Things You'll Need

Mail your forms, documents
and evidence here...
Department of Veterans Affairs
Claims Intake Center
PO Box 5235
Janesville, WI 53547-5235

Toll Free Fax: 844-822-5246

We recommend that you mail a copy
and then fax a copy!  Yes, it's twice the
work but maybe VA will only lose one
and the other will be processed.
Remember: Use Certified Mail!

Forms to File Claims

VA Form 21-526EZ
Disability Service Connection
Secondary Service Connection

IncreasedDisability Compensation

Temporary Total Disability Rating
 Individual Unemployability
Compensation under 38 U.S.C. 1151
 Special Monthly Compensation
Specially Adapted Housing

Special Home Adaptation

Automobile Allowance/Adaptive Equipment
Benefits Based on a Veteran's
Seriously Disabled Child

VA Form 21-0958 - NOD
​Notice of Disagreement

VA Form 21-534 EZ

Application for DIC, Death Pension
Change of Address​

TDIU Annual - VA Form 4140
Declaration of Status
of Dependents
VA form 21-686c

How To

How To Apply For SSDI

How To Apply For

TDIU Unemployability

How To Use

Disability Benefits Questionnaires


How To Apply For A Disability Rating

How To Apply For An Increase

to an existing rating

How To Retrieve Your

Military Personnel Records

Research Your Claim

The M21-1MR

The Schedule For Rating Disabilities


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What is a Permanent & Total rating?

In the language of your VA, the word permanent does not mean that your benefit is

permanent! To have a 100% P & T rating only implies that your dependents are

eligible for benefits like DEA & CHAMPVA.

Your rating is NOT protected! There is but one way to achieve a "protected" rating...

you must hold it uninterrupted for 20 years. Until you've held the rating for 20 years VA

may contact you at any time to evaluate (and lower) your rating.

How do you know if your rating is temporary or permanent? You go to your original award

letter and look for the secret codes VA likes to use to confuse you. If your award letter says

"No future exams are scheduled..." that means that your rating is permanent. If you see

"Eligibility to dependents Chapter 35 DEA / CHAMPVA are established",

your rating is permanent.

Those phrases may differ from one VA Regional Office (VARO) to the next but there

should be something similar on your award letter.

If you see "Future exams are scheduled" or similar, or no reference at all to future exams or

other dependents benefits, your award is probably temporary.

VA establishes the rating as permanent when there is little chance that the condition will improve.

VA makes a lot of mistakes when establishing the permanence of a rating. It's up to you to

know what to do...nobody will do this for you.

As a rule, most mental health conditions and cancers will be temporary ratings.

A veteran must hold a 100% permanent rating for 10 years, uninterrupted, for his/her

family to be eligible to apply for DIC benefits should the veteran

die of anything other than a service connected condition.

Permanent or Temporary?

The veteran is finally rated 100%. She sees on the award letter “future exams are scheduled”. She learns that this means her spouse isn't eligible for CHAMPVA and her kids won't see the C-35 DEA benefits she hoped would help pay for their college. The state she is in has generous benefits for permanently disabled vets but the “future exams are scheduled” keeps her out of those benefits.  Her disability is one that does not seem to be likely to improve and she believes that she should be P & T and

qualified to apply for CHAMPVA and DEA.

Should she ask VA for P & T? Is there a legal or regulatory basis to do so?

Maybe...maybe not.

There are many variables that every veteran must consider when contemplating whether or not to seek the assignment of permanence. Each vet must carefully review his or her own circumstances. As a general rule, the permanent rating will provide significantly better benefits for dependents than a temporary rating. However, if the veteran isn't well prepared when asking that the rating be modified from temporary to permanent, there is some risk. Seeking to change the status of your award from temporary to P & T is the same as asking for an increase to an existing rating.


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Brett Valette, Ph.D.
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Are you totally disabled? Is your rating Permanent?

In other words, are you P & T? If not, what do you want to do about it? What can you do?

The difference between P & T and temporary may mean tens of thousands of

dollars in benefits to you and your family. Take a minute now and find your original award letter.

You're going to need it to determine your status.

TDIU awards may be permanent or they may be temporary.  

When VA writes to say "No future exams are scheduled" they do not mean "We will never

subject you to an exam in the future".  All this means is that there is no examination

scheduled. VA can schedule an exam at any time and for any reason.

If you are rated at 100% and you decide to file for another disabling condition, you may be

scheduled for a C& P exam to review the current rating. If the C & P exam shows improvement,

you'll probably be advised of a proposal to reduce your "permanent" 100% rating.

If you are TDIU and you miss completing the VA Form 21-4140 that is required each year,

you will probably be advised of a proposal to reduce your rating.

Most states require that you be permanently and totally disabled before you may pick

up any state benefits for disabled veterans. Most states don't understand what "no future

exams" means. You may write to your VARO and request a letter that spells

out your disability status.

Do you NEED a permanent rating assignment?

Are your kids heading to college and your spouse isn't covered by insurance?

Don't tell VA about it! If your rating is temporary and you want it to be permanent so

that you have those benefits, you may write to your VARO and ask for a permanent

rating designation. However, the assignment will not be made based on your need.

You must tell VA that there is no reasonable chance that your condition will improve.

That's the only factor that will be considered.

Do your homework. Know whether or not your rating is permanent or temporary!

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Permanent & Total (P & T)

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Department of Veterans Affairs (VA)

Permanent & Total Disability Ratings

What is P & T?

38 USC 1156 - Temporary disability ratings


Assignment of Temporary Ratings.

(1) For the purpose of providing disability compensation under this chapter to veterans,

the Secretary shall assign a temporary disability rating to a veteran as follows:

(A) To a veteran who —

(i) was discharged or released from active duty not more than 365 days before the date

such veteran submits a claim for disability compensation under this chapter;

(ii) has one or more disabilities for which a rating of total is not immediately assignable —

(I) under the regular provisions of the schedule of ratings; or

(II) on the basis of individual unemployability; and

(iii) has one or more —

(I) severe disabilities that result in substantially gainful employment not being feasible or

advisable; or

(II) healed, unhealed, or incompletely healed wounds or injuries that make material

impairment of employability likely.

(B) To a veteran who, as a result of a highly stressful in-service event, has a mental disorder

that is severe enough to bring about the veteran’s discharge or release from active duty.

(C) To a veteran who has a service-connected disability that requires hospital treatment or

observation in a Department of Veterans Affairs or approved hospital for a period in excess of 21 days.

(D) To a veteran who has a service-connected disability that has required convalescent

care or treatment at hospital discharge (regular discharge or release to non-bed care)

or outpatient release that meets the requirements of regulations prescribed by the Secretary.

(2) With respect to a veteran described in paragraph (1)(A), the Secretary may

assign a temporary disability rating to such veteran regardless of whether such veteran

has obtained a medical examination or a medical opinion concerning such veteran’s disability.

(3) With respect to a veteran described in paragraph (1)(B), the Secretary shall

schedule a medical examination for such veteran not later than six months after the

separation or discharge of such veteran from active duty.

Termination of Temporary Disability Ratings. —

(1) Except as provided in paragraph (2), a temporary disability rating assigned to a veteran

under this section shall remain in effect as follows:

(A) For a veteran who is assigned a temporary disability rating under subsection

(a)(1)(A), until the later of the date that is —

(i) 12 months after the date of discharge or release from active duty; or

(ii) provided in regulations prescribed by the Secretary.

(B) For a veteran who is assigned a temporary disability rating under subsection (a)(1)(B),

until the date on which a rating decision is issued to such veteran following the medical examination scheduled under subsection (a)(3).

(C) For a veteran who is assigned a temporary disability rating under subsection

(a)(1)(C), until the later of the date that is —

(i) the last day of the month in which the veteran is discharged from the hospital as

described in such subsection (a)(1)(C); or

(ii) provided in regulations prescribed by the Secretary.

(D) For a veteran who is assigned a temporary disability rating under subsection (a)(1)(D),

until the date that is provided in regulations prescribed by the Secretary.

(2) The Secretary may extend a temporary disability rating assigned to a veteran under

subsection (a) beyond the applicable termination date under paragraph (1) if the

Secretary determines that such an extension is appropriate.


Regulations. —

The Secretary shall prescribe regulations to carry out the provisions of this section.


Construction. —

Nothing in this section shall be construed to preclude the Secretary from providing

a temporary disability rating under an authority other than this section.