·  Legal News, Analysis, & Commentary

News & Politics

Does VA Disability Pay For Life?

— June 2, 2022

If the VA requests a reexamination, they will need to send you advanced notice.

Being a veteran is one of the highest honors one can have in their life. However, when you engage in combat, or you serve your country for years, there are both physical and psychological risks that come with that. So, if you are a veteran or are considering joining the armed services, you may be wondering what benefits you get should you be injured and for how long.

What Is a Reexamination?

In a lot of cases, VA disability benefits are not for life. For example, if you got injured during service, you would have to go for a VA Reexamination. This is a medical examination that the VA does to examine just how severe your disability is. If you are requested to do a reexamination, you will need to do it to keep your benefits.

Once you have gotten your disability compensation benefits, the VA will determine if you need future reexaminations to adjust your benefits. Some conditions will improve over time, and the VA will reconsider your disability rating. The first reexamination usually takes place between two and five years after the date that you are granted benefits.

Adjustment of Benefits

If there is evidence that your condition has improved, the VA can request a reexamination. However, if your condition gets worse again, you can send a request for your benefits to be increased again.

To make the request, send a letter to the VA regional office informing them that an increase in benefits is necessary and provide medical evidence that supports your claim. In some situations, this request may lead to a decrease in benefits. If this happens to you, you can appeal it. In cases like that, you may want to contact one of your area’s veterans’ disability benefits lawyers to understand your rights and receive assistance throughout the process.

If the VA requests a reexamination, they will need to send you advanced notice. Should they ask for an examination to evaluate your disability rating, they probably do not believe that the evidence on file supports the continuation of your benefits. 

Appealing a Reduction in Benefits

You have 60 days to submit evidence proving that you do not warrant a reduction in benefits. You also have 30 days to request a hearing. If you do not go for the exam and the VA terminates your benefits without notice, you can have your full benefits reinstated. 

In some situations, a reexamination can increase your benefits, but some circumstances do not require you to go for a reexamination. For example, if you are over 55 or have a static disability, like losing a limb, you do not have to do one.

Veterans group meeting; Photo by RODNAE Productions on
Veterans group meeting; Photo by RODNAE Productions on

If you have a disability that a disease of a permanent nature has caused, you can also avoid a reexamination. You do not have to worry about your disability rating being reduced in these situations. However, should you get a letter requesting reexamination, you can call the number in the letter about the error.

Protected Benefit Rates

Veterans with protected benefit rates may have to go through a medical reexamination, but their benefits will rarely be reduced. If your rating has been the same for more than five years, they cannot reduce your rating. This is only possible if all medical evidence points to the fact that the improvement of your condition is not temporary.

If your disability has remained the same rating level or more for over 20 years, your rating cannot be reduced. A reduction would be highly unlikely and only possible in cases of fraud. As long as there is no evidence of fraud, a 100% rating is also protected.

Getting Legal Help

Sometimes, it can be hard to navigate the right channels for getting or keeping the benefits you deserve. This is especially true when dealing with government bureaucracy. Contacting a lawyer who is well versed in veteran disability benefits can help make the process easier.

Join the conversation!