When your claim for VA disability benefits is initially approved, the VA assigns your various service-connected conditions a disability rating. This disability rating reflects the VA’s opinion as to how significantly your injuries or health conditions limit your ability to work, and it is your disability rating that determines the amount of benefits you will receive.

Like most everything else in life, your injury or condition is not guaranteed to remain as it is today. Injuries can get worse over time, and the symptoms you experience might increase over the years. A condition that was initially awarded a 20 percent disability rating ten years ago might be rated much differently today.

How to Upgrade Your Disability Rating

Fortunately for veterans, the VA allows you to submit a disability claim to request additional compensation for your injury or condition. Submitting such a claim does not adversely affect the benefits you are already receiving. In other words, so long as your condition has not improved, you would not face a reduction or revocation of your existing benefits if the VA does not agree that your condition has gotten worse. 

To apply for an increased rating, you would submit a new claim which would go through the same approval process as when you filed your initial claim. Because you are alleging your condition has gotten worse, you bear the burden of providing evidence that shows this to be true. Failing to support your claim will almost certainly result in your disability rating remaining the same.

You Have the Same Appeal Rights, Too

Not only is the process for applying for an increase in your disability rating substantially similar to the process for initially claiming benefits, but the appeals process works in a similar way, too. The VA will consider your request for an increased rating and enter a decision. You can appeal that decision if your request is denied entirely or if your disability rating does not increase as much as you feel it should.

Because you would be filing this appeal after February 19, 2019, you would have the option of requesting a Higher-Level Review, filing a Supplemental Claim, or asking the Board of Veterans’ Appeals to review your case. Finally, just as is true with first-time benefits claims, you could potentially avail yourself of all three appeals options.

How Centonzio Law Can Assist Veterans

As a general rule, expect to encounter some resistance from the VA to raising your disability rating and be prepared to provide a robust medical file to support your case. If you have done your best but are still concerned it is not enough, or if your request has been denied, Centonzio Law is eager to step in and help you. 

No matter where you are at in the process, we can advise you and, if necessary, take over presenting your claim. Learn how we can assist your case by calling Centonzio Law at (800) 342-2727, or by completing our online form