Because most injuries and illnesses change over time, the Veterans Administration allows Veterans to file for an increase in certain disability ratings. It is important to note that the VA will not automatically adjust a Veteran’s compensation if his or her condition worsens – the Veteran has to actively file for an increase, even if it is clear to the VA that the conditioned has worsened.
Disabilities rarely stay the same. They improve, worsen, or change altogether throughout their existence. When an injury or illness worsens, such as an arthritic knee losing flexibility or a veteran with Traumatic Brain Injury or TBI experiences greater memory loss or increased seizures, a claim for a disability rating increase should be filed. There are a couple of options on what to file. VA Form 21-526b, Veteran’s Supplemental Claim for Compensation, may be submitted as a formal claim for an increased rating claim. VA Form 21-526EZ, Application for Disability Compensation and Related Compensation Benefits, can also be used for increasing a rating. VA Form 21-8940, Veteran’s Application for Increased Compensation based on Unemployability, can be submitted as a formal claim for total disability rating based on individual unemployability (“TDIU”). It is import to know that a claim for TDIU does not increase the actual rating of a specific claim, rather it potentially increases the rate of pay if a condition(s) leads to the inability of a Veteran to find and maintain gainful employment. A veteran may also file a VA Form 21-0966, Intent to File a Claim for Compensation and/or Pension, or Survivors Pension and/or DIC (“Intent to File”). Filing an Intent to File form will preserve a date to act as the effective date as long as one of the forms mentioned above is filed within one year of filing the Intent to File form.