The VA disability 5 year rule safeguards veterans from a decision by the VA to lower their disability rating after five years. After five years, it becomes much more challenging for VA to lower your rating.
What is the VA disability 5 year rule?
Once a VA rating has been the same for 5 years it is considered to be static. If a rating is not yet considered to be static, the VA can reduce a rating based on a single exam. Typically, the VA must be able to demonstrate that your disability has significantly improved over time and will continue to do so under normal circumstances before reducing your rating once it has become static.
How can the VA reduce a rating?
When a rating is first assigned and the condition is expected to improve, the VA will usually order a new C&P exam in 2 to 4 years. If you receive one of these exam notices, do not panic. It does not mean that you are going to lose your VA benefits. If you get medical treatment outside the VA Health System you can sign a release for the VA to order your records or you can submit them yourself. If your condition has not improved then the VA will likely continue your rating.
If you receive a notice that the VA is proposing to reduce your rating, you should consider speaking with an accredited veterans lawyer before you respond. You have only 60 days to respond and provide evidence that your rating should not be decreased if you want your rating (and payments) to remain the same while you appeal the decision. If you do not respond, the rating reduction will become final. You can still appeal the decision, but your rating (and corresponding payment) will remain reduced unless the appeal results in the restoration of your higher rating.