The 5, 10, 20 year rules… Including ‘static’ and Routine Future Examinations (RFE)
VA Five Year Rule – If you have had the same rating for five or more years, the VA cannot reduce your rating unless your condition has improved on a sustained basis. All the medical evidence, not just the reexamination report, must support the conclusion that your improvement is more than temporary.
VA Ten Year Rule – The 10 year rule is after 10 years, the service connection is protected from being dropped.
VA Twenty Year Rule – If your disability has been continuously rated at or above a certain rating level for 20 or more years, the VA cannot reduce your rating unless it finds the rating was based on fraud. This is a very high standard and it’s unlikely the rating would get reduced.
If you are 100% for 20 years (Either 100% schedular or 100% TDIU – Total Disability based on Individual Unemployability or IU), you are automatically Permanent & Total (P&T). And, that after 20 years the total disability (100% or IU) is protected from reduction for the remainder of the person’s life. “M-21-1-IX.ii.2.1.j. When a P&T Disability Exists”
VA Disability 55 year old Rule, P&T (Permanent & Total) or a few other reasons the VBA will not initiate a review. However, if the Veteran files a new compensation claim or files for an increase, then it is YOU that initiated to a possible VA disability rating reexamination. See the example below.
*NOTE: Until a percentage is in place for 10 years, the service connection can be removed. After that, the service connection is protected.
Example for 2020 using the same VA disability rating:
1998 – Initially Service Connected @ 10%
RESULT: Service Connection Protected in 2008
RESULT: 10% Protected from reduction in 2018 (20 years)
2020 – Service Connection Increased @ 30%
RESULT: 30% is Protected from reduction in 2040 (20 years)
2022 – Service Connection Increased @ 50%
RESULT: 50% is Protected from reduction in 2042 (20 years)
When does the VA determine to reduce your disability rating?
In most cases its the fault of the veteran not seeking to maintain an effort to receive counseling, group therapy, or possibly medication. Unfortunately many Veterans don’t read and then reread their documents, or don’t maintain treatment for their medical conditions.
Static or not, progress notes or the lack thereof are reasons for a veteran to be reevaluated. Honestly if you know there’s been no improvement with your PTSD and it’s medically documented you have nothing to fear.
VA proposal to reduce benefits will come in a form of a letter. Then you will have 60 days to appeal it. Contact your VSO immediately to get some guidance and get yourself to a medical professional for treatment because your condition has worsen. You will need to provide medical evidence to the VA that your condition has not improved.
Here’s something for single veterans to give thought too. If you’re seeking an increase of PTSD and you’ve claimed children as dependents that live with you, be very careful. Because if you’re declaring a worsening condition and you’re stating you’re out of control, anger, rage, drinking alcohol, drug use, not bathing, etc, Medical Officials are required to report any criminal activity or behavior to the proper authorities.
If you state or show any signs that you are unable to manage your finances properly, the VA will assign a fiduciary agent to manage your finances for you. Any individual appointed as a VA fiduciary is responsible for managing the beneficiary’s VA income and ensuring the beneficiary’s just debts are paid.
If they believe your children can be at risk, you may be opening a can of worms to having your children removed from your home. A veteran that meets the requirements to receive 100% PTSD rating could risk having their children taken away by the courts.
Get your butt to the Doctor
We fight mental health and pain issues daily. If you want to keep your ratings visit your doctor often. Get treatment and take your medications. Veterans who do not seek medical treatment risk their VA disability ratings being reduced. The fight never ends!
If you need help with keeping your VA Disability Ratings, please feel free to contact us.