You may be having protected rate benefits if you’ve served in the armed forces. Rest assured that your benefit rates are protected even if you are required to appear for a medical reexamination. This means that it will be very difficult for the VA to reduce or even end your disability benefits.
When Your Rates are Protected
Your rates are protected in the following circumstances:
You’ve had the same rates for at least five years
The only way that the VA can reduce your rates if you’ve had them for at least five consecutive years is if your medical condition has improved substantially. It would need to look at all of the medical evidence concerning your disability. A thorough examination of the medical report wouldn’t suffice. The medical evidence would have to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that your improvement was permanent.
You’ve had the same rates for at least 20 years
If you’ve had the same rates for at least 20 years, the only way that the VA can reduce these is if it can prove that you committed fraud to get the benefits at your current rates. This is rare since the VA has to meet very high standards to prove that this has occurred.
The VA would have to prove that your mental and physical conditions have substantially improved if it wanted to eliminate your benefits entirely. Your medical exam and supporting evidence would have to prove this beyond a reasonable doubt. Slight improvements in your mental and physical conditions would not be enough.
You can help protect your rates if you can get a non-VA doctor to prove and document in a medical reexamination report that neither your physical nor your mental conditions have improved much, if at all.
You can still get your full benefits even if your physical and mental conditions have improved substantially. You just need to be unable to work either full or part-time. You’ll get your full benefits based on “individual employability’ in this instance.
Unprotected benefit rates
Note that the VA still can’t reduce your rates even if they’re not protected. There are some exceptions though:
- Your disability has materially improved
- The improvement allows you to function and work better
- The reexamination report is thorough
- The VA has reviewed your entire medical history.
The VA can temporarily reduce your benefits if you are ever incarcerated
The VA can end your disability benefits when…
The VA normally reduces benefits. It rarely stops them altogether. You can rest assured that your rates will be protected if you’ve been getting them for at least 10 years! The VA can end your benefits completely if it can prove that you either obtained them fraudulently or made a mistake when deciding to give you the benefits. A good example of this would be if the VA gave you benefits even after you had been dishonorably discharged. Termination of benefits is rare and can happen only after the VA gives you written notice of this.
If you have received such a notification, it helps to contact Graves Thomas Rotunda Injury Law Group today at (772) 569-8155.