[Federal Register Volume 77, Number 13 (Friday, January 20, 2012)]
[Rules and Regulations]
[Pages 2909-2910]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2012-1001]


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DEPARTMENT OF VETERANS AFFAIRS

38 CFR Part 4

RIN 2900-AM55


Schedule for Rating Disabilities; Evaluation of Scars; Correction

AGENCY: Department of Veterans Affairs.

ACTION: Correcting amendment.

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SUMMARY: The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) published in the 
Federal Register of September 23, 2008, a document amending its 
Schedule for Rating Disabilities by revising that portion of the 
Schedule that addresses the Skin, so that it more clearly reflected 
VA's policies concerning the evaluation of scars. In the preamble of 
that document, VA incorrectly stated the applicability date. VA made a 
similar error in the first sentence of the introductory paragraph of 38 
CFR 4.118. This document corrects the error in the introductory 
paragraph of Sec.  4.118.

DATES: This correction is effective January 20, 2012.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: William F. Russo, Deputy Director, 
Office of Regulation Policy & Management (02REG), Department of 
Veterans Affairs, 810 Vermont Avenue NW., Washington, DC 20420, or call 
(202) 461-4902 (not a toll-free number).

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: On September 23, 2008, VA published in the 
Federal Register (73 FR 54708), an amendment to that portion of the 
Schedule for Rating Disabilities that addresses the Skin, 38 CFR 4.118, 
by revising the criteria for the evaluation of scars. In the DATES 
section of the rule document, we incorrectly stated the applicability 
date. As published, the relevant portion of the applicability date 
paragraph read, ``This amendment shall apply to all applications for 
benefits received by VA on or after October 23, 2008. A veteran whom VA 
rated before such date under diagnostic codes 7800, 7801, 7802, 7803, 
7804, or 7805 of 38 CFR 4.118 may request review under these clarified 
criteria * * *.'' We made a similar error by amending 38 CFR 4.118 to 
state, ``A veteran who VA rated under diagnostic codes 7800, 7801, 
7802, 7803, 7804, or 7805 before October 23, 2008 can request review 
under diagnostic codes 7800, 7801, 7802, 7804, and 7805 * * *.''
    As a result of the errors in the applicability date and in amended 
Sec.  4.118, the rule document and the regulation are unclear about 
whether veterans whose claims were filed before October 23, 2008, but 
were not rated before that date may request review under the new 
criteria. A strict, literal reading of the applicability-date language 
and Sec.  4.118 might suggest that veterans with such unrated claims 
would be rated under the old criteria with no opportunity to request 
review under the new criteria. We intended such claims to be rated 
under the old criteria subject to the right of the claimant to request 
review under the revised criteria. Neither the applicability-date 
language nor Sec.  4.118 addressed whether veterans with such claims 
may request review. We did not intend the strict reading because it 
would be irrational to deny the opportunity for review under the new 
criteria to persons whose pending claims had not yet been rated before 
October 23, 2008, while providing the opportunity to persons whose 
claims had been rated, even though all of the claims had been filed 
before that date.
    This correction document revises the introductory sentence of Sec.  
4.118 to state, in pertinent part, ``A veteran whose scars were rated 
by VA under a prior version of diagnostic codes 7800, 7801, 7802, 7803, 
7804, or 7805, as in effect before October 23, 2008, may request review 
under diagnostic codes 7800, 7801, 7802, 7804, and 7805 * * *.'' Note 
that the ``rated by VA under a prior version'' language would encompass 
claims that have received an initial rating but are still pending in 
the appeals process.

List of Subjects in 38 CFR Part 4

    Disability benefits, Pensions, Veterans.

Approved:
William F. Russo,
Deputy Director, Office of Regulation Policy & Management, Office of 
the General Counsel, Department of Veterans Affairs.

    For the reason set out in the preamble, VA is correcting 38 CFR 
Part 4 as follows:

PART 4--SCHEDULE FOR RATING DISABILITIES

0
1. The authority citation for part 4 continues to read as follows:


[[Page 2910]]


    Authority:  38 U.S.C. 1155, unless otherwise noted.

Subpart B--Disability Ratings

0
2. In the introductory paragraph of Sec.  4.118, revise the first 
sentence to read as follows:


Sec.  4.118  Schedule of ratings--skin.

    A veteran whose scars were rated by VA under a prior version of 
diagnostic codes 7800, 7801, 7802, 7803, 7804, or 7805, as in effect 
before October 23, 2008, may request review under diagnostic codes 
7800, 7801, 7802, 7804, and 7805, irrespective of whether his or her 
disability has worsened since the last review. * * *
* * * * *
[FR Doc. 2012-1001 Filed 1-19-12; 8:45 am]
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