It is not uncommon for a veteran’s injuries to grow more painful and debilitating over time. When a veteran who lives in Houston, Texas, and the surrounding areas experiences the worsening of symptoms or pain due to an existing injury, he or she has the right to petition for a modification of disability benefits, says Military.com.

There are several reasons a veteran may apply for an increase in benefits for an existing injury. For instance, the person may experience more persistent and severe pain, develop new symptoms or discover that the existing injury has led to other issues (e.g., A brain injury may eventually cause tingling and numbness in the limbs). Whatever the reason, the veteran can take one of three courses of action.

The first is to file for an increase in compensation for an existing disability. To do so, the veteran would need to file VA Form 21-526b, which is the same form veterans file when they initially apply for VA disability benefits. The claimant must present medical proof that the condition has worsened. Proof may come from a private or VA doctor.

The second option is to file for compensation for a new injury. Military.com recommends doing this only if the VA denied the vet’s initial claim or if the new symptom or injury is completely unrelated to the old one.

The third option is to appeal the VA’s decision. A veteran may do this if the VA denied his or her initial claim or if it assigned the injury a low disability rating.

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs provides tips for filing successful VA disability claims, the most important of which is to show up prepared. Per the VA, claimants have a chance to provide evidence in support of their claims. Strong evidence includes both VA medical records and private medical records that either relate to the claimed condition or that demonstrate the worsening of the disability. Additional evidence includes supporting statements from friends, family members, coworkers, supervisors and law enforcement personnel who can attest to when the disability occurred and how it has grown worse. The VA also recommends that veterans allow an accredited representative to help fill out the claim form.