If you believe your medical condition has worsened since the VA assigned your impairment rating, you may file a claim for an upgraded rating, which, if approved, will make you eligible for higher monthly compensation. For your claim to be successful, you must have clear and substantial evidence showing your current condition meets the VA’s criteria for the higher rating you are seeking. A VA disability attorney can help you with this process.
If the VA believes your claim has merit, it will either upgrade your impairment rating, leading to higher compensation, or ask you to undergo a compensation and pension (C&P) exam with a VA-appointed doctor. If requested, you must attend this exam, or the VA will not consider upgrading your rating. For a free VA disability attorney case evaluation with the Disability Advantage Group, call 865-566-0800 today.
Why File a Claim for an Updated VA Impairment Rating
Your VA impairment rating determines your monthly disability compensation. And the amount you receive varies widely, starting at less than $200 a month for the lowest compensable rating of 10%, and increasing, as of 2018, to nearly $3,000 a month for a 100% rating, which signifies total disability. Moving up even one level on the rating scale sometimes amounts to an increase of several hundred dollars a month in compensation.
If, based on your current medical condition, you qualify for a higher impairment rating than your current one, you are leaving money on the table every month you put off fighting for a higher disability rating. It is worth your time to sit down with a VA disability lawyer and discuss your chances of a rating upgrade as well as how to go about doing it.
How to File a Claim for an Upgraded VA Impairment Rating
There is no special VA form to file for an upgraded rating. You can submit a letter to the VA explaining why you feel you deserve a higher rating. If you want the VA to take this letter seriously, it must be accompanied by supporting documentation showing your condition has worsened. This evidence may include updated medical records, lab test results, a personal statement from your doctor, and statements from people who observe you regularly, such as your boss or co-workers.
Your VA disability lawyer can review your medical records and compare them to the VA handbook listing for your condition. This lets us determine, one, the highest impairment rating you could be eligible to receive, and two, the best way to go about getting that rating — for instance, the supporting documentation we need, what we need to state in the letter to VA, and so forth.
What Happens at a Compensation and Pension (C&P) Exam
If the VA believes your case has merit but feels it needs more substantive evidence before it can upgrade your impairment rating, it likely will ask you to undergo a compensation and pension (C&P) exam with a VA-appointed doctor. At this medical evaluation, you will not receive a diagnosis, and the doctor will not conduct any sophisticated testing.
Instead, the doctor will physically examine you and ask you questions based on the information in your file. At the conclusion of the exam, the doctor will write up a report of their findings and submit it to the VA. If the report corroborates the information in your claim, you have a strong chance of an upgraded impairment rating. Depending on your condition and the doctor, the C&P exam may take anywhere from 15 minutes to an hour or more.
How a Lawyer Can Help You Upgrade Your VA Impairment Rating
You are not required to have a lawyer to file a claim for an upgraded VA impairment rating, but an attorney can help make your claim stronger and ensure you do not leave out any essential information or documentation. A VA disability lawyer can help you draft the most compelling letter and collect critical supporting documentation. They understand the VA’s handbook and can inform you of the rating you may be eligible to receive.
VA disability lawyers get paid only when receive the benefits you deserve, so there is not an out-of-pocket cost for having attorney representation. You can sit down with a lawyer with no risk or obligation and learn what your options are.
Call 865-566-0800 Today for a Free Case Evaluation With the Disability Advantage Group
The VA disability lawyers at the Disability Advantage Group want to help you make the most of your benefits. If your condition has accelerated since receiving VA disability, we can help you file a claim to get a higher impairment rating. For a free consultation with a member of our staff, call 865-566-0800 today.