The Veterans Administration recently released results for the 2019 fiscal year . Including the most common VA disabilities. In its defense, the VA’s fiscal year is different from the calendar year. And 2020 was a very busy year for all government agencies, including the VA. Other priorities, such as vaccinating as many Veterans as possible, took resources away from number-crunching endeavors.
If you have one of the conditions on this list, it means you’re in the same boat as a lot of other veterans. VA sees plenty of cases like this and has gotten used to the fact that many of them are service-connected. That means a VA disability attorney has a very good chance of obtaining the benefits you deserve. There is still much work to do, such as getting the proper diagnosis and an accurate disability assessment. But at least arguing service connection will be easier.
Tinnitus and Hearing Loss
The single most common service-connected disability is tinnitus, a ringing in the ears. Hearing loss is number two, and they often go together since both are caused by noise exposure. From firing ranges to aircraft noise to machinery sounds, many Veterans are exposed to loud noise all day every day. Medically, sounds as low as 35 decibels, which is basically a lawnmower, can cause tinnitus. Many brain injury victims also experience tinnitus.
Tinnitus is common, but over 90% of these victims have a 10% disability rating. In multiple condition cases, every disability adds up. Furthermore, in a Total Disability due to Individual Unemployability claim, a small tinnitus disability could push a Veteran over the 70% threshold.
Proving service connection for tinnitus is relatively simple. It based mostly on whether you report hearing a ringing in your ears. If you were exposed to noise in service and have had tinnitus ever since, you will probably receive that 10%. Hearing loss is more complicated. Service medical records usually include hearing tests, so VA will know whether you had hearing loss in service. They often assume that if it took time after service before the hearing loss was noticeable then it must not be service-connected. Having an experienced VA attorney can help avoid that mistake.
Knee Flexion Limitations
Knee problems are very common among veterans. Symptoms usually present as limited range of motion. The disability ratings are:
- 50% for a 45-degree limitation,
- 40% for s 30-degree limitation,
- 20% for 15 degrees,
- 10%t for 10 degrees, and
- 0% for less than 10 degrees.
Timing often matters in these range-of-motion tests. Many of these disabled veterans have good days and bad days. Medical examiners are supposed to take this into account, but aren’t always consistent. That means getting a supplemental medical examination often leads to a higher disability rating.
If the veteran produces a current Post Traumatic Stress Disorder diagnosis, shows a service-related stressor (triggering event), and establishes a connection between these two things, disability benefits are usually available. 90% of veterans with service connection for PTSD have a rating for that disability of 30% or higher.
PTSD is not just a “processing disorder.” It is a chemical imbalance in the brain, just like any other mental health condition. Extreme stress events, which are not necessarily combat-related, cause emotional responses to overrule logical responses. That inequality causes symptoms like flashbacks, depression, hypervigilance, and nightmares.
Cervical or Lumbar Strains
90% of veterans with service-connected back problems have it rated at 20%. Many of the same principles mentioned in knee flexion disabilities apply here. In both areas, there is a difference between motion limitations and functional limitations. For example, a veteran might be able to bend 45 degrees, but begin experiencing pain at 30 degrees. If that happens, VA should rate it based on where the pain causes functional limitation, not based on the best the veteran can ever do.
These physical disfigurements, mostly surgical scars, affect about 10% of the veterans who got counted. The scar disability rating usually does not exceed 10%, unless the veteran has multiple scars which are unstable (getting worse or bigger) or painful. High-definition color photographs are usually the best way to increase the disability rating for scars.
Reach Out to Experienced Attorneys
Each of these six conditions affects more than one million veterans. Disabled veterans could be entitled to significant compensation. For a free consultation with an experienced Veterans disability lawyer, contact the Cameron Firm, P.C. at 800-861-7262 or fill out the contact box to your right. We are here to represent Veterans nationwide.
This article is for educational and marketing purposes only. Therefore, it does not create an attorney-client relationship.