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High Initial Ratings?



Hey Veterans,

It seems based on what I've been reading that the VA always low balls the initial ratings on claims that are newly granted. Then after retro is paid at the low rate the veteran appeals and gets the higher rating that they deserved to start with.

What would be your guess of the percentage of vets that are done this way?

Has anyone heard of the VA rating a veteran appropriately or a high rating from the beginning???

Thanks for your input,


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  • HadIt.com Elder

There is not really any proof to that but I will say that the majority of Veterans were lowballed on their initial claims including myself.

I know of at least 20 if not more here that were lowballed.


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  • HadIt.com Elder

I was denied than lowballed, than lowballed and lowballed again and than granted. Took 5 and 1/2 years and than now still 27 months short of the right effective date

Edited by Pete53 (see edit history)
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It often seems to be the pattern but a vet can avoid being low balled if they make sure they tell VA ( and send copies of it) of all evidence that shows they deserve a specific rating.

There is nothing wrong with stating the percentage you feel the Schedule of Ratings would show when compared to your medical evidence.

I had a vet some time ago who insisted that VA would consider his secondaries and rate them.This was a diabetes claim- and the VA seems to low ball diabetes claims a lot-

BUT the reality is the vet cannot depend on them in any way at all to realize that the veteran's secondaries are directly due to diabetes.

The fact that he had heart disease and cataracts with no other etiology but for the diabetes- caused this vet to insist (because he didnt want to send them more letters)

that in his opinion they would grant these obvious secondary conditions.He didnt heed my advise to amend his claim and he could have easily gotten a medical statement for free from his private diabetes doctor.

Months later he called me, furious with his low ball rating.

He put too much faith in them.They never considered his secondaries because he never formally claimed them. As obvious as they were- that doesnt matter to the VA.

As miserable as it can be to decifer the schedule of ratings and compare them to your established medical evidence- still a vet can get what they ask for-rating wise if they take the time to do this and/or go over the part of the VCAA letter as to the ratings-

and show them with medical evidence why they should be awarded a specific percentage- based on VA's own rating criteria.

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Hi Berta,

When you say amending a claim do you mean I can alter my original claim to add a secondary condition, that I believe is a result of the original claimed condition. My original claim was for;

"Entitlement to service connection for lumbar disc disease, post lumbar disectomy and lumbar fusion surgery, with residual healed scar, residual pain and limitation of motion and sensory radiculpathy of the lower left extremity, claimed as intractable leg pain".

I did not include the 5 cervical disc surgeries that are also due to Degenerative Disc Disease, and I believe are a result of the disease starting in my back. The AMC has scheduled an exam for me in the coming weeks for that claim. If I did amend the claim how would I do it and would it slow down my claim. They already have all the records in reference to the surgeries on my neck.

Thanks for your reply,


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I agree with you and have followed what hadit members have suggested to the letter. But! you and the other elders also said that if they take time to read the evidence. I think the only reason I have gotten this far is a well prepared claim thanks to you guys. But when the decision is full of misspelled words, contridictions with their own statements by the rater, incorrect transcription of c & P exam, substution of their words for the VA examiners words in the decision, failure to apply the correct rating even though you asked to be rated under it. Just examples of how inept the rater was on my claim. Not to mention on my initial claim it was processed as a death claim and as you can tell I am very much alive. I think they throw us a bone and hope we go away or die.

Edited by kw34 (see edit history)
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Blackbird- it could cause more time to your claim if you added all this now-you would think all of these cervical problems would be considered at the same time-when they read your clinical record for the C & P- (you sure could bring this up as to those neck surgeries-at the C & P)

I need to ask- what do you get SC for now?

Or if you are not getting any SC at all- is there an adequate nexus in your SMRs for these conditions?

Did you specify the main conditions that are service connectable and then state the others as secondary conditions?

The vet I tried to get to amend his claim- he had been on appeal by then for about 10 continuous years.I didnt think an amended claim would matter at that point if it held up his claim.He didnt file it anyhow.All he could do was send them a NOD when they lowballed him.I dont know if he even did file the NOD-this was a very difficult veteran to deal with-and the last one I ever helped locally.At that point my focus was on the ridiculous attorney fee he had and I prepared the NOD on that.They deserved about 100 bucks in my opinion and the VA wanted to send them 8 thousand.BS to that.long story but I raised a very good argument on their fee being too high.VA has a five point criteria for paying attorney fees-something every vet should refer to if they feel the fee is too high.

You could certainly point out the DDD surgeries to the C & P doctor-I am not sure if you should add this formally-because the C & P has been scheduled already-

hope someone else chimes in on this one-

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Hey Berta,

I'm currently not SC for anything. I'm trying to get it for a back injury that occured in Egypt in 1995. I had back surgery 4 months after the injury, then again to fuse the joint in 1998. Was discharged in 1997. The neck surgeries started in 2001 then 2002, again in 2002, 2004, 2008. I have a statement posted in the IMO cat. from my surgeon for the back issue, and from my NCOIC that knew of the injury, just didn't realize how bad it was. I hope that will satisfy the nexus requirement. I will definitely mention the neck problems during exam.

Thanks for the reply,


Edited by blackbird (see edit history)
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It seems based on what I've been reading that the VA always low balls the initial ratings on claims that are newly granted. Then after retro is paid at the low rate the veteran appeals and gets the higher rating that they deserved to start with.

Someone please clarify:

As long as the appeal is filed within a year, doesn't the retro pay get adjusted to reflect the higher rating resulting from the appeal all the way back to the original claim date?

So like for me.....I filed in dec. 07, and was granted 10% in dec. 08. now my appeal will prolly get decided on here shortly, and if it comes back in a higher rating won't I get the retro pay all the way back to dec.07 minus the retro, and monthly amount already collected in the last 9 months?

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