Reduction in Rating for Prostate Cancer

Posted on: Wednesday, December 30, 2015
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Reduction in Rating for Prostate Cancer
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Jim: I have had prostate cancer since May of 2011. I have been receiving 100% s/c disability benefits since June of that year. I have used watchful waiting/active surveillance in responding to my condition. I have been 0% s/c for Erectile Dysfunction since 2002. Last August, the DVA proposed reducing my s/c disability for prostate cancer to a rating of 10% seemingly based on difficulties urinating. They stated in the Rating Decision that they based their decision upon an improvement in my condition which was not fully explained. This also occurred even though the C and P physician/examiner indicated that the cancer remains active, I have not undergone any treatment for this condition, and I have not had my prostate removed. Is the DVA basing its proposed decision on the residuals of some sort of treatment which they mistaken believed I underwent last year ?
 
Jim's Reply: No, DVA is not basing its proposed decision on the residuals of some sort of treatment they believe you received. You are eligible for the 100% rating as long as your cancer is active. The VA makes this error way too often. I see it about once each week. The Schedule For Rating Disabilities doesn't make any allowances for active surveillance of prostate cancer. When a veteran chooses "watchful waiting" the VA often gets confused. Their standard is the usual diagnosis, treatment (surgery, radiation, chemo) and a cure or remission with many residuals of treatment. If you have received a notice of a proposal to lower your benefit, you must formally appeal as soon as you can. That isn't difficult, you simply fill out a form, tell VA that your cancer is active and that you've not received any treatment. That usually takes care of the problem. Use this form http://www.vba.va.gov/pubs/forms/VBA-21-0958-ARE.pdf  and fax it to this number 844-822-5246. If you have erectile dysfunction, you should be rated at 10%...you can seek an increase for that as you appeal the proposal.
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