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2 Ways An Attorney Can Help To Increase Your VA Rating blog post header

2 Ways An Attorney Can Help To Increase Your VA Rating

The VA system is notoriously complex- If you are looking to appeal a low VA rating or increase your current VA rating you may want to consider hiring legal representation. 

What is a VA Rating?

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) assigns veterans a certain percentage, or rating, based on the severity of their disability.  They use the rating to calculate how much the veteran will be financially compensated monthly by the VA, as well as what benefits they are eligible for. 

Why Do I Want A Higher VA Rating?

A veteran with a VA rating ranging anywhere from 10% to 100% can receive monthly benefits. Generally, the higher your VA rating is, the more benefits you can receive. 

Appealing a Low Rating 

When you first file a claim with the VA to receive service connected benefits, the VA will either deny or approve it. If they approve the claim is you will receive your disability rating. If you feel that your rating is not high enough you have one year to file a Notice of Disagreement (NOD) and appeal the VA’s decision. 

Since you only have one year to make this choice and file for an appeal, it is recommended that you use an attorney. The VA system can be hard to navigate and their appeals process is not any different. With only 12 months to gather a case and prepare evidence and arguments, many veterans feel overwhelmed going at it alone. An attorney familiar with VA benefits and appeals will have invaluable knowledge as well as experience that can make the difference between winning and losing your appeal. 

File a Claim to Increase Your Rating 

If your one year period of time to file a Notice of Disagreement has expired, you can still increase your VA rating. In some cases when veterans file to increase their rating, they did not file their NOD in time. In other cases the veteran’s rating may have been sufficient when they first received it, but now their medical conditions have worsened and they feel they could increase their rating. Either way, the process of increasing your VA rating can be complicated.

Each rating represents a medical condition, and the guidelines differ for each condition. It is important to understand the guidelines and to carefully review your medical documents before filing to increase your claim. An attorney familiar with the VA system understands the ratings, guidelines, and knows what documents to review. This assistance with filing a claim can make the process smoother and increases the odds of a successful claim. 

Downside to Filing a Claim to Increase Your Rating 

When a veteran decides to file a claim to increase their VA rating they are allowing the VA to reopen their entire file. This gives the VA access to all their medical history and records. In some cases, veterans file for a claim hoping to increase their rating- And then actually have their rating decreased. If the VA finds evidence in the veterans file that their medical conditions have improved they could take away some of the benefits that the veterans are receiving. 

This is another reason why hiring an attorney can be crucial to a veteran. An attorney would be able to review all of their documents prior to filing to ensure that the veteran has the proper evidence and documents to win their claim. 

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