What if you don’t agree with the VA’s disability rating?

On Behalf of | Nov 25, 2022 | Military Law

The United States Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) helps administer benefits and manage claims made by those who have served in the military. The VA operates its own medical facilities and will provide support for conditions ranging from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) to traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) suffered because of concussive force.

Chemical exposure, traumatic injuries like amputations and other medical conditions related to someone’s service can qualify them for medical benefits even after they end their active-duty service. Sometimes, injuries and medical conditions caused by someone’s service will lead to a permanent disability. The VA evaluates those who claim to have a disability and gives them a rating.

What can you do if you disagree with the VA’s decision about your disability rating?

You can appeal the original decision

The good news for veterans struggling to work or unable to support themselves at all because of a medical condition related to their service is that they have the right to appeal an unfavorable decision. Factors ranging from personal bias to inadequate medical documentation could lead to an improper determination by the VA.

The VA expresses disability ratings in a percentage form, and the organization combines the percentages from separate disabling conditions to determine someone’s total disability rating. That rating determines how much you receive in disability benefits.

Especially if a slight increase in your rating would push you into a higher category for disability benefits or make you eligible for regular payments when you currently are not, pursuing an appeal can be a worthwhile endeavor.

Injured veterans may struggle to build their own claims

Trying to take on the VA while simultaneously depending on the organization for benefits and support can be a real challenge. Not only are you at a disadvantage when it comes to understanding the law, but it can be hard to be calm when advocating for yourself in a hearing that will determine how much income your household has for the foreseeable future.

Veterans who attend disability appeals with professional support will have an easier time presenting the best case possible and can increase their chances of success. Appealing an unfavorable disability rating determination by the VA could help you increase the benefits you receive or qualify for benefits that you do not currently get.