Protecting Your Veterans’ Benefits: Understanding Rating Reductions and Severance of Service Connection (Attorney)
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Presenter: Rick Spataro
Length: 92 minutes
Recorded: January 2020
Approved for 1.5 CLE credits by the Virginia State Bar
Advocacy does not stop after helping a veteran obtain service-connected disability compensation. There are circumstances in which the VA can reduce those benefits, and even sever service connection altogether. Every day, thousands of veterans are at risk of losing their benefits because a VA adjudicator thinks a service-connected condition has improved, or that the VA shouldn’t have awarded benefits in the first instance.
The rules that apply to the VA’s process for reducing disability ratings and severing service connection are numerous and complex, deriving from a combination of statues, regulations, and court decisions. The VA often incorrectly applies these rules, depriving veterans of the benefits they earned through their service to our country. Many advocates also have difficulty understanding these complicated rules, which makes it hard to identify when the VA makes a mistake reducing a rating or severing service connection. How can you protect the VA benefits of the veterans you represent?
By attending this webinar, you will learn effective advocacy strategies for preventing improper rating reductions and severance of service connection. You will also learn how to force the VA to retroactively reinstate ratings that should not have been reduced and fight erroneous severances of service connection.
This recorded webinar will cover:
• When the VA can schedule an examination to reevaluate a service-connected disability; when the VA should not schedule a reexamination; and what to do if you think the veteran should not be reexamined.
• The ramifications of missing a VA reexamination and how to mitigate them
• The process the VA must undertake in order to lawfully reduce a rating or sever service connection
• The numerous rules that protect veterans from rating reductions and severance based on the length of time a disability has been service-connected and the rating of the disability
• The rules applicable to the reduction an unprotected disability rating
• How to calculate the time periods for the various rating reduction and severance protections
• Advocacy strategies for preventing the VA from reducing a disability rating, or at least delaying a reduction
• Hypotheticals based on real cases to help advocates better understand the rules