LawHow to Apply for Permanent and Total Disability Benefits - Step by...

How to Apply for Permanent and Total Disability Benefits – Step by Step

Getting a permanent and total disability rating protects your condition from reevaluations by the VA. However, the process can be complex, and it is essential to seek legal help.

You can find out if you have a P&T disability rating by reviewing your Rating Decision letter or logging in to your eBenefits portal. The language in the letter indicating no future exams scheduled can also indicate a P&T rating.

Review Your Medical Records

Once you reach maximum improvement in your recovery, or when you are given a permanent and total disability VA, you must submit medical records demonstrating the severity of your condition. With your signed request, most doctors will release these medical records to SSA or the claim examiner. However, HIPAA allows you to view your medical files at the doctor’s office and obtain physical copies for yourself or others.

When submitting these records, including your entire medical history and the relevant details of your current disabling conditions is essential. You should also include any documentation that shows how your conditions impact your daily life.

If you have a 100% P&T disability rating, it is possible to get expedited processing of your SSD application by identifying yourself as such when filing with SSA. This does not guarantee a disability award but helps speed up the process.

Schedule an Appointment with a Veterinarian

To be awarded Permanent and Total Disability (P&T) status, you must have a condition that will not improve with time. This can be established through medical evidence such as brain scans, other imaging scans, and functioning tests. For example, a veteran with a debilitating traumatic brain injury may be awarded a permanent rating if a neurologist indicates that the damage to their brain is so severe that they will never recover and will not see any improvement in their daily functions.

A permanent rating also requires that you cannot work in a substantially gainful employment (meaning your earnings are higher than the poverty level). This can be proven with a TDIU rating, which is based on a combination of one or more service-connected disabilities that prevent you from being able to get and keep a job. TDIU is only awarded to veterans who meet the requirements for both a permanent and total disability rating and who have been service-connected for their disabling conditions.

Write a Statement in Support of Your Claim

All documents must be in order when submitting evidence to support your claim for a P&T rating. This includes medical records and even statements from loved ones who can provide corroborative details about your disability.

Buddy letters can also help your case, mainly if fellow service members write them. If you can find a fellow vet to write you a letter, it is helpful if the writer can note specific details about how your condition has impacted their day-to-day life and relationships.

It is also beneficial if the letter can corroborate in-service stressors and how those stresses exacerbated your condition. If multiple buddies provide a statement, it is best to use separate forms for each to avoid inconsistencies that can weaken your credibility. Getting a P&T rating entitles you to many benefits, including free healthcare for your dependents. It also prevents the VA from reevaluating your rating in the future.

Schedule a Hearing

If you believe that your disabling condition will not improve and that your disability prevents you from working, you may qualify for a Permanent and Total Disability (P&T) rating. This is a service-connected disability compensation benefit paid by the VA.

A P&T rating is based on a doctor evaluating your medical condition (your treating physician, a QME, or an AME). It considers factors like the severity of your disability, the impact on your ability to work, and your reduced future earning capacity.

If you have a P&T rating, you can apply for Supplemental Security Income (SSDI) or Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) from the Social Security Administration. You can expedite the processing of your SSDI application by identifying yourself as a veteran with a 100% P&T rating and providing your VA rating notification letter to SSA. You can also contact a lawyer to help you make this case. They can prepare a detailed disability benefits questionnaire, which addresses symptoms, limitations, and evidence of your disability.