100% Rating?

Question:

My husband is a 74 yr old Vietnam Veteran. We recently got married and have been together 4 years. He is rated 80%. Some of his connected disability conditions are worsening, along with his short term memory loss now, it has been hard. Is there a way to request a 100% T&P rating? He never kept his papers in order and he just recently came to the realization that with his health conditions worsening he has to deal with what is happening. He finally let me help him work with the VA on his benefits. He can't help me very much. He can't remember a lot, and for a long time refused to deal with the VA at all because he didn't trust them. I believe he should be at 100% but don't know how to approach this. Thank you for any helpful advice.

 

Jim's Reply:

Thanks for your willingness to step up for your veteran. The things you tell me are so often the case with aging vets. They've often forgotten much of what happened all those years ago and their health is declining and if someone doesn't help, they'll be left behind. Trust in VA policies and procedures is often hard to come by too. 
 

To request an increase in an existing rating isn't difficult to do although it will take some time and a bit of effort on your part. He doesn't need any of his papers since he already has relatively high ratings. 
 

What needs to be done is to file a claim. Start here https://www.va.gov/disability/how-to-file-claim/?from=explore.va.gov  This can be intimidating but if you'll study it a bit you'll learn that most of what you see is boilerplate and the things that need doing aren't that difficult.
 

The claim form must be completed and then signed by the veteran. When you complete sections that ask what you're filing for, simply indicate a worsening of rated conditions. If you know what he's rated for (PTSD , Diabetes, Heart Disease, etc.) tell VA that it's worse. You don't have to elaborate more than that to get the process started. Keeping your part simple is always best.
 

As you'll learn on the VA site you can either file on line or complete the form and mail it in using certified mail. Be sure to keep good copies of it all because VA is known to lose paperwork. You may have to do it all twice or more to get this done. I'm a bit old school and I like completing the paper form and mailing it. 
 

The mailing address is here.
 

Once you've completed the claim form VA will acknowledge that with a letter telling your veteran that the claim is in process. He will be notified that he has to report for a Compensation & Pension (C & P) exam and that will cause some anxiety but it's all routine. After C & P exams are completed VA will process the claim and he'll be notified.
 

If you believe that you'll be more than 2 or 3 weeks filling out these forms you should file the "Intent To File A Claim" form here. This is really simple to fill out and will lock in the effective date of his claims if you file them in the next year.
 

Be aware that there is a significant backlog of claims in 2021 and it may take many months to get all this accomplished. Be patient. Keep great records of all you do. Stay aware and follow instructions from VA to the letter. 
 

Good luck.