The VA designates a rating to all disability claimants. The rating depends on how the service-related disability affects the Veteran’s ability to maintain gainful employment. It is not necessarily based on the severity of the disability, but rather the degree to which it affects the claimant’s ability to work.
In the eyes of the VA, not all service-related disabilities are necessarily permanent. Because your disability condition can worsen or improve over time, the VA will conduct re-examinations for your disability rating. The VA also may also require you to attend periodic health examinations and submit the results so they can reduce your rating if you are indeed getting better. Some ratings, however, can become protected from reduction or revocation.
The 5-year rule is what allows the VA to take another look at your current disability rating and reevaluate within 5 years of your initial examination if – and only if – your disability is expected to materially improve in that time frame. The VA may still reevaluate your rating past the 5-year mark if there is a substantial improvement shown by medical evidence.
The 10-year rule means the VA cannot eliminate your rating if you have had it for 10 or more years. While it can still be reduced if your disability is found to have drastically improved, it cannot be revoked. If the initial disability is found to be fraudulent, they can still revoke your rating, because it was never legitimate in the first place.
The 20-year rule states that if your disability rating has been active for at least 20 years, it cannot be lowered and it still cannot be revoked. Once again, the only thing that can get past this rule is if your disability has been found to be fraudulent.
VA disability rating reevaluations are not always necessarily a bad thing. When you are asked to provide medical evidence of the condition of your disability, the goal of the VA is not to figure out a way to save money or help you less. It is designed to accurately give you a rating that they can base everything off so you can get what you fairly deserve. Speaking with a VA disability benefits attorney is the best way to ensure you do not run into a tough situation.
Another important detail to consider is the permanency of your disability. If your disability is found to be a permanent service-related disability, you will be exempt from the 10-year rule.
An experienced Veterans disability attorney with years of experience handling claims nationwide can help you ensure you are getting the rating you deserve and can protect you against an unfairly reduced or revoked rating. Jan Dils has fought on behalf of Veterans for many years. Call today to schedule a free consultation about your potential rating.