VA disability rating navigation can be challenging, especially in instances when a veteran must appeal their rating because they disagree with it.
Part of the overall rating process includes staged ratings or ratings that might go up or down as conditions change over time.
Staged ratings are frequently assigned when the VA expects a veteran’s condition to change and though they can be beneficial in some instances, they can also result in a veteran receiving a lower rating and benefit than they are entitled to for a period of time.
Therefore, veterans should understand how staged ratings work and when they might require VA disability rating help if they dispute their current rating.
What Are 3 Kinds of Staged Ratings?
Staged VA disability ratings are assigned during VA disability rating navigation when a veteran’s condition might change or during an appeal process, a rating that is given until a new rating is assigned.
There are three kinds of staged ratings that might apply when a veteran’s disability is rated by the VA:
- Changing Severity - When a condition changes in severity throughout the rating appeal process, making the disability rating made at the time the appeal is finalized, an additional adjustment to reflect this change may be made afterward with the submission of additional evidence to support it.
- Temporary Total Evaluations - VA disability ratings can be temporarily made at a higher level when a veteran is undergoing hospitalization or active treatment, then re-evaluated and potentially lowered after a total evaluation later as a possible VA disability rating solution.
- Pre-stabilization Ratings - A temporary disability rating issued by the VA when a veteran who has recently ended their military career has a condition that is a) unstable and likely to worsen over time AND b) expected to continue for an unknown amount of time, a pre-stabilization rating may be issued until the time at which the condition is considered stabilized as a VA disability rating solution.
Staged Ratings Can Be Helpful – or Not
It is understandable that VA disability ratings might vary over time in circumstances where conditions are changing or final ratings are not possible.
In these cases, staged disability ratings can be some what of a VA disability rating solution in that they allow the veteran to at least begin receiving disability benefits while still undergoing rating assessments.
On the other hand, staged disability ratings can also be controversial if they are lower than a veteran believes they should be, even for a short period.
Seek VA Disability Rating Help
Due to the challenges involved in accurate VA disability rating assignments and the added complexity that these three situations bring, veterans should seek VA disability rating help when given a staged rating that they do not agree with.
A VA disability rating solutions expert can help deserving veterans achieve the most suitable VA disability rating today based on their current or expected prognosis, even if their condition and rating are likely to change in the future.