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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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  • Most Common VA Disabilities Claimed for Compensation:   

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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

VA Claims6 Reasons to Keep Pursuing VA Claims and Appeals – AFTER you reach 100%


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Let’s jump right into the answer. Many Veterans perceive the 100% rating as the end of the line. The sign of victory over the Hamster Wheel. But….….is it REALLY over when you get to 100%?  Well, the hard part sure is over….but I think that there  are several reasons to keep on fighting – even after you reach the 100%. Let me tell you about 6 of those reasons…[Reprinted here with permission from Veterans Law Blog ]

Scenario #1:  100% TDIU May Not be Permanent

There are several paths to a 100% rating in VA Compensation – one of the most common is the TDIU 100%. 

TDIU – also known as “Total Disability Individual Unemployability” – is a 100% rating awarded when a Veteran’s service connected disability (or a combination of disabilities) renders that Veteran unable to procure substantially gainful activity. 

You can read more about TDIU on the Veterans Law Blog, or download the Veterans Law Blog’s TDIU Field Manual eBook.

When a Veteran is awarded TDIU, there is no guarantee that TDIU 100% will last forever. 

In fact, if the Veteran does not submit the annual income statements, or if the VA gets evidence that the Veteran is engaged in substantially gainful employment, the VA could reduce the Veteran’s rating to the combined rating in place prior to the TDIU grant.

It is almost always preferable to have a schedular 100% – meaning that your 100% rating is based on the schedule of impairment ratings for disabilities, and not on the circumstances of your employment.

So, even if you get approved for 100% based on TDIU, you might want to give serious consideration to pursuing a schedular 100% rating.

Schedular ratings become “protected” at certain points – again, too much detail for this post – but there are times when the VA can no longer reduce a 100% rating.

Takeaways

  • Do not to pursue a rating % as your goal in your VA Claims and Appeals …. instead seek to service connect every disability that resulted from your military service.
  • When you have achieved that goal – all conditions that can be service connected are, all impairment ratings are properly assessed, and all effective dates are properly selected –  that is when I say a Veteran should stop fighting for the VA Benefits to which they are entitled.

Scenario #4: Protection against Future Reductions

We all know that the VA loves to reduce benefits – often for no reason at all.

There’s not a week that goes by that I don’t talk to at least one Veteran who was rated 100% – schedular – and then the VA comes out of nowhere and reduces them to 0%.

Often, when I dig into the C-File for these Veterans, I find other conditions that were improperly rated in the past, or that the Veteran gave up on when they received their 100% rating.

rly rated, the Veteran might not have seen any reduction in disability compensation  when the VA reduced the rating on another condition.

Here’s an example I saw a couple years back.

A Veteran – presumed exposed to Agent Orange – had both Ischemic Heart Disease and Prostate Cancer.  Both conditions were severe enough that the Veteran should have been rated at 100% for EACH condition.

However, following a VSOs advice, the Veteran gave up his claims and appeals for the Heart and Prostate conditions after the VA awarded TDIU for the Veteran’s back condition. 

A couple years later, the Veteran reported income to the IRS from a side project he was working on.  It wasn’t a lot of income, but it was enough to show that the Veteran was able to participate in Substantially Gainful Activity,  even with his 60% disabling back condition. 

The VA cut his 100% rating down to 60%.  

 

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There are times when VA will grant a veteran 100% schedular and the veteran may still have claims deferred or claims on remand. These claims should also be pursued do to the fact that they can establi

There are times when VA will grant a veteran 100% schedular and the veteran may still have claims deferred or claims on remand. These claims should also be pursued do to the fact that they can establish an SMC payment or early effective dates.

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My rating was retroactive to over 20 years ago. So in theory being 100% P&T it should be protected. I had filed a claim for hearing loss based on evidence of damage in the Army, and the fact that I do wear hearing aids issued by the VA. When I filed the claim my attorneys lost their minds. They seemed to think I was opening a Pandora's box. I let the claim die. I wonder if I should not have. I have some SMC, but they seemed to think I was being petty, and foolish.

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16 hours ago, MikeR said:

My rating was retroactive to over 20 years ago. So in theory being 100% P&T it should be protected. I had filed a claim for hearing loss based on evidence of damage in the Army, and the fact that I do wear hearing aids issued by the VA. When I filed the claim my attorneys lost their minds. They seemed to think I was opening a Pandora's box. I let the claim die. I wonder if I should not have. I have some SMC, but they seemed to think I was being petty, and foolish.

Mike, you should know when filing a claim you don't need an attorney.  Like any POA a veteran has to take charge of his/her own claim to a certain point. If your rating covered a 20 year period than it should have been protected. Now with that said, even though your rating should have been protected, that doesn't mean that VA would not try to reduce your rating.  VA only wins when a veteran doesn't file a disagreement. I am quite sure that there were a lot of veterans that simply did not file a disagreement when VA sent them a proposal to reduce.

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I filed it and they notified the attorneys. I don't really believe there is anything as a "Protected Rating." Having worked at the VA I do know the mindset of some non-Vet civilians over there.

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