Estate Planning

VA Disability Payments: Can They Be Discontinued?

Joel Lim

April 3, 2024

|

va disability payments

The intelligent digital vault for families

Trustworthy protects and optimizes important family information so you can save time, money, and enjoy peace of mind

The Veterans Administration (VA) can reduce or stop disability payments to veterans who have a service-related disability. So, what happens when you receive a notice of reevaluation in the mail or your disability payments are reduced or stopped entirely? 

This guide will help you understand potential reasons why disability payment changes occur. We’ll also explain the reevaluation process for your disability status and what to do if the VA determines your benefits should be reduced or discontinued.


Key Takeaways

  • The VA must have a very clear and compelling reason to change your disability rating, such as significant improvements in your condition.

  • After 20 years, your VA disability rating becomes permanent unless the VA is found to have committed fraud or made a mistake.

  • Typically, fraud, dishonorable discharge, or the fact that you did not complete the required service are the only reasons why the VA can discontinue disability payments.


Can the VA Stop Disability Payments?

can the va stop disability payments

The VA might stop disability payments in some cases. However, several things must happen before they can reduce or end your disability payments.

The VA can stop your disability payments if:

  • You obtained those benefits through fraud.

  • You were dishonorably discharged.

  • You didn’t complete the required service to qualify for benefits.

If the VA granted you benefits but you had a disqualifying discharge type or didn’t meet the service requirements, it’s considered a “clear and unmistakable error” on the VA's part. However, even though the VA made the mistake, they can still stop your disability payments.

The VA might reduce your rating if the following apply:

  • You do not have a protected rate.

  • There is a significant improvement in your disability.

  • That improvement allows you to function better in your life and work.

  • The reexamination report is thorough and covers all bases.

  • The reexamination included a thorough review of your entire medical history related to the disability.

  • You do not show up to the reexamination after it is scheduled.

  • If you go to jail, the VA may reduce your benefits temporarily.


What Are Protected Benefit Rates?

veterans with protected benefit rates

Veterans with protected benefit rates will receive the most protection in their disability payments. These rates make it very difficult for the VA to reduce a veteran’s disability rating even if they must undergo medical reexamination.

Here’s how protected rates work:

  • If your rating has been in effect for five years or more, the VA can only reduce it if your condition is consistently improving. They must believe your improvement is not temporary.

  • If your rating has been in effect for 20 years or more, the VA can only reduce it if it is found to be based on fraud. That’s a very high bar to reach, so those with a rating for two decades or more will likely keep it.

When the VA evaluates your rating, it looks to see if your condition has improved. A small improvement is not enough. The reexamination report must show clear mental or physical improvement. Without that, the VA cannot reduce your rating.

If you’re concerned about your rating being reduced by the VA and losing your benefits, you can get a private physician (someone not affiliated with the VA) to examine you and make their own determination on your disability status. A report from this physician can bolster your case if the VA tries to cut back on your disability payments.

Keep all reports from the VA and your private physicians on Trustworthy so you can access them quickly if you must dispute a disability rating reduction.

It’s important to remember that even if your condition has significantly improved, you might still keep your protected rating if you are unable to work due to a disability related to your service. If you have what the VA terms “individual unemployability,” you will receive a 100% rating.

Keep in mind when a service member dies, their disability payments stop upon their death. However, the VA might not know of the death in a timely manner, and that’s why the family of the veteran must inform the VA. 


What the VA Must Do to Take Away Your Disability Rating

what the va must do to take away your disability rating

To take away the disability rating of someone who doesn’t have a protected rating, the VA must first do a few very specific things:

  • They must send you a notice of the reexamination. This will come with the paperwork you must complete in your response.

  • They must inform you of your option to have a hearing on the matter.

  • They will schedule an examination to determine if your rating is still valid.

  • You must attend that examination. If you can’t make that meeting, you can reschedule within a reasonable time period. If you don’t attend, the VA can stop or reduce your payments until you do.

To reduce or remove your rating, the VA must find new evidence that your condition has improved since the rating was assigned. If you receive benefits based on being unable to work due to your service-connected disability, they could be reduced or withdrawn altogether if you are able to obtain and maintain employment for a period of 12 months.


When the VA Cannot Stop Disability Payments

when the va cannot stop disability payments

Your disability payments for a service-related condition might not be permanent. However, if the condition itself is permanent and you have a 100% disabled rating, they cannot stop your disability payments.

The VA cannot take away your disability payments if you:

  • Have lived with a service-connected condition for at least a decade.

  • Have a disability that is considered permanent.

  • Have a condition that has not improved for 20 years or more.

If your condition is expected to improve with time, you might be evaluated again within 2-5 years after the initial examination that determined your level of disability. During that examination, the VA will determine if your rating is still appropriate for your condition.


What to Do If VA Disability Payment Is Reduced or Stopped

what to do if va disability payment is reduced or stopped

If the VA determines it’s appropriate to decrease your benefits, you will undergo a reevaluation. If they find your condition has improved, they might reduce your rating. If this happens, you will receive a letter detailing what was decided and what your benefits will be moving forward.

If you disagree with their assessment, you can file a notice of disagreement. This begins the formal appeals process. You can appeal within one year of the date the VA mailed your reduction notification.

Casey Walker, an accredited VA attorney and founder at VA Disability Group PLLC, says:

“The notice of disagreement is saying I want to appeal directly to a board of judges. I want my day in court, so to speak. It’s not uncommon for the BVA (Board of Veteran Appeals) judge to award a more favorable decision than the VA, actually, it’s usually the norm.”

Filling out the notice of disagreement form allows you to provide additional evidence for consideration, request a higher-level review of the original claim, or request a hearing in front of a judge.

This is where hiring an attorney and getting your own independent medical evaluation can be quite helpful. Statements from those close to you can also bolster your case. When you keep all of your important documents and records safe with Trustworthy, you can easily find what you need to submit to convince the VA that your disability rating should not be reduced.

The appeals process takes between five months and one year. If the appeal restores your disability rating, you will receive the back pay of benefits that were stopped or offset during the dispute period. However, if the rating is not restored, you can appeal again.


Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Can the VA take away total and permanent disability?

The VA can withdraw your disability rating only under very limited circumstances. These include very significant improvement in your condition, fraud, or a mistake the VA made in determining your service benefit period or your discharge status.

Is VA PTSD disability permanent?

It can be a permanent disability. If reevaluations find that your PTSD hasn’t gotten better or has actually gotten worse, you might be given a 100% rating, which is considered a final rating.

How long until VA disability is permanent?

If your condition hasn’t improved within five years, it is generally assumed it is permanent. If the condition hasn’t improved by the 20-year mark, it is considered permanent by the VA.

Is 50% PTSD a permanent VA disability?

If you are discharged due to PTSD symptoms that are severe enough to make it impossible to perform your service duties and that PTSD was caused or worsened by situations faced during your time in service, you might automatically qualify for 50% PTSD disability.

You will go through reevaluations to determine if your PTSD has gotten better.

How often does the VA reevaluate PTSD?

After you are discharged, you will have a reevaluation within six months. As with other disability ratings, the VA can re-evaluate PTSD within two to five years of the original diagnosis.

Is sleep apnea a permanent VA disability?

Sleep apnea is not considered a permanent disability and can thus be reevaluated at a later date. However, if your sleep apnea has improved or resolved, your benefits might be reduced or stopped.

Estate Planning

VA Disability Payments: Can They Be Discontinued?

Joel Lim

April 3, 2024

|

va disability payments

The Veterans Administration (VA) can reduce or stop disability payments to veterans who have a service-related disability. So, what happens when you receive a notice of reevaluation in the mail or your disability payments are reduced or stopped entirely? 

This guide will help you understand potential reasons why disability payment changes occur. We’ll also explain the reevaluation process for your disability status and what to do if the VA determines your benefits should be reduced or discontinued.


Key Takeaways

  • The VA must have a very clear and compelling reason to change your disability rating, such as significant improvements in your condition.

  • After 20 years, your VA disability rating becomes permanent unless the VA is found to have committed fraud or made a mistake.

  • Typically, fraud, dishonorable discharge, or the fact that you did not complete the required service are the only reasons why the VA can discontinue disability payments.


Can the VA Stop Disability Payments?

can the va stop disability payments

The VA might stop disability payments in some cases. However, several things must happen before they can reduce or end your disability payments.

The VA can stop your disability payments if:

  • You obtained those benefits through fraud.

  • You were dishonorably discharged.

  • You didn’t complete the required service to qualify for benefits.

If the VA granted you benefits but you had a disqualifying discharge type or didn’t meet the service requirements, it’s considered a “clear and unmistakable error” on the VA's part. However, even though the VA made the mistake, they can still stop your disability payments.

The VA might reduce your rating if the following apply:

  • You do not have a protected rate.

  • There is a significant improvement in your disability.

  • That improvement allows you to function better in your life and work.

  • The reexamination report is thorough and covers all bases.

  • The reexamination included a thorough review of your entire medical history related to the disability.

  • You do not show up to the reexamination after it is scheduled.

  • If you go to jail, the VA may reduce your benefits temporarily.


What Are Protected Benefit Rates?

veterans with protected benefit rates

Veterans with protected benefit rates will receive the most protection in their disability payments. These rates make it very difficult for the VA to reduce a veteran’s disability rating even if they must undergo medical reexamination.

Here’s how protected rates work:

  • If your rating has been in effect for five years or more, the VA can only reduce it if your condition is consistently improving. They must believe your improvement is not temporary.

  • If your rating has been in effect for 20 years or more, the VA can only reduce it if it is found to be based on fraud. That’s a very high bar to reach, so those with a rating for two decades or more will likely keep it.

When the VA evaluates your rating, it looks to see if your condition has improved. A small improvement is not enough. The reexamination report must show clear mental or physical improvement. Without that, the VA cannot reduce your rating.

If you’re concerned about your rating being reduced by the VA and losing your benefits, you can get a private physician (someone not affiliated with the VA) to examine you and make their own determination on your disability status. A report from this physician can bolster your case if the VA tries to cut back on your disability payments.

Keep all reports from the VA and your private physicians on Trustworthy so you can access them quickly if you must dispute a disability rating reduction.

It’s important to remember that even if your condition has significantly improved, you might still keep your protected rating if you are unable to work due to a disability related to your service. If you have what the VA terms “individual unemployability,” you will receive a 100% rating.

Keep in mind when a service member dies, their disability payments stop upon their death. However, the VA might not know of the death in a timely manner, and that’s why the family of the veteran must inform the VA. 


What the VA Must Do to Take Away Your Disability Rating

what the va must do to take away your disability rating

To take away the disability rating of someone who doesn’t have a protected rating, the VA must first do a few very specific things:

  • They must send you a notice of the reexamination. This will come with the paperwork you must complete in your response.

  • They must inform you of your option to have a hearing on the matter.

  • They will schedule an examination to determine if your rating is still valid.

  • You must attend that examination. If you can’t make that meeting, you can reschedule within a reasonable time period. If you don’t attend, the VA can stop or reduce your payments until you do.

To reduce or remove your rating, the VA must find new evidence that your condition has improved since the rating was assigned. If you receive benefits based on being unable to work due to your service-connected disability, they could be reduced or withdrawn altogether if you are able to obtain and maintain employment for a period of 12 months.


When the VA Cannot Stop Disability Payments

when the va cannot stop disability payments

Your disability payments for a service-related condition might not be permanent. However, if the condition itself is permanent and you have a 100% disabled rating, they cannot stop your disability payments.

The VA cannot take away your disability payments if you:

  • Have lived with a service-connected condition for at least a decade.

  • Have a disability that is considered permanent.

  • Have a condition that has not improved for 20 years or more.

If your condition is expected to improve with time, you might be evaluated again within 2-5 years after the initial examination that determined your level of disability. During that examination, the VA will determine if your rating is still appropriate for your condition.


What to Do If VA Disability Payment Is Reduced or Stopped

what to do if va disability payment is reduced or stopped

If the VA determines it’s appropriate to decrease your benefits, you will undergo a reevaluation. If they find your condition has improved, they might reduce your rating. If this happens, you will receive a letter detailing what was decided and what your benefits will be moving forward.

If you disagree with their assessment, you can file a notice of disagreement. This begins the formal appeals process. You can appeal within one year of the date the VA mailed your reduction notification.

Casey Walker, an accredited VA attorney and founder at VA Disability Group PLLC, says:

“The notice of disagreement is saying I want to appeal directly to a board of judges. I want my day in court, so to speak. It’s not uncommon for the BVA (Board of Veteran Appeals) judge to award a more favorable decision than the VA, actually, it’s usually the norm.”

Filling out the notice of disagreement form allows you to provide additional evidence for consideration, request a higher-level review of the original claim, or request a hearing in front of a judge.

This is where hiring an attorney and getting your own independent medical evaluation can be quite helpful. Statements from those close to you can also bolster your case. When you keep all of your important documents and records safe with Trustworthy, you can easily find what you need to submit to convince the VA that your disability rating should not be reduced.

The appeals process takes between five months and one year. If the appeal restores your disability rating, you will receive the back pay of benefits that were stopped or offset during the dispute period. However, if the rating is not restored, you can appeal again.


Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Can the VA take away total and permanent disability?

The VA can withdraw your disability rating only under very limited circumstances. These include very significant improvement in your condition, fraud, or a mistake the VA made in determining your service benefit period or your discharge status.

Is VA PTSD disability permanent?

It can be a permanent disability. If reevaluations find that your PTSD hasn’t gotten better or has actually gotten worse, you might be given a 100% rating, which is considered a final rating.

How long until VA disability is permanent?

If your condition hasn’t improved within five years, it is generally assumed it is permanent. If the condition hasn’t improved by the 20-year mark, it is considered permanent by the VA.

Is 50% PTSD a permanent VA disability?

If you are discharged due to PTSD symptoms that are severe enough to make it impossible to perform your service duties and that PTSD was caused or worsened by situations faced during your time in service, you might automatically qualify for 50% PTSD disability.

You will go through reevaluations to determine if your PTSD has gotten better.

How often does the VA reevaluate PTSD?

After you are discharged, you will have a reevaluation within six months. As with other disability ratings, the VA can re-evaluate PTSD within two to five years of the original diagnosis.

Is sleep apnea a permanent VA disability?

Sleep apnea is not considered a permanent disability and can thus be reevaluated at a later date. However, if your sleep apnea has improved or resolved, your benefits might be reduced or stopped.

Estate Planning

VA Disability Payments: Can They Be Discontinued?

Joel Lim

April 3, 2024

|

va disability payments

The intelligent digital vault for families

Trustworthy protects and optimizes important family information so you can save time, money, and enjoy peace of mind

The Veterans Administration (VA) can reduce or stop disability payments to veterans who have a service-related disability. So, what happens when you receive a notice of reevaluation in the mail or your disability payments are reduced or stopped entirely? 

This guide will help you understand potential reasons why disability payment changes occur. We’ll also explain the reevaluation process for your disability status and what to do if the VA determines your benefits should be reduced or discontinued.


Key Takeaways

  • The VA must have a very clear and compelling reason to change your disability rating, such as significant improvements in your condition.

  • After 20 years, your VA disability rating becomes permanent unless the VA is found to have committed fraud or made a mistake.

  • Typically, fraud, dishonorable discharge, or the fact that you did not complete the required service are the only reasons why the VA can discontinue disability payments.


Can the VA Stop Disability Payments?

can the va stop disability payments

The VA might stop disability payments in some cases. However, several things must happen before they can reduce or end your disability payments.

The VA can stop your disability payments if:

  • You obtained those benefits through fraud.

  • You were dishonorably discharged.

  • You didn’t complete the required service to qualify for benefits.

If the VA granted you benefits but you had a disqualifying discharge type or didn’t meet the service requirements, it’s considered a “clear and unmistakable error” on the VA's part. However, even though the VA made the mistake, they can still stop your disability payments.

The VA might reduce your rating if the following apply:

  • You do not have a protected rate.

  • There is a significant improvement in your disability.

  • That improvement allows you to function better in your life and work.

  • The reexamination report is thorough and covers all bases.

  • The reexamination included a thorough review of your entire medical history related to the disability.

  • You do not show up to the reexamination after it is scheduled.

  • If you go to jail, the VA may reduce your benefits temporarily.


What Are Protected Benefit Rates?

veterans with protected benefit rates

Veterans with protected benefit rates will receive the most protection in their disability payments. These rates make it very difficult for the VA to reduce a veteran’s disability rating even if they must undergo medical reexamination.

Here’s how protected rates work:

  • If your rating has been in effect for five years or more, the VA can only reduce it if your condition is consistently improving. They must believe your improvement is not temporary.

  • If your rating has been in effect for 20 years or more, the VA can only reduce it if it is found to be based on fraud. That’s a very high bar to reach, so those with a rating for two decades or more will likely keep it.

When the VA evaluates your rating, it looks to see if your condition has improved. A small improvement is not enough. The reexamination report must show clear mental or physical improvement. Without that, the VA cannot reduce your rating.

If you’re concerned about your rating being reduced by the VA and losing your benefits, you can get a private physician (someone not affiliated with the VA) to examine you and make their own determination on your disability status. A report from this physician can bolster your case if the VA tries to cut back on your disability payments.

Keep all reports from the VA and your private physicians on Trustworthy so you can access them quickly if you must dispute a disability rating reduction.

It’s important to remember that even if your condition has significantly improved, you might still keep your protected rating if you are unable to work due to a disability related to your service. If you have what the VA terms “individual unemployability,” you will receive a 100% rating.

Keep in mind when a service member dies, their disability payments stop upon their death. However, the VA might not know of the death in a timely manner, and that’s why the family of the veteran must inform the VA. 


What the VA Must Do to Take Away Your Disability Rating

what the va must do to take away your disability rating

To take away the disability rating of someone who doesn’t have a protected rating, the VA must first do a few very specific things:

  • They must send you a notice of the reexamination. This will come with the paperwork you must complete in your response.

  • They must inform you of your option to have a hearing on the matter.

  • They will schedule an examination to determine if your rating is still valid.

  • You must attend that examination. If you can’t make that meeting, you can reschedule within a reasonable time period. If you don’t attend, the VA can stop or reduce your payments until you do.

To reduce or remove your rating, the VA must find new evidence that your condition has improved since the rating was assigned. If you receive benefits based on being unable to work due to your service-connected disability, they could be reduced or withdrawn altogether if you are able to obtain and maintain employment for a period of 12 months.


When the VA Cannot Stop Disability Payments

when the va cannot stop disability payments

Your disability payments for a service-related condition might not be permanent. However, if the condition itself is permanent and you have a 100% disabled rating, they cannot stop your disability payments.

The VA cannot take away your disability payments if you:

  • Have lived with a service-connected condition for at least a decade.

  • Have a disability that is considered permanent.

  • Have a condition that has not improved for 20 years or more.

If your condition is expected to improve with time, you might be evaluated again within 2-5 years after the initial examination that determined your level of disability. During that examination, the VA will determine if your rating is still appropriate for your condition.


What to Do If VA Disability Payment Is Reduced or Stopped

what to do if va disability payment is reduced or stopped

If the VA determines it’s appropriate to decrease your benefits, you will undergo a reevaluation. If they find your condition has improved, they might reduce your rating. If this happens, you will receive a letter detailing what was decided and what your benefits will be moving forward.

If you disagree with their assessment, you can file a notice of disagreement. This begins the formal appeals process. You can appeal within one year of the date the VA mailed your reduction notification.

Casey Walker, an accredited VA attorney and founder at VA Disability Group PLLC, says:

“The notice of disagreement is saying I want to appeal directly to a board of judges. I want my day in court, so to speak. It’s not uncommon for the BVA (Board of Veteran Appeals) judge to award a more favorable decision than the VA, actually, it’s usually the norm.”

Filling out the notice of disagreement form allows you to provide additional evidence for consideration, request a higher-level review of the original claim, or request a hearing in front of a judge.

This is where hiring an attorney and getting your own independent medical evaluation can be quite helpful. Statements from those close to you can also bolster your case. When you keep all of your important documents and records safe with Trustworthy, you can easily find what you need to submit to convince the VA that your disability rating should not be reduced.

The appeals process takes between five months and one year. If the appeal restores your disability rating, you will receive the back pay of benefits that were stopped or offset during the dispute period. However, if the rating is not restored, you can appeal again.


Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Can the VA take away total and permanent disability?

The VA can withdraw your disability rating only under very limited circumstances. These include very significant improvement in your condition, fraud, or a mistake the VA made in determining your service benefit period or your discharge status.

Is VA PTSD disability permanent?

It can be a permanent disability. If reevaluations find that your PTSD hasn’t gotten better or has actually gotten worse, you might be given a 100% rating, which is considered a final rating.

How long until VA disability is permanent?

If your condition hasn’t improved within five years, it is generally assumed it is permanent. If the condition hasn’t improved by the 20-year mark, it is considered permanent by the VA.

Is 50% PTSD a permanent VA disability?

If you are discharged due to PTSD symptoms that are severe enough to make it impossible to perform your service duties and that PTSD was caused or worsened by situations faced during your time in service, you might automatically qualify for 50% PTSD disability.

You will go through reevaluations to determine if your PTSD has gotten better.

How often does the VA reevaluate PTSD?

After you are discharged, you will have a reevaluation within six months. As with other disability ratings, the VA can re-evaluate PTSD within two to five years of the original diagnosis.

Is sleep apnea a permanent VA disability?

Sleep apnea is not considered a permanent disability and can thus be reevaluated at a later date. However, if your sleep apnea has improved or resolved, your benefits might be reduced or stopped.

Estate Planning

VA Disability Payments: Can They Be Discontinued?

Joel Lim

April 3, 2024

|

va disability payments

The intelligent digital vault for families

Trustworthy protects and optimizes important family information so you can save time, money, and enjoy peace of mind

The Veterans Administration (VA) can reduce or stop disability payments to veterans who have a service-related disability. So, what happens when you receive a notice of reevaluation in the mail or your disability payments are reduced or stopped entirely? 

This guide will help you understand potential reasons why disability payment changes occur. We’ll also explain the reevaluation process for your disability status and what to do if the VA determines your benefits should be reduced or discontinued.


Key Takeaways

  • The VA must have a very clear and compelling reason to change your disability rating, such as significant improvements in your condition.

  • After 20 years, your VA disability rating becomes permanent unless the VA is found to have committed fraud or made a mistake.

  • Typically, fraud, dishonorable discharge, or the fact that you did not complete the required service are the only reasons why the VA can discontinue disability payments.


Can the VA Stop Disability Payments?

can the va stop disability payments

The VA might stop disability payments in some cases. However, several things must happen before they can reduce or end your disability payments.

The VA can stop your disability payments if:

  • You obtained those benefits through fraud.

  • You were dishonorably discharged.

  • You didn’t complete the required service to qualify for benefits.

If the VA granted you benefits but you had a disqualifying discharge type or didn’t meet the service requirements, it’s considered a “clear and unmistakable error” on the VA's part. However, even though the VA made the mistake, they can still stop your disability payments.

The VA might reduce your rating if the following apply:

  • You do not have a protected rate.

  • There is a significant improvement in your disability.

  • That improvement allows you to function better in your life and work.

  • The reexamination report is thorough and covers all bases.

  • The reexamination included a thorough review of your entire medical history related to the disability.

  • You do not show up to the reexamination after it is scheduled.

  • If you go to jail, the VA may reduce your benefits temporarily.


What Are Protected Benefit Rates?

veterans with protected benefit rates

Veterans with protected benefit rates will receive the most protection in their disability payments. These rates make it very difficult for the VA to reduce a veteran’s disability rating even if they must undergo medical reexamination.

Here’s how protected rates work:

  • If your rating has been in effect for five years or more, the VA can only reduce it if your condition is consistently improving. They must believe your improvement is not temporary.

  • If your rating has been in effect for 20 years or more, the VA can only reduce it if it is found to be based on fraud. That’s a very high bar to reach, so those with a rating for two decades or more will likely keep it.

When the VA evaluates your rating, it looks to see if your condition has improved. A small improvement is not enough. The reexamination report must show clear mental or physical improvement. Without that, the VA cannot reduce your rating.

If you’re concerned about your rating being reduced by the VA and losing your benefits, you can get a private physician (someone not affiliated with the VA) to examine you and make their own determination on your disability status. A report from this physician can bolster your case if the VA tries to cut back on your disability payments.

Keep all reports from the VA and your private physicians on Trustworthy so you can access them quickly if you must dispute a disability rating reduction.

It’s important to remember that even if your condition has significantly improved, you might still keep your protected rating if you are unable to work due to a disability related to your service. If you have what the VA terms “individual unemployability,” you will receive a 100% rating.

Keep in mind when a service member dies, their disability payments stop upon their death. However, the VA might not know of the death in a timely manner, and that’s why the family of the veteran must inform the VA. 


What the VA Must Do to Take Away Your Disability Rating

what the va must do to take away your disability rating

To take away the disability rating of someone who doesn’t have a protected rating, the VA must first do a few very specific things:

  • They must send you a notice of the reexamination. This will come with the paperwork you must complete in your response.

  • They must inform you of your option to have a hearing on the matter.

  • They will schedule an examination to determine if your rating is still valid.

  • You must attend that examination. If you can’t make that meeting, you can reschedule within a reasonable time period. If you don’t attend, the VA can stop or reduce your payments until you do.

To reduce or remove your rating, the VA must find new evidence that your condition has improved since the rating was assigned. If you receive benefits based on being unable to work due to your service-connected disability, they could be reduced or withdrawn altogether if you are able to obtain and maintain employment for a period of 12 months.


When the VA Cannot Stop Disability Payments

when the va cannot stop disability payments

Your disability payments for a service-related condition might not be permanent. However, if the condition itself is permanent and you have a 100% disabled rating, they cannot stop your disability payments.

The VA cannot take away your disability payments if you:

  • Have lived with a service-connected condition for at least a decade.

  • Have a disability that is considered permanent.

  • Have a condition that has not improved for 20 years or more.

If your condition is expected to improve with time, you might be evaluated again within 2-5 years after the initial examination that determined your level of disability. During that examination, the VA will determine if your rating is still appropriate for your condition.


What to Do If VA Disability Payment Is Reduced or Stopped

what to do if va disability payment is reduced or stopped

If the VA determines it’s appropriate to decrease your benefits, you will undergo a reevaluation. If they find your condition has improved, they might reduce your rating. If this happens, you will receive a letter detailing what was decided and what your benefits will be moving forward.

If you disagree with their assessment, you can file a notice of disagreement. This begins the formal appeals process. You can appeal within one year of the date the VA mailed your reduction notification.

Casey Walker, an accredited VA attorney and founder at VA Disability Group PLLC, says:

“The notice of disagreement is saying I want to appeal directly to a board of judges. I want my day in court, so to speak. It’s not uncommon for the BVA (Board of Veteran Appeals) judge to award a more favorable decision than the VA, actually, it’s usually the norm.”

Filling out the notice of disagreement form allows you to provide additional evidence for consideration, request a higher-level review of the original claim, or request a hearing in front of a judge.

This is where hiring an attorney and getting your own independent medical evaluation can be quite helpful. Statements from those close to you can also bolster your case. When you keep all of your important documents and records safe with Trustworthy, you can easily find what you need to submit to convince the VA that your disability rating should not be reduced.

The appeals process takes between five months and one year. If the appeal restores your disability rating, you will receive the back pay of benefits that were stopped or offset during the dispute period. However, if the rating is not restored, you can appeal again.


Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Can the VA take away total and permanent disability?

The VA can withdraw your disability rating only under very limited circumstances. These include very significant improvement in your condition, fraud, or a mistake the VA made in determining your service benefit period or your discharge status.

Is VA PTSD disability permanent?

It can be a permanent disability. If reevaluations find that your PTSD hasn’t gotten better or has actually gotten worse, you might be given a 100% rating, which is considered a final rating.

How long until VA disability is permanent?

If your condition hasn’t improved within five years, it is generally assumed it is permanent. If the condition hasn’t improved by the 20-year mark, it is considered permanent by the VA.

Is 50% PTSD a permanent VA disability?

If you are discharged due to PTSD symptoms that are severe enough to make it impossible to perform your service duties and that PTSD was caused or worsened by situations faced during your time in service, you might automatically qualify for 50% PTSD disability.

You will go through reevaluations to determine if your PTSD has gotten better.

How often does the VA reevaluate PTSD?

After you are discharged, you will have a reevaluation within six months. As with other disability ratings, the VA can re-evaluate PTSD within two to five years of the original diagnosis.

Is sleep apnea a permanent VA disability?

Sleep apnea is not considered a permanent disability and can thus be reevaluated at a later date. However, if your sleep apnea has improved or resolved, your benefits might be reduced or stopped.

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