Rating Schedules for Disabilities Proposed by the VA
Last week, the VA proposed changes to the current schedule for rating disabilities in a news release. The proposed changes would specifically impact respiratory, auditory, and mental disorders and how they are rated. According to the VA, the changes aimed at incorporating new medical advancements for treating these conditions will allow more accurate compensation for Veterans.
The rating system used is VASRD – the VA Schedule for Rating Disabilities. It directly appropriates the level of benefits that each of the service-connected disabilities warrant. The severity of the condition is a driving factor in the system. The changes will incorporate modern evaluative criteria.
The VA published proposed changes on February 15th. Veterans have 60 days to comment and provide feedback on these new rules, many of which are related to respiratory system, auditory, and mental disorder conditions. As it currently stands, these changes have not taken effect and won’t impact evaluations for veterans receiving compensation now. After 60 days of feedback from veterans, the VA will address them in a final rule which will ultimately make the changes effective.
Among the conditions impacted will be sleep apnea. Criteria for evaluating this condition have been modernized since the implementation of VASRD, and the proposed changes attempt to address this modernization. For example, if a CPAP machine fully treats a veteran’s sleep apnea conditions, they would be rated at 0% and not receive any compensation. Higher percentages will be given based on how symptomatic a given veteran is after treatment. The VA states that this type of change brings the rating schedule closer to its true purpose, which is to evaluate based on the average impairment of earning capacity.
For other conditions like asthma or COPD, the rule changes would only slightly lower the requirements for a 100% rating. For mental health conditions, the minimum disability rating would change from 0% to 10% and remove a rule that prevents veterans from getting 100% ratings if they are fully unable to work.
If you are a veteran, caregiver, or other partner of veterans, you can find the new rules on the VA’s Federal Registrar. Feedback can be recorded on this site as well. It is important to note that there will be no changes to any veteran’s current rating based on these proposals. Once finalized, the changes will also be unable to reduce any benefits unless a veteran makes significant improvements at their evaluations.
If you disagree with a VA disability rating, you should seek an experienced attorney to help you present the strongest case possible. Call us at 855-208-7783 or complete an online intake form on our website to schedule a free initial consultation. We serve Long Island, Brooklyn, Queens, and more.