Determine exactly what your current ratings are before you proceed.
Did out those original award letters so that you know exactly what sort of benefits and ratings you have. Don't just guess at it, get the facts. You may need to check your records at the
This will be a good time to initiate the VA Form 21-0966
Using the VA Form 21-0966 will establish the effective date of your claim to increase the ratings of your existing benefits. Form is
Look at the ratings table for your existing benefit.
The Schedule For Rating Disabilities
is your guide to what you may be eligible for.You may learn that your current rating is already at the maximum or that you're current rating is seriously deficient. You have to research it to know.Gather your evidence and records to support the increase.
If there are civilian medical records, you have to gather those for yourself.Do not rely on VA to obtain your civilian records.Consider having an IMO completed.
The IMO is the most efficient way to provide evidence in support of your claim.It's time to file the claim.
VA Form 21-526EZ
Be as precise as you can to describe just what it is that you want.
Provide supporting evidence.
Congratulations! You're done.
Proceed With Caution
Any time we ask VA to open our file to make any adjustment, we open ourselves up to a complete review of all ratings. Many veterans get an unpleasant surprise when they discover that their request for an increase leads to a proposal to decrease a rating.
You have an absolute right to be rated appropriately for each disabling condition you may have incurred during your honorable military service.
If you feel that your rating is not correct for your condition, by all means seek an increase.
Before you do...be sure that you can't lose.
Check your current condition's symptoms against the standards you find in
The Schedule For Rating Disabilities
. Match your physical or mental health status to the ones you find there.
If you are confident that you can prove your entitlement to a higher rating, go for it. If not, sometimes sleeping dogs are best left to just lie there.Do you have a temporary 100%
Do you need it raised to 100% Permanent and Total so that you may collect the
Chapter 35 DEA benefits
I asked a senior RVSR (Ratings Veterans Service Representative-a rater) to comment on this topic. Many VAWatchdog visitors are writing in to ask why they aren'tP & T and why they don't have the 100% P & T benefits? Most of those disabled veterans have a mental health problem as their highest rating. Most are under the age of 55 years old.
I asked the rater why he doesn't offer a 100% rating...TDIU or Schedular...rather than a rating where future exams are scheduled.His reply is here...
TDIU P&T is a problematic issue, particularly with mental health issues. It places RVSR’s between a rock and a hard place at times. It is much easier to determine the long term outcome for someone with physical disabilities.
It is not that we do not want to give a Veteran what he is entitled to but there is always the underlying concern that we are encouraging dependence on the VA and not providing the Veteran any motivation to become a productive member of the workforce. A major problem with Veterans from the most recent conflict is that many went in so young that they had no work skills in the first place. Now they are out of the military and the question becomes whether or not the Veteran truly cannot work nor has the potential if he or she learned some skills. Also, we both know the job market is not that great. The general rule of thought (nothing on paper) is that the 20-40 year old group has the potential for re-entry into the workforce.
There are occasions where it is clear that the Veteran’s mental health issues will never get better and P&T can be granted at the time of the initial rating decision but that it rare. Under 38 CFR 3.327, we cannot conduct a review examination for anyone over 55 unless the circumstances areextraordinary or mandated,as with the regulation that requires review of a Veteran’s status 6 months after the completion of cancer treatment.
It is the age 40-55 group that is toughest to address. A couple of years ago VBA mandated that no review examination could be conducted before 5 years unless there is special circumstance or a regulation.
If, after 5 years, the Veteran has improved, we still have to wait another 18, 24 or 36 months to get a second review before determining that improvement is sustained. That means that if a Veteran shows even a little improvement, he has to wait for a total of about 7 years before a final P&T decision is made.Another reason for delaying a P&T evaluation is that there is a time limit to chapter 35 benefits and so you want to grant that benefit at the time it will be of the most use to the Veteran.
Under Chapter 35, dependents are allowed 45 months of full-time benefits. Spouses have 10 years from the date of the veteran's effective date of permanent and total disability rating or the veteran's death. Dependents' benefits end on their 26th birthday or eight years from the veteran's effective date of permanent or total disability rating or the veteran's death, but not after the dependent's 31st birthday. If the kids are 2 & 3, those Chapter 35 benefits won’t be of much use until many years later. Unfortunately that delays the ChampVA benefit also. If the Veteran with small children has a physician who will clearly state that his/her potential for seeking and maintaining gainful employment is slim to none and the ChampVA benefits are what is most important to him/her, a claim for P&T can be made before the 5 year period is up.
If the Chapter 35 benefits are most important, it is in the Veteran’s best interest to wait it out until his/her children are of age to use the benefit and then file the P&T claim with the medical evidence.
If the Veteran does not have a strong statement from his physician or psychologist that gainful employment is not possible, it is best for the Veteran to leave the issue alone as there is the risk of a reduction.
I hope this explanation helps.
Chapter 35 Dependents Educational Assistance
CHAMPVA Policy Manual
Would VA give me a higher rating and if so, how do I begin?
My two disability ratings are for my knees. I was Airborne and my knees got the worst of it. I've managed to get along for all these years with physical therapy, a limited amount of walking and pain medicine as needed.
But now, as the years have gone by, my knees are much worse than they were when they were originally rated. My civilian doctor tells me that he can replace both knees during the same operation so that I only have to spend time recovering once.
It seems to me that I should have a higher rating now that my knees are completely failing me. Would VA give me a higher rating and if so, how do I begin?