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Navigating Stability: Can Your 100% Permanent and Total VA Rating Change?

Yes, a veteran’s 100% Permanent and Total (P&T) disability rating can be changed under certain conditions. Although P&T ratings are meant to be lifelong benefits, the VA can decrease the rating under certain conditions. There are four specific criteria that could result in the veteran’s disability rating being changed.

If the initial rating was based on fraud. 

In the context of the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), fraud is defined as an act committed when a person knowingly makes or causes to be made, conspires, aids, assists, agrees to, arranges for, or in any way procures the making or presentation of a false or fraudulent affidavit, declaration, certificate, statement, voucher, or paper. This implies that if a veteran’s original rating was based on fraudulent activities, such as presenting false documents or making false statements to obtain benefits, it is considered fraud under VA regulations.

If the VA discovers that a veteran’s original rating or any claim for benefits was based on fraudulent information, the veteran may face severe consequences. These can include revocation of the benefits, recoupment of the funds received, and possible legal action. The VA takes fraud very seriously as it undermines the integrity of the benefits system and the trust between veterans and the institution designed to serve the​m.

You open a new claim for compensation, including SMC.

Veterans are often warned, once they reach 100%, to not file any other claim. And that goes especially once they reach 100% Permanent and Total status. This is because if any new claim is filed, the VA can open up the veteran’s entire file and go back to re-look at everything the veteran has filed in the past. Though it is rare, this has been known to result in a veteran’s rating being lowered. This could be due to the VA requesting a new Compensation and Pension exam to cover the new condition and something from the exam hints at one of their other conditions improving. It could be due to the VA Rater themselves noticing something that hints to a condition improving also.

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You open a claim for Specially Adapted Housing or Special Housing Adaptation.

These two claims automatically prompt a Compensation and Pension exam, where again it is possible that the examiner could find something which possible could lower the rating. This would be an extremely rare occurrence, and should not be a reason to NOT file for SAH nor SHA if is it needed. However, it is something to bare in mind.

If the VA discovers a Clear and Unmistakable Error (CUE) in the original claim(s).

Normally a CUE motion is proposed by the veteran to get the VA to re-evaluate their claim in order to raise their rating. However,  it is possible for the VA to find an error in the original processing of the claim, resulting in the rating being lowered.

Having a 100% Permanent and Total rating lowered is typically not something for a Veteran to be concerned with. All four of the above actions are extremely rare occurrences, even if you were to file for something like SMC. Just be aware that it COULD happen.

As always, if you have any questions of comments feel free to drop them below, or email us at info@nwavet.org.

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