What If My PTSD Gets Worse?

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder or PTSD affects more than 6% of the US population. Of this demographic, PTSD affects more than 12% of veterans. While PTSD can happen to anyone, veterans are particularly susceptible to PTSD even if they were not in combat. As a veteran, you can seek treatment through the Veterans Administration, or through a private physician.

Houston VA Disability Attorney

With treatment and time, many veterans with PTSD improve and are better able to handle the symptoms. However, this is not always the case, and some veterans find themselves with worsening symptoms. Aging veterans may face this problem after retirement when their situations change.

If your condition improves, it is possible that the VA may reduce your rating, and your monthly disability payment could decrease. But if you find that PTSD is getting worse, and improvement is unlikely, you can request that your rating be updated.

Changing Your Disability Rating

The VA assigns ratings based on how the disability affects a veteran’s life, health, and ability to function.
The VA could change your rating for PTSD, either up or down, and you’ll be notified when it happens. Your initial rating may have been too low, or your claim didn’t include enough information to justify a higher rating.

The ratings are assigned incrementally from 0% to 100%, based on the severity of the disability. The higher the rating, the more monthly compensation the veteran receives.

However, the VA’s ratings are not set in stone. As a veteran, you may ask the VA to reevaluate your disability rating if you believe the original decision was incorrect. You can also request a rating reevaluation if you are disabled by PTSD, and the condition has increased in severity.

However, if you make a request for re-evaluation within a year of receiving your disability rating, it is not considered a re-rating, but an appeal of the original decision.

Re-evaluation Requests

A veteran has three options for appeals to increase a disability rating. The type of review will depend on your individual circumstances.

Higher-level review—a veteran can request this review with a senior rating specialist at a VA regional office. The veteran is required to submit VA Form 20-0996. A specialist will review the claim and determine if the original decision was correct or needs an update. The decision generally takes four to five months, but if you disagree, you can request a board appeal for your case for review by a Veteran Law Judge. This appeal must go through the Boards of Veterans Appeals. You could also file a supplemental claim if you have new evidence to submit.

Supplemental claim—you will need to submit VA Form 20-0995. As the most common form of appeal by veterans, it takes four to five months for a decision. The reviewer decides whether the evidence will support an increase in your disability rating. Should you disagree with the decision, you can file another supplemental claim, or request a higher-level review, or a board appeal.

Board appeal—if you disagree with either of the above or your initial claim decision, you can also file a notice of disagreement with the VA and request a Board Appeal. You will need to file VA Form101082 to request this appeal. Your case will be decided and reviewed by a Veterans Law Judge at the VA Board of Veterans Appeals in Washington DC.

A supplemental claim is an option if you have had the same disability for more than a year, but believe your current rating is no longer accurate. Filing this type will reopen your claim to request a rating increase. You will need to submit additional medical records that demonstrate your service-connected disability is worsening, you have a new service-related condition, or if you have additional and relevant evidence not previously used in the initial rating decision.

Because veterans’ appeals are complicated, we strongly suggest working with an experienced VA disability attorney to avoid having your appeal denied.

Houston VA Disability Attorney For PTSD

Whether you’re suffering from PTSD or other service-connected disability, we can help you apply, appeal, and make your case to get you the VA disability benefits you worked for.

When you’re ready to start your application, need help with an appeal, call The Herren Law Firm at 713-682-8194 (or use our online contact form) to schedule your free consultation. Our contingency fee basis means you won’t owe a fee until we win your case, and there’s no obligation.

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