Disability benefits provide financial support to veterans with service-connected disabilities. These benefits acknowledge and compensate for the challenges these individuals may face due to illnesses or injuries they sustained during their service.

Those with a 100% permanent and total (P&T) disability rating have disabilities that are so severe that they can’t secure gainful or sustainable employment. The rating ensures these veterans receive sufficient financial support. Can the VA take away a 100% permanent and total disability rating? Read on to learn more about when it may happen and what you can do to protect your disability rating.

Can the VA Take Away 100% Permanent and Total Disability Benefits?

It’s a common concern with disabled veterans that the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) may reevaluate their 100% permanent and total disability, which could lead to a reduction in their benefits. The VA has the authority to conduct re-evaluations in some cases. However, it's important to understand the regulations and rules related to these reviews.

Usually, the VA may re-evaluate the disability rating if there’s evidence that the veteran’s condition has improved. In the case of conditions that are permanent, such as the loss of limbs, re-evaluations are not typically conducted.

When Can the VA Reduce Your Permanent and Total Disability Rating?

So, can the VA take away 100% permanent and total disability benefits? While it’s unlikely, here’s when (and if) it may happen:

  • The initial disability rating was based on fraud or a fraudulent application..
  • If there’s a Clear and Unmistakable Error (CUE) for the 100% permanent and total rating, it can be reduced.
  • You have a 100% disability rating and open a new claim to include Special Monthly Compensation (SMC) in your compensation.
  • You have a 100% disability rating and open a new claim for a Special Housing Adaptation or Specially Adapted Housing Grant.

Conditions Under Which 100% Permanent and Total Disability Ratings are Protected

Some conditions have protected VA ratings and aren’t subject to any routine future examinations (RFE):

  • The disability or service-connected condition is without any material improvement for five years or more.
  • The disability or impairment condition has been in place for ten years or more.
  • The disability is permanent, and there’s no chance of improvement.
  • The disability has been in effect for 20 years or more.
  • The veteran is over the age of 55.

Understanding 100% Permanent and Total Disability Benefits

When you have a 100% permanent and total disability rating from the VA, it means that your condition is so severe that you’re unable to work to earn a sufficient income. This disability rating ensures that you receive adequate compensation. Your disabilities must meet the criteria set by the VA, and you must undergo an evaluation by a medical doctor and/or a psychological professional to determine the extent of your condition and qualify.

Total Disability Individual Unemployability (TDIU) and 100% disability rating are similar but have some differences. If you can’t work due to your disability, you may be eligible for TDIU. A 100% disability rating is reserved for those who can’t work due to service-related conditions, but TDIU allows you to receive 100% compensation even if you’re working.  Veterans unable to obtain and maintain “substantially gainful” employment due to service-connected conditions can qualify for Individual Unemployability benefits.

Disability rating is expressed as a percentage (of what is considered Total Disability) and is used to calculate your compensation rate. A special calculator is used by the VA to calculate your total disability if you have two or more disabilities.

A 100% permanent and total disability provides you with financial assistance and a wide range of veteran benefits:

  • Monthly disability compensation
  • Combat-Related Special Compensation (CRSC) or Concurrent Military Retired Pay and VA Disability Compensation (CRDP)
  • Comprehensive healthcare coverage
  • Access to prescriptions, medical treatments, specialized care, and mental health services

Protections for Veterans With 100% P&T Disability Rating

While it can be distressing to lose your 100% P&T rating, there are several safeguards in place for you, as listed below:

  • Stabilized Ratings: A VA disability rating that increases or remains the same over five years or more is known as a stabilized rating or protected rating. This rating offers additional security and reduces the likelihood of the VA terminating or reducing your benefits.
  • Due Process Rights: The VA is required to provide you with advance notice if they plan to terminate or reduce benefits. This legal protection ensures fair procedures and treatment so you can present evidence to argue against the change.

How To Appeal a Rating Reduction or Termination Decision

If the VA has reduced or terminated your 100% permanent and total disability benefits, there are a number of things you can do to challenge the decision. Here’s a step-by-step guide to appeal the decision:

  1. Submit a written appeal as soon as possible.
  2. Gather and present medical evidence that may not have been considered previously.
  3. Gather proof of any change in your medical condition.
  4. Attach related records or documents supporting your case.
  5. Seek the help of an advocate or lawyer who can help you navigate the appeals process.
  6. You’ll have four options for appealing: Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims, Board of Veterans’ Appeals, Higher-Level Review, and Supplemental Claim.
  7. Keep copies of all documentation throughout the process.

Tips To Maintain Your 100% P&T Disability Benefits

While the VA can reduce or take away 100% disability rating and benefits, there are a number of things you can do to preserve your benefits. It’s essential to comply with VA guidelines and get regular medical care. Here are a few tips to follow:

  • Get regular medical care to demonstrate that your disability is severe.
  • Don’t miss any scheduled appointments.
  • Follow the appropriate treatment recommended for you.
  • Keep copies of all your medical records and documentation that demonstrates the severity of your disability.
  • Comply with VA guidelines to ensure your benefits won’t be reduced or terminated.

Seek Help If the VA Has Taken Away Your 100% Permanent and Total Disability Rating

Understanding 100% permanent and total disability ratings is crucial to maintaining your benefits. We recommend taking some time to understand the difference between disability ratings and permanent and total disability, how to comply with VA requirements, and how the appeals process works so you can continue to receive the benefits you need.

If the VA is conducting a reexamination of your disability rating, it's essential to seek legal advice as soon as possible. A law firm that specializes in VA disability claims can help you navigate the process and represent you if needed.