The Ratings Decision
The initial determination from the regional office is called the ratings determination. If the local Veterans Affairs office either denies your claim or assigns a low or zero percentage of disability to the condition(s), the claim can be appealed to a decision review officer at the regional office. At QuatriniRafferty, our attorneys can assist you in filing your appeal which must be filed within one year of the ratings decision. Unfortunately, the average wait time for a hearing on an appeal is 971 days. Prior to the hearing, an attorney from our office will meet with you to collect updated medical evidence and prepare you for the hearing.
Each condition has a specific code and rating percentage, which can be found here:
Each percentage has a specific payment rate, which can be found here:
We represented an Army veteran who applied for an increase in her service-connected disability compensation for the right and left knee. She was denied on her application for an increase and QR helped the veteran file a VA Form 9. Prior to attending a hearing, QR created a questionnaire with the rating specifics for a knee impairment straight from the Schedule for Rating Disabilities — Part 4. This questionnaire was presented to, and completed by, the veteran’s treating orthopedic surgeon. QR then attended a hearing before the Board of Veterans Appeals in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, at which time we reviewed the medical questionnaire with the Veterans law judge and took testimony. Following the hearing, a decision increasing the percentage for both the left and right knee was received, with retroactive pay granted back to 2009 (date of initial application for the increase).
QR represented an individual from Maryland who filed a claim for service-connected compensation benefits on his own through the Veterans Administration for obstructive sleep apnea. After being denied on the initial application through an unfavorable Rating Decision, QR submitted a Notice of Disagreement for a Decision Review Officer hearing in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Prior to the hearing, QR updated the client’s medical records with the VA and obtained an independent medical examination, which reviewed all of the Veteran’s medical records and provided a narrative report challenging the findings of the VA’s compensation and pension examiner. Following an informal conference, the Decision Review Officer issued an updated Rating Decision overturning the original decision based on the independent medical examination and awarding the Veteran service connection for the condition along with a 50 percent rating dating back to the beginning of the claim.