If you are already receiving compensation for a service-connected disability, and that disability has worsened, you may be eligible for a higher rating. Increasing your rating may increase the amount and type of compensation benefits that you receive from the VA.
How do I know if I qualify?
If your symptoms are worse or your ability to function has decreased, you should file for an increased rating. If granted, then the back payment will most often go to the date you applied. Therefore, it is to your advantage to apply as soon as you think you should have a higher rating. To see if you might be eligible, you can look at the criteria in the rating schedule for the next higher rating available for your condition. The ratings decision you received from the VA likely did not contain the rating code sheet (but if you had an attorney their copy will have that sheet) but you can still use the schedule. If your condition is not specifically listed, you can find the closest condition or call the VA and ask what diagnostic code(s) you are rated under.
How do I apply for an increased rating?
You need to file for an increase in your VA rating in writing. You can send in a letter or use the Statement in Support of Claim form. You should send your request to the VA Regional Office in your state. You can also make a request in person at your VA treatment facility.
What is the process like?
The process to evaluate a veteran for an increased rating is the same as for an initial claim for service connected compensation. You may attend a C&P exam. Eventually you will receive a ratings decision that either finds you are not eligible for an increase or will assign a new rating.
What if my claim for a VA rating increase is denied?
If you believe that you should be granted a higher rating, you should file the first appeal, called a Notice of Disagreement. If you have not already talked with an attorney, this would be a good time to speak with someone about your claim. An attorney can review your claims folder and talk with you about whether or not you may qualify for the increased rating and what steps you should take to improve your case while the appeal is being worked on by the VA.