I am 70 years old. I have been receiving 100% for over 10 years due to cancer treatment which will end soon. I will soon be coming up to a future exam date and C&P to review my cancer status. There will be many residuals due to several surgeries. Will the 55 year rule or the 10 year rule, or 100% rule have any effect on how the VA rates me? I read different things about the 55 year rule and 10 year rule but it never says if this covers how they view cancer treatment. I would like to think after dealing with cancer for over 10 years they should allow me to stay at 100%. We all know cancer is really never cured, it's just hiding somewhere in your body waiting to surprise you at will.


Jim's Reply:

You will be rated on the residual effects of having had a cancer and treatments. The 100% rating is assured for a diagnosis of an active service connected cancer. Once you've had treatment and the cancer is in remission or undetectable, you can no longer be rated at 100% as if you have a cancer.

The way VA rates our disabling conditions is based in the 1940s-1950s when the rating schedule was developed. The whole thing was designed to benefit wounded vets who were competing for jobs in what was an agrarian and manufacturing society. While our society has changed a lot, the VA hasn't. 

The best that you can do is to be sure the examiner understands the day to day effects of having had your disease over time. You may end up having to apply for the TDIU benefit after this exam and new rating and that's usually more an inconvenience than a long term problem. Good luck sir.