Scenario #4: Protection against Future Reductions.
We all know that the VA loves to reduce benefits – often for no reason at all.
There’s not a week that goes by that I don’t talk to at least one Veteran who was rated 100% – schedular – and then the VA comes out of nowhere and reduces them to 0%.
Often, when I dig into the C-File for these Veterans, I find other conditions that were improperly rated in the past, or that the Veteran gave up on when they received their 100% rating.
Had those conditions been properly rated, the Veteran might not have seen any reduction in disability compensation when the VA reduced the rating on another condition.
Here’s an example I saw a couple years back.
A Veteran – presumed exposed to Agent Orange – had both Ischemic Heart Disease and Prostate Cancer. Both conditions were severe enough that the Veteran should have been rated at 100% for EACH condition.
However, following a VSOs advice, the Veteran gave up his claims and appeals for the Heart and Prostate conditions after the VA awarded TDIU for the Veteran’s back condition.
A couple years later, the Veteran reported income to the IRS from a side project he was working on. It wasn’t a lot of income, but it was enough to show that the Veteran was able to participate in Substantially Gainful Activity, even with his 60% disabling back condition.
The VA cut his 100% rating down to 60%.
Had the Veteran ignored the VSOs “don’t rock the boat” advice and continued his Heart and Prostate Cancer claims, he would have been independently rated at 100% for both conditions, and the issue of TDIU would never have come up.