Yes. In most cases, a veteran need only write a letter to his or her VA regional office requesting an increased disability rating. However, veterans should be aware that requesting an increase could result in a decrease in benefits.
When you request an increase in your disability rating, the VA will closely examine:
- Any new evidence. Many service-connected disabilities can get worse over time, but it is up to the veteran to prove the extent to which his condition has deteriorated. The VA will look at the reasons you believe you are entitled to an increased rating, the supporting medical evidence you provide in your request, and also any evidence showing how your disability has affected your ability to earn a living. If your rating has increased to the point where you are completely unable to work, you may wish to consider a claim for total disability based on individual unemployability (TDIU).
- All past medical records. While the VA is required to examine all new evidence you provide, it may also examine past medical records as a basis for comparison. The VA may look at medical records submitted with your original claim, as well as supporting evidence you submit while you are waiting for your claim to be approved. If the VA denies your claim based on records that are several years old, you can appeal the decision or request a new medical examination.
- A new medical evaluation. The VA has a duty to assist claimants in filing their claims. Part of this duty is providing an updated medical evaluation to veterans whose medical records do not reflect their current condition. If you can show evidence that your service-connected disability is noticeably worse, the VA should allow you to undergo a new evaluation to support an increased rating claim.
Our VA Attorneys Can Answer Your Questions
If you need to request an increase in disability rating or need help appealing a decrease in benefits, contact the attorneys at Cuddigan Law today at 402-933-5405. For more information on filing a successful claim or appealing a decision click here to order our free book, The Essential Guide to VA Disability Claims.