Written by attorney Brent Adams

How to Challenge a Veterans’ Disability Rating

Disagree with your disability rating? A veterans’ disability law firm in Dunn, North Carolina may be able to help. Your benefits amount will depend on your disability rating. A higher rating means more compensation, so it’s important that your veterans’ disability claim is filled out accurately and completely to ensure you receive the benefits to which you are entitled.

Appealing a Disability Rating

Seeking legal counsel from a law firm may be a good idea if you plan to appeal your claim. The VA system can be complicated, so it helps to seek counsel from someone who understands it. A lawyer can make sure you have all of the necessary paperwork ready to appeal your rating. If you need to attend a hearing about your case, you will have the benefit of legal representation.

It’s important to file your appeal as soon as possible. You have a year to do so; however, it may be a good idea to get the process started immediately. What’s more, respond to correspondence sent by the VA as soon as you can. Although you may be given a timeframe of 60 days to respond, the sooner you reply, the faster your claim will be re-evaluated.

When you decide to appeal, make sure that you gather everything required ahead of time. You will need to send in a statement explaining the reason for the appeal, so be thorough and provide details. If you have additional information or documentation that can substantiate your claim of disability, include that as well. Medical records may make your case stronger.

The idea of an appeal isn’t to resend information or documents that you’ve already provided. You need to provide new facts or information that may garner the VA taking another look at your application. The new information may be necessary to convince the VA to reconsider its original decision regarding your disability rating.

The Disability Rating and What it Means

Remember that your disability rating is based on the severity of your service-connected medical condition. In order to qualify, you must have received at least a 10 percent rating. Whether or not you have dependents, a 10 percent disability rating will give you $127 each month for the year 2012. It is bumped up to $251 if your rating is 20 percent.

These are set amounts. Benefits are higher when you have a rating of 30 percent, especially if you also have dependents. For instance, without dependents, veterans given a 30 percent rating will receive $389. With children, that would be bumped up to $420, or even further to $469 if you have children and a spouse.

These ratings are assigned in increments of 10 and max out at a disability rating of 100 percent. There could also be special rates applied if you have a more severe injury such as loss of a limb, blindness, loss of an eye, or deafness.

Keep in mind that your benefits could change at some point. After receiving a re-examination, which may be required after a certain period of time, the VA may reduce your rating and benefits if your condition improves. If you develop a new condition related to your time in service, this could also impact your payments.

Appealing a disability rating can be a challenge. Brent Adams & Associates, a veterans’ disability law firm in Dunn, North Carolina, can work with you to make the process easier to navigate. Call 800-849-5931 to set up an appointment.

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