Navigating the VA benefits and disability rating system can be difficult and tedious, to say the least. However, there are 5 common VA disability rules that you need to know and Tabak is here to make understanding those rules simple and easy despite how confusingly similar their names may be.
VA Disability Year Rules
There are a lot of rules when it comes to VA disability that have year in their name. Unfortunately, telling them apart can be difficult. Though they all have different year numbers associated with them, they often apply to very different things within the VA benefits program. The guide below should help you remember which is which and find any “year” rules that are relevant to you.
What is the VA 5-Year Rule?
This is the first of our year rules, and they are each very different so make sure you are paying attention. The 5-year rule means that the VA can examine your disability rating within 5 years of your initial examination if your condition is expected to improve. However, keep in mind that the VA may still examine and change your rating outside of the 5-year review period.
What is the VA 8-Year Rule?
Far different from the 5-year rule, the 8-year rule is a provision that provides your benefits to surviving spouses if you were considered totally disabled. The 8-year provision actually goes both ways. The veteran needs to have been totally disabled for at least 8 years before death and then the benefit will be granted to surviving spouses for the same 8 years.
What is the VA 10-Year Rule?
Again, a very different rule, but the 10-year rule basically states that a service connection cannot be terminated if the disability has been in place for at least 10 years. This is important because if your disability loses its service connection status you will lose all your benefits. Though the 10-year rule generally protects you, the VA can still remove your service-connected status in the case of fraud.
What is the VA 20-Year Rule?
If you have had a disability rating for at least 20 years, then the VA can no longer lower your rating below the lowest rating you had in that time. For example, if you began with a rating of 50% and progressed to a 70% over the 20 years, but something happens that allows your condition to improve, the lowest they can put your rating is at 50% even if you no longer meet the criteria for a 50% rating. Once again, the only exception is in the case of fraud.
What is the VA 55-Year Rule?
This time, the year refers to your age. Once you turn 55, your VA disability rating gets a protected status. This means you will no longer have to attend an exam to prove that your condition hasn’t changed. However, if the VA suspects fraud they can still request an exam.
Get Legal Help With Your VA Disability Claim
If you need help with your VA disability claim, whether you are struggling to get your claim approved or your rating increased, the experienced attorneys at Tabak Law are here to help. You can reach out to us today for a free consultation. If we think we can help, then we’ll get to work making sure you have the benefits that you deserve.
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