5 Year Rule

The 5-year rule for VA disability is a safeguard for veterans, offering protection against reductions in their disability rating after five years. It’s crucial for understanding your rights and navigating the VA claims process.

What it is

  • The 5-year rule prevents the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) from reducing your disability rating after it’s been in effect for five years, unless they can prove significant and sustained improvement in your condition.expand_more
  • This rule aims to protect veterans from losing hard-earned benefits after their condition has stabilized.expand_more

How it Works

  • When you receive a disability rating, it may be assigned a future exam date based on the nature of your condition.
  • During these exams, the VA assesses your current disability level and compares it to the initial rating. However, if significant improvement exists, the VA may propose lowering your rating.expand_more
  • Key point: After five years with no significant improvement, your condition is typically considered static, meaning the VA cannot reduce your rating without meeting stricter requirements.expand_more


  • The VA can still reassess your rating if they have clear and convincing evidence of improvement, even after five years.expand_more
  • This might involve new medical records, independent exams, or changes in your functional abilities.

Benefits of the 5-Year Rule

  • Provides peace of mind knowing your benefits are more secure after five years.
  • Minimizes unnecessary re-examinations and potential reductions in income support.
  • Encourages veterans to focus on managing their conditions and pursuing opportunities without worrying about losing benefits.

Things to Remember

  • Even after five years, it’s essential to report any worsening of your condition to the VA to maintain accurate ratings and access appropriate care.
  • If the VA proposes reducing your rating after five years, you have the right to appeal the decision and seek legal counsel if needed.
  • The 5-year rule is complex, and specific situations may have nuances. For personalized guidance, consult a veterans’ service organization or an attorney specializing in VA disability law.

Additional Resources

I hope this explanation provides a helpful overview of the 5-year rule for VA disability. Remember, staying informed and seeking assistance when needed are key to securing your well-deserved benefits. Call Ryan Coskrey and the Evans, Georgia law firm of Coskrey Law at (708) 303-1802, or contact the firm by e-mail at coskrey@gmail.com or online if you have questions about your VA disability claim. Whether your claim has been denied or you did not receive the benefits you believe you deserved, we can review your situation and advise you what to do.