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How Does The “5-Year Rule” Affect Your VA Claim?

Have you been receiving veterans’ disability benefits? If so, understanding how the VA’s Five Year Rule works is crucial. Depending on your situation, the VA can change your rating and impact your benefits. Learn more about the rule’s details, what exceptions are available, and how to challenge the VA’s decision if they decide to reduce your rating.

What Is The 5-Year Rule?

The 5-Year Rule refers to the VA’s policy of potentially changing an applicant’s rating within five years if they have shown significant improvement. However, they can only change your rating if they believe your condition will improve over time. With this rule, most veterans won’t need to worry about the VA reducing or revoking their benefits without evidence. 

How The 5-Year Rule May Affect Your Claim

Your condition’s details will ultimately decide whether the VA will change your rating and reduce your benefits within five years. But in most cases, your rating will typically stay the same, even if there are minor improvements. The only way the VA can change your rating is if there is significant medical evidence that your condition has improved. If that’s the case, there’s a higher chance they’ll propose reducing your monthly benefits.

While the 5-Year Rule offers security for every recipient, certain veterans are automatically protected from rate reductions. Here are a few situations where it’s a lot more difficult for the VA to reduce benefits:

  • Permanent Or Total Disability Ratings: Getting a permanent or static disability rating means the VA thinks the veteran’s disability will be lifelong and won’t improve. Veterans with this rating are protected from the VA reducing their benefits.
  •  Continuous Ratings: If your condition has been the same or above a specific rating for 20 years or longer, the VA isn’t allowed to reduce it below that level.
  • Veterans 55 And Over: If you’re over 55, the VA generally does not reduce disability rating. They recognize the difficulty many older veterans with disabilities face when finding stable work.
  • 100% Disability Ratings: Veterans with a 100% disability rating are unlikely to receive reduced benefits unless there’s evidence of significant and consistent improvement.

Can You Challenge A VA Rating Reduction?

You can challenge the VA’s proposal to reduce your benefits if you disagree with it. Veterans in this situation can request a hearing within 30 days of receiving the VA’s decision. You can also submit evidence within 60 days to challenge the reduction. The VA will implement the reduction after this period, so do everything as soon as possible. 

Our VA Disability Lawyers Can Help You

Understanding the nuances of the VA’s 5-Year Rule can be stressful, especially if you received a proposal for reduced benefits. Our experienced team of veterans’ disability lawyers can help you understand your rights, challenge any unfair rating reductions, and secure the benefits you deserve. Please contact us online or call your office at 877-693-2529 today to schedule a free consultation.

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