In this page we’ll go over what the VA Disability 5 Year Rule is, why it matters for veterans, and what other disability ratings rules apply and when.
The US Department of Veterans Affairs has the ability to increase, decrease, or terminate a veteran’s disability benefits during a re-examination. With most disabilities, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) is allowed by law to re-examine a veteran to determine what a veteran’s disability rating is. Some veterans are excempt from these, these are veterans with a Permanent and Total (P&T) disability rating.
The VA disability 5 year rule can have a huge impact on a veteran’s right to have much needed disability benefits. Many veterans are well aware of how much of a bureaucratic hassle it can be to deal with the VA. Having benefits denied or decreased is for many veterans simply not an option. If you’re dealing with any issues related to VA disability benefits contact VA Disability benefits attorney Travis Juneau to set up a consultation. Travis is based out of Tuscaloosa and practices throughout Alabama.
What is the 5 year rule? And, does it affect you?
If the VA determines that a veteran’s disabilities can or will heal over time then they have the ability to re-examine a veteran within 5 years of any initiatial examination and determination. The reasons for this is because not all service connected disabilities are permanent. Some veterans are protecgted from the VA’s right to re-examine but only if they’re deemed to have a P&T disability rating.
If during the initial disability examination the VA determines that a veteran’s condition can improve over time, then they will like re-evaluate within 5 years of the initial exam.
After the initial 5 year period, if a veteran’s rating has not been changed, then the VA cannot reduce a veteran’s disbaility benefits unless it’s proven the condition has shown sustained improvement. This is meant to protect veterans. After 5 years a veteran’s disability rating is considered stabilized. This is the 5 year rule.
How a VA re-examination works
The VA can schedule a re-examination to determine how much a service connected disability affects a veteran’s ability to function and their quality of life. During a re-examination a veteran’s VA Disability Rating is being evaluated. If a vet doesn’t attend this examination then the VA can reduce or terminate VA disability benefits.
What happens if your rating is reduced unfairly?
If the VA believes that a reduction in your VA disability rating and thus your benefits is an appropriate course of action then they must warn your with time. If they give notice to a veteran than their rating could be reduced then the veteran has 30 days to request a hearing. They also have 60 days to submit evidence that a reduction is unwarranted.
This process is not simple. You’ve got yourself to take care of, potentially other’s also rely on your. You can’t get bogged down fighting against the VA. Give us a call, we’re a Veteran led VA disabilities and benefits law firm. If you’re struggling to get help call us today.