​Can the VA Take Away 100 Percent Permanent and Total Disability?

Veterans Affairs (VA) disability benefits are a lifeline for those who have served in the military. They provide financial support to individuals dealing with service-connected disabilities. These benefits aim to acknowledge and compensate for the challenges Veterans may face due to injuries or illnesses sustained during their service. Among the various disability ratings, achieving a 100 percent permanent and total (P&T) disability rating holds particular significance. 

This rating signifies that your service-connected disabilities are so severe that they prevent you from securing employment. It ensures comprehensive financial support and reflects the profound impact of service-related conditions on your life. 

In this blog post, we will look at the details of this high-stakes rating and explore the potential challenges Veterans may face in maintaining it. Legal assistance can play a pivotal role in safeguarding your rights in the face of potential reviews or reevaluations. It is important to work with a law firm that understands Veterans and lawyers who focus on VA disability benefits. ​

Understanding 100 Percent Permanent and Total Disability

Achieving a 100 percent permanent and total disability rating from the VA means that your service-connected disabilities are so severe that you are unable to work and earn a substantial income. This rating ensures that you receive maximum compensation for the challenges you face due to your military service. To be eligible, your disabilities must meet specific criteria outlined by the VA, and a careful evaluation of your medical conditions is conducted to determine the extent of your impairment. 

The VA represents your disability rating as a percentage, based on how much they determine it affects your overall health and ability to function. This number is used to calculate your compensation rate. You may apply for more than one disability. The VA will use a special calculator to figure your total disability rating for your combined disabilities. This is not just a summation of your scores but is based on a formula. ​

Common Misconceptions About the Permanency of the Disability Rating

It is a common misconception that once granted, the 100 percent permanent and total disability rating is guaranteed for life. After all, it says “permanent” right there in the name. But in reality, while the rating is meant to be stable, certain circumstances may trigger a review, such as improvements in your medical condition. It’s essential to stay informed about potential changes and be proactive in addressing them. 

It is also sometimes assumed that working part-time or engaging in limited activities will automatically lead to a reduction in the rating. This is not the case. If your rating is based on your service-connected disabilities adding to 100 percent permanent and total, you are welcome to work full time if able. If your permanent and total status is based on a finding of individual unemployability, the VA will monitor social security records for income. Part time work may not trigger a review of your individual unemployability award.  

Many Veterans believe this whole process is straightforward and doesn’t require ongoing attention. Unfortunately, the truth is that navigating the VA system can be complicated. It is up to the individual to regularly review and update their medical records, stay informed about VA policies, and seek legal advice when needed. 

As you can see, there are a lot of steps you need to take to ensure your rights are protected. Talking with an experienced VA benefits attorney can help you through the process. Your lawyer can advise you to help you make informed decisions and proactively address any challenges that may arise. ​

What Could Lead to a VA Review?

Whenever you appeal a claim for whatever reason, the VA is able to review that claim even if it is considered static. If the VA provides an examination for that claim, it could trigger a review. It is helpful to have an attorney to help you target which claims should be appealed that could provide benefit, versus which claims are no longer worth the risk for reduction. 

Changes in your medical condition can trigger a review of your VA disability rating. If your health improves or if there are updates in your condition, the VA may reassess your disability status. Get regular medical check-ups and talk to your doctor and other healthcare providers about any changes. If you are proactive in reporting changes in your health, it can help you navigate potential reviews more effectively. 

Another circumstance that may lead to a review is if there are allegations of fraud or misrepresentation in your disability claim. It’s important to be transparent throughout the process and provide accurate information. If there are concerns or misunderstandings, addressing them promptly and honestly is key. This is a good time to talk to a lawyer. Seeking legal advice can be a supportive step to make sure any allegations are clarified, and your rights are protected. 

If your permanent and total status is based on an award of individual unemployability, the VA will monitor social security records for evidence of employment. This can trigger a review and potential reduction. Not all employment will discontinue an award of individual unemployability, and it is important to keep the VA updated on any changes in your employment status. 

Awareness is also key. Being aware of the circumstances that can trigger a review allows you to take an active role in your VA disability claims. Remember, staying informed and seeking assistance when needed are valuable tools to protect your rights in the VA system.​

Challenging a VA Decision

You may find yourself facing a rating reduction that you disagree with. You can appeal the decision. According to the VA, you can request a Board Appeal, Supplemental Claim, or Higher-Level Review decision. You can’t request two higher level reviews in a row for the same claim. 

Common grounds for appeal include:

  • Insufficient evidence: If the VA’s decision is based on inadequate or incorrect evidence, you have the right to challenge it.
  • Error in application of the law: If there’s a mistake in interpreting or applying the relevant laws and regulations to your case, it provides a valid basis for appeal.
  • Failure to consider all evidence: If the VA overlooks essential medical evidence or fails to consider all aspects of your case, you have grounds to appeal.

When challenging a VA decision, presenting strong medical evidence is extremely important. This evidence should clearly demonstrate the severity and impact of your service-connected disabilities. Here’s why it matters: 

Strong medical evidence helps validate your claim about the extent of your disabilities. This provides a solid foundation for your appeal. If there are changes in your medical condition, detailed and up-to-date medical records help clarify and support your case during the appeal process. 

Well-documented medical evidence enhances the credibility of your claims, making it more likely for the VA to recognize that your appeal is valid. Make sure that your appeal is backed by thorough documentation of your service-connected disabilities. 

The appeal process can be complex. This is a good time to contact a lawyer. There are several avenues for appeal, and an experienced VA benefits attorney can evaluate your unique situation and recommend the best option. This will help keep things moving and make sure your claim is on the right course. ​

How Can a Lawyer Help Protect My 100 Percent Permanent & Total Disability Rating?

In essence, the role of a lawyer is to be a steadfast ally for Veterans, offering proactive intervention, thorough preparation, and dedicated advocacy throughout the complex processes of potential reviews and appeals. Veterans can benefit greatly from the legal expertise and support provided by professionals who understand the intricacies of the VA system.

Lawyers help safeguard your rights by intervening early in the process and preparing for potential reviews. Here are a few of the ways we can help:

  • Monitor changes: Our legal team will be vigilant about changes in VA policies that may trigger reviews. We will also work with you to flag any changes in your medical condition that could spark a review. Early awareness allows for proactive preparation.
  • Documenting evidence: Your attorney can help you gather strong medical evidence to support your claims. We can use this information to build a robust case and preemptively address potential issues that might arise during reviews.
  • Strategic planning: Lawyers develop strategic plans to navigate potential reviews. This puts you ahead of the game, making sure you are prepared and informed about the steps to take in response to any changes in your disability ratings.
  • Legal experience: Our experienced VA disability benefits lawyers are well-versed in VA laws and regulations. This prepares us to precisely navigate the complexities of the appeals process.
  • Communication with the VA: Lawyers can communicate with the VA on your behalf, ensuring that all necessary information is presented clearly and persuasively.
  • Representation in hearings: In cases where hearings are required, lawyers provide representation, presenting compelling arguments and advocating for your rights professionally and effectively.

Contact Berry Law About Your Disability Claim

Veterans deserve every benefit owed to them. At Berry Law, we understand the challenges you face. With our experience in handling claims like yours, we empower you to fight for the benefits you deserve. We help you navigate the complexities of disability claims, ensure you meet all requirements to qualify for disability benefits, gather essential evidence for your case, and advocate for the maximum benefits you have earned. 

Our team is ready to stand by your side, just as you’ve stood for our country. Call our legal team at 888-883-2483 or fill out our online contact form. We represent Veterans in all 50 states and our legal team is available to you 24/7. Your fight is our fight. Let’s secure the benefits you deserve together.

John S. Berry,
John S. Berry, VA Disability Lawyer
Berry Law

The attorneys at Berry Law are dedicated to helping injured Veterans. With extensive experience working with VA disability claims, Berry Law can help you with your disability appeals.

This material is for informational purposes only. It does not create an attorney-client relationship between the Firm and the reader, and does not constitute legal advice. Legal advice must be tailored to the specific circumstances of each case, and the contents of this blog are not a substitute for legal counsel.

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