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How to Increase Your VA Disability Rating

If you have been approved for VA disability benefits, you can at any time request an increase in the VA rating for your disability. This may be needed because as veterans age their service-connected conditions could worsen over time. A change in your medical condition can in some cases result in the need to seek an increase. Fortunately, since you have already been approved, this process isn't as extensive as your initial application.

Initial Increase and Non-Initial Increase For Your VA Disability Rating

If your condition worsens within one year of the VA’s decision you may want to consider appealing the decision that determined your rating. If successful, you can have it backdated to the decision date and receive back pay for that time. This is known as an initial rating increase.

A claim for a non-initial increase is usually made after one year and in the event that the condition worsens. In many cases a request for an increase needs to be made because a secondary condition develops or worsens. For example, sleep apnea can be a condition qualifying for VA disability benefits or be a secondary condition to asthma or PTSD. In some cases, any of these conditions could be treated and managed, but if they are difficult to manage or worsen with time, you may want to try to have your VA rating increased.

Medical Evidence and Examination

In either case, it is necessary to provide medical evidence that demonstrates changes in your condition since the time of the initial decision. It is also likely that you will be asked to attend a medical examination through the VA or provide the results of an examination with your own doctor. It is very important that the examination takes place and that you attend. Not attending this examination could possibly lead the VA to determine that your condition has improved and deny your request for an increase.

Can I Get a 100% Disability Rating for Multiple Conditions?

Being granted an increase for your condition or having a secondary condition rated is always a positive step but usually not enough to receive a 100% rating. While it is rare that the VA will raise a rating for a single condition to 100%, it is also rare that ratings for two conditions will result in a 100% rating. This is because of the way in which the VA combines ratings for multiple conditions. In short, the VA percentage rating for the second condition is rated according to the remaining percentage from the first condition. For example, if a veteran has two conditions, each with a 50% disability rating, they won't add up too a 100% rating. The first condition will receive the 50% rating and the second condition will be rated at 50% of the remaining 50%, which is 25%. So the combined disability rating will be 50% for the first condition and 25% for the second, resulting in a 75% VA rating.

Individual Unemployability

One solution to this difficulty in reaching a 100% rating is Total Disability Individual Unemployability, often just known as Individual Unemployability. This can be especially helpful if your increased rating or combined rating reaches 70% or more. A determination of Individual Unemployability can result in disability payments at the 100% rate without actually increasing your rating.

How Can an Attorney Help With VA Disability Claims?

Disabled veterans seeking an increase in their VA disability ratings have a better chance of success when hiring an experienced veterans’ disability attorney. If you are seeking to increase your VA disability rating, the Friedman Firm is experienced with handling VA disability claims and have successfully advocated for increased VA ratings and Individual Unemployability for many of our clients. We are experienced with the methods and strategies to help our clients receive the maximum VA disability benefits available. Contact our attorneys today.

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