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  • 14 Questions about VA Disability Compensation Benefits Claims

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    When a Veteran starts considering whether or not to file a VA Disability Claim, there are a lot of questions that he or she tends to ask. Over the last 10 years, the following are the 14 most common basic questions I am asked about ...
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  • Can a 100 percent Disabled Veteran Work and Earn an Income?

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    You’ve just been rated 100% disabled by the Veterans Affairs. After the excitement of finally having the rating you deserve wears off, you start asking questions. One of the first questions that you might ask is this: It’s a legitimate question – rare is the Veteran that finds themselves sitting on the couch eating bon-bons … Continue reading

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Kray

Appeal

Question

This may be a stupid question but if you appeal your current awarded rating does that give the right of the VA to downgrade your current rating.

Thank you

Ken

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This is NOT a stupid question! The short answer is NO, but it is frankly controversial.

One person pointed out that anytime you appeal, they look at your whole file. And, there is that gnawing feeling..gee what if they reduce me?

I wish I could tell you that never happens, but I can say its rare.

However, did you know ONLY the Veteran can appeal a RO or BVA decsion. The Va cant appeal them if they think you have been rated too high. And, the Veteran can pick and choose which issues to give jurisdiction to the BVA on. The BVA can not adjuticate a claim until/unless the Veteran (or his representative) has specifically given the BVA jurisdiction over the issue, with the timely filing of a NOD and "perfecting" the appeal by timely filing the I9 form.

So, if you were awarded 70% for PTSD but you were denied hearing loss, in the same decision, you can simply file a NOD disputing the hearing loss denial only. That way, the Board wont have jurisdiction over your PTSD claim, but you will have given them the right to appeal your denial of hearing loss.

The VA has to go through a very specific procedure to reduce your rating or severe your service connection. First, they have to give you 60 days notice of the proposed reduction, and you have a right to a hearing to present evidence as to why your rating should not be reduced, should you request a hearing.

If the Va fails to dot any of the i's or cross any t's when they try to reduce you, the court will normally call that reduction void and restore your rating. The bottom line is that, unless you get a "notice of proposed rating reduction" you wont be reduced. However, this does not apply for a "temporary" rating. If you are given 30 days at 100% to recover from your surgery, they can reduce your rating after the 30 days without a proposal to reduce.

I actually am "from a different school". I beleive the opposite is true..that you are LESS likely to be reduced when your claim is in appeals rather than at the RO. Why?

Remember the VA is on a "paper dinosaur" system, where there is only one copy of your file. If your c file is at the BVA, then how is the RO going to reduce you while you are in multi years of appeals? The Board does not adjuticate reductions "in the first instance". In other words they dont look at your file and say...gee, his PTSD rating is too high..we will adjuticate a reduction while he is appealing. NO. The Board does not adjuticate ANYTHING in the first instance unless you sign a "waiver of RO consideration".

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"So, if you were awarded 70% for PTSD but you were denied hearing loss, in the same decision, you can simply file a NOD disputing the hearing loss denial only. That way, the Board wont have jurisdiction over your PTSD claim, but you will have given them the right to appeal your denial of hearing loss. "

When I was awarded secondary by BVA they C&Pd everything again. they both favored me but I can say I was pretty nervous.

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