As we've mentioned in earlier blogs about working with the VA, disability payments based on service-connected disability or conditions vary widely depending on the injuries or disabilities that the claim is based on, and also the context and circumstances in which the injuries or disability occurred.
Even after a claim is settled and you begin receiving regular benefits, you may have questions remaining. Some of our clients have contacted us after settlement to ask, "Can the VA reduce my benefits?" Today, we'd like to take a moment to answer the question.
The Short Answer Is Yes. The Long Answer...
It's not exactly as simple as, "Yes, they can." The VA is able to review your rated conditions at any time, for as long as you are receiving benefits. For instance, long-term disability for an injury that is eventually treatable with surgery may be subject to later review, since the injury being treated may reduce your need for benefits payments. This isn't necessarily a given — it heavily depends on what your condition was rated originally, as well as any continued treatment or rehabilitation from the surgery.
Any time the VA receives information on your injuries being treated in any way, they may choose to review your case.
Is There Any Chance They Won't Review My Rating?
There are a few conditions under which the VA may generally choose not to review your case. These conditions include:
- The veteran is over the age of 55
- The disability is static (such as the loss of a limb or limbs)
- The disability is already at a minimum rating
- Reducing the rating for an individual condition would not affect your overall rating
One of the VA's main considerations in regards to the age limit has to do with the likelihood of the veteran being able to seek employment if their benefits are decreased. The other qualifications are based around the severity or lack thereof of the injury at the time benefits were originally decided.
Up for Reexamination? Don't Panic
Having your claim reviewed later on is not necessarily a guarantee of lessened benefits. In some cases, the VA may choose to increase benefits, if your needs have increased.
If you are planning to request an increase in disability benefits from the VA, do keep in mind that they may choose to decrease your amount instead, if they find that your medical condition has improved over time. It's important to ensure that you have representation before the VA's review from someone who understands the complexities of VA disability benefits and what changes may be made over time.
Need Help With VA Disability Claims? Give Us a Call
At Bluestein Attorneys, our South Carolina Veterans' Disability attorneys understand that legal issues within the military are very different from legal issues outside the military — after all, they're veterans themselves. Whether you're looking to make a claim for disability benefits, need your current benefits defended, or are looking for other representation for VA-related concerns, we are here to help. Request your free consultation today by giving us a call at (803) 779-7599 or contact us online at any time!