Veteran disability attorney sitting with veteran

Is My VA Disability Rating Permanent?

If you’re a veteran receiving VA disability benefits, you might wonder if the disability rating determining the value of your benefits is permanent. The truth is that most VA disability ratings can change. The VA regularly reviews these ratings to see if a recipient’s condition has improved. This can sometimes result in a reduction of benefits. Therefore, it’s important to understand what factors the VA considers when reviewing your rating and what steps you can take to protect your benefits.

When Can the VA Reevaluate Your Disability?

The VA can reevaluate your disability at any time unless you have had your rating for 20 years. However, there are times that the VA is more likely to review your case. For example, if you’ve had your rating for less than five years, the VA might check to see if your condition has improved. The VA also tends to review cases when evidence suggests a change in your health, such as if you report an improvement in your condition or a routine examination indicates progress.

On the other hand, the VA is less likely to review your disability if you’ve had a static rating for over five years and your condition hasn’t shown signs of significant improvement. Additionally, if your disability is considered permanent and total, the VA typically won’t conduct further reviews.

When Your VA Disability Rating Is Protected from Change

Certain VA disability ratings are protected from reductions, providing veterans with more financial stability. One type of protection is for disabilities rated at the same level for five years or more, often called stabilized ratings. The VA must show sustained improvement over time to reduce these ratings, not just temporary or one-time improvements.

If a veteran has had the same disability rating for ten years, the VA cannot terminate the service connection for that condition, except in cases of fraud. However, it can still reduce the rating if there is evidence of improvement.

Similarly, veterans with the same rating for twenty years or more are also protected. The VA cannot reduce these ratings below their original level (unless there is evidence of fraud).

Finally, if the VA deems a veteran’s disability permanent and total, rating specialists will most likely not schedule further examinations, meaning the veteran should have a permanent rating. This protection helps ensure that veterans with severe, unchanging conditions have long-term financial support.

What Happens at a Revaluation?

During a VA revaluation for a proposed rating reduction, you’ll undergo a new Compensation & Pension (C&P) examination. A doctor will assess your condition to see if it has improved. The doctor should review your medical history and current health status. The goal is to determine if your condition warrants a reduced disability rating. If the VA finds sustained improvement in your ability to function under everyday conditions, it may lower your disability rating.

However, you have the right to appeal this decision. If you disagree with the revaluation results, you can submit new medical evidence or request a hearing. The VA must prove that your condition has significantly improved over time before reducing your benefits.

Disability Law Group Can Help with Your Disability Rating

The Disability Law Group has helped many veterans appeal a reduced VA disability rating to protect their disability benefits. Contact us today if you’ve received a rating reduction and need help fighting for your benefits. Let’s stand up for your rights together.


Author: Erika A. Riggs

Attorney Erika A. Riggs, a partner at Disability Law Group, is a renowned legal advocate and community leader. A graduate of Wayne State University Law School, Erika co-founded The 313 Project, a non-profit providing scholarships and pro-bono legal advice for at-risk youth. She actively contributes to community well-being as a board member and community activist, spearheading pro bono events and volunteer initiatives. Erika specializes in Social Security Disability and Veterans’ disability benefits. Recognized for her outstanding contributions, Erika has received accolades such as the ‘Oakland Together 40 Under 40’ Class of 2023, 2022 ABA On the Rise Top 40 Young Lawyer award, eight consecutive Avvo’s Client Choice awards, and the esteemed 2023 Rising Star award for the sixth consecutive year by Super Lawyers (extended to less than 2.5% of attorneys practicing in Michigan). Her multifaceted achievements showcase her commitment to excellence, community service, and advocacy for those in need.