Jump to content
Using an Ad Blocker? Consider adding HadIt.com as an exception. Hadit.com is funded through advertising, ad free memberships, contributions and out of pocket. ×
  • 0

TBI Rating Reduction


Joe30045
This thread is over 365 days old and has been closed.

Please post your question as a New Topic by clicking this link and choosing which forum to post in.

For almost everything you are going to want to post in VA Claims Research.

If this is your first time posting. Take a moment and read our Guidelines. It will inform you of what is and isn't acceptable and tips on getting your questions answered. 

 

Remember, everyone who comes here is a volunteer. At one point, they went to the forums looking for information. They liked it here and decided to stay and help other veterans. They share their personal experience, providing links to the law and reference materials and support because working on your claim can be exhausting and beyond frustrating. 

 

This thread may still provide value to you and is worth at least skimming through the responses to see if any of them answer your question. Knowledge Is Power, and there is a lot of knowledge in older threads.

 

spacer.png

Question

    Got a letter from the VA. The DECISION reads: "Evaluation of traumatic brain injury with anxiety disorder, not otherwise specified, which is currently 70 percent disabling, is proposed to be decreased to 10 percent." It was originally granted at 70% on 02/01/2013 with an additional 30% added for migraines on 05/02/2018. VA did a Mental Disorders examination on 4/16/2018, a Review Evaluation of Residuals of Traumatic Brain Injury examination on 1/13/2020, and a Mental Disorders examination on 2/25/2020. None of the exams lasted more than an hour, and, according to the letter, these exams have apparently noted some improvement in those conditions. 

    I am not familiar with the appeals process. Should I request a personal hearing? Just send my rebuttal to the VA? Will my wife suffice as a witness? Do I need a lawyer/representative? Do I have any recourse under the "5 year protected" rule?  

Thanks for any help!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Answers 1
  • Created
  • Last Reply

Top Posters For This Question

Popular Days

Top Posters For This Question

1 answer to this question

Recommended Posts

  • 0
  • Moderator

Yes.  You came to the right place.  I will post the "protections" and, yes they apply at 5 years OR if you are P and T.  Remember this is a proposal not a reduction, but you do need to take action, or you will be reduced.  

First, read this carefully, probably several times:

Quote
§ 3.344 Stabilization of disability evaluations.

(a) Examination reports indicating improvement. Rating agencies will handle cases affected by change of medical findings or diagnosis, so as to produce the greatest degree of stability of disability evaluations consistent with the laws and Department of Veterans Affairs regulations governing disability compensation and pension. It is essential that the entire record of examinations and the medical-industrial history be reviewed to ascertain whether the recent examination is full and complete, including all special examinations indicated as a result of general examination and the entire case history. This applies to treatment of intercurrent diseases and exacerbations, including hospital reports, bedside examinations, examinations by designated physicians, and examinations in the absence of, or without taking full advantage of, laboratory facilities and the cooperation of specialists in related lines. Examinations less full and complete than those on which payments were authorized or continued will not be used as a basis of reduction. Ratings on account of diseases subject to temporary or episodic improvement, e.g., manic depressive or other psychotic reaction, epilepsy, psychoneurotic reaction, arteriosclerotic heart disease, bronchial asthma, gastric or duodenal ulcer, many skin diseases, etc., will not be reduced on any one examination, except in those instances where all the evidence of record clearly warrants the conclusion that sustained improvement has been demonstrated. Ratings on account of diseases which become comparatively symptom free (findings absent) after prolonged rest, e.g. residuals of phlebitis, arteriosclerotic heart disease, etc., will not be reduced on examinations reflecting the results of bed rest. Moreover, though material improvement in the physical or mental condition is clearly reflected the rating agency will consider whether the evidence makes it reasonably certain that the improvement will be maintained under the ordinary conditions of life. When syphilis of the central nervous system or alcoholic deterioration is diagnosed following a long prior history of psychosis, psychoneurosis, epilepsy, or the like, it is rarely possible to exclude persistence, in masked form, of the preceding innocently acquired manifestations. Rating boards encountering a change of diagnosis will exercise caution in the determination as to whether a change in diagnosis represents no more than a progression of an earlier diagnosis, an error in prior diagnosis or possibly a disease entity independent of the service-connected disability. When the new diagnosis reflects mental deficiency or personality disorder only, the possibility of only temporary remission of a super-imposed psychiatric disease will be borne in mind.

(b) Doubtful cases. If doubt remains, after according due consideration to all the evidence developed by the several items discussed in paragraph (a) of this section, the rating agency will continue the rating in effect, citing the former diagnosis with the new diagnosis in parentheses, and following the appropriate code there will be added the reference “Rating continued pending reexamination ___ months from this date, § 3.344.” The rating agency will determine on the basis of the facts in each individual case whether 18, 24 or 30 months will be allowed to elapse before the reexamination will be made.

(c) Disabilities which are likely to improve. The provisions of paragraphs (a) and (b) of this section apply to ratings which have continued for long periods at the same level (5 years or more). They do not apply to disabilities which have not become stabilized and are likely to improve. Reexaminations disclosing improvement, physical or mental, in these disabilities will warrant reduction in rating.

Pay particular attention to the bold and underlined portions.  Your proposed rating reduction should give you instructions.  Are you represented?  If so, contact your representative immedaitely.  Now, you are entitled to a hearing, and at least one attorney suggests just that, ESPECIALLY, if you have a representative to go with you.  

You need to get a copy of your medical records.  

Check to see if:

1.  The exam resulting in the Proposed Reduction (PR) was as thorough and complete as the one where benefits were granted.  

2.  Are they trying to reduce you on one exam?  That is prohibited unless other exams showed improvement also. 

3.  Did they demonstrate you "actually improved" under ordinary conditions of life?  Did you go back to work?  If not, see the above where it says that they cant reduce you if you get better with "prolonged rest", and that means you are not working.  So, it will be tough for them to reduce you if you are not working.  

4.  Remember the burden is on VA to show "actual improvement".  Also, if your rating was continued in 2018 (and it was, if they increased you!) they have to show you improved SINCE 2018.  

5.  It may not be a bad time to get a representative, if you dont have one.  

6.  The regulation makes it crystal clear you are entitled to the benefit of the doubt.  

Edited by broncovet
Link to comment
Share on other sites



  • veterans-crisis-line.jpg
    The Veterans Crisis Line can help even if you’re not enrolled in VA benefits or health care.

    CHAT NOW

  • question-001.jpeg

    Have Questions? Get Answers.

    Tips on posting on the forums.

    1. Post a clear title like ‘Need help preparing PTSD claim’ or “VA med center won’t schedule my surgery instead of ‘I have a question.
       
    2. Knowledgeable people who don’t have time to read all posts may skip yours if your need isn’t clear in the title.
      I don’t read all posts every login and will gravitate towards those I have more info on.
       
    3. Use paragraphs instead of one massive, rambling introduction or story.
       
      Again – You want to make it easy for others to help. If your question is buried in a monster paragraph, there are fewer who will investigate to dig it out.
     
    Leading too:

    exclamation-point.pngPost straightforward questions and then post background information.
     
    Examples:
     
    • Question A. I was previously denied for apnea – Should I refile a claim?
      • Adding Background information in your post will help members understand what information you are looking for so they can assist you in finding it.
    Rephrase the question: I was diagnosed with apnea in service and received a CPAP machine, but the claim was denied in 2008. Should I refile?
     
    • Question B. I may have PTSD- how can I be sure?
      • See how the details below give us a better understanding of what you’re claiming.
    Rephrase the question: I was involved in a traumatic incident on base in 1974 and have had nightmares ever since, but I did not go to mental health while enlisted. How can I get help?
     
    This gives members a starting point to ask clarifying questions like “Can you post the Reasons for Denial of your claim?”
     
    Note:
     
    • Your first posts on the board may be delayed before they appear as they are reviewed. This process does not take long.
    • Your first posts on the board may be delayed before they appear as they are reviewed. The review requirement will usually be removed by the 6th post. However, we reserve the right to keep anyone on moderator preview.
    • This process allows us to remove spam and other junk posts before hitting the board. We want to keep the focus on VA Claims, and this helps us do that.
  • Most Common VA Disabilities Claimed for Compensation:   

    tinnitus-005.pngptsd-005.pnglumbosacral-005.pngscars-005.pnglimitation-flexion-knee-005.pngdiabetes-005.pnglimitation-motion-ankle-005.pngparalysis-005.pngdegenerative-arthitis-spine-005.pngtbi-traumatic-brain-injury-005.png

  • VA Watchdog

  • Can a 100 percent Disabled Veteran Work and Earn an Income?

    employment 2.jpeg

    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

×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

{terms] and Guidelines