While it can be a huge relief to learn that the Veterans Administration has determined that you are eligible for VA disability benefits, the VA may have the right to reexamine your case and reduce your disability rating and your benefits in the future. However, if you have a VA Protected Disability Rating, you would not have to worry about this much because the VA’s ability to reduce the amount of your payments would be severely limited.
What Is a VA Protected Disability Rating?
In some cases, the VA will grant a Veteran a rating that is a Protected Ranking. When a Veteran has this type of rating, the VA generally cannot reduce the rating unless there are compelling reasons. Here are situations where a Veteran should be granted this protection:
- 100 percent disability. If the VA determines that a Veteran has a 100 percent disability ranking, they cannot reduce his benefits unless he has had a very significant improvement of his disability.
- Five-year rule. If a Veteran’s rating has remained the same for five years, the VA cannot reduce the rating unless there is a substantial improvement in his disability. In making their decision, the VA is required to review all of the Veteran’s medical records and make a determination that the improvement is permanent.
- 10-year rule. When a Veteran’s disability rating has continued for 10 years, the VA cannot terminate his disability benefits unless they can prove the claim was approved due to fraud. In order to reduce his benefits, the VA must prove that there was a significant improvement of the disability that has continued on a sustained basis.
- 20-year rule. Once a Veteran’s disability rating has been in existence for 20 years, his benefits can only be terminated and the rating of his disability can only be reduced if the VA can prove fraud.
How to Protect Your Right to VA Disability Benefits
It is important that your disability is properly rated by the VA when you are approved for benefits and that your benefits are not reduced when you have a Protected Rating. However, you cannot rely on the VA to look out for your interests. Our skilled and dedicated VA disability benefits lawyers are here to collect the evidence you need to prove the seriousness of your disability and to protect your rating from being reduced. To learn more about your legal rights and how we can assist you, start a live chat or call our Roswell office to schedule your free consultation today.