Can a veteran’s disability rating be changed?
Yes. There are a few circumstances under which a disability rating can be changed after it is assigned. In cases where the disability is potentially temporary, the VA can order periodic medical examinations to determine the status of the debilitation. This happens most often in cases where the individual is likely to improve over time. If the medical check-up indicates that the veteran has improved or entirely recovered, then benefits can be changed or even discontinued.
The VA cannot reduce a disability rating or monthly compensation for a veteran who is initially evaluated at 100% disability unless there is medical proof that there has been very substantial improvement over the course of an entire year. Furthermore, a veteran who is totally (100%) disabled and has been receiving disability benefits for over 20 years cannot have his or her rating lowered under any circumstance.
A veteran may also request a change in his or her own disability rating. If the veteran finds his or her condition worsening or develops a new disability connected to service, the VA may increase the disability rating, thereby increasing the monthly compensation. VA Form 21-4138 is the correct form for a veteran to request a re-evaluation. It is also a good idea to consult a competent disability attorney who can help with the process of challenging a current disability rating.