Every veteran who has received disability benefits through the Department of Veterans’ Affairs (also known as the VA) has received a disability rating along with it. This disability rating is incredibly important, because it is directly tied to how much a disabled veteran and their family may receive in benefits. Here are five things you should know about your disability rating:
- The higher your disability rating, the more benefits you receive
- A disability rating from the VA is measured as a percentage of disability, ranging from 0% for someone who is perfectly healthy, to 100% for someone who is completely disabled. The higher your disability rating, the greater the benefits you are entitled to from the VA. Thus, as a general rule, it is better to have a higher disability rating than a lower one, at least for the purposes of obtaining benefits.
- It does not only reflect the severity of your disabilities
- Unfortunately, it is not enough to simply have a disability and to be a veteran. To receive disability benefits through the VA, you must prove that your disability is related to your military service in some way. This requires having medical records that show your disability did not exist before you entered the military, and did not arise due to circumstances that occurred afterwards.
- Your disability rating is not set in stone
- Just because you have been assigned a disability rating does not mean that it will stay that way permanently. If you have been given a disability rating by the VA, you can ask to have it reviewed under certain circumstances. For example, if your disability worsens over time, you can ask to have your disability rating adjusted to reflect that.
- What disabilities are attributed to military service can change over time
- Many disabilities, in the past, were not covered by VA benefits because they were originally not attributed to military service. However, advances in medical science have helped to tie certain disabilities to military service that might not have been recognized previously. This means that some people who have previously been denied disability benefits might have a chance to receive those benefits now.
- You can appeal the ruling on your disability rating
- Even if you have been denied benefits, or if you have received a rating you believe is too low, that is not the end of things. You can appeal the ruling to seek another chance at getting your benefits, or to get a better rating. However, the process of appealing a decision by the VA can be a complicated one, and you should not attempt it without guidance from an attorney experienced in veterans’ disability law.
The attorneys of Sullivan & Kehoe place a special focus on assisting disabled veterans. Our veterans’ disability lawyers are still available for remote consultation on your legal issues. Call our office at (800) 395-7830 to schedule a consultation in our New York City, Garden City, Kings Park, Riverhead, or White Plains office, or visit our contact page.