Reductions in Benefits
Once you have received your VA benefits it’s hard to imagine having to give them up, but that is exactly what can happen.
The most common reductions are those that come from re-examinations. When you received your claim there may have been a sentence stating that you would be scheduled for a future examination. That means that during your physical at least one of your ailments was determined to be potentially temporary, or it was determined that the condition was likely to improve over time. In those cases, the VA will set up another physical to see if the condition has improved. If it has, your benefits might be reduced. Keep in mind that the only portion of the physical to be re-done involves the conditions identified as temporary or likely to improve. However, if there are glaringly obvious improvements in health since your last exam, these too could be addressed in the reexamination. For example, if you suffer from a back condition that had you “locked” in the bent over position and you now show up at the VA examination walking upright, that would likely be addressed in the evaluation and a reduction might occur.
One way to inadvertent reduction is to claim that a condition has gotten worse when in fact it has improved. Read your rating. It tells you what conditions you would face that warrants an increase. For example, if you were rated 10% for pain on motion of the right knee, your benefits letter would tell you that in order to receive an increase there must be a reduction in your range of motion of the right knee.
Let’s carry the example further. Suppose you put in a claim for an increase because that knee now aches occasionally at night. Let’s also assume that during the exam you forget to say “ow” during the examination and you were able to duck walk. You would now have an examination without pain on motion and with full range of motion and therefore would likely face a reduction in benefits.
Don’t be afraid to request an increase if warranted, but don’t submit claims for increase without talking to us first. If the time comes for that knee or hip to be replaced, you’ll definitely want the VA to know.