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How Long Does VA Disability Last? Your Questions Answered
How Long Does VA Disability Last? Your Questions Answered
How Do I Qualify For VA Disability Benefits?
Any military Veteran with a service-connected disability can qualify to receive tax-free disability benefits from the Department of Veterans’ Affairs (VA). The VA gives disability benefits to disabled Veterans based on the severity of their disabilities.
The Department gives any Veteran with a service connected disability a specific rating between 0% and 100%. This rating directly corresponds with the severity of a Veteran’s disability status and how much they will receive in tax-free benefits each month. If you are approved to receive monthly disability compensation from the VA, it means you have been given at least a 10% disability rating.
The VA grants benefits to disabled Veterans in an effort to provide them with the financial support that their disabilities may prevent them from getting otherwise. Many disabled Veterans have conditions that prevent them from working, maintaining healthy relationships, and functioning in everyday life.
These disabilities may be either physical or psychological – the only criteria that the VA has for granting benefits to a Veteran is that their disability has a direct link to their military service. Once the VA has established a connection between a Veteran’s disability and their military service, the Department will determine the disability rating to grant that Veteran. The rating that a Veteran receives corresponds with a certain amount of monthly benefits.
Financial support from the VA can be life-changing for many disabled Veterans. Because physical and psychological disabilities can be so debilitating for many Veterans, job security and financial stability are often difficult to maintain. Many Veterans have dependents to support and must also take care of themselves.
If a Veteran’s disability makes it impossible for them to work, disability benefits from the VA can provide them with a means of supporting themselves and their loved ones. You may be eligible to receive a high disability score from the VA if you have a severe service-related disability that makes it difficult for you to work, maintain relationships, and fulfill your daily responsibilities.
How To File A Disability Claim
The process of filing a VA disability claim starts with filling out an application, which you can download from the VA’s website. After filling out your application, you can either drop it off in person or mail it to your regional VA office to file your claim. You can also apply online at the VA’s eBenefits website.
The VA asks for a few specific documents to be attached to any VA claim. These include your military personnel records, your military medical records, and any medical evidence that can support your claim. The medical evidence attached to your claim can include X-rays, lab reports, test results, and notes from your doctor. The VA will consider any submitted evidence when reviewing your claim and deciding whether it should be approved or denied.
The VA will ask you to visit your regional VA office for a Compensation & Pension (C&P) exam to further investigate your claim. During this exam, you will be evaluated by a VA doctor, who will assess your condition to determine whether your disability is diagnosable. The C&P exam also helps the VA determine whether there is a verifiable connection between your military service and your disability.
When Can I File A Disability Claim?
You can file a claim for disability benefits as early as 180 days before you retire from the military. If you file your claim sooner than 90 days before you leave the service, you can qualify to apply through the Benefits Delivered on Discharge (BDD) program. The VA offers this program so that Veterans suffering from service-connected disabilities can start getting financial support as soon as they reenter civilian life. The BDD program can make the transition into civilian life much easier for disabled Veterans.
If you are someone with a service-connected disability that developed after you left the military, you can still file a disability claim and potentially qualify for benefits. There is no time limit on the window for filing a disability claim. However, it’s always best to file your claim as soon as you can – the sooner you file, the sooner you can start qualifying for benefits.
How Long Will My VA Disability Status Stay Active?
If you have been approved to receive disability benefits from the VA, your compensation will keep coming each month as long as your disability status remains unchanged. In some cases, the VA will re-evaluate your disability status after a certain period of time. This re-evaluation can result in a change in your disability rating or discontinuation of benefits.
Sometimes, the VA assumes that a Veteran’s condition has improved over time. If the VA thinks you have made a full recovery in the time since you first applied to receive disability benefits, they may send you a letter requesting a reevaluation. You might even wrongfully lose your VA disability benefits if you fail to show up for the scheduled reexamination..
There are many Veterans that have had their disability ratings lowered or their benefits cut off by failing to demonstrate that their condition did not improve. This is because the VA assumed that a Veteran’s condition had improved over time. Meanwhile, many Veterans continue to suffer from severe disabilities without receiving the compensation that they deserve.
The VA’s practice of lowering disability ratings by default is not intended to harm Veterans or leave them in financial distress. The Department of Veterans’ Affairs will sometimes reduce Veterans’ disability ratings because they believe that some Veterans will recover from their disabilities and be able to function normally again in work and everyday life. However, if your disability benefits have been reduced you are still dealing with the adverse impacts of your disability, it’s essential to contact the VA and appeal their decision to change your disability status.
5 Tips For Receiving The Disability Benefits That You Deserve
To qualify for the compensation you deserve and keep your benefits coming as long as you have your disability, keep these five simple tips in mind.
1. Keep Seeking Treatment For Your Disability
One of the primary factors that the VA looks for when determining whether a Veteran should continue receiving disability benefits is whether they are actively seeking treatment. The VA interprets a Veteran going to doctor’s appointments, therapy sessions, or other forms of treatment as signs that the Veteran is still dealing with the symptoms of their disability. Seeking treatment also indicates to the VA that you are doing what you can to improve your condition and recover. Seeking treatment will help you keep your disability status the same over time.
2. Appeal A VA Decision If Necessary
Sometimes, the VA approves a Veteran’s claim for disability benefits but does not give that Veteran a high enough disability rating. If you believe that the disability rating you have received from the VA is too low, you can appeal the VA’s decision with the help of an attorney. Berry Law’s team of dedicated attorneys can work alongside you throughout the appeals process, helping you make a strong case to the VA that your rating should be raised.
3. Notify The VA If Your Symptoms Get Worse
If the symptoms of your disability start getting worse, it’s essential to let the VA know about the change that has occurred. If your condition has become more debilitating than before, it may mean that you can qualify for a higher disability rating. To get the benefits that you deserve, notify the VA any time that your condition worsens. Ensure your claim with medical evidence – getting a note from your doctor that confirms the change in your condition can help make a case to the VA that your rating needs to increase. You may be required to undergo an additional C&P exam if your symptoms get worse and you request a higher rating.
4. Include Secondary Conditions In Your Disability Claim
Your disability rating can be cumulative, meaning it can result from a combination of multiple service-connected disabilities. In addition, secondary conditions can also contribute to your VA disability rating. A secondary condition is a physical or psychological problem that was caused or worsened by a service-related disability. Secondary conditions are easy to overlook when filing a disability claim, but they can play a key role in getting all the benefits you deserve.
5. If Your Claim Is Denied, Don’t Give Up!
If the VA denies your claim for disability benefits, it doesn’t necessarily mean that you are stuck with their decision. The VA denies a lot of claims, and we have helped thousands of Veterans successfully appeal unfavorable VA decisions. You can appeal any VA decision – a denial of your claim, a disability rating that is too low, or discontinuation of your benefits – to potentially get a better outcome for your claim.
Berry Law’s team of attorneys can help you make any form of VA appeal. We’ll do what we can to help you get the benefits you deserve, even if your claim has been denied.
Established in 1965 by Vietnam War veteran and attorney John Stevens Berry Sr., Berry Law Firm is a team of veterans dedicated to defending, safeguarding, and fighting to protect the rights of veterans. Over the decades, thousands of veterans from across the country and all branches of the military have trusted our firm with their cases and, more importantly, their futures.