Compton: File notice to dispute lower award

By George Compton
Saturday, September 6, 2008

Q.I filed for an increase in my disability rating, and the VA lowered my award. How can I stop this reduction?

A. You need to file a notice of disagreement and provide rationale of why your compensation should not be reduced.

Your reduction was based on an examination. You need to discuss your medical condition with your doctor.

If your doctor believes your condition has not improved, then a letter to that effect would help your case.

Any time a veteran reopens a claim for an increase, there is a chance the award can be reduced unless the veteran has had the rating for 20 years.

I always recommend talking to a doctor about the condition before filing.

Your award letter contains a listing of medical conditions and their VA code numbers. The VA Schedule of Rating for Disabilities can be viewed online. Print out the page for your disability, and you have something to discuss with your doctor.

Q. My father is in long-term care under Medi-Cal and received his first pension payment for $90 from the VA. Will he get any retro payments from the time we filed?

A. No, that benefit does not accrue any back payments. Also, use the money each month or he will have it counted as assets.

Q. I applied for burial benefits and I just got a check for $600. It is my understanding that if a veteran dies of service-connected disabilities the benefit is up to $2,000. Is that true?

A. You are correct. Your husband was rated by the VA for service-connected disabilities so you got the check for $600.

You have an application pending at the VA for Dependency and Indemnity Compensation to establish service connection for the death of your husband.

If that application is approved you will receive the balance of the $2,000 because your funeral expenses were greater than that amount.

— George Compton, retired Army colonel, is the veterans service officer for the County of Ventura, Human Services Agency. Send your questions to Veterans Service Office, 1701 Pacific Ave., Suite 110, Oxnard, CA 93033; phone number: 385-6366; fax: 385-6371; or e-mail: [email protected].

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