Veterans and their families have to carry war wounds throughout their lives. According to the Department of Veteran Affairs, there are about 19 million Veterans in the United States today. It is less than 10% of the overall US adult population. About 4 million of them have various service-related disabilities. And while the lion’s share of those ailments qualifies for Disability Compensation from the United States, many veterans are either unaware of their rights or get lost in the bureaucratic hurdles.
For over 7 years, Veterans Claims United (VCU) has helped people claim and successfully receive their disability benefits by assisting and educating them about rights and ways to maximize the benefits they deserve with the VA. In this blog post, we will talk about the 10 most common service-related disability claims according to the VA’s Annual Benefits Report.
Tinnitus has always been and remains the most common VA Disability Claim. Today it is at least 11% of all service-related disabilities. The most common symptom of Tinnitus is a ringing sound or any other phantom noises that may appear periodically or be permanent in one or both ears. It means that you may hear a very distinctive sound while, in fact, there are no actual external noises.
There is no need for a specific diagnosis procedure for Tinnitus. A subjective report of the symptoms is enough to apply for the VA Disability Claim.
The VA rating for Tinnitus is not more than 10%. However, VA will compensate for both if you suffer from hearing loss (the second most common Disability Claim) and Tinnitus.
#2 Hearing Loss
There are many types and symptoms of hearing loss. And unfortunately, not in all cases, the level of this disability will qualify for compensation by VA standards. However, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, Veterans are at least 30% more likely to have severe hearing loss than non-veterans.
VA requires two tests to confirm the hearing loss diagnosis:
• Speech Discrimination (Maryland CNC Test): How well you can hear the normal conversation
• Pure tone threshold (Puretone Audiometric Test): Sensitivity to certain calibrated pure tones
Due to the complexity of the diagnostics procedure, the VA rates may vary between 0 and 100%. Even if the audiogram shows that one of your ears is 100% deaf, you are, however, not guaranteed compensation.
#3 Scars and Skin Conditions
Veterans often have various service-related scars and other types of skin damage and conditions developed during the service. These claims are rated according to the following factors:
• The number of scars or how much skin was affected
• The area of the body affected by scars and skin conditions
• Permanence and discomfort they cause
Scars and skin conditions can be rated anywhere between 0 and 80%. These rates mainly depend on how visible the damage is and how they affect everyday life.
#4 Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
PTSD is an extremely broad and complex term that determines a mental health condition caused by a severe shock, distress, or other traumatic event. There are many levels of PTSD, and symptoms will vary greatly from one person to another. However, experts distinguish several common factors:
• Periodic re-experiencing the traumatic event through nightmares, flashbacks, etc.
• Avoidance of places, people, images, or even smells or sounds that can remind of the event
• Anxiety, nervousness, irritability, insomnia, and other symptoms that appear after the traumatic events
Depending on the severity of the condition, its effect on everyday life, and the ability to verify and prove the connection between PTSD and the in-service experience, the VA rates may reach 100%.
#5 Limitation of Flexion of the Knee
Pains, arthritis, weakness, lack of coordination, and extreme fatigue are all symptoms of musculoskeletal system conditions. Limitation of flexion of the knee is the most common type of such symptoms among veterans. This condition includes:
• Limitation of your range of motion
• Painful motion
Around 93% of veterans are rated around 20%, while the maximum VA rate for this condition is 30%.
#6 Lumbosacral or Cervical Strain
It is an injured, stretched, or torn muscle or tendon in your neck, usually caused by a long-term overuse or trauma.
While the lumbosacral or cervical strain is normally treated with over-the-counter painkillers, this condition can be extremely painful and often leads to limitation or even loss of mobility in the neck.
The VA will determine the severity of your condition based on the Compensation and Pension (C&P) Exam. Depending on the range of motion determined by the test, the rates may reach 100%. However, over 90% of veterans rate around 20%.
#7 Paralysis of the Sciatic Nerve
The sciatic nerve is the body’s largest nerve that runs from the lower back through the hips and buttocks down to the leg. Sciatica is pain that occurs along the path of this nerve. Paralysis of the sciatic nerve is the most severe form of sciatica. It is widespread among veterans as this condition belongs to the back and neck issues caused by overuse or trauma.
This condition can be rated up to 80%.
#8 Limitation of Motion of the Ankle
It is a widespread condition among veterans since ankle injuries are the most frequent in-service trauma. It occurs when an ankle sprain does not get proper treatment and rehabilitation period and therefore does not heal properly. Limitation of Motion of the Ankle belongs to the musculoskeletal set of conditions and is usually rated between 10% and 20%.
#9 Degenerative Arthritis of the Spine
Degenerative arthritis is the most common type of osteoporosis. It occurs when cartilage tissues ware off, and joints start to touch and rub, causing severe pain. It mostly happens to the “weight-bearing joints,” making degenerative arthritis another common in-service trauma. This condition is rated according to how severely it has affected your mobility and everyday life. The average rates are between 10% and 20%.
Migraines are not just headaches. In fact, it is a serious neurological condition that can be caused by a brain injury, exposure to extremely loud noises, and stressful situations. The symptoms of migraines vary from pain and sensitivity to light or sound to nausea, vomiting, and blurred vision.
Depending on the severity and frequency of your migraines, you can count on up to a 50% rate.
It is essential to remember that all conditions that cause pain, as well as those that affect your daily life and your interaction with friends and family, can be filed as secondary VA disability claims. They can be caused or connected with other syndromes that you may not know about and, therefore, may be a missed opportunity for compensation.
That’s why it is important to get assistance in filing a claim with the VA. By studying each case carefully and walking you step-by-step through the procedure, our team will help you claim your well-deserved compensation for years of honourable service.