Hello, I’m Doug Jackson, founding attorney of the Law Firm of Douglas G. Jackson. Today, I want to talk to you about some proposed changes to how the Department of Veterans Affairs will rate the disabilities of certain veterans.
In February of 2022, it was announced that the Department of Veterans Affairs proposes to make changes to some of the disability ratings. Many veterans, of course, want to know what these changes mean for them. Well, let’s explore the changes a little bit more.
First, let’s discuss how the changes are done. These are changes to regulations. Regulations are written by the different Administrative Agencies, in this case, the Department of Veterans Affairs. Before an Administrative Agency can add or modify a regulation, they first have to give notice of a proposed rule change and allow for public comment. Currently, comments are being accepted for the VA’s proposed rating schedule change through April 18, 2022. At some time after, the Department of Veterans Affairs will determine if it wants to implement the proposed rules, not implement them, or change them. What that means, is as of the date this informative video is being made, February 28, 2022, these are just proposals, and nothing is final. Things could still change, and we’ll keep you informed as these changes become clearer.
Second, let’s discuss the changes to these rules a little bit, and how it will impact veterans. Very importantly, if you already have a rating, these changes, if finalized, will not lower your rating. For those veterans who already have a rating, these changes will only be able to get you a higher rating, not reduce your rating. That’s a good thing.
For those who don’t already have a rating, there is some good news and some bad news. Overall, the newly proposed rating schedule looks fairly favorable for mental health, audiology, and most respiratory issues. The bad news is that it will be likely more difficult to get a fifty percent (50%) rating for sleep apnea. This has been a discussion for some time, so we somewhat expected this to happen eventually. It does not make acceptable ratings for sleep apnea impossible but does make it more challenged. Again, proposed rule change should not impact veterans who already have a rating for sleep apnea.
As we continue to explore the proposed rule changes, we’ll continue to keep you, our viewers, updated. As of right now, my opinion is that for most veterans, these rule changes will be favorable to them, if they are finalized. Yet, we’ll have to wait to see what happens once the period for commenting on these proposed changes has closed. We’ll keep you updated.
Thank you for watching, and tune-in for more discussion and updates in law.
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