The short answer is, yes, they can and this starts with a VA Benefits Reduction Proposal from the Regional Office.

First off, for what reasons can they take away your benefits?

Protected Ratings

The first way that your claim can be revoked is through a protected rating. This qualifies people who have had their disability for five or more years and the rating has not changed. If a sustainable improvement is seen, your disability is now considered to be stabilized and you’re no longer eligible to receive compensation.

The second type is called a 100% disability rating. This type of rating is achieved if an exam is scheduled to review the disability and “material improvement” has been made so that normal life can be resumed. This includes the ability to seek work and partake in normal day to day life.

To remove your claim, the VA Benefits Reduction Decision Team must review the entire lifetime of the case; checking on current and past symptoms before making the decision.

Unprotected Ratings

Unprotected Ratings are compensation ratings that are less than 100% and have been in effect for less than five years. In order for these to be reduced, the VA must give notice, schedule a pre-reduction exam, pre-reduction hearing, and give an opportunity to submit a claim for the reduction. The hearing must then review the history of the veterans’ disability. There must be a significant change present in the disability and the ability to work.

Continuous Ratings

Finally, there is a continuous rating. This is used if you have had your claim for 20 or more years. But with this type of rating, the VA is not able to reduce your claim unless fraud has been committed. If your claim is under evaluation, the first step in the reduction process is for the Reduction committee to send you a letter for re-examination. Make sure not to miss the re-examination appointment!!

If you do, the VA can reduce your benefits on that alone. Usually, the re-exams occur every two years to ensure that the rating given reflects the current status of each Veterans disability.

Incarceration

Any Veteran who is in jail, federal, state, or local, for sixty days or more will receive their check starting on day 61.

But, there are a couple things that you can do though in order to ensure your benefits will not be taken away.

The first thing is that if your condition gets worse, make sure to file a claim for increase. Many Veterans fear that if they file a claim that their entire impairment rating will get taken away. This is not true. In fact, there is a good chance your claim will increase. Especially if you have the right information to provide the VA.

If the VA does try to reduce your claim, make sure to respond with enough information and evidence in your response. Don’t accept a claim when you know you deserve more!

Most importantly though, don’t miss a re-examination scheduled by the VA. If you do, that is a sure way to get your claim revoked. It is possible to get the re-examination appointment moved but the Regional Office may insist this is not possible.

If you still need help with filing your claim or your claim has gotten denied once before, email us and we can file the claim for you!