for CLL, no future exams and secondary diabetes and neuropathy. He receives smc-s.
    I understand that CLL rating has changed this year -0 % watch stage, and rate on residuals for anemia. He has had one set -6 months of chemo and will probably begin a different medication in Jan 2016.He sees onocologist every 4 months. Can his 100 % be reduced? Or does he retain his status, based on the ruling at time of his rating? He is 69 1/2 yrs old. Thank you.

    • Ryan Guina says

      Pat, Thank you for contacting me. I’m sorry to hear about your husband’s health situation, and I hope he is receiving the care he needs. In this type of situation, the VA will usually not reduce any benefits unless the veteran shows a complete recovery. I can’t say for certain what will happen, but this is the usual situation. My recommendation is to contact a Veterans Service Organization, such as the DAV, VFW, etc., who can give you more specific advice based on his situation. These organizations have trained benefits counselors who are able to give more specific legal references and guidelines. I hope this points you in the right direction and I wish you both the best.

  99. Archie M Custodio says

    To: Mr. Ryan Guina, Sir I am 100% Disabled VA Veteran P&T. Do you know how long before the VA can send me for a medical re-evaluation? Is it 5 years, 10 years, 15 years?

  100. Anonymous says

    I’m having a problem with the VA now, they are cutting my disability benefits in half because i failed to show up for the evaluation. I called and the lady at the VA told me that i should do a reconsideration letter. Is that the best thing to do instead of an appeal? She said it was faster than an appeal but she put down that my address had changed so i didnt get the notification as evidence for the reconsideration for evaluation. However i didnt EVER recieve any form from the VA of my scheduled appointments. I was under the impression that they are supposed to send you a scheduling letter. Shouldn’t that be evidence as well? How am i supposed to make it to an appointment that i know nothing about. I’m pretty frustrated at this point but what can i do? I just don’t want to get ******* over so any advice would be helpful.

    • Ryan Guina says

      Hello, Thank you for contacting me. I don’t have any personal experience with this situation – I know the basics of how the process works, but I haven’t dealt with an appeal or reconsideration. In this case it seems like the reconsideration might be the faster way to go, but I can’t say for certain.

      You may find it helpful to speak with a veterans benefits counselor at a service organization such as the DAV, VFW, etc. Many organizations provide free benefits claims assistance and the counselors not only have the expertise and experience you need, but they may also have personal connections at the VA that may help your case get resolved more quickly. Best of luck, and thanks for your service!

  101. chris says

    I am retired navy and have combined rating at 100%,(70% for mental health and 80% for others). My re-examination date is after 5 years, which is 01/30/2020.

    My question is: if I don’t go to my appointments for mental health, are they going to lower or terminate my rating within 5 years or before 01/30/2020?

    I read your information, it says VA must have: “material that showing my condition is improved.” If I don’t go to my appointment, that they won’t have any material showing I am improved, so they can’t decrease my rating within the 5 years, right??

    Thanks

    • Ryan Guina says

      Chris, the VA can lower your rating if you don’t show for your appointment. At that point it’s up to you to prove your condition has not improved. My strong recommendation is to go to any and all scheduled appointments, or be prepared for a battle to keep your benefits.

    • Archie M Custodio says

      How did you know firsthand the date of your medical re-examination? Did the VA inform you right away, Chris?

  102. michael virgin says

    Ryan Guina thanks for answering people’s questions here but I feel like asking a question here will just get the same answer you give to everyone else. It seems like you really have no anwers except to tell us to talk to a VA benefit Counsler. I would love to , I wonder if you know if VA benefit Counsler’s are willing to make home visits so I do not need to go outside or in public. Panic Attacks are not fun and hospitals are even less fun for me do to my condition at this time.

    • Ryan Guina says

      Michael, Thank you for contacting me. I do my best to answer specific questions when possible, as you can see by reading many of the other articles on this site. However, this specific topic is not one that I can easily answer because almost every question is unique and requires one-on-one attention and specific research into the individual’s benefits, when/where they served, medical records, and additional information I do not have, nor would I be authorized to review. So for this specific topic, I can cover the basic details, but unfortunately, I can’t give much individual assistance on specific claims.

      Regarding your question, I spoke on the phone with a VA Benefits counselor and she said you would need to contact your Regional VA Medical Center for more information about availability. Because you have experienced panic attacks, she recommended contacting the Mental Health Department, and they may offer house calls. I’m not certain if house calls are available in all locations – the VA Rep I spoke with said it is on a case by case basis. Here is the VA medical center directory.

      So again, I gave you the same answer I give many people on this article, but it wasn’t from lack of trying. I hope this points you in the right direction, and I wish you the best in your health. Thank you for your service!

  103. Jimmy Carpenter says

    I was hurt during service and was medically retired honorably. I never was sent to the VA and found out 15ys after I was suppose to be going to the VA. I did go in and they did find my DD214 as a medical condition that made it impossible for me to serve. They then determined that someone could have pushed the paperwork though without my knowledge. The VA at that time said I am 40% disabled. I never tried to get them to go back the 15yrs I was not receiving benefits, I just wanted them to help me. I just found out today that a benefit was decreased while another increased still leaving me at 40%. What I went in for was to look at increasing both injuries due to the fact they both have gotten worse. In over 20yrs it has never been better, so how can they say one is better even after the doctors have said “due to the arthritis that is set in it will only get worse. I don’t know what to do or who can help.

  104. jack says

    I am 100% ptsd..single rating…for over 10 yrs…I am also rated 60% for heart and 20% for type 2 diabetes. My Ptsd rating is permanent and total. I am in late sixteys. No part of my ptsd is unemployable. . Are there any restrictions regarding employment… I heard a 100% ptsd rating does not allow any employment…can you advise….Thank You

    • Archie M Custodio says

      Hi you said you were 100% PTSD for 10 years, during those 10 years did they send you for a medical re-examination to continue to receive benefits?

  105. John Locklair says

    Quick Question. I am currently going through the IDES pilot system through the Air Force. I got my ratings back from the VA and I was rated at 100%. The VA rep on base told me I would get re-evaluated for Adjustment Disorder with Anxiety, which was rated at 70%. He told me that I would get re-evaluated only one time between 6 months – 5 years after being separated. Does this information sound right?

    • Ryan Guina says

      John, Thank you for contacting me. I can’t speak for the re-evaluation for your specific condition, but yes, it sounds right. The VA retains the right to re-evaluate veterans’ service-connected conditions within a certain time frame. They may use different schedules for different conditions, and there may be times when they get backed up and do not schedule the reevaluation. (I am not saying you won’t be scheduled, just noting that I know several people who were never reevaluated by the VA).

      I highly encourage you to go to a re-evaluation appointment if you receive a Re-evaluation Letter from the VA, otherwise the VA may change your rating based on lack of supporting evidence. It would then be up to you to appeal the decision and apply to have your rating reinstated. It’s easier to go to the meeting when scheduled. I hope this is helpful, and I wish you the best of luck with your medical conditions and your transition!

  106. Nancy Winningham says

    Hi, I hope you are still answering questions on this thread. My husband has had a 100% VA disability due to losing his eyesight in the military. This was over 20 years ago. However, if he were to have a surgery that could possibly restore his eyesight, and if it were to be successful, would he lose his VA benefit? There are new procedures on the horizon that are promising for optic nerve atrophy and we would like to explore them. He is currently working, but losing the VA benefits would definitely change our lifestyle. (Of course, I would rather he get his eyesight, but I don’t want him to hesitate to explore this because of the possibility of losing those benefits.)
    Thank you so much
    NW

    • Ryan Guina says

      Nancy, Thank you for contacting me. This is a unique situation, and one I don’t have a firm answer to. The VA can reduce benefits when there has been substantial and permanent change to a rated health condition. But there is no way for me to know how this would affect his rating in the long run. I’m sure it depends on many factors, including to the degree to which his eyesight would improve, whether or not both eyes are affected, and other circumstances.

      I recommend speaking with a veterans benefits counselor to see if they have experience with claims being reduced due to improvements or changes in a health condition, and see if they can make any qualified statements about this specific situation. Beyond that, I would continue looking into all possible avenues for improving your husband’s health. Money is nice, but you can’t replace your health. I wish you and your husband the best!

  107. DJC says

    Hi, Ryan. Just received a decision on my Agent Orange related prostate cancer evaluation, with an assigned disability of 100%. I had used the appeal process, since 2005, when I was first evaluated. Originally evaluated as service connected disability, with 0%. I will be receiving a retro-active amount,soon. The findings also remarked that a decision not to grant compensation was a clear and unmistakable error, indicatingthat these errors are’ undebatable ‘. Will be age 67, in a few months. Will I be susceptible to frequent re-examination ? Or, as you mentioned, my age will be a consideration, not to be. Thank you in advance. DJC

    • Sharon Haig says

      My husband now 70 was diagnosed with prostate cancer and we went to the VA and gal filing claim said automatically get 100% temporary for one year, then decreases to 20%? Why would they do that and are you getting 100% for prostate cancer more than the initial one year?

  108. logan says

    VA scheduled a c&p exam. I missed my appointment at a non VA clinic for my c&p exam. Then VA sent a letter saying they might lower my 100% rating to 50% because I did not go to the c&p exam.

    I called the 1 800 VA number and received a callback. I told the VA lady why i had missed my appointment and requested another c&p appointment. We talked for about an hour about my medical issues. she was nice and told me to stay off the streets because I am vulnerable. I’ve been in and out of VA hospitals and public hospitals because of my medical conditions.

    Will my c&p appointment be rescheduled? If so, when?

    After talking with her, my feeling is that the nice VA lady heard all she needed to hear from me about my medical problems and what my life is like nowadays when we spoke over the phone. She seemed to not need and want me to go to another c&p exam. Especially one where I will need to travel far away from home. My rating is still 100%. God bless us all.

    • Ryan Guina says

      Logan, Thank you for contacting me. I’m sorry to hear about your disability and your missed appointment. To be honest, I can’t give you any specific information regarding getting your appointment rescheduled. That information will have to come from the VA. The best thing to do is follow up with them and try to reschedule your appointment if required.

  109. KitKat says

    Hello,

    I am currently 100% UI and because of where I live and cost of living, I had to work. I contacted the VA to let them know I was working, and they gave me notice they will reduce my benefits to 90%. I applied to increase my benefits, and just finished my medical examinations, but i am so nervous because my other disabilities may not increase enough to equate to 100% Should I contact my Vet Rep to let him know my situation? I have 70% off PTSD alone, but was told that may not increase. Just so frustrated and depressed right now.

  110. Jennifer says

    If you are rated at 100% unemployable can you still have a part time job. I am working full time and get 80% and my condition is worsening making it hard for me to work full time. If I request an increase in disability and they award 100% I am afraid the compensation would not be sufficient to pay what is needed and would need to supplement that income with a part time job. Is this allowed?

    • Ryan Guina says

      Jennifer, Thank you for contacting me. There are two different 100% ratings: 100% Schedular, and 100% (IU) Individual Unemployability. You can still work a job without income limitation if you have a 100% Schedular rating. However, there are income limitations if you have a 100% IU ratings. If you are 100% IU and you earn more than a certain amount, the VA may reduce your disability rating.

      I recommend speaking with a benefits rep at the VA or at a Veterans Service Organization to understand your disability rating and how having a job would affect your rating (if at all). Best of luck, and thanks for your service!

  111. Randy says

    I was rated 2 1/2 years ago. 70% SC P&T IU FOR PTSD, BI-POLAR, anxiety, PANIC ATTACKS W/agraphobia.
    I was told a few days ago the i should be getting paid at SMC s. Because I dont leave my home often because of the agraphobia. Under Bradley vs ?..
    Be cause of the IU rule… thanks

    • Ryan Guina says

      Randy, To be honest, this is outside the scope of my expertise. I strongly recommend seeking assistance from someone with experience filing these types of claims. Your best bet would be to contact a Veterans Service Organization such as the DAV, VFW, American Legion, etc. Many of these organizations have trained benefits counselors and offer free benefits claims assistance. Best of luck, and thanks for your service!

  112. S Davis says

    My father in law receives benefits for 10% and has since the 60’s. He told me for years he had sezures. He is now 69 yrs old and does not/can not work. What do we need to do to see if he is eligible to receive additional benefits? I know nothing about the military benefits—and he knows nothing about technology so it’s the blind leading the blind! Any help would be appreciated.

    • Ryan Guina says

      S Davis, Thank you for contacting me. The best way to see if he is eligible for additional benefits is to have him go through a veterans benefits evaluation with a Veterans Service Organization. Many of them offer free veterans benefits claims assistance, and the officers are trained to methodically go through the veteran’s file to determine which benefits the veteran may be eligible to receive. Then they can help the veteran actually make the claim. Some recommended VSOs include the Disabled American Veterans (DAV), Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW), American Legion, Vietnam Veterans of America (VVA), etc.

      Another avenue may be for your father-in-law to apply for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) if he is unable to work. Here is some basic information on SSDI. He would need to contact the local Social Security office for more information on applying for SSDI benefits. I hope this is helpful. Best of luck!

  113. Alex W says

    So I’m a little confused maybe you could help clarify. To my understanding, the VA cannot lower a SC Rating below 10%, so for example if I had my left knee rated at 10% (the minimum rating for this injury), it could not be lowered to 0% after a reexamination? Is that correct? I’m curious because I just got off Army active duty and received my award letter for 40% combined rating. The break down is 10% each for 4 different injuries, plus 2 more injuries are still pending decision from what the award letter says. So my question is, if and when I get scheduled for a reexamination in the future, since all 4 of my rated disabilities are at the minimum rating (10%) for their category, could I be considered “protected” in the sense that the VA cannot lower any of the SC Rating below 10%? I’m just worried that I will lose my 40% combined rating that I just got. Thanks for your help.

    • Ryan Guina says

      Alex, I’m not familiar with the reg that states a service connected disability cannot be lowered to 0%. I recommend scheduling a visit with a Veterans Service Officer or a VA representative so you can ask any questions you may have about your ratings and the benefits you are eligible to receive. They should be able to give you a better idea of what to expect.

  114. Stephen McQuaig says

    I recently requested an increase from 20 percent on my back. I just had my C&P exam and I got a copy of it. Every item EXCEPT my forward flexion was 0 to 15 degrees. ..forward flexsion was notated as 0 to 30. This ROM is significatly less than my original back exam a few years back. The examiner also noted that thia disablity affected my ability to work. I have had a hard trying to calculate was percentage I should be getting for my back with the new findings and new ROM. Please help.

    • Ryan Guina says

      Stephen, Thank you for contacting me. I don’t have a way of calculating disability scores based on exam results. You may try speaking with a Veterans Service Officer, who may be able to give you more insight into how the process works, and the potential rating you may receive.

  115. Jeff says

    Ryan Guina, I was Hoping foolishly for a reply on the 29 Jan post… can I buy some vowels love this smart phone..

  116. Ben says

    And I forgot to mention that I have loss continuous from just telling the story to a friend in a very graphic way. I just refuse to believe that that is normal.

  117. Ben says

    I am a Disabled Vet of wartime at 40%. Navy. None of my rating is for ptsd. I hurt myself at home ( accidently cut artery in wrist fixing frozen burst pipe ). It was a very horrific scene for me, my wife, and 3yo son. Lots of blood loss. passing in and out. Had emergency vascular surgery and stayed in hospital a couple of days. I am now off work for a couple months due to not being able to pick anything up with the affected wrist. Since then I am having a lot of problems sleepings and staying asleep. I cant stop basically reliving what happened over and over. I cant stop thinking of it. Its affecting my marriage and relationships with children. I seem to always be on a very short fuse. I constantly catch myself on the verge of tears ( I am not one to show emotions )and bad panic attacks. I want to be alone close to the entire time im awake. I went to my family doctor and was put on welbutrin xl and klonopin. They basically only help by keeping me tired all day it seems. Not exactly the way I want to live the rest of my life. I want to talk to the VA about this, but have read many horror storys of going in and then having your rating dropped. I am not looking to have my rating raised. I just want to make sure that I am not a danger to my family or friends. I’m the type that is very used to just sucking it up and dealing with it, ( never even took 1 pain pill after surgery ), but now my wife feels my reactions to certain things that arise are a little extreme. Adding that I worked out problems differently before the accident.

    • Ryan Guina says

      Ben, Thank you for contacting me. I’m happy to hear you are seeking treatment for your condition. That is the most important thing you can do, regardless of what else happens with your VA disability rating.

      Did you injury occur while you were in the military? If it is not service related, then I wouldn’t go to the VA, because they most likely will not treat you for conditions that are not service-related (unless you meet the income requirements). Alternatives would be seeking professional help from your current medical provider, or those that are covered on your insurance plan.

      If this is a service-related condition, then you have a decision to make. If you don’t want the VA to reevaluate your other conditions, then you might consider paying out of pocket or using your other health insurance plan if you have one. That keeps this and your other conditions out of the VA spotlight.

      If this is a service-related condition, and you d not have access to other health care or you cannot afford to go elsewhere, then by all means, go to the VA. There is a process the VA must follow for reevaluations, and they can’t drop your rating without cause. If your conditions are scheduled to be reevaluated, you will have time to get examinations and present your case. You can always contact a Veterans Service Organization for assistance with your claim (DAV, VFW, American Legion, etc.). I hope you will be able to get past this issue and regain full health.

  118. Marsha Emerson says

    My husband us a viet nam vet and was in the middle if agent orange. He gets disability for pstd and diabetis. His va dr also said he has narapathy. He was considered 60 per cent disabeled. The va sent him for a nerve test and said he does not have nerapathy. They sent a letter his benefits would be cut. He saw his va counsler and he gave my husband papers to take to a regular dr of which he sent him do another nerve test it to showed no nerve damage but both the regular dr and the the dr who did the nerve test said it was due to chemicals from agent orange. My husband took that to his va rep who submitted this. The va still cut his benefits while this process is on going . My question is can they do this. Thank you and I wait for a reply. Marsha emerson

    • Ryan Guina says

      Marsha, Based on my understand, yes, the VA can reduce a disability rating if they believe the evidence supports it. In this situation, their doctors stated the medical condition isn’t as it was originally rated, so they changed the rating. It is up to the veteran to show supporting evidence that the condition was caused by a condition that occurred while in the military. So your husband will need to resubmit the medical documents from his doctors. The VA will review those documents, and make a decision. It sounds like you have done everything the right way, and now you are simply waiting on the appeal that has already been submitted. I hope this turns out well for your husband, and more importantly, I hope he is able to receive treatment that will help improve his health.

  119. Jeff says

    Is the VA allowed to pull over a years worth of medical records indicating a disability and then reduce your claim to 10% vs 30% because there are no records in my jacket, like they did to me under the Reagon austerity years and cost cutting? All medical records in my jacket are missing from tbe Naval hospital on the Navy base in Norfolk. Every sigle one 1974 1975 vanished… bet there still in hospital records somewhere!!!

  120. Anthony Fuentes says

    Hello the VA is trying to lower my benefits. They sent me a notice that they wanted to do a reevaluation appointment. I was in school on all the days that they tried to schedule for me. I could not make it to the appointment times they gave me. They then sent me a letter saying that they were going to drop my benefits from 60% to 40% based off of nothing. They haven’t reevaluated me and they are just telling me my condition is improving with no evidence that it has. I broke my back in a car accident that is the reason for my mechanical back pain. My mechanical back pain has not improved at all. How do I dispute the VA decision. I know I can I just don’t really know how.

    • Ryan Guina says

      Anthony, to fight this process, you will need to contact the VA to explain that you couldn’t miss school for the reevaluation appointments, then request they reevaluate you. It is highly recommended you get some one on one assistance with this process. The best place to go is a Veterans Service Officer. Many organizations who offer free benefits claims assistance (DAV, VFW, American Legion, etc.). I hope this points you in the right direction. Best of luck, and thanks for your service!

  121. Adrienne Schroeder says

    Sorry you misunderstood my question. The VA has offered surgery he is just choosing to do it with a civilian doctor and my question was how do we find out if the doctor or hospital is approved by the VA. The Convalescence VA eligibility requirement specifically states: You must have had a surgical or other treatment performed by a VA or other approved hospital or outpatient facility for a service-connected disability. Thanks anyway, I am trying to reach the VA but every time I call they tell me to call at a better time.

    • Ryan Guina says

      Thanks for the clarification, Adrienne. I know it’s frustrating, but I would continue trying to contact the VA to get the information for approved doctors and hospitals. This is something that needs to be done by the book. If you need to, contact the VA scheduling department and try to schedule an appointment just to get a referral or get the information you need. Best of luck!

  122. Adrienne Schroeder says

    My husband got out of the military in 2005 with degenerative disk disease and was rated 20%. He requested a re-evaluation last year and they increased him to 40% due to radiculopathy that was not present when he was first rated( he should have requested the re-eval years ago). He has contemplated surgery for years and is in more pain then ever. We are going to meet with a civilian doctor next week as he does not want the VA doing the surgery. My first question is how do we find out if the doctor or hospital that is going to do the surgery is approved by the VA. Second, does surgery automatically change his rating. If he applies for 100% temp disability what happens to his rating after that? TIA

    • Ryan Guina says

      Adrienne, Thank you for contacting me. To be honest, this isn’t a question I can answer. You will need to contact the VA for specific information to your husband’s case. Only the VA will be able to tell you if the surgery is approved or not. Regarding his rating, no, the surgery will not automatically change his rating. He may be able to apply for temporary 100% rating, but that is not automatic; it would need to be approved. He would then be reevaluated after his surgery to determine his new rating. It may go back to 40%, or it may be something different. The VA will rate it based on how his condition compares to the documented VA standards.

      You may consider speaking with a Veterans Service Officer for more experience working with these kinds of claims. I hope this helps. Best of luck, and I hope the surgery improves your husband’s condition!

  123. Geraldine Trumbo says

    My husband received a 70% rating based on Agent Orange presumptives in September. During the course of his VA exams, a doctor found a suspicious growth. Told him to get it checked. It is a lung cancer tumor. So he went back to the VA and filed another paper for 100% disability. He should be entitled to 100% as long as he is being treated for the lung cancer and 6 months after treatment ends. My question is how long does it take before they give him 100% and what kind of back pay (if any) can he expect? He was told just the one paper he filed is sufficient for them to give the 100% rating.

    • Ryan Guina says

      Geraldine, I’m sorry to hear about your husband’s cancer. I pray he will recover. Unfortunately, I don’t have an exact answer to your question, because each case is handled separately. But here is the process as I understand it:

      The first step is for the veteran to file the new claim seeking 100% disability. That starts the clock for the increased pay rate. Once the VA approves the new disability rating request, they will send out an award letter stating the new disability rate. The increased payments generally start a month or two after the award letter is sent. The veteran will normally receive back pay to the date they filed for the increased disability rating. (Back pay is normally paid out shortly after the award letter is sent, but it will probably be in a separate payment from the monthly compensation).

      This is the general series of events, but keep in mind each case is unique, so it may vary somewhat. I hope this helps, and again, I will be praying for your husband’s health.

  124. lenny says

    Greetings. I am scheduled for my 1st exam. It will be 5 years since the initial exam. Out of curiosity, what would warrant the VA needing to keep a vet in the hospital for examination? Thanks in advance.

  125. tito says

    Help?? I will apply for an increase next month i need an opinion, is this letter properly done as a request? ?

    DEAR Sir or MADAM:

    I am currently rated for (lumbosacral strain, bulging disc at L5-S1) at 20%

    My condition has severely decrease and getting worse since it was first awarded. My back injury has kept bothering me over the past couple months, preventing me from physical therapy sessions and has forced me to stop working as of November 25,2014. I am no longer working due to the fact that my pain has dramatically increase and my range of motion has been severely affected, since I went from a bulging disc to herniated discs on L4-L5 and S5-L1 and some wear and tear around the same area has been discovered, as you will see in my new MRI reading. My pain fluctuates from ” 8 to 9 ” on a daily basis it completely affects my range of motion and daily chores. At times I need help getting out of bed and with daily chores since I cannot bend foward more than 30 degrees. I have also experienced small lost of bladder and bowel control and sharp pains going through my right leg and hip with some numbness and tingling sensation. Since my right leg is weak at times, it forces me to put more pressure on my left leg hurting my left knee sprain again in a few occasions. I have taken all kinds of medications that the VA doctors gave me for inflammation and pain and nothing helps. All I can do for now is to continue to go to my appointments at the VA hospital and explore the back surgery options in my future, since the doctors say that it seems to be the next step in my case. I have compare my current condition to that listed in the schedule for rating disabilities and I see that It would be more appropriate that I would now be rated at 40% .

    I am applying for that rating increase.

    Thank you for your time and consideration of my request.

    Respectfully,
    My name

  126. Todd says

    When I Got out of the Air Force I received a 40% rating for Degenerate disk disease. I think this diagnosis is a generic one because I think I have a damaged nerve but I was talked out of perusing it. I’ve had a few treatments but for the most part was told it was something I would have to learn to deal with and it would never get better, its been 13 years and I have learned to deal with it. My last eval 2 months ago the doctor ask a few questions and asked me if I wanted to get new xrays and a MRI because my old ones where out of date, then warned me that with the new technology the new ones could should that because of my age now (37) that my rating could be decreased. So he advised against the new x-rays and MRI. Then he asked me to bend forward and back and tell him when it hurts like they always ask and sent me on my way. Sometimes they put a tool on my back to measure the percent I can bend with out pain ( not much). Two weeks later, which is the fastest the VA has ever replied to me, I got a letter stating that my last to evals show improvement so they are reducing my % to 10 present. Im dumb founded. My back is just as bad as ever, I just have learned to deal with the pain and how not to agitate it. Who can I contact to help me challenge this? I don’t have money for a lawyer and I have about 30 days left before they adjust my rating.. Then.. two week later I get a letter from the VA that they are increasing the rate of pay for some disability’s here soon. This just all sounds weird to me.

      • maczilla says

        LOL don’t go anywhere near DAV. All they did was file my initial claim and take my money, and after that, I can’t get them to call me or email me. NOTHING. They ignore me like the plaque. I have left so many messages with the lady in houston and I never get a call back.. So typical for them to prey on us like that

      • Ryan Guina says

        The DAV provides free veterans benefits claims assistance, as stated in their mission statement: “Providing free, professional assistance to veterans and their families in obtaining benefits and services earned through military service and provided by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and other agencies of government.”

        Perhaps you joined as a member, or made a donation?

        As for them not returning a phone call, perhaps try calling another DAV office and explaining the situation to see if you can get assistance from another representative. There are many claims officers, and many of them are overworked, and underpaid (or not paid at all, as many are volunteers).

  127. Mary says

    Galen, your story and my husbands is almost identical! He received the implant/shot for 3 yrs and got full benefits during that time. Once he was reviewed, 6 mns after last shot, the benefit was drastically reduced. We are praying the cancer is truly gone and watching his numbers like hawks!! Personally, I feel they made the decision too quickly, he still had the medicine in his system that stopped testosterone production, doesn’t seem like results would be valid. I hope you stay well. It certainly can be a roller coaster ride!

  128. Galen Patrick says

    I am a 68 year old Vietnam veteran that has prostate cancer. After waiting many months go get in to see the doctor at our local VA clinic, finally, in January 2013 I got an appointment. When my blood tests came back my PSA was at 100. They did another PSA test one week later and it had gone up to 155. I went though many tests and scans at the VA hospital. And even though I had a very high PSA, the scans all came back that the cancer was only in my prostate gland. I was awarded 100% disability in March of 2013 along with SMC-K in April 2014. I went through 40 radiation treatments and am now on Eligard shots every 3 months. These shots have side effects which include hot flashes and night sweats. But they have reduced my PSA down to 0.1. I am to remain on these shots for a few more months and then the doctors want me to stop with the shots to see what my PSA will do. My eBenefits web page has the following two statements.
    You are not considered to be permanently disabled due to your service-connected disabilities because your case is scheduled for
    review on: January 1, 2015
    You are not considered to be permanently disabled due to your service-connected disabilities at this time because you are scheduled for a future reduction in rating on: January 1, 2015
    My question is this: Will I remain at 100% disability as long as I am taking these shots, which I consider as active treatment for cancer. Or will the VA reduce these benefits since my PSA is now very low?
    No one seems to know the answer to this question.
    Thank you.

    • Ryan Guina says

      Jimmy, Yes, you can apply for an increase in disability compensation. My advice is to work with a Veterans Service Organization to get assistance with your claim. They generally offer free VA benefits claims assistance. Here are some recommended organizations: https://themilitarywallet.com/veterans-service-organizations-benefits-claims/

      Keep in mind that when you refile your claim the VA will likely review your entire claim and it may be possible that some of your current disabilities may be downgraded. a veterans Service Officer can give you more information when you speak with him/her.

  129. Dan Bandy says

    i have been total permanent since dec 01 100% ptsd i got a letter they are reducing me to 50% ptsd because 1) the doctor said i am full time daycare fore my grandson 2) that i write poetry 3) i am a photographer for a metal detecting club how can they do this? i answered them with 1)i only watch my grandson when my daughter get called into work she gets little notice so i watch him till she gets someone to come get him never more than 2 hours 2) i do write poetry but i have spent 90 days in 7 different va hospitals for combat ptsd all inpatient in these last 14 years so because its been 8 years since my last i am ok are they crazy they told me to write it helps they say will they have not seen what i write it all about the war ugly side and killing 3)i have never been in or in contact with any metal detecting club d

  130. Shequira Callahan says

    I, currently, receive a 10% disability rating for my back. I have been receiving this rating for 13+ years. I wanted to know whether or not I can get re-evaluated being that my condition hasn’t improved?

  131. Bruce Reed says

    I work with veterans and this article is very helpful for synthesizing the data. Can you provide us with a link to where you found this information?

  132. lonnie anthony says

    Im just had am exam ..my last one was six years ago… I currently ‘receive 100 payment due to being unemployable…I’ve been rated this way for six yeat s. After getting my exam back im worried I could be reduced…because the examiners report didn’t mention that my knees were still unstable…is it possible a reduction could take place …I was also diagnosed with mmd. Which probably will help but im still concerned due to wording of exam…

    • Ryan Guina says

      Lonnie, I don’t have much personal experience here. My recommendation is to find a Veterans Service Officer at a Veterans Service Organization such as the DAV, VFW, American Legion, etc. They offer free claims assistance and can help you with your claim. It’s best to hit this head on so you aren’t caught off guard. The sooner you began building your case, the better. Here are some resources for finding a VSO. Best of luck, and thanks for your service!

  133. No Nonsense Landlord says

    A a disabled Vet myself, I will be 55 in less than three months. That is good information to know. I am only 10% disabled, so it ever got reduced it would be 0.

Disclaimer: The content on this site is for informational and entertainment purposes only and is not professional financial advice. References to third party products, rates, and offers may change without notice. Please visit the referenced site for current information. We may receive compensation through affiliate or advertising relationships from products mentioned on this site. However, we do not accept compensation for positive reviews; all reviews on this site represent the opinions of the author. Privacy Policy

Editorial Disclosure: This content is not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Opinions expressed here are author’s alone, not those of the bank advertiser, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. This site may be compensated through the bank advertiser Affiliate Program.