Q. I am receiving 100-percent disability for prostrate cancer that’s Agent Orange related. If my cancer goes into remission, can VA reduce my compensation?
A. Yes, VA may reduce your compensation. Prostate cancer ratings are determined by VA regulation 38 CFR 4.115b. This regulation states, in part, "Following the cessation of surgical, X-ray, antineoplastic chemotherapy or other therapeutic procedure, the rating of 100 percent shall continue with a mandatory VA examination at the expiration of six months. Any change in evaluation based upon that or any subsequent examination shall be subject to the provisions of 38 CFR 3.105(e). If there has been no local reoccurrence or metastasis, the disability is to be rated on residuals as voiding dysfunction or renal dysfunction, whichever is predominant."
Once your cancer is in remission, VA will not be able to compensate you at 100-percent disability based on treatment for cancer. If you have residuals from the cancer treatmen, VA needs to separately rate them. Common secondary conditions from prostate cancer treatment include urinary problems, rectum or bowel issues, erectile dysfunction and depression.
You should make a new claim for any secondary conditions by submitting evidence that shows cancer-related complications. VA will make a new decision to match your symptoms with the rating schedule. This is often a separate decision from the proposal to reduce the cancer rating.
Ask your medical providers to assist with providing evidence. For example, Disability Benefits Questionnaires (DBQs) may be used as medical evidence for VA to rate your condition and any additional conditions associated with your service-connected cancer. Learn more about DBQs here.
Find an American Legion accredited service officer in your state: www.legion.org/serviceofficers