FAQ: What To Do When VA Proposes To Decrease Your Disability Rating
While it does not always exercise this power, the VA has the power to propose to reduce your benefits, and eventually reduce them after the proposed reduction has been sent to the Veteran. Like most things VA, what to do when you receive a letter stating that your benefits are proposed to be reduced, is not all that clear based on the letter the VA sends you. However, to avoid the reduction of benefits there are a few important steps you can take.
1) Read the proposal to reduce letter in its entirety because it has some very important information. The letter will tell you what is being proposed to be reduced and to what percentage. For example, a letter might state that the Veteran's PTSD is being proposed to be reduced from 50% to 30%. The proposal letter will also provide you with deadlines for your appeal.
2) Next the Veteran needs send a letter to the VA asking for an in-person Decision Review Officer (DRO) hearing within 30 days of receiving the letter that proposed to reduce the Veteran's benefit. If you request a hearing within 30 days of your receipt of the proposal letter, then your benefits will continue being paid at the present rate until the hearing is held. This is crucial because failing to request a hearing will prompt VA to begin paying the Veteran at the lower rate that they are proposing to reduce.
3) See your doctor. Specifically, the doctor that treats you for the condition that is proposed to be reduced. A letter or updated medical records from that doctor stating and showing that the Veteran's symptoms or condition has not improved to the extent that their benefits should be reduced.
These three steps are the first ones a Veteran needs to take to protect their current disability ratings from proposed reductions in benefits
If you have questions about proposals to reduce your benefits please contact the experienced Veterans' disability attorneys at today for a free case evaluation. Gardberg & Kemmerly serves Veterans across the United States from their home office in Mobile, Alabama.