VA disability ratings for service-connected injuries or illnesses range from 0% to 100% and are awarded in 10% increments. A higher percentage rating results in additional monthly compensation, so many Veterans find themselves wondering how to increase their rating when they’re having trouble making ends meet.
If it’s been less than a year since your initial request for benefits was approved, you will need to complete the appeals process to obtain a higher rating. If it has been more than a year, the re-evaluation is referred to as a request for reconsideration.
Obtaining a Higher Rating by Adding Secondary-Service Connected Disabilities
Adding secondary service-connected disabilities is often an effective way to increase your disability rating. Many common secondary conditions are considered high-value claims because they have a good chance of being rated at 30% or more on their own. Sleep apnea, PTSD, generalized anxiety disorder, and migraines are some examples of conditions that can increase your rating but are often overlooked by Veterans when they are preparing their claims.
Using Buddy Statements to Strengthen Your Case
While strong medical evidence is essential for a successful claim, buddy statements can also play a key role. Statements from friends, family, co-workers, and others can help support your account of how your condition has worsened. This is particularly important if you are seeking Total Disability Individual Unemployability (TDIU) benefits because you’re no longer able to hold substantially gainful employment.
It is not advisable to attempt to secure an increase in your rating if you don’t genuinely believe your condition has deteriorated. Asking the VA to re-evaluate your rating opens your entire file up for review. If the VA finds an error in the original case or believes your condition isn’t as serious as they originally thought, it’s possible your rating could decrease.
We’re Here to Help
Veterans benefits lawyer Sean Kendall and his team are committed to helping Veterans access the benefits they need to provide for themselves and their families. Contact our office today to schedule a free, no-obligation initial consultation.