26 Oct Can the VA Reduce My Disability Benefits?
If you’ve ever asked “Can the VA reduce my disability benefits?” you need to read this article. The VA can reduce and even terminate disability benefits under limited circumstances, but only after a reexamination. When VA benefits are reduced or terminated, it can be devastating to the recipient veteran, as it could mean a drastic change in lifestyle, the inability to afford standard medical care, and a host of other complications.
The VA May Reduce Your Disability Benefits After a Reexamination
The VA may request a reexamination at any point throughout your treatment, and for any number of reasons. Typically, the VA will request a reexamination if they feel, for whatever reason, that it is necessary to reevaluate the severity of your disability. In order to do so, they may request an extended hospital stay to keep a close eye on you. If you hope to retain your benefits, you have no choice but to comply with the VA’s wishes.
The VA may also request a reexamination of your benefits directly after your initial evaluation. If the VA doctor feels that your disability is one that you can improve from, they may schedule you for future reexaminations—typically two to five years from the date of the decision to grant you benefits—and make adjustments as necessary. Dependent on the reexamination, the VA may reduce your disability benefits.
Finally, the VA may order a reexamination any time they receive additional medical information regarding your disability. If they believe that your disability has gotten better, they will call you in for a reexamination for the purpose of potentially reducing your disability benefits.
Can the VA Terminate Your Disability Benefits?
Veterans’ disability benefits are categorized into Protected Benefits Rates and Unprotected Benefits Rates. Protected Benefits Rates apply to the following:
- Static disabilities, or a condition that will not improve over time, such as blindness or the loss of a limb
- Ratings that have been in effect for five or more years, unless all medical evidence and a reexamination show that a person’s condition has improved on a sustained basis
- Ratings that have been in effect for 20 or more years, unless the VA finds that a disability was fraudulently rated
- 100 percent ratings, unless medical evidence proves that a condition has substantially improved. Even so, the VA has difficulty in reducing the disability benefits of a formerly 100 percent-rated individual.
Even if your benefits are not protected, the VA may have difficulty in reducing your disability benefits after a reexamination, unless the reexamination reveals all of the following to be true:
- There has been an actual sustained improvement in your condition
- This improvement creates an increased function in your life and at work
- The reexamination report thoroughly details your improvement
- The entire medical history of your disability has been reviewed and supports the VA’s evaluation that you have shown marked improvement
With all of that in mind—protected benefits or no—the VA may have a difficult time in reducing your disability benefits, much less terminating them altogether. However, it is still possible.
Contact a Mount Pleasant Veterans’ Disability Benefits Attorney
If you have been sent a notice of reexamination and you fear that your benefits will be reduced or terminated, contact the veterans’ disability benefits attorneys at Klok Law Firm LLC. Our legal associates have years of experience in advocating for veterans’ rights and have helped countless individuals receive and keep the disability benefits they rightfully deserve.
Contact our Mount Pleasant law firm to schedule a consultation today.