Was Your Va Disability Claim For Heart Disease Denied
Dealing with a VA disability claim for heart disease can leave you incredibly frustrated. Having a VA disability lawyer on your side, on the other hand, can help you navigate your claim and seek the assistance in paying for medical care that you deserve.
The VA may deny a disability claim related to heart disease for a variety of reasons. First and foremost, you may face a claim denial because you cannot show a link between your service and your disability, or because you did not show signs of heart disease or receive a formal diagnosis while on active duty. If the VA denies your disability claim, you do not have to handle it on your own! An experienced VA disability attorney can help you learn more about how to get help paying for your heart disease expenses, including how to appeal the claim denial.
How Do I File A Claim Online For Va Disability Benefits
To apply for VA disability benefits, or a VA disability increase, simply start a new VA claim and submit it online for free at VA.gov along with medical records for each condition youre claiming.
The new VA website is like Turbo-Tax for VA disability claims: Each screen will provide you with step-by-step instructions and on-screen tips to help you prepare and file your claim online.
- VA Statements in Support of a Claim for each condition youre claiming
How To Prove A Service Connection
You must be able to prove a service connection for your condition if you expect to gain VA disability benefits. To do so, you need to have a current diagnosis of your condition and medical and service records to back up your claim that the diagnosis can be traced back to your time in service.
- Direct service connection: You can establish this by providing three things: a current diagnosis of your condition, an in-service event or illness, and a medical nexus tying your diagnosis to the in-service incident.
- Secondary service connection: A secondary service-connected condition is one that was caused or worsened by a direct service-connected condition. For instance, if you have service-connected diabetes, hypertension, or PTSD, which has in turn exacerbated a heart condition, you may be able to start a claim trying to establish a secondary service-connection.
- Presumptive connection: If you have a qualifying service record, meaning you served in a time and place that exposed you to hazardous environments or chemicals, VA presumes a service connection. This applies to Vietnam veterans who have developed CAD and were exposed to Agent Orange. Hypertension, however, is not yet considered a presumptive condition.
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Getting Veterans Disability For Coronary Artery Disease
If you served in the U.S. military and later developed ischemic coronary artery disease, you may be eligible for disability compensation from the VA. Depending on your specific diagnosis and service record, the VA might presume your condition has a service connection. Unfortunately, without presumed service connection, getting veterans disability for ischemic coronary artery disease can be difficult.
The VA disability attorneys at Chisholm Chisholm & Kilpatrick LTD can examine your situation and help you build a strong case. We are experienced in filing VA disability claims for veterans and can put our extensive knowledge and resources to work for you. Call our office today for a free consultation: 401-331-6300.
Va Disability Ratings For Ischemic Heart Disease From Agent Orange
According to the VAs Schedule of Ratings, ischemic heart disease is rated under Diagnostic Code 7005 in the same section as other cardiovascular system diseases and conditions. Depending on the symptoms you experience, you may be assigned a disability rating anywhere from 10% to 100%.
- 10% rating: Assigned to Veterans with a heart workload of more than 7 METs but less than 11 METs. Associated with symptoms like fatigue, angina, dizziness, syncope, dyspnea, etc.
- 30% rating: Assigned to Veterans with a heart workload of more than 5 METs but less than 8 METs. Associated with the above symptoms as well as evidence of cardiac hypertrophy/dye location on electrocardiogram, x-ray, or echocardiogram.
- 60% rating: Assigned to Veterans who experienced more than one episode of acute congestive heart failure in the last year. Also assigned to Veterans with a heart workload of more than 3 METs but less than 6 METs. Associated with the above symptoms, in addition to left ventricular dysfunction
- 100% rating: Assigned to Veterans with chronic congestive heart failure. Also assigned to Veterans with a heart workload of 3 METs or less. Associated with the above symptoms.
What Do I Need For Evaluation Of A Rate Increase
Many of our clients need to raise their rates. It would help if you discussed rate increases annually to ensure your rates remain competitive and your claims are covered.
Most companies report that policyholders are rarely surprised by a rate increase, even a large one. People now understand why insurance companies need to raise their rates following recent weather patterns, and Raises of a smaller, more consistent magnitude may be tolerated more easily.
Another method of raising rates relatively without penalizing policyholders is to increase the deductible. Many insurance companies currently charge a $1,000 deductible as the standard.
Consider these factors when changing your deductible to examine how the premiums are based on the various deductibles.
You should eliminate the credit factor for higher deductibles and shift the credit factors for following higher deductibles if you raise deductibles to a higher base deductible. Consider eliminating lower deductibles for those insureds who want to keep lower deductibles instead of charging them a surcharge.
Temporary 100% Disability Rating
Depending on the symptoms a Veteran experiences, they may need to undergo heart surgery to alleviate or minimize their ischemic heart disease symptoms. In the aftermath of heart surgery, a Veteran may receive a temporary 100% disability rating during recovery.
The below surgeries qualify for the temporary 100% disability rating:
- Heart transplants
- Heart valve repair or replacement surgery
- Pacemaker insertion
- Coronary artery bypass grafting
Approximately one year after surgery, a Veteran may be considered recovered, and their temporary 100% disability benefits may return to their previous lower level.
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% Versus 100% For Heart Conditions
As outlined above, VA assigns a 60 percent rating when a veteran experiences debilitating symptoms during low levels of exercise, including walking or light yard work . This rating would also be appropriate if veterans have experienced several episodes of congestive heart failures .
To obtain the highest disability rating for heart conditions, veterans must prove that there has been an escalation in symptomology. Namely, veterans should show that they experience the symptoms of heart conditions at extremely minimal levels of exercise, including walking slowly for one or two blocks, showering, dressing, or eating. Furthermore, if veterans have chronic or continuous congestive heart failure rather than just occasional episodes of congestive heart failure, they may be eligible for a 100 percent rating.
It is important to note that a 100 percent rating is also awarded for certain heart conditions that require hospitalization. Veterans will receive a 100 percent, temporary total rating for the duration of the hospitalization and the first three months following the end of treatment or hospitalization for the condition.
Ischemic Heart Disease And Agent Orange
Agent Orange is a herbicide used by the U.S. military during the Vietnam War. The chemical has been linked to various health problems, including cancer, congenital disabilities, and ischemic heart disease.
Several studies have shown an increased risk of ischemic heart disease among veterans exposed to Agent Orange. The exact mechanism by which the chemical causes this condition is not yet known, but it is thought that it may interfere with the normal functioning of the heart muscle or the arteries.
If you have been exposed to Agent Orange, it is important to talk to your doctor about your risk factors for ischemic heart disease.
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Records From The Federal And State Governments
The following documents are included:
- Records of your military medical treatment
- Documents about your military service
- Medical records from the Social Security Administration or any other federal or state agency
- If you served in the National Guard or Reserves, any treatment or personnel records would support your claim.
We can request copies of these records during the claim process if you dont have them.
Ischemic Heart Disease Va Rating
The VA rates ischemic heart disease under the General Rating Formula for Heart Conditions with a range from 10% to 100%.
A 100% rating is given if an MET test causes symptoms at 3.0 METs or less.
A 60% rating is given if an MET test causes symptoms at 3.1 to 5.0 METs.
A 30% rating is given if there is one or more of the following:
A 10% rating is given if there is one or more of the following:
Ischemic heart disease is a serious condition, and it can have a significant impact on a veterans quality of life. The VA will consider the severity of the veterans symptoms. It will also look at any treatment received to determine the appropriate rating.
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Agent Orange Exposure And Ischemic Heart Disease In Veterans
Ischemic heart disease, also called coronary artery disease , is the most common type of heart disease amongst the general population. The condition occurs at higher rates in the US than any other heart disease and is caused by the buildup of plaque or cholesterol in the arteries of the heart. This buildup can hinder blood flow to the heart and cause a heart attack. CAD is also among the most common conditions in claims for disability benefits.
What Are Symptoms of Coronary Heart Disease?
When looking at symptoms of ischemic heart disease, VA specifically looks for the following when assigning a rating:
- shortness of breath,
Military veterans do not need to have all of these symptoms to qualify for a particular rating. It is, however, important to know what the possible symptoms may be and how they are related to the potential health outcomes so that you can make all of the necessary follow-up appointments. That way you can inform your doctors, and the veterans health administration if you are having these symptoms.
Agent Orange And Va Disability Benefits
Agent Orange was a combination of two herbicides used by the US military in Vietnam and in surrounding theaters/military operations. A herbicidal warfare agent, it was also used for industrial agriculture before its health effects were fully understood.
Today, exposure to Agent Orange has been linked to a wide range of severe health conditions in Veterans. In many cases, even short-term exposure to the chemical can lead to the development of cancer, lung issues, and much more.
Because of this, Agent Orange exposure often qualifies many Veterans for VA disability benefits without needing the disability to be service-connected. For example, many conditions are classified as presumptive conditions after Agent Orange exposure.
Veterans who may have been exposed to Agent Orange during their tours of service should contact a knowledgeable Veterans law attorney for more information.
Presumptive Service Connection For Heart Conditions
Presumptive service connection, available for certain veterans with certain heart conditions, means that the VA will “presume” that your heart condition is service-related based on your diagnosis alone, without your having to prove that something in your military service caused it.
For example, Vietnam vets who were exposed to Agent Orange and who develop ischemic heart diseasecan be entitled to presumptive service connection.
Other veterans with at least 90 days of continuous service can be eligible for presumptive serivce connection for conditions such as arteriosclerosis, endocarditis and myocarditis. A list of all medical conditions that can be compensated on the based on presumed service connection can be viewed in the VA regulations.
Even if presumptive service connection is not available, veterans can still obtain benefits on the basis of direct service connection . See Nolo’s article on ways to establish service-connection for other ways to prove a service connection for the purpose of obtaining disability compensation.
Heart Attack Va Disability Rating
To summarize, when you have a heart attack, you would be entitled to a 100% disability rating for veterans heart attack benefits. This 100% disability rating would continue for three months until the VA orders a reevaluation.
Duringthe reevaluation, you would be required to take an exercise stress test toassign a disability rating for your post-heart attack condition. The results ofthe exercise stress test would determine the rating for your veterans heartattack benefits at 10% , 30% , 60% , or 100% .
|VA Disability Rating|
|100%||3 or less|
If you are medically unable to take a stress test, you would be assigned a rating of 100% for veterans heart attack benefits if you have chronic congestive heart failure or a left ventricular ejection fraction less than 30%. You would be assigned a rating of 60% for veterans heart attack benefits if you have experienced acute congestive heart failure within the preceding year or have a left ventricular ejection fraction between 30% and 50%. A rating of 30% would be assigned for veterans heart attack benefits if you have thickening of the heart muscle or enlargement of the heart chambers. You will receive a rating of 10% for veterans heart attack benefits if you require continuous medication to treat your heart condition.
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How To File A Request For An Increased Va Disability Rating
Your disability may worsen at some point. Perhaps you are experiencing more pain, experiencing new symptoms, or finding that your existing disability is causing other problems.
You may have knee pain because of your service-related back injury, which causes you to favor one leg over the other.
The process for requesting an increase is usually the same as when you first applied for benefits. You must provide evidence that your condition has worsened, and private or VA doctors can provide this evidence.
For your private doctor to share your medical information with the VA, you must submit a VA Form 21-4142.
If you go to a civilian doctor as part of the Veterans Choice program, the VA Form 21-4142 may not be necessary, but it is never a bad idea to have one on hand.
Coronary Artery Disease And Va Disability Benefits
What Is Coronary Artery Disease?
Coronary artery disease is the narrowing or blockage of the coronary arteries, typically caused by atherosclerosis. Atherosclerosis is the buildup of plaque and cholesterol inside the arteries. An individual with coronary artery disease may exhibit one or all of the following symptoms:
- Chest pain this could include pressure or tightness in the chest, or sharp pains, usually occurring in the middle or left side of the chest.
- Shortness of breath
- Heart attack a completely blocked coronary artery will cause a heart attack.
- Signs and symptoms of a heart attack include crushing pressure in ones chest, pain in ones shoulder or arm, and sometimes shortness of breath and sweating.
There are multiple risk factors that can increase ones likelihood of developing coronary artery disease, many of which can occur concurrently or result from one another to increase an individuals chances of developing the condition. Some of those risk factors are:
Getting Service Connected For Coronary Artery Disease
How The VA Rates Coronary Artery Disease
Under 38 CFR § 4.104, the VA rates coronary artery disease as seen in the rating schedule below.
Diagnostic Code 7005: Arteriosclerotic heart disease :
Assistance With Your Coronary Artery Disease Claim
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Heart Failure Secondary To Ischemic Heart Disease
While the symptoms of heart failure can seem to come out of nowhere, the condition is often the result of another underlying cardiovascular problem. One of the most common causes of heart failure is ischemic heart disease, which occurs when the arteries that supply blood to the heart muscle become blocked or narrowed.
It can lead to a heart attack over time, it can weaken the heart muscle and cause it to pump less efficiently, leading to fluid buildup in the lungs and other body parts, resulting in heart failures characteristic symptoms. Because of this close relationship between ischemic heart disease and heart failure, its important for anyone diagnosed with one of these conditions to be closely monitored by a cardiologist.
Although heart failure can be filed secondary to IHD, the VA wont assign separate ratings. If the VA grants service connection for both conditions, they will only assign whichever condition has the higher rating.
Depression Secondary To Heart Disease
Up to 15 percent of patients with cardiovascular disease and up to 20 percent of patients who have undergone coronary artery bypass graft surgery experience major depression.
Unmanaged stress can lead to high blood pressure, arterial damage, irregular heart rhythms and a weakened immune system.
For people with heart disease, depression can increase the risk of an adverse cardiac event such as a heart attack or blood clots. For people who do not have heart disease, depression can also increase the risk of a heart attack and development of coronary artery disease.
Negative lifestyle habits associated with depression such as smoking, excessive alcohol consumption, lack of exercise, poor diet and lack of social support interfere with the treatment for heart disease.
Your life is as you know is turned upside down with heart disease. So, even if you ended up having a 30% disability rating for your heart, its more likely than not that youre going to have a 50 maybe even 70% rating for the depression itself. So its extremely important to be aware.
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