Being awarded veterans disability benefits does not guarantee that those benefits will never change. The Veterans Administration (VA) could re-evaluate your case at a future date and determine that your disability benefits should be reduced or terminated. A Michigan VA benefits attorney can work with you to fight a termination or decrease in veterans disability benefits.
What is a Veterans Disability Benefits Reexamination?
A reexamination is a medical re-evaluation of your service-related disability. The VA is required to send you a notice that it has scheduled a VA examination to re-evaluate your disability rating. Never ignore a notice for a reexamination. Read the notice carefully and follow the instructions on the notice to avoid an automatic termination of disability benefits.
The VA requires individuals to submit to additional medical examinations by a VA physician for a variety of reasons. Some of the reasons why you might receive a notice of reexamination include:
- The VA needs to verify that you are still disabled;
- The severity of your disability needs to be verified;
- Your condition is expected to improve over time; and,
- The VA received evidence that indicates there has been a change in your condition since your last examination.
However, veterans who have service-related disabilities that have not improved in five or more years, are over the age of 55 years, have a minimum impairment rating, or, have a disability that is not expected to improve (i.e. loss of limb) are generally not subject to reexaminations. At any rate, do not ignore a notice of reexamination, even if you are in one of these groups. Contact the VA to determine if the notice was issued in error or contact a disability attorney for help.
What Happens After the VA Reexamination?
If the medical examiner determines that your disability has improved, the VA could reduce your disability benefits. In some cases, your disability benefits could terminate if the medical examiner concludes that you are no longer disabled.
In any of these cases, you have appeal rights. You could appeal a decrease or termination of your VA benefits just as you could with other decisions regarding benefits, including a denial of benefits, denial of increased compensation, and/or denial of an earlier effective date for your service-connected condition(s). You can also request an increase in disability benefits if your condition worsens. A request for an increase could result in a decrease if the examination reveals that your condition has improved. You may want to discuss your options with an attorney before proceeding with a request or appeal.
What Happens if I Don’t Show Up For a VA Reexamination?
If you fail to show up for the scheduled medical examination, the VA may decrease or terminate your disability benefits. You must notify the VA if you need to reschedule the examination. If you miss a scheduled reexamination appointment, contact the VA immediately to explain why you missed the appointment. If the VA finds that you had good cause for missing the appointment, you may be able to reschedule the examination to avoid an automatic reduction in benefits.
Contact a Michigan VA Benefits Attorney If You Have Questions
A VA Reexamination could negatively impact your disability benefits. If you receive notice of a reexamination, contact a Michigan VA benefits attorney to discuss your rights and obligations regarding the reexamination process. An experienced veterans disability attorney can help you understand what additional evidence may help support your claim, assist you with appointments or letters in support, and represent you in obtaining the full veterans disability benefits that you deserve.