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Notified by VA of Impending Rating Drop


DFW_Engineer

Question

Good morning.  I received a letter yesterday stating that the VA noted "some improvement" so they are planning on dropping my service-connected PTSD rating from 50% to 0.  

I am, by no means, better in any way.  I am still on meds (as a matter of fact I am on bigger dosages) and there have been run ins with the law, issues at work, etc in the past couple of years.  Apparantly I missed a re-evaluation meeting 2 months ago  (didn't know I had one) and this appears to be the driving force.

What is the best way for me to approach this?  I figured some of you guys on here have probably dealt with the same thing.  Should I just expect to lose my benefits in a couple of months or is there hope for retaining them?  

I appreciate any expertise or advice anyone may have on this matter. Thank you.

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No, you need to fight it, but I have no firsthand experience do that.  Others here do.  Do some searches here on reduction, but I am sure someone with experience will post.  Good luck!

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you will have to fight it. why weren't you notified? call the va and make sure they have the right address. if they sent it to the wrong address it will be helpful to know.

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I agree with the others here   you need to fight this.

NOD this with in a year by

Request  DRO Hearing   and if your still getting meds and being seen by the VA, & no improvement from the VA Dr's.

 Then the VA is Assuming your disability has improved, if you missed a C&P Request.

if you do nothing then yes  va will reduse you back to 0%

They need medical proof that your sc disability has improved.

because thats the only way they actually can reduse you.

if they are going by you missing the C&P And Assuming your disability has improved they have to Prove it and they have to show Medical Documention from quaiflifed medical Dr's not just one Dr but two for(TWICE) ON RECORD.

 This is there tactic to scare veterans into not fighting them  so they will reduse you back to 0%.

At DRO Hearing take evidence of your disability  the bouts with the law & work and other issues, (Douments) caused from your SC PTSD take your VA Prescribe Meds, theraphy notes ect,,ect,, and your latetest medical records& lay statements from family and friends about your PTSD beheivor

And your reason for missing the C&P Exam.

If your reason is you never recieved the C&P by phone or Mail...its your word against theres   this is why you need to fight it.  and you can win it at your DRO and if you have more evidence showing your disability as indeed increase & is worse then the DRO will probably give you and increase and not a decrease.

Edited by Buck52
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8 hours ago, DFW_Engineer said:

Good morning.  I received a letter yesterday stating that the VA noted "some improvement" so they are planning on dropping my service-connected PTSD rating from 50% to 0.  

I am, by no means, better in any way.  I am still on meds (as a matter of fact I am on bigger dosages) and there have been run ins with the law, issues at work, etc in the past couple of years.  Apparantly I missed a re-evaluation meeting 2 months ago  (didn't know I had one) and this appears to be the driving force.

What is the best way for me to approach this?  I figured some of you guys on here have probably dealt with the same thing.  Should I just expect to lose my benefits in a couple of months or is there hope for retaining them?  

I appreciate any expertise or advice anyone may have on this matter. Thank you.

Immediately reply with disagreement.  I think you have 30 days to respond.

Couple of things to explore.  Have you been rated for more than 5 years?  if so, I don't believe they can reduce you based on one exam or because the condition is "episodic".

So first question.  Have you had the rating for more than 5 years?

Second question.  Have you had a C&P exam?  If not you should consider requesting one (if they not scheduling). 

Third.  If you do go to an exam.  Familiarize yourself with the criteria for 0%, 50%, 70% etc...  Make sure you properly express your symptoms and consider doing so in writing to be officially submitted.

Fourth.  Once you have that consider a DBQ of letter from your doctor or new doctor if necessary to document your current state.

Fifth.  Be careful, but don't panic.  A new exam could yield same rating, or higher rating as well as a lower rating.

 

If you are over 5 years... and have a bad exam, here is a sample response of why they can't lower you immediately.

 

if the rating is a "stabilized rating",in place for more than 5 years, the rating may not be reduced unless all of the evidence in VA records shows that there is "sustained improvement." The nature of conditions such as mental wellness are variable and subject to episodic improvement. One exam does not show 'sustained' improvement.  Given the medication nature of the issue, it's easy for a given day to be a "good day." and another day to be a "bad day."  The protocol for sustained improvement requires at least two exams in a 5 year period.  Accordingly, the requirements under 38 C.F.R. § 3.344(a) and (b) (2014) should apply in this case and would merit multiple exams -  per 38 C.F.R. § 3.344(b) (2014). 

Edited by syne7
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When a Vet misses a re-evaluation exam the VA is required by law to reduce the Vets compensation to zero. This is not an option on their part. The letter you received was a due process letter informing you that this adverse action would go into effect in 60 days. Actually the 1st of the month following 60 days.

All you need to do is submit VA Form 21-4138 Statement in Support of Claim stating that you would like the exam re-scheduled and that you promise to keep the appointment. The VA will postpone the adverse action and re-schedule your exam. 

If you have private medical records be sure to include them with the 4138. Those records alone could allow the VA to rate your claim without an exam.

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I agree with Kgosi - when you miss your re-evaluation exam the VA is required by law to reduce you to 0%.  You need to take the reins here and figure out why you didn't receive the notice.  Was it b/c you failed to update your address?  In the meantime, fill out the VA 21-4138 disputing the rate reduction.  Your PTSD is obviously "non-static" so you are up for the potential reduction but you can fight it.  

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