Submission 111964

VA Claim Appeals

Submission 111964

May 1, 2024
Question

In 2020 I was granted TDIU due to sheltered employment. This year I received notice that it would be discontinued although the only thing that has changed is where I live. I still work for the same agency and still have the long list of accommodations at work. There was also a letter considering reducing my PTSD rating from 70% to 50% without talking to my community providers.
 

I submitted an appeal and due to some upload errors it showed multiple ones. All stated they had been reviewed and closed the same day they were uploaded and that I should contact my service representative. I still have received nothing from them and contacted my senator and congressperson to help. My senator and representative got the same response I received in a letter on March 1, 2024. Knowing the VA, it seems highly improbable my appeal was looked at and reviewed in such a short amount of time. There is an open claim for fiduciary adjustment which I never filed and no one filed for me, Needless to say this has caused my symptoms to sky rocket. I am unsure where to go from here.

Answer

Thank you for submitting a question in the StatesideLegal Q&A Mailbag with TVC.


Unfortunately, the VA is allowed to review a TDIU rating if they believe a veteran has improved.  However, they can't lower the rating unless they can show that the veteran has had continued improvement.


The VA has multiple ways of "proving" that a veteran has improved. They can use social security information to check for salary increases and consider those increases as evidence of improvement. Also, if your record does not show recent treatment for your symptoms, the VA might interpret that as improvement and send a letter threatening to reduce your rating in order to gather more information. However, no matter how the VA plans to prove your improvement, they have to give you an explanation in writing and allow you an opportunity to respond within 60 days. The letter should also give you 30 days to request a hearing to dispute the proposed reduction.


If you request a hearing, the VA can't reduce your rating until the hearing is over. Assuming they sent you a letter about discontinuing your TDIU and you responded to them by clearly stating you disagree with that decision, along with the letters you submitted from your doctors supporting your continued work in a sheltered environment, it sounds like you have taken the correct steps to respond within 60 days. That may be why it shows reviewed and closed in the VA system.


To be sure, you can always call the VA yourself at (800) 827-1000 and confirm this. If you are not satisfied with the response, you can request to speak to the representative’s supervisor. The VA often takes 30 to 60 days to process evidence. That also may explain why you have not received a response to your submission. Unfortunately, you may have to wait a little longer for the VA to send out a letter regarding this issue; but it sounds like you have taken the correct steps to dispute the ratings reduction. If you have not already, you may want to reach out to your local VSO or one of the National Veteran Service Organizations for additional assistance.


Thank you so much for contacting us.  We wish you the best!