How we doing hard-chargers, today I thought we’d spend a bit of time speaking about the VA reevaluation process. The Department of Veterans Affairs has the ability to reduce or terminate ones disability benefits under specific circumstances. Most of the time the VA will not do this unless you are first asked to show up at a specific date for a reevaluation.
Understanding VA Reevaluation
A reevaluation can be a medical examination or, if the VA feels necessary to evaluate the severity of ones disability. The VA is legally entitled to require an exam or hospitalization, therefore it would behoove of you to comply with a reevaluation request in order to preserve your benefits.
Once you are awarded disability compensation benefits, the VA will evaluate whether ones disability is such that you should be scheduled for a future reevaluation to determine if ones benefits need to be adjusted. So types of disabilities subject to reevaluation are those that can be expected to make an improvement. If the VA determines that ones disability requires a future reevaluation, the first reevaluation will be scheduled five years from the date of the decision to grant you benefits.
Change in Condition
The VA may also order a reevaluation at any time if there is medical evidence showing that ones disability has improved. If the VA decreases your benefits, you can request an increase if your condition worsens again.
To request an increase in your rating after disabilities, worsen all you need to do is write a letter to the VA regional office stating you believe an increase is needed, from there provide medical evidence to support an increase.
I wanna advise you though, there are times when you request an increase, you will actually end up getting a decrease in benefits. If that happens, you can appeal this decrease the same way that you can appeal a denial of VA benefits.
Notice of Reevaluation
The VA is required to send you advance notice of a reevaluation. If you receive a letter from the VA asking you to attend a VA examination for the purpose of evaluating your disability rating.
This could mean the VA may have decided there is medical evidence on file does not support a continuation of your benefits at your current rate. From there you have 60 days from the date you receive this letter to submit evidence showing a reduction is not warranted.
If the VA fails to send you a notice and decides to reduce or terminate your benefits because you didn’t show up for the exam, you have every right to have your full benefit rate reinstated.
Show Up For Reevaluation
It is imperative that you show up for this examination. If you do not show up, don’t call to reschedule or explain your absence, you are at risk of having your benefits automatically reduced or terminated.
Don’t freak out though as there are times where a reevaluation could actually lead to an increase in your ratings/benefits, BUT this is a rarity, however, this does occasionally happen when a veterans disability has gotten much worse.
When Not to Expect a Reevalutaion
The VA will not ask you to come for a reevaluation, If you are part of one of the groups below. However, should you receive a letter asking you to show up for a reevaluation, call the phone number on the letter you receive to explain why you think you should not have to appear.
VA does not schedule reevaluations for the following veterans:
Over 55 years of age
Static disabilities, such as loss of a limb
A disability resulting from disease that is of a permanent nature
Have been assigned the minimum rating for their disability
Have a combined disability rating, and the individual ratings that were combined are so high that even if one or two of these ratings were reduced, the combined disability rating would remain the same.
If you are not subject to reevalutaion, your disability rating cannot be reduced.
If you do have to attend an examination, the VA can only reduce your benefits in some situations.
Keep your records and be sure to show up to the necessary examinations. I would also ask that you all become a bit more knowledgeable in this area as it could help you greatly.
Isaac J. Hall II