Every American should be thankful for the bravery and selflessness of our senior veterans for their service in global conflicts like WWII and the Vietnam War. Many seniors live with the consequences of their service even today. For those that survive on only a small pension and their VA disability benefits, it’s often not enough to live the kind of life that they have earned.
Many seniors make the assumption that their VA disability rating is set in stone and cannot be upgraded. The truth is, that as time passes and age starts to contribute to injuries and syndromes attained during service, seniors have the opportunity to get more benefits.
In the following article, you will learn how to increase your VA Disability Rating and get the compensation that you need and deserve. Let’s take a look at a few tips to help you increase your rating and benefits range.
Use DBQ Forms
When filing for an increase in your rating you should always fill out a Disability Benefits Questionnaire. This form is specifically designed to answer important questions that will help determine your rating. It leaves space for your doctor to outline an ICD code diagnosis. Having this form with all of your information in one place and in great detail can help you to get approved faster and with better results. You can download and print the PDF version of a DBQ form here.
File For Secondary Service Connection
Instead of focusing on only your primary conditions, it can help your case to file for secondary service connection issues. These are conditions or injuries that are caused or aggravated by your primary issues. For this type of filing you will need causation, including a report from your doctor, the medical evidence of the connection to your primary issue and a medical Nexus letter.
High-Value claims are conditions or disabilities with a higher expectation of approval for benefits over 30%. These types of claims are often processed more quickly and provide for a higher payout. High-value claims included the following:
- Mental health issues including PTSD, generalized depressive disorder, anxiety disorder, and somatic symptom disorder
- Sleep apnea
- Respiratory conditions
Get A Buddy Letter
A Buddy Letter is a sworn statement made by a direct witness to your injury or condition. This can include a parent, spouse, fellow service members, a friend, coworker or pastor. These letters must contain lay evidence in support of your injury or condition based on observation or direct experience. The Buddy letter is intended to help veterans prove their claims based on an outside witness account. You can find a Buddy letter tutorial online here.
Score High On Your C&P Exam
Your Compensation & Pension exam is a vital part of getting your disability rating upgraded. Here are a few tips to help you ace your exam:
- Know the details of your medical records
- Get familiar with the ratings process and values
- Share how you are living on your worst days
- Share every detail no matter how uncomfortable
As seniors age, it’s common that injuries and conditions from their service will deteriorate and cause more problems and pain. Talk to your doctor and consult with a VA Disability lawyer to help you navigate the system and get the benefits that you have earned on behalf of your country.