Va C& p Exams For Back Pain
After you file your claim, the VA may decide to conduct a compensation and pension compensation exam on your back or spine if they need more information or medical evidence to support your claim.
C& P exams help VA evaluators determine the severity of your condition and assign a rating for it. Your rating will determine your eligibility for monthly payments and other VA health care benefits, according to the VA.
Is Back Pain A Va Disability
Yes, Back Pain is a VA disability.
The VA rates Back Pain under CFR Title 38, Part 4, Schedule for Rating Disabilities, General Rating Formula for Diseases and Injuries of the Spine.
VA Ratings for Back Pain range from 10 percent to 100 percent, with breaks at 20 percent, 30 percent, 40 percent, and 50 percent.
The highest scheduler rating for severe Back Pain is 100%, which means your entire spine is frozen in an unfavorable position.
Your final VA Disability Rating for lower back pain depends upon the Frequency, Severity, and Duration of symptoms to include Limitation of Range of Motion and Painful Motion.
Pro Tip: In accordance with the Painful Motion principle, if you have pain upon flexion or extension of your neck or shoulder, the VA is required to award the minimum compensable rating for the condition, which is 10%.
Sciatica: Veterans May Be Eligible For Disability Benefits
Herniated discs, infections, and tumors are among the causes of sciatica, which is a common pain condition. If your sciatica was caused by your military service, you may be eligible for disability benefits from the United States Department of Veterans Affairs. Depending on the severity of your sciatica, you may be able to receive a maximum disability benefit rating of 40%. Veterans are not required to show specific symptoms in order to be rated for mild, moderate, or moderately severe sciatica, but your physician may write an opinion letter stating that your sciatica is most likely the result of your military service. If you have chronic and disabling sciatica that has been affecting you for at least three months, you may be eligible for Medicaid benefits. Although sciatica is a temporary condition, treatment options such as medications, physical therapy, and surgery are usually effective.
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How Va Rates Back Pain Disability
VA disability ratings for back pain go from 10% to 100% depending on how severe your symptoms are, including your range of motion and pain frequency and level. Claims involving both the cervical spine and the thoracolumbar spine are rated under the same general rating formula.
Below were sharing the VA range of motion chart used to rate back pain for disability purposes. Keep in mind that for both, the more medical records or medical evidence that you have, the better chances you receive compensation and pension.
Was Your Va Disability Claim For Neck Pain Denied
The experienced and VA-accredited attorneys and advocates have decades of experience successfully representing veterans and their dependents before the Department of Veterans Affairs, the Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims, and the Federal Circuit. For a free case evaluation, please contact us at 800-544-9144
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Va Disability Rating For Hip Pain Secondary To Back Injury
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Back pain and injuries are some of the most common issues that Veterans face due to their time in service. Back injuries can be chronic, debilitating, and very painful. However, many Veterans also develop secondary hip pain or conditions as a direct result of their initial back injuries suffered while on active duty.
If thats the case for you, you may be entitled to additional compensation for that hip pain. The VA has disability ratings for hip pain secondary to back injury. Lets break down how this works and what kind of future compensation you may receive.
How To File For Secondary Service Connection
To file a claim for secondary service connection, veterans will generally follow the same process as filing any claim for service connection. This means filling out and submitting VA Form 21-526EZ. Veterans can file the form online using the eBenefits portal, in person at their local Regional Office, or with help from a .
Like regular claims for service connection, the veteran will need to submit certain evidence with their claim. For secondary service connection to be granted, the veteran must provide:
- A diagnosis for your secondary condition and
- Medical evidence showing the link between your service-connected condition and secondary condition.
Specifically, veterans will need a nexus to link the primary, already service-connected condition to the secondary condition. Medical opinions from a medical provider can be very useful to demonstrate this link. Scientific studies which link the two conditions can also be used as evidence.
Additionally, lay evidence may also be helpful in regard to secondary service connection claims. Namely, veterans can submit lay statements outlining how their primary service-connected condition caused or aggravated their secondary condition. Family members, such as a spouse, can also submit lay evidence which explains how the two conditions are linked. For example, if a veterans back pain caused their depression, a spouse may be able to explain this connection through a lay statement.
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How Secondary Conditions Affect Your Disability Rating
Secondary conditions can increase your total disability rating. With the VA rating system, Veterans are rated proportionately in terms of how much they are disabled versus non-disabled. For example, a Veteran with a disability rating of 30% is counted as 70% non-disabled and 30% disabled.
When you acquire benefits for a secondary condition, that conditions disability rating is added to the current disability rating you have. This is true whether the new grant of service connection is a primary service connected disability or a secondary disability. Heres a breakdown of how this works with a hypothetical Veteran who has a disability rating of 50%:
- The Veteran applies for and receives benefits for a secondary condition related to their initial service-connected disability or injury.
- The secondary condition has a disability rating of 30%.
- However, the 30% and 50% are not simply added together. Instead, the 30% is considered as a percentage of the previous 50% disability rating.
- Because 30% of 50% is 15%, the Veterans total new disability rating is 50+15 or 65%.
- Since the VA always rounds to the nearest factor of 10, this is rounded up to a 70% total disability rating.
As you can see, the VA certainly doesnt make it easy to understand how disability ratings are added up! Thats just one more reason why you should contact knowledgeable Veterans law attorneys right away if you think you have hip pain related to a service-connected back injury or condition.
Secondary Service Connection And Pain
Many times, veterans suffer from orthopedic conditions or pain that then produce a secondary condition. In these cases, veterans may be eligible for service connection for the secondary condition if they can prove that it was caused or aggravated by their already service-connected condition. Importantly, secondary service connection based on chronic pain can be established in a number of ways. For example, a veteran is service-connected for chronic pain and as a result of their pain, they are prescribed several medications. Oftentimes, medications bring about side effects, such as gastrointestinal complications. As such, a veteran who is taking multiple medications for chronic pain may subsequently develop irritable bowel syndrome or gastroesophageal reflux disease . If VA finds that the veterans gastrointestinal issue is due to their medication use, which was prescribed for a service-connected condition, secondary service connection may be awarded.
Importantly, chronic pain can also lead to mental health conditions, including depression and anxiety. Oftentimes veterans with service-connected chronic pain will later develop depression because they are no longer able to engage in the activities they once enjoyed. This decline in functioning may produce feelings of sadness, hopelessness, and worthlessness. In this case, veterans may be eligible for secondary service connection for such mental health conditions if caused or aggravated by their chronic pain.
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Contact Tuley Law Office
Building and presenting a VA disability claim to the VA can be an arduous and difficult process. The legal team at Tuley Law Office have the knowledge and skills to guide you through the VAs dense language and often vague expectations.
If you or someone you know is experiencing back pain as a result of their time in the military, contact us today to schedule a consultation.
What Is The Back Pain Va Rating And Can You Get Compensated
Troops are exposed to a variety of risks for both their mental and physical health. When it comes to back pain, situations may vary from person to person, but there are often lingering effects of such an injury. A back pain VA rating can vary Veterans with worse pain can achieve a higher rating. The higher your rating is, the more youre compensated. All Veterans suffering from such ailments need to know about this system and how to get the benefits and support they rightfully deserve. Learn more about the VA rating for back pain and how to receive compensation, including free physical therapy.
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Can I Get To A 100 Percent Rating For A Back Disability
The diagnostic codes do allow for a 100 percent disability. But, you have to show unfavorable ankylosis of the entire spine to qualify for that.
This would mean that you are bent forward but cannot move any portion of your spine at all. In other words, your thoracolumbar spine does not move and your cervical spine does not move either. That is obviously a very significant limitation.
But, you should keep in mind that you may still be able to qualify for a 100 percent rating for a back disability if your disability makes you unemployable.
A 40 to 60 percent thoracolumbar spine rating means that you are severely limited by your back. You would either have very limited range of motion or incapacitating episodes requiring bedrest at least 4 weeks in the last year. Individuals with these limitations will often find it difficult to find or maintain employment.
I speak to many veterans who have one VA rating of 40 percent or higher and other smaller ratings that brings their total rating up to 70 percent or more. These veterans could often potentially qualify for TDIU benefits and get paid at the 100 percent level because their disabilities prevent them from finding work.
Travis Studdard is an attorney who focuses on representing veterans in VA disability compensation claims. He regularly writes about issues that are important to veterans and their families.
You can subscribe to his Veterans Disability channel on YouTube.
How Do I Win A Back Pain Case At The Va
Why Winning is Hard.
Winning a back pain case with the VA is difficult. The VA does not award total disability for back pain alone. Usually, you must also have limited range of motion, as well. The VA rates joint pain, including back pain, at 10%, which is about $140/month in 2020 Its not much!
What the VA is looking for.
If the pain is severe enough to keep you in bed, the VA will look at the number of incapacitating episodes you have had in the last twelve months. An incapacitating episode means that your doctor prescribed bed rest, along with treatment from the doctor. So, the back condition has to be pretty bad to meet these requirements.
What should I do?
You cant just crawl into bed and tough it out. Your doctor must be aware of what is going on, and must treat you. And the doctors records should reflect that they told you to stay in bed.
Also, go ahead and submit all of your medical records to the VA from your private physicians. Dont rely on the VA to obtain these records for you.
You might also consider keeping a diary of how you feel each day, and if your activities are limited, how and to what extent.
The VA puts great weight on these exams, and, obviously, your treating doctor knows you better than someone who has never met you. See if your medical provider, at the VA or elsewhere, would be willing to complete the form, called a Disability Benefits Questionnaire. This could help your case greatly.
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Va Disability For Back Pain
I hope you enjoy reading this blog post.
If you want to learn how to implement these strategies to get the VA benefits you deserve, to speak with a VA claim expert for free.
Do you have lower back pain? Or any type of back pain for that matter? Did you know you could be entitled to VA disability for back pain based on your service to our country?
Many veterans have had some sort of incident with there body while they served. Some people may have fallen, or others might have been more seriously wounded. Bottom line is we all worked our bodies to the bone while we trained to become soldiers, seaman, or airmen.
How Va Disability Compensation Is Determined
You must first apply for disability compensation with the VA. It is not an automatic benefit received upon retirement, nor is it guaranteed. Veterans are responsible for arranging an appointment with the VA immediately upon retirement or within a specified timeframe thereafter.
The amount you receive from VA disability compensation is determined by a number of factors, including your assigned disability rating as described below, the severity of your disability, and your number of dependents.
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Other Ways To Increase Your Disability Rating For Back Injuries
Needless to say, many veterans are displeased with very low ratings for back conditions that might keep them from working, driving, exercising, or living the way they want. One thing to do about it would be to look and see if the veteran might fall under the alternative diagnostic code relating to intervertebral disc disease and to see if that would result in a higher rating. If the veteran does not have incapacitating episodes more than four weeks a year, pursuing an alternative diagnostic code will not help with an increased evaluation.
Luckily, many veterans are entitled to additional compensation for back disabilities by claiming secondary conditions caused by their back disabilities. Back conditions can cause a lot of other issues. One of the most common secondary conditions related to a back problem is radiculopathy, a type of nerve disability, including sciatica.
If a veteran with a service-connected back condition also feels numbness, tingling, or pain down one or both of his legs, buttocks, hips, shoulders, arms, or chest, they might be able to claim radiculopathy secondary to the back condition. Erectile dysfunction, incontinence, and even depression might also be related to a back problem.
The VA has a legal duty to assign the diagnostic code or codes that result in the highest compensation to the veteran. Thus, in theory, the VA should look into all applicable diagnostic codes and determine which ones are best for you.
Functional Loss Full Definition
Disability of the musculoskeletal system is primarily the inability, due to damage or infection in parts of the system, to perform the normal working movements of the body with normal excursion, strength, speed, coordination and endurance.
It is essential that the examination on which ratings are based adequately portray the anatomical damage, and the functional loss, with respect to all these elements.
The functional loss may be due to absence of part, or all, of the necessary bones, joints and muscles, or associated structures, or to deformity, adhesions, defective innervation, or other pathology, or it may be due to pain, supported by adequate pathology and evidenced by the visible behavior of the claimant undertaking the motion.
Weakness is as important as limitation of motion, and a part which becomes painful on use must be regarded as seriously disabled.
A little used part of the musculoskeletal system may be expected to show evidence of disuse, either through atrophy, the condition of the skin, absence of normal callosity or the like.
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Depression Secondary To Back Pain
Depression is a serious mental health condition that affects the way a person thinks, feels, and acts. Symptoms of depression tend to include the following: persistent feelings of sadness, worthlessness, and hopelessness lack of motivation or interest in activities that are usually pleasurable difficulty sleeping and concentrating irritability decreased energy fatigue and changes in appetite resulting in weight loss or weight gain. If a veteran suffers from debilitating back pain, it is possible that they will develop depression due to the chronic discomfort and limitations on activities of daily living.
Va Ratings For Functional Impairment Of The Thoracolumbar Spine
The rating chart for thoracolumbar spinal pain is used for primary and secondary conditions to lower back pain. The measurements used for determining compensation are as follows:
- 0 percent rating: Flexion is greater than or equal to 90 degrees, OR a combined ROM greater than or equal to 240 degrees
- 10 percent rating: Flexion between 60 and 90 degrees, OR a combined ROM between 125 and 240 degrees
- 20 percent rating: Flexion between 30 and 65 degrees, OR a combined ROM less than or equal to 120 degrees, the minimum scoliosis percent for a scoliosis VA rating.
- 30 percent rating: This rating cannot be applied to the thoracolumbar spine
- 40 percent rating: Flexion less than or equal to 30 degrees, or the entire thoracolumbar spine is stuck in a favorable position
- 50 percent rating: The entire thoracolumbar spine is stuck in an unfavorable position, also called unfavorable ankylosis of the entire thoracolumbar spine.
- 100 percent rating: The entire spine will not move and is stuck in an unfavorable position
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