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13.6. Staged and Temporary Ratings
For many reasons, including the lengthy period for deciding a claim or an appeal, a claimant's medical condition can change during the time his or her claim is awaiting decision. VA can provide different ratings for the periods where the claimed condition changes in severity. Such "staged ratings" apply in both initial claims and claims for an increased rating. The effective date for each staged rating is set by VA based on the facts in each case.
VA rules also allow for three types of temporary ratings. The first is a "prestabilization" rating. The purpose of this rating is to provide either compensation at either a 50% or 100% disability rate (whichever more closely matches the likely permanent schedular rating) while severe conditions stabilize following discharge. Such a rating can be assigned from the date of discharge of service and must continue without reduction for a 12-month period after discharge. If VA completes a schedular rating during the 12-month period, only a rating that provides higher compensation than the temporary rating can be implemented before the end of the 12-month period.
The second temporary rating is a total disability (100%) rating when a service-connected condition requires hospitalization for more than 21 days. The rating will generally be effective from the first day of hospitalization until the last day of the month of discharge from the hospital. Similarly, the third type of temporary rating, a "convalescent rating," will be assigned at a total (100%) rating for surgery requiring at least one month of convalescence, surgery with severe postoperative residuals, or immobilization by cast of one or more major joints.
All temporary ratings are generally followed by a scheduler rating based on the underlying condition(s).