Cancer Text on Paper with Medications

Cancer is a challenging diagnosis for you and for your family – but medical advancements may lead to remission. Veterans who have been diagnosed with cancer and rely on disability benefits from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) for financial support want to know how remission will impact their benefits. Veterans with cancer in remission want to know – will my VA disability rating decrease if my cancer is in remission? This is a common concern for veterans, as VA disability ratings are tied to the current severity of a service-connected injury, illness, or medical condition. This quick guide will explore how the VA handles disability ratings for veterans with cancer in remission, and how Veterans Law Attorneys can be a valuable resource in navigating this process.

How Does the VA Rate Cancer?

The number of veterans who receive disability benefits for cancer diagnoses has increased with the passage of the PACT Act – which names Agent Orange, exposure to burn pits, and exposure to radiation as key risk factors and presumptive conditions. Veterans with a service-connected cancer diagnosis can expect to receive a 100% disability rating when the cancer is active. When the cancer is in remission, a doctor can help determine if there are any additional complications or conditions related to the cancer that may make the veteran eligible for VA disability benefits. Potential secondary disabilities that result from a cancer diagnosis and may warrant disability benefits include – scars, lung damage, incontinence, chronic pain, heart issues, and anxiety.

Can You Increase Your VA Disability Rating with Cancer in Remission?

Cancer is a complex diagnosis and Active Cancer vs Remission plays an important role in your VA disability rating. Even with your cancer in remission, you may be eligible to maintain or even increase your VA disability rating. When your cancer is active, you will receive a 100% disability rating – and that 100% rating will remain for six months to a year after remission when you will be reevaluated for an updated VA disability rating based on several factors. With this in mind, your cancer in remission will essentially carry a 100% disability rating until proven otherwise.

  • Residuals Effects of Treatment – Did your cancer treatment leave lingering health issues that impact your day-to-day life? Pain, scarring, or limitations in mobility caused by surgery or radiation can all influence your rating.
  • Risk of Recurrence – The VA considers the likelihood of your cancer returning and the potential severity if it does. The chances of your cancer returning will have a direct impact on your disability rating.
  • Secondary Conditions – Cancer treatments or the cancer itself can sometimes lead to secondary health conditions. These can be rated separately and potentially increase your overall disability rating while in remission.
Woman with Cancer Flexing Her Muscles

We understand that navigating the VA claims process and effectively communicating the impact of your cancer, even in remission, can be a challenge. Veterans Law Attorneys in Cincinnati, OH can be an invaluable ally in this scenario. Our legal team can help gather evidence, present a strong case to the VA, and ensure you receive a fair and accurate disability rating that reflects your ongoing health needs.

READ MORE: Can You Be Denied VA Benefits with a Presumptive Condition? 

A cancer diagnosis is life-altering and being in remission offers a chance to move forward – but  veterans with service-connected cancer need to know if their VA disability rating will decrease when the cancer goes into remission. The answer depends on the lingering effects of treatment, the risk of recurrence, and any secondary conditions that may have developed. The good news is that even in remission, veterans may still be eligible to maintain or even increase their disability rating.

We know that a cancer diagnosis is complicated and that the Department of Veterans Affairs system may make it even more complex – but you do not have to do it on your own. Contact Veterans Law Attorneys today and we will help you get the disability rating that your medical condition deserves!

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