For disabled veterans interested in getting the best possible benefits from the Department of Veterans Affairs (also known as the VA), their disability rating is key. However, many veterans get a lower disability rating than they might otherwise be entitled to, which can only be fixed with an appeal. But what does it mean to appeal your VA disability rating, and why might you want to appeal your rating in the first place?
What is the VA Disability Rating?
Your VA disability rating is the way that the VA measures the extent and severity of the disabilities you received as a result of your military service. This rating is measured as a percentage, going up in increments of 10%, as the severity of your conditions get worse. At 100% disability, you are considered to be entirely disabled and unable to work, granting the maximum benefits available.
What Does it Mean to Appeal Your Disability Rating?
When you appeal your disability rating, you are telling the Department of Veterans Affairs that they rated the severity of your disability incorrectly, and asking them to correct it. This is fairly similar to appealing a denial of benefits, except instead of reversing a denial, you are looking to increase the benefits you are already receiving. When you file the appeal, it moves your claim to one of several authorities, allowing new eyes to see your claim, and potentially giving you the opportunity to submit new evidence backing up your claim.
Why Would You Appeal Your Disability Rating?
The most basic reason to appeal your disability rating is that the VA made some kind of mistake in their original evaluation, which you want to correct. However, it may also be that you have since obtained new medical or scientific evidence backing your claim since you first applied for VA disability benefits, and you want them to reconsider their decision based on that evidence. It is also possible that your disability has worsened since you were first evaluated, meaning it may be appropriate to have your rating increased to match.
How Can You Appeal Your Disability Rating?
In order to file an appeal, you first need to have some kind of legal grounds for seeking an appeal. You will also need evidence that can back up your claims. Ultimately, the way to get the best chance at increasing your disability rating is to contact a lawyer with experience handling VA disability claims. They can assist you with filing an appeal, and argue on your behalf to give you the best chance possible at success.
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.