What is VA Disability 5-Year Rule: Does the VA Reevaluate Every 5 Years?

Within five years of your initial rating, the VA can reevaluate your disability rating.

VA Disability 5-Year Rule: Many veterans rely on VA disability compensation to manage their service-connected medical conditions.

Depending on the severity of your condition, the VA assigns a disability rating, which determines the amount of your monthly benefits.

What happens if your condition improves?

Within five years of your initial rating, the VA can reevaluate your disability rating.

A re-evaluation can only be conducted if the VA believes that treatment is likely to improve your condition.

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How does the VA Disability 5-Year Rule work?

The VA disability 5-year rule protects veterans by making it harder for the VA to change their disability status or reduce their benefits.

A 5-year rule is used to determine whether someone’s condition is permanent.

Is it possible for the VA to reduce my PTSD rating after five years?

Within five years, the VA can reevaluate your rating if you think your PTSD might get better.

You’ll have a hard time if you haven’t had your rating reduced in five years. Your PTSD must have improved significantly and consistently over time, not just temporarily.

After five years, you have the right to challenge a reduction.

Gather evidence of your ongoing struggles with PTSD and request a hearing.

The decision can also be appealed.

The 5-year mark offers some protection for your PTSD rating, but you should still be prepared to fight for your benefits if needed.

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The 5-year rule has the following key points:

After your initial rating, the VA may schedule a re-examination any time between two and five years later.

Some mental health conditions are treated this way because they are expected to improve with treatment.

When your disability rating has been in place for five years or more, the VA can only reduce it if they can prove a sustained and significant improvement in your condition.

The Best Way to Deal with a Rating Reduction

When the VA proposes reducing your rating after five years, you have the following options:

You should collect medical records, doctor’s opinions, and anything else that proves your condition hasn’t improved.

Within 30 days of requesting a hearing, you must present your evidence and argue your case.

If you disagree with the decision, you can appeal it to the Board of Veterans’ Appeals (BVA).

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Veteran’s Tips

  • Make sure you keep a copy of all your medical records and disability documentation.
  • You should understand if your initial rating decision is subject to re-evaluation within five years.
  • Take notice of a re-evaluation seriously and attend the appointment. Missing it could result in a reduction in benefits.
  • Whenever you face a rating reduction, consult a veteran’s advocate or lawyer who specializes in VA claims.

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