Rating Arthritis for Military Disability

Determining a military disability rating for arthritis can be frustrating, to say the least. I’m just going to get this out of the way right off the bat: It totally makes me feel like this guy.


There are all sorts of tricky rules in the VASRD that must be considered when rating arthritis. And having other conditions affecting a joint in addition to arthritis just complicates things even more. If you are a disabled American veteran with arthritis, I will do my best to help you understand how your arthritis should be rated.

First rule that you must understand: All joints will only receive ONE rating for the overall condition of that joint, regardless of the number of conditions that affect it. So, if you have arthritis and a meniscus condition in your knee, you can only receive a rating for one of the two conditions, whichever gives the higher rating. So, if your arthritis gives a higher rating than the meniscus condition, then it is rated, and the other is ignored. Only one rating per joint.

There are a couple of conditions that are an exception to this rule, but if you have one of these conditions, our discussion about that condition on our site will clearly say that you can rate it in addition to other conditions that affect that joint. If it doesn’t clearly state this, then it doesn’t apply. Only one rating for the entire joint.

Now that we understand that, let’s jump into arthritis. The VASRD rates two main types of arthritis: Degenerative Arthritis (code 5003), and Rheumatoid Arthritis (code 5002). All other types of arthritis or similar conditions are rated analogously as degenerative or rheumatoid, whichever is the most similar.

If your condition is Rheumatoid Arthritis or is rated as Rheumatoid Arthritis, it’s your lucky day! The ratings for Rheumatoid Arthritis are fairly straightforward. No serious complications or confusion for you. Just follow the instructions on our site, and you’ll be pretty good to go. Woo-hoo!

If your condition is Degenerative Arthritis or is rated as Degenerative Arthritis (by far the most common), it is not your lucky day. You have to hang in there with me as I explain things step by step. Sorry.

All right, Degenerative Arthritis… Let’s start off with assuming that only ONE joint has arthritis in the entire body. The key to Degenerative Arthritis is that if there is any limited motion AT ALL in the affected joint, then the condition MUST be rated on limited motion of that joint. So, if you have arthritis in your knee, and you cannot bend it all the way, then it is rated once on limited motion of the knee, code 5260. That is the one and only rating, and you are done.

Now if you have trouble both bending and straightening your knee all the way (they are two different codes for the knee), then you would pick the code that would give you the higher rating. So if the inability to bend gives a higher rating than the inability to straighten, then that is what is rated, and you are done.

Side Note: Because limited motion is so vital to rating arthritis, it is essential that your physicians record the exact range of motion measurements for your affected joints. If these measurements aren’t properly recorded, you will not receive the correct ratings you deserve. Physicians often don't know how things are rated, and so they may not realize this. Be proactive to make sure this is done. It is vital for both your DoD Disability and your VA Disability

Now, if you don’t have limited motion, then your condition is rated as Degenerative Arthritis under code 5003. Here is the most confusing part of rating Degenerative Arthritis: all joints in the body that are rated as Degenerative Arthritis are combined, and only one rating given for all the joints. (If you just screamed “What the heck?!” – don’t worry, I did too.)

So let’s jump to having multiple joints with Degenerative Arthritis. This will best be explained by using an example.

Joe has four joints that have Degenerative Arthritis or conditions that are rated as Degenerative Arthritis, his right elbow, his right wrist, his left knee, and his left ankle. All the conditions must first be rated on limited motion if there is any, and if they have limited motion, then they can each be rated SEPARATELY. So, both his elbow and his ankle do not have any limited motion, but his wrist and knee do. So, he receives one rating for limited motion of the wrist, and a second for limited motion of the knee. These both are finished.

Since his elbow and ankle do not have any limited motion, then they are both rated as Degenerative Arthritis under code 5003. Under this code, these joints will be combined, so they will only receive ONE rating for both of them. Carefully read how code 5003 works, and this should make sense.

Ultimately, Joe will only have a total of three ratings for his four conditions, instead of four separate ratings.

That’s it. Hopefully that didn’t just create more questions than it answered. Carefully read our discussions of Degenerative Arthritis and Rheumatoid Arthritis, and hopefully this will make sense to you. Rating arthritis is second only to rating TBI in its complexity, so take it slow.


Hopefully I have been able to help!
The Blog at Military Disability Made Easy: Rating Arthritis for Military Disability

Monday, May 12, 2014

Rating Arthritis for Military Disability

Determining a military disability rating for arthritis can be frustrating, to say the least. I’m just going to get this out of the way right off the bat: It totally makes me feel like this guy.


There are all sorts of tricky rules in the VASRD that must be considered when rating arthritis. And having other conditions affecting a joint in addition to arthritis just complicates things even more. If you are a disabled American veteran with arthritis, I will do my best to help you understand how your arthritis should be rated.

First rule that you must understand: All joints will only receive ONE rating for the overall condition of that joint, regardless of the number of conditions that affect it. So, if you have arthritis and a meniscus condition in your knee, you can only receive a rating for one of the two conditions, whichever gives the higher rating. So, if your arthritis gives a higher rating than the meniscus condition, then it is rated, and the other is ignored. Only one rating per joint.

There are a couple of conditions that are an exception to this rule, but if you have one of these conditions, our discussion about that condition on our site will clearly say that you can rate it in addition to other conditions that affect that joint. If it doesn’t clearly state this, then it doesn’t apply. Only one rating for the entire joint.

Now that we understand that, let’s jump into arthritis. The VASRD rates two main types of arthritis: Degenerative Arthritis (code 5003), and Rheumatoid Arthritis (code 5002). All other types of arthritis or similar conditions are rated analogously as degenerative or rheumatoid, whichever is the most similar.

If your condition is Rheumatoid Arthritis or is rated as Rheumatoid Arthritis, it’s your lucky day! The ratings for Rheumatoid Arthritis are fairly straightforward. No serious complications or confusion for you. Just follow the instructions on our site, and you’ll be pretty good to go. Woo-hoo!

If your condition is Degenerative Arthritis or is rated as Degenerative Arthritis (by far the most common), it is not your lucky day. You have to hang in there with me as I explain things step by step. Sorry.

All right, Degenerative Arthritis… Let’s start off with assuming that only ONE joint has arthritis in the entire body. The key to Degenerative Arthritis is that if there is any limited motion AT ALL in the affected joint, then the condition MUST be rated on limited motion of that joint. So, if you have arthritis in your knee, and you cannot bend it all the way, then it is rated once on limited motion of the knee, code 5260. That is the one and only rating, and you are done.

Now if you have trouble both bending and straightening your knee all the way (they are two different codes for the knee), then you would pick the code that would give you the higher rating. So if the inability to bend gives a higher rating than the inability to straighten, then that is what is rated, and you are done.

Side Note: Because limited motion is so vital to rating arthritis, it is essential that your physicians record the exact range of motion measurements for your affected joints. If these measurements aren’t properly recorded, you will not receive the correct ratings you deserve. Physicians often don't know how things are rated, and so they may not realize this. Be proactive to make sure this is done. It is vital for both your DoD Disability and your VA Disability

Now, if you don’t have limited motion, then your condition is rated as Degenerative Arthritis under code 5003. Here is the most confusing part of rating Degenerative Arthritis: all joints in the body that are rated as Degenerative Arthritis are combined, and only one rating given for all the joints. (If you just screamed “What the heck?!” – don’t worry, I did too.)

So let’s jump to having multiple joints with Degenerative Arthritis. This will best be explained by using an example.

Joe has four joints that have Degenerative Arthritis or conditions that are rated as Degenerative Arthritis, his right elbow, his right wrist, his left knee, and his left ankle. All the conditions must first be rated on limited motion if there is any, and if they have limited motion, then they can each be rated SEPARATELY. So, both his elbow and his ankle do not have any limited motion, but his wrist and knee do. So, he receives one rating for limited motion of the wrist, and a second for limited motion of the knee. These both are finished.

Since his elbow and ankle do not have any limited motion, then they are both rated as Degenerative Arthritis under code 5003. Under this code, these joints will be combined, so they will only receive ONE rating for both of them. Carefully read how code 5003 works, and this should make sense.

Ultimately, Joe will only have a total of three ratings for his four conditions, instead of four separate ratings.

That’s it. Hopefully that didn’t just create more questions than it answered. Carefully read our discussions of Degenerative Arthritis and Rheumatoid Arthritis, and hopefully this will make sense to you. Rating arthritis is second only to rating TBI in its complexity, so take it slow.


Hopefully I have been able to help!

373 Comments:

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At January 6, 2017 at 8:22 AM , Blogger Military Disability Made Easy said...

One of the hardest issues that you are going to be facing is the change in diagnosis. Since arthritis was never mentioned in your service treatment records, the VA could very well try to say that the arthritis isn't service connected since it was never mentioned. Happens far too often. It will help your case greatly if you could have a one of your physicians clearly note that the tendonitis was misdiagnosed and is instead arthritis. You need to show a clear connection to the condition that was diagnosed while in service in order for the VA to recognize the new diagnosis.

As for the C&P Exam, the biggest rating factors are pain and range of motion. Make sure to fully describe your regular state of being, not just the current condition. Does it regularly hurt with motion? Then you do have pain with motion. Do NOT try to lie, though. I get that your honesty the last time seemed to have harmed you, but lying will harm you even worse, because docs can easily tell. So always be honest, but focus on the points that will get rated: pain with motion and any limited motion you may have.

You may not get a terribly high rating this time if you do not have much limited motion, but as long as it is rated correctly, it will be easy to increase the rating in the future if your condition worsens.

 
At January 10, 2017 at 2:55 AM , Blogger LB said...

I have so many questions to be asked.

 
At January 19, 2017 at 6:30 PM , Blogger lbadge said...

Hello Dr. Johnson. I am contemplating filing a claim for depression secondary to my service connected arthritis. I am rated 30% for PTSD (anxiety).Since these are mental disorders will the VA try to combine these rating together under PTSD for one rating? I did see on the DBQ form for mental disorders other than PTSD indicate "if veteran is diagnosed with PTSD, the initial PTSD DBQ must be completed by examiner" I contacted VA e-benifits and they said there are no DBQs for initial examinations for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. In my opinion my depression has nothing to do with PTSD and all to do with my arthritis. Of course I will have to be officially diagnosed by a physician. Thank you sir.

 
At January 26, 2017 at 10:21 AM , Blogger CWG said...

I am currently serving in the Army National Guard, 1yr 2 months, after having served 8yrs in the Marine Corps Infantry. My body has been banged up over the years but I still feel healthy and am exceeding physical standards. My issue is that I have recently been feeling major discomfort in my left ankle. I went to a private podiatrist for X-Rays and was diagnosed with severe osteoarthritis as well as multiple fractures and "bone chunks" just floating around down there. I was shocked to hear this as, again, I am exceeding my necessary physical standards for service. I do want to report this to AMEDD for record and future diagnosis, but I do not want to get Medical Discharge when I believe I still have a long career ahead.

My question: Is a medical discharge based on a diagnosis or functionality/performance? I have OA but I can still function.

 
At January 26, 2017 at 11:20 AM , Blogger Military Disability Made Easy said...

Yes, they will combine them. You can only have one rating for mental disorders since it is pretty much impossible to separate the symptoms of a mental disorder. Depression is a symptom of PTSD, and so is already covered under a rating for PTSD regardless of the cause of the depression. It is never rated separately. You will always receive only one rating for your overall mental health regardless of the causes. Now you may be able to have your PTSD rating increased if all of your symptoms, including your depression, are severe enough to warrant a higher rating on the Psychological Rating System:

http://www.militarydisabilitymadeeasy.com/mentaldisorders.html#system

 
At January 26, 2017 at 11:29 AM , Blogger lbadge said...

Great information Sir, thank you so much!

 
At January 26, 2017 at 11:34 AM , Blogger Military Disability Made Easy said...

More often than not it is based on performance. That being said, a condition like osteoarthritis is degenerative, meaning that it will get worse over time, and the harder you push your body, the faster it will worsen. That means that you will most likely not have as long a career as you would like in the military because your ankle is only going to worsen. Your physician may suggest that you go ahead and separate now to prevent an accelerated degeneration, but he may not. It's impossible to predict exactly how long you'll be able to remain in the service. You'll have to counsel with your physician and determine what you think is the best course of action for your long term health.

 
At January 26, 2017 at 5:27 PM , Blogger lbadge said...

Great information Sir, thank you so much!

 
At February 12, 2017 at 1:56 PM , Blogger dennis singleton said...

My question is, I have been rated as 40% due to brachial neuritis in 2014. I am now having muscle spasm and my hand goes numb if holding anything for about 2 minutes. I am also having what sounds like grinding in my shoulder that maybe arthritis. There is some pain with my shoulder and now I wonder can I open a claim for increase of disability.

 
At February 13, 2017 at 7:55 PM , Blogger dennis singleton said...

Since I have gotten discharged in 1974 I have been diagnosed with very servre case of sleep apena. I have done the over night study had the machine but I toss and turn in the night. So I gave back the machine. My Dentist has had a mouth guard type of device made from Somno Company. Can I claim this as a VA disability. I have all the documents from the study.

 
At February 14, 2017 at 6:34 PM , Blogger USAF Guy 33 said...

Hello Sir,

I was USAF 10 years. Forklift driver and 60k tunner loader operator for almost all of my time. This involved arching my neck and back constantly, and now, the VA has diagnosed/found Arthritis in my neck.

I originally was not going to file, but, a Gulf War Vet at the front counter said "You better file for this." I sometimes get very stiff neck for no reason after sleeping on even my good side. But other than that, and some ghost pains, and pain on the upper left side of my back. No real pain too bad.

VA found this after I was discharged. My appointment is this friday. Any advice on this would be appreciated. I feel that I definitely had the experience that made this condition happen for sure....but not willing to wait 40 years to find out, then be screwed.

Thoughts here good Doctor?

 
At February 16, 2017 at 5:40 AM , Blogger dennis singleton said...

Dr.Johnson I hope this will be my question to you for a while. Since my post from the 12th of this month things have changed. First off I saw my Doctor yesterday the 15th. The VA has also said that beside my brachial neuritis I have left shoulder degenerative disease. I now have bursitis, and tendinitis in that shoulder. My doctor took x-rays of my shoulder and my ankle of which it showed no arthritis in the shoulder but there arthritis in my ankle with pain. Can I ask for a increase for disability on my shoulder and ankle or do I need to open new claims for them.

 
At February 17, 2017 at 7:12 AM , Blogger Military Disability Made Easy said...

All conditions diagnosed more than a year after discharge must be clearly linked to your military service in order for it to qualify. So in the case of your sleep apnea, this will probably not qualify since it developed so long after service and it isn't caused by another condition that is service-connected.

The degenerative disease in the shoulder will most likely be considered service-connected secondary to your brachial nerve condition, but you will need to submit a new claim for this since it is a new condition that can be rated separately.

As for the arthritis of the ankle, do you have other ankle conditions that are service-connected? If so, then it might be considered secondary. If not, this probably won't qualify either.

 
At February 17, 2017 at 8:10 AM , Blogger Military Disability Made Easy said...

This is going to be a tough case. Definitely apply, but be prepared that they will most likely determine that this condition is not service-connected. For most conditions that are diagnosed more than a year after discharge, the VA won't consider them service-connected unless there is an undeniable link back to your service. While your MOS is a possible link, they usually need more definitive evidence like medical records from your time in the service.

Again, it's good to apply, but be prepared that your claim may not be successful.

 
At February 18, 2017 at 8:15 AM , Blogger dennis singleton said...

Dr. Johnson, the VA gave me a letter along with my current rating of 40% for the neuritis saying that with the muscle spams and weakness of the overall arm that they placed my shoulder as left shoulder degenerative disease. As far as my ankle their is pain and less movement along with the arthritis. My doctor told me go get a ankle brace and wear it. He also is thinking about sending to have a nerve test done as he now thinks that I may have carpul tunnel in my left hand. If they find indeed that I do have carpul tunnel and could I linked that to my nerve rating? Thanks for all the info Doc.

 
At February 22, 2017 at 12:27 PM , Blogger Military Disability Made Easy said...

The carpal tunnel may be considered secondary. I definitely suggest having your physician writing a NEXUS letter stating that these secondary conditions are "more likely than not" caused by your service-connected left shoulder condition.

 
At February 26, 2017 at 6:18 AM , Blogger Unknown said...

Dear Dr. Johnson,
After seeing all the help you have provided Service Veterans, I have a question for you. I hope I provide enough info for you to clearly understand my V.A. Disability situation. I apologize in advance for the lengthy diatribe. It's been a long haul....
I am 56 years old and have been on permanent disability for over 10 years from my civilian job as an Electronics Manufacturing Process Technician. The last 12 years have been thoroughly exhausting and debilitating for me and I am hoping you can comment on my present inquiry.
I suffered a lower back injury while enlisted in the U.S. Coast Guard back in 1980. Due to be stationed in a small town in MN that had no Military Hospital facility, I had to see a doctor at a local Free Clinic. After taking X-rays and examining me, he diagnosed me with a lower back injury, but had to send the X-rays out to be read for a final assessment of my spinal condition. By Dr. instructions, I was off duty for 3 1/2 weeks recuperating. When going back for final result of X-rays, I was diagnosed with premature Spinal Arthiritis. Only a few years after being honorably discharched the next year, I incurred another back injury and had to have surgery for ruptured lumbar disc, pinching my nerves, partially removed. After this surgery, I was limited per Dr. orders from lifting anything over 40lbs. Within 7 years, my back went out again and I was on Workers Comp. and off work for over 2 1/2 years. Initially, the Spinal Specialist thought I had a spinal cord injury along with 2 more herniated (higher) lumbar discs. I had to have a very painful procedure done, (that was new then) called a Discogram. They found that the original, partially removed, disc was almost nonexistent and 2 more above it we're hitting nerves that were causing pain in my hips, groin, lower-intestine region. But, thankfully, no spinal cord damage! My Spinal M.D. Sent me to a Pain Clinic to see if the additional time would ease the pain on the newly pinched nerves, as he did not want to see my go through invasive Spinal Fusion. He thought I was way to young to have 5 lower vertebrae fused and said I would probably never work again. The front waist/groin pain eased up, but I still live with pain down my left leg since then. I had a whole body assessment done and was given a 25% whole body partial impairment.
I worked, with restrictions, for over 12 more years before having to go on LT-Disability permenantly. I just recently applied for V.A. Medical Assistance and got covered 100% for medical coverage and prescriptions (no dental). Over 2 years ago, I applied for V.A. Disability by the prompting of a V.A. Rep. Turned down the first time and appealed it. They didn't even have records of my back injury in the Coast Guard! Anyway, I finally get a finding of my appeal in 2 weeks. The initial V.A. Rep that help me with the appeal used to be a (??? Official title escapes me, but the V.A. Official that investigates the appeal to give you the final %). He said, on my initial visit, that after hearing of my current medical, disability, unemployment status he would give me a probable 100% rating. I just find that hard to believe, as how can they tie my current status to my active duty in-service injury?
I am now disabled with Chronic Pain Syndrome, P.H.N. from Shingles at 35 years old, Menieres Disease, Monoclonal Gammopathy W/ US, Neuropathy, Fibromyalgia, Osteoarthritis all over (I had 3 shoulder,, 2 wrist, 2 knee, 4 finger surgeries in a matter of 2 years due to deformation, arthritis, trigger finger, carpal tunnel, and just plain wearing out prematurely! ) of course add depression, restless leg syndrome, ADD, etc.... along with V.A. finding GERD, Hiatal Hernia, & I.B.S.
It has been an arduous journey to say the least and I don't know what to think about the upcoming determination. I'm hoping you can shed light on this....

Thank's for being patient, Tom S.....


 
At February 27, 2017 at 10:53 AM , Blogger troypulk said...

Right now I have a zero rating on my right knee and my x-ray shows,
FINDINGS: Normal bony alignment and mineralization. The joint spaces are maintained.
Tricompartmental marginal osteophyte formation is present . Soft tissues are normal. No joint
effusion.
IMPRESSION: Mild tricompartmental degenerative changes, slightly progressed from prior radiograph.

Is this arthritis? would I get at least 10% rating for this? would I need my doctor to say something?

Thanks

 
At March 3, 2017 at 10:07 AM , Blogger Military Disability Made Easy said...

Ultimately, you're just going to have to wait and see. It could go either way. On one hand, your current spine condition is clearly linked to an injury that occurred after service. Yes, you were diagnosed with spinal arthritis while in service, but the injury after is what really caused the more serious stuff. Because of this, they could uphold the decision that it isn't service-connected.

That being said, you were officially diagnosed with spinal arthritis while in service, so if they feel that all of your current spine conditions are an extension of that original arthritis, then they'll grant service-connection.

Anything that isn't directly related to the arthritis and wasn't independently diagnosed while in service, however, will not be considered service-connected.

Ultimately, with the limited info I have, it's impossible to really predict what they will decide.

 
At March 3, 2017 at 10:09 AM , Blogger Military Disability Made Easy said...

As long as there is pain with motion, you should get the minimum 10%. To get it fixed, you need to make sure that your pain with motion is clearly recorded by a physician and then submit an appeal.

 
At March 3, 2017 at 11:43 AM , Blogger troypulk said...

Thanks,

My left knee is the same but a little worse but it's not in my med record what can I do to make sure it gets added to my disability rating? will I get 10% for the left as well?

 
At March 6, 2017 at 6:36 AM , Blogger Unknown said...

Thank you so much for your rapid response. That's kind of where I am. I'll find out today, in an hour.
I actually did have an injury, albeit while deer hunting with my superior. I heard a sound like a branch breaking when my back went out trying to rock a pickup truck out of the mud it was stuck in.
I'm hoping for the best.......

 
At March 6, 2017 at 6:38 AM , Blogger Unknown said...

I intended to indicate that the injury occurred the last year I was in the U.S. C.G.

 
At March 7, 2017 at 9:11 AM , Blogger Military Disability Made Easy said...

If it isn't in your medical record, they have no proof that it is service-connected. Unless you can get a specialist to claim that it is "more likely than not" the result of your right knee, it may not qualify. You need to go back to the doctor and have them thoroughly record it and connect it to your service-connected condition.

 
At March 7, 2017 at 9:20 AM , Blogger troypulk said...

I forgot to mention that the right knee has zero rating for chondromalacia patella.

 
At March 10, 2017 at 4:33 PM , Blogger Military Disability Made Easy said...

As long as the injury occurred while you were still on active duty, it counts towards service-connection. This injury may be enough for the VA to decide in your favor.

 
At March 10, 2017 at 4:34 PM , Blogger Military Disability Made Easy said...

As long as the right knee is considered service-connected, then any condition that it causes would also be considered service-connected as secondary to that condition.

 
At March 13, 2017 at 8:53 AM , Blogger Unknown said...

For the information of all, I did receive service connection and compensation for arthritis secondary to UC. Only 10% but I think that's fair and as you mentioned, I can always seek to increase if needed in the future. The hurdle was getting it service connected. The only catch: they didn't connect lumbar spine and hip, only hands and feet. I find that odd since the lumbar spine in particular was the one thing that has bothered me the longest (since I was about 20). But it also wasn't in my records and neither was my hip which has hurt for about 10 years now.

 
At March 13, 2017 at 12:31 PM , Blogger troypulk said...

Thanks,

I should clarify, since the right knee has chondromalacia patella and plus the x-ray, would that mean I would get 10% or higher automatically or would the pain with motion still have to be there? isn't chondromalacia patella pain with motion?

 
At March 16, 2017 at 12:19 PM , Blogger Military Disability Made Easy said...

The key is that they weren't in your records. They have to have that record proof to grant service-connection. Glad the rest worked out, though.

 
At March 16, 2017 at 12:20 PM , Blogger Military Disability Made Easy said...

Pain with motion has to be seen on physical examination. It isn't ever assumed.

 
At March 17, 2017 at 8:17 AM , Blogger Ready to Retire said...

I was diagnosed with ankylosing spondylitis and polyarthritis by my rheumatologist. Getting prepared to submit my claim and not sure should I submit for both of those diagnosis? I continue on meds and continue to have elevated C-reactive protein numbers as well as at least 3-4 severely debilitating episodes per year. How should this be rated because AS is not very clearly defined in the VSARD? Will it be rated a degenerative arthritis based on pain and motion? When i have episodes I can barely move or function without assistance.

 
At March 19, 2017 at 8:53 AM , Blogger troypulk said...

As an update:

The VA has given me the 10% for my right knee based on the VA examiner's results and the x-ray.

Thanks again for your advice.

 
At March 24, 2017 at 8:29 AM , Blogger Military Disability Made Easy said...

You can (and should) always list all of your diagnosed conditions on your claim, but just realize that they may not be rated separately if they affect the same body part.

In your case, if your polyarthritis is just in your spine and does not affect any other joints, then it won't be rated separately from the ankylosing spondylitis. You'll receive one rating under code 5240:

http://www.militarydisabilitymadeeasy.com/thespine.html#a

This is rated on the the Spine's General Rating Formula on limited motion.

http://www.militarydisabilitymadeeasy.com/thespine.html#form

Do note, however, that the cervical and thoracolumbar spines are rated separately, so if both are affected by either of your conditions, then you'll receive two ratings under code 5240: one for the cervical and one for the thoracolumbar.

 
At March 26, 2017 at 1:42 PM , Blogger A New Reality said...

Hello, I have a Disability rating of 10% on both knees due to arthritis. I submitted a notice of disagreement because I take shots and physical therapy to assist with the pain. I might have range of motion from the table but not when I try to walk. Also Dr. told me that my knees are bone on bone and recommended surgery, which is scheduled for late summer. Will having the knee replacement surgery prevent me from qualifying at 10% if pain improves?

Thank you.

 
At March 29, 2017 at 8:45 AM , Blogger Military Disability Made Easy said...

It's possible.

The ratings for knees are never based on treatments, just symptoms: range of motion, instability, and pain. If the range of motion (measured by a goniometer) is not restricted enough to warrant a rating, then it is rated 10% as long as there is pain with motion.

If the surgery improves the condition so that there is neither limited motion nor pain with motion, then the disability is gone, and no rating is necessary.

Since this is a service-connected condition, however, if the condition ever worsens again in the future, your rating can be increased at any time.

 
At April 1, 2017 at 10:11 AM , Blogger Nitrogen Narcosis said...

If you have knee surgery, don't forget to apply for 100% disability during your recovery time.

 
At April 5, 2017 at 6:58 PM , Blogger Unknown said...

I'm in a med board right now and it's at the informal board I have a confirmed diagnosis from my neurologist of myoclonic epilepsy, with medical records confirming 15-20 seizures but all testing has come back normal.... will they rate me at zero because of that ?

 
At April 5, 2017 at 7:22 PM , Blogger Nitrogen Narcosis said...

Here is a website that explains VA ratings for epilepsy. Documentation will be essential in your
claim, including how the seizures interfere in your ability to work. http://www.militarydisabilitymadeeasy.com/centralnervoussystem.html#epilepsy

 
At April 6, 2017 at 5:16 PM , Blogger Unknown said...

Thanks I'm pretty versed on the site but do truly appreciate it. My main concern is I have a state from neurologist stating he has personally witnessed my seizures and that I also had 2 seizures while being tested during an eeg but results show normal readings ( which he does say is common) but I'm still worried about the no abnormal readings but feel confident in the fact that he has stated he witnessed them... he also filled out as much as he could of a c and p exam I printed off as well.

 
At April 7, 2017 at 8:24 AM , Blogger Military Disability Made Easy said...

Hi Jon -

Since your neurologist definitely witnessed the seizures and testifies to them, you should be okay. The rule emphasizes that the seizures "must be witnessed or verified at some time by a physician." It doesn't definitively state that there must be test results showing abnormal activity as well, although that definitely helps. It's pretty difficult to get proper test results for seizures since prediction is difficult, to say the least. Ultimately, as long as your doc witnessed and testifies of them, you should be fine.

 
At April 7, 2017 at 8:47 AM , Blogger Unknown said...

I sustained herniated disc in 2005 with radiculopathy, and sciatica. In 2009 had micro discectomy and was 99 percent better. 20012, half way through 1sr pregnancy the disc reherniated, I have intermittent sciatica, one side, about 6 times per year. On xray DDD, bulges at other levels. I have almost 15 years and going through MEB. I was only rated 10 percent for arthritis and the VA examiner physically pushed me for a greater extension (horrible pain). I was shocked and too afraid to tell on her (who would I even tell). I also have arthritis of shoulders and neck. Shoulders was found on xray during C&P but I was not rated for it (should I have been)? I was also made to bend fwd 3 times before she took the back measurements. My proposed VA rating is 80% but my back is absolutely worse then 10%. Do I ask for another exam (who do I ask, if yes), or do I just provide additional documentation (and from whom, ortho or pain mgmt doc)? I get a different Dr. at every appointment.

 
At April 7, 2017 at 10:51 AM , Blogger Unknown said...

I was diagnosed with Rheumatoid in the back and Osteoarthritis in the hip, knees, and hands. But only give benefit of 10% as service connected for Rheumatoid. I understand that Rheumatoid causes osteoarthritis, how come I was denied.

 
At April 7, 2017 at 7:11 PM , Blogger Unknown said...

Ok well that deffinately puts me at ease I had him fill out a C&P exam as well and sign it stating that I have 10 or more a week etc. I'm also having him sign a narrative summary of everything incase once I go to the formal board they say he's not qualified to fill out a c and p exam. I am pretty confident that I will be going to the formal board due to my c and p exam stating I have had no seizures ( which in and of itself is a joke because that is one of my unfitting conditions)

 
At April 12, 2017 at 9:02 AM , Blogger Military Disability Made Easy said...

If you can get your ortho, pain management doc, and physical therapist to take new measurements, you can submit them for reconsideration. You'll want more than one set of measurements in order for them hold more weight the VA examiner's measurements.

The VA won't rate conditions that aren't on the claim, so if you did not include the arthritis of your neck and shoulder, they won't consider it. You can submit a new claim for it, however.

 
At April 12, 2017 at 9:10 AM , Blogger Military Disability Made Easy said...

Rheumatoid arthritis can cause osteoarthritis, but only in the same joints. Your RA is in your spine. Was it ever diagnosed in your hip, knees, and hands? If so, then it is logical that it could have caused your OA. If there are no sings of RA in those joints, then it is not likely that your OA was caused by the RA. Must be in the same joints.

 
At April 12, 2017 at 9:13 AM , Blogger Military Disability Made Easy said...

Only the VA physician can conduct a C&P exam, true, but them saying you didn't have any just means that they didn't witness any. In the history, it should still note the seizures that your other physician did witness. A narrative summary is definitely good evidence to submit from your doc. That should be enough support to help your case.

 
At April 13, 2017 at 1:17 PM , Blogger Unknown said...

I came in the military in 2012 and am currently undergoing an MEB for Rheumatoid Arthritis that I have been diagnosed with now for 4 out of 5 years of my military service. My question is what is a possible rating for me since the RA has now led to Lupus as well? Is it possible for me to be permanently retired with RA I've had multiple treatments none of which have worked for pain or reduction of inflammation and now I am constantly getting sick and have had multiple days off because of the pain/sickness and I work in the hospital, and if so how common is it? My immune system was so low that I had to be out on con Leave for 6weeks. What do you think?

 
At April 13, 2017 at 1:18 PM , Blogger Unknown said...

I'm sorry I am referring to the C&P rating for the RA

 
At April 24, 2017 at 8:44 AM , Blogger Military Disability Made Easy said...

Hi Euniece -

Since Lupus and RA often cause the same symptoms, they can only be rated separately if their symptoms can be clearly distinguished from each other. It sounds like that's not possible in your case, although I don't know the full details, so I'm assuming that you'll only be given a single rating, either for RA or for Lupus, whichever gives the higher rating.

If we look at the ratings for lupus, you will probably qualify for a 60% rating based on incapacitating episodes. I'm not completely sure this is correct with the limited information I have, but it seems like it would apply in your case.

http://www.militarydisabilitymadeeasy.com/infectiousdiseasesandimmunedisorders.html#p

If we look at the ratings for RA, you may not qualify for a 60% since you need at least 4 incapacitating episodes. This can also be rated on limited motion for each joint affected, so depending on the number of joints involved and their respective limited motion, you might be rated highest on this.

http://www.militarydisabilitymadeeasy.com/diseasesofthemusculoskeletalsystem.html#rheum

Ultimately, while I don't have enough information to tell you exactly what your rating will be, I do think it will be higher than 30%, which is the minimum for medical retirement, so you should definitely be good to go in that regard.

 
At May 7, 2017 at 7:28 AM , Blogger Unknown said...

Hi Dr. Johnson,

I recently retired and submitted my claim within a year of retirement. I have been diagnosed with both degenerative arthritis and Gout for a number of joints (feet, toes, ankles, knees, hands, fingers). Neither of which have incapacitating occurrences or limited motion. However, they both have documented associated pain daily. My question is, will they rate my joints separately under code 5002 for the gout or will they rate them together?

 
At May 15, 2017 at 9:31 AM , Blogger Military Disability Made Easy said...

Hi Chris -

Regardless of rating as degenerative arthritis or rheumatoid arthritis, painful motion is rated per joint. So if the only issue present is painful motion, you'll be given 10% for each joint affected.

 
At May 16, 2017 at 6:22 PM , Blogger Unknown said...

Dr. Johnson. What is the difference between painful motion and limited motion? If, during my exams, I feel pain at any point while moving a joint, should I stop immediately? And would that qualify for painful or limited motion?

 
At May 19, 2017 at 5:53 PM , Blogger Military Disability Made Easy said...

Hi Travis -

Limited motion needs to be your full, possible range of motion. If you stop just because you feel pain but can clearly go further, your doc will notice and could start to doubt what you tell him. Not a good thing at all.

Painful motion is any motion with pain. It is definitely okay to show that you are in pain and if the pain truly limits motion, then that is absolutely fine. But in the exam, go as far as you can move and let your doctor know whenever you feel pain.

 
At May 30, 2017 at 4:38 PM , Blogger Unknown said...

minimum shoulder rating has increased to 20% effective May 2016

 
At May 30, 2017 at 4:43 PM , Blogger Unknown said...

Minimum Should rating has increased to 20% effective May 2016. This is the post that I found on another Veteran site. Have anyone hear about this. The VA will not inform you on this matter. You have to fill out the paperwork and request an increase.
Most of you probably know painful motion of a major joint gets you 10 %. They call that a pain grant. Well for those of you with 10 % pain grants for a shoulder you should apply for increase. The courts recently sided with the true nature of the rating schedule under DC 5201 which says the minimum compensable shoulder evaluation for painful motion is 20%. Yes an odd scenario but beneficial to the veteran. Painful motion of the shoulder is 20% now.

 
At June 2, 2017 at 10:58 AM , Blogger Unknown said...

Dr. Johnson,
First off I appreciate everything you do for Veterans on this site. Its truly amazing.
I recently received my ratings back from the VA as I am currently in the MEB/PEB. I had 3 unfitting conditions and all 3 were labeled to have painful motion in my joints. Those being my right knee, left knee, and left wrist with plenty of documentation on all of them. They rated my right knee 10% and the other two were SC 0%. I am about to do a VARR and was wondering if there is any reason they would have rated them 0% to begin with and what are my chances of increase since in the C&P exam the doctor noted that there was painful motion. Also, my attorney has typed up a VARR memo for me, should I also write a letter myself to send with it or just use the memo? Thank you for your time sir! Have a blessed day!

 
At June 5, 2017 at 1:43 PM , Blogger Military Disability Made Easy said...

Where exactly did you hear this? I'm very interested to see this info as the VASRD has not officially changed to say that this is fact across the board. DC 5201 only says that a 20% is given if the arm can only be raised to shoulder level, but not above. The legal text says nothing about painful motion to note 20%, and neither Congress nor the VA have published an official ruling on this. If you'd pass along you source, that would be appreciated.

 
At June 5, 2017 at 1:47 PM , Blogger Military Disability Made Easy said...

Hi Kyle -

Not sure why they didn't grant painful motion. The memo should be enough, but you can always write a letter as well. Can't hurt. Just make sure to clearly point out the evidence of painful motion in your medical records and on the C&P exam. Since you have evidence, your case is a strong one, and you should be successful.

 
At June 5, 2017 at 3:55 PM , Blogger Unknown said...

Thanks for the quick response sir. I just submitted my VARR this morning and will update you on the reconsideration. I have other conditions that were diagnosed on active duty and medications prescribed for over a year that when I went through the C&P exam the examiner kind of blew off, like restless leg syndrome and migraines, so they were not added to my NARSUM. Are these things what I need to claim when I get out? or is it kind of pointless since the examiner already put they weren't anything. I'm mostly concerned about the unfit conditions towards medical retirement, just not sure why when pain was clearly noted they put 0%.

 
At June 12, 2017 at 9:34 AM , Blogger Military Disability Made Easy said...

I would be concerned about all of them. If they are diagnosed, then the examiner should have thoroughly recorded all of them. The VA will rate all conditions, not just the ones that make you unfit for duty, so they all are important. And if any worsen in the future, it'll be easier for you if they are already in the system. Definitely apply for all.

 
At July 18, 2017 at 3:37 PM , Blogger Unknown said...

1st off thank you for your assistance! I have a 20% djd for my back and I now have bad feet pain bilateral. What do I need to be aware of before c&p in 2 days?

 
At July 26, 2017 at 10:00 AM , Blogger Military Disability Made Easy said...

Sorry I wasn't able to get back to you before your exam. Hope it went well. The key is to ensure that the physician thoroughly records range of motion measurements and pain. Having a definite diagnosis for your foot pain will be beneficial as well.

 
At July 27, 2017 at 10:00 AM , Blogger Rick H. said...

Good afternoon Doctor. I retired in 2006 and was rated with degenerative joint disease in my lower back, neck, and left shoulder. Over the past 6 months I have had significant pain in my left arm and very limited range of motion. Through private healthcare, I was told there is significant amount of arhritus causing this issue. Since there is a significant decrease in range of motion, can the rating be increased?

Since degenerative joint disease is progressive, can the initial rating be revaluated?

Additionally, my degenerative joint disease in my spine may have contributed to the bulging discs that have formed causing nerve issues. Is this reason for additional evaluation. I appreciate any help.

 
At August 2, 2017 at 9:41 AM , Blogger Military Disability Made Easy said...

Hi Rick -

The VA rates conditions over time, so as they progress, you can definitely submit VA Form 21-526b for an increased evaluation. They won't change your initial rating, but they will increase it based on any evidence you submit to show that the condition now qualifies for a higher rating.

Depending on the discs involved, bulging discs are a pretty common progression of DJD. If the discs are the same discs previously diagnosed with DJD, then they will definitely be considered connected. If they are different discs, then it will be harder to prove connection. A letter from your physician stating that the bulging discs are "more likely than not" caused by your DJD will help. It's a pretty common connection, so with this evidence, you should be good to go.

 
At August 25, 2017 at 7:02 PM , Blogger Carolann said...

I retired from the Marine Corps with service connected DDD L1 -2 L3-4, I received a 10% rating. I have since developed bilateral hip osteoarthritis and bilateral sacroiliac joint with degenerative changes evidenced in x-rays. My L1-L4 disc have worsened according to recent MRI exams. Can I ask for a secondary rating for the arthritis and an increase for worsening DDD. Also,I was diagnosed Mild DDD of my cervical spine about 4 years ago. Should I submit DDD of cervical spine as a secondary or new claim.

 
At August 29, 2017 at 3:33 PM , Blogger Military Disability Made Easy said...

Any conditions that develop more than a year after service have to be claimed as secondary. You can submit these new secondary conditions and for an increase by using VA Form 21-526b:

http://www.militarydisabilitymadeeasy.com/vaform21-526b.pdf

Make sure to include a NEXUS letter from your physician stating that the secondary conditions are "more likely than not" caused by your original DDD.

 
At September 1, 2017 at 5:47 AM , Blogger Don G. said...

Good Day Dr. George,

Being a career-recruiter for 10 years really exhausted me and changed the way I slept forever. I began to snore a lot and stop momentarily breathing according to my wife. My primary physician recommended I get a sleep study test done 6 months before I was to retire. I could not get one done due to the wait time at the local hospital before retiring. when I did retire, I moved back to my home state and got a new one set-up months later. After completing the study and filing a claim for sleep apnea(I was issued a CPAP machine), VA came back and said it was not service connected. I sent all the proper documents from the my sleep study and primary physician. I have filed this claim twice and gotten the same response: Not Service Connected.

I always thought after being discharged a veteran had up to 1 year to file a claim and it could still be service connected.

Do I have a case to keep pushing this(Appeal)or was I referred to late to the sleep study.

 
At September 7, 2017 at 9:57 AM , Blogger Military Disability Made Easy said...

Hi Don -

It is usually the case that anything diagnosed within 1 year of separation is service-connected. What the diagnosis officially made before that 1-year mark? If so, then what is the exact reason for the VA's decision? They should give a bit of an explanation in their decision letter.

It is always a risk to not be seen for a condition while in service, however, with 10 years of AD and the condition being diagnosed within 1-year after discharge, they should grant it. They usually do under these circumstances.

That being said, sleep apnea is not on the official Presumptive List for conditions diagnosed after discharge, so they may not cover it.

http://www.militarydisabilitymadeeasy.com/vapresumptivelist.html#chronic

Where you ever seen while in the military for this condition? Your primary physician was going to refer you. What did he list on his report regarding your condition/diagnosis? You might be able to apply for that with sleep apnea as secondary since that would be clearly present while in service.

 
At September 19, 2017 at 4:42 PM , Blogger Mil City Guy said...

Pain and ROM question.

This is more of an exam prep question, but I was curious about the ROM portion. I currently have an arthritic Shoulder (confirmed with X-ray) among several other joints. When looking at the ROM chart for the shoulder, I had a question that I hadn't seen in this thread.

Is the purpose of the ROM exam to determine pain free ROM or what can be tolerated?

Specifically, I have constant pain while resting and at about 45 degrees and higher it gets much. I can make 90, but to really stinks. How hard do you push in the exam?

Great site, I mention it to every veteran I know.

 
At September 20, 2017 at 2:08 AM , Blogger Unknown said...

I have suffered from degenerative disc disease of the low back for many years and I'm service connected for it. I now suffer from osteoarthritis, severe in the left hip and moderate in the right hip. My question is, can my degenerative disc disease be a direct result of or a contributing factor for the osteoarthritis?

 
At September 21, 2017 at 8:18 AM , Blogger Cathy said...

Hello Dr. George,
I just recently went through a C&P exam after I submitted to add to my disability claim (re-open). When I was evaluated in the first exam the Dr. used the goniometer to measure my ROM and a rating of 40% was given. During the most recent exam the elevating Dr was new and did not use the tool to measure ROM. In turn the VA is now reducing my rating to 20%. How can this be addressed? I don't think it is fair that the accurate measurement is being over turned by an inaccurate measurement soley based on visual opinion. The Va was not willing to reconsider changing because there is nothing documented in my medial records can prove my ROM. Any advice/help would be great.

 
At September 23, 2017 at 5:00 PM , Blogger Unknown said...

Hello Dr Johnson. I was wondering do you know where I can find in VA literature or their rules that they must first go by limited motion? Last November I filed secondary conditions, My back is the original issue and I filed bilateral hip pain. When the statement of the case came back they gave me 30,20,10 for my left hip and completely forgot my right hip. My rating for the left hip was clearly just like your website says for hip issues, limited, flexion, extension, and adduction so that is why the 30,20,10. Needless to say after beating my head against a wall and waiting for them to fix the right hip that they missed it comes back as just a flat 30%. and it also says troncheritas pain syndrome with arthritis where as my left hip only says troncheritas pain symdrome for all three ratings. The Va sent me to a DR not at the Va back in November of 2016 and I had an examination of both hips so they had the exam as evidence, also my right hip is far worse then my left. I need any codes or places I can find this info to use against the VA, I need establish that they evaluated me incorrectly. I'm only a few points from 100% and would achieve that if they rate this correctly, I think they actually did this wrong both times in order to discourage me and keep me from reaching %100.

 
At September 26, 2017 at 5:39 PM , Blogger Military Disability Made Easy said...

You should show as much motion as you possibly can, but definitely let the examiner know about the pain. Pain limiting motion is justified, and will contribute to the rating if your ROM is fairly good.

 
At September 26, 2017 at 5:41 PM , Blogger Military Disability Made Easy said...

It is definitely possible. You can submit for osteoarthritis as secondary to DDD. Make sure you include a letter from your physician stating that your osteoarthritis is "more likely than not" caused by your DDD, and that will help you have a strong case.

 
At September 26, 2017 at 5:54 PM , Blogger Military Disability Made Easy said...

You might try going to a physical therapist and outside physician and having them properly measure your ROM. If they are fairly consistent, you can submit this as additional evidence of your current condition. The more correct current measurements you can show, the more likely they will consider it over their exam.

 
At September 26, 2017 at 5:58 PM , Blogger Military Disability Made Easy said...

I need a bit more information about exactly what they rated and why. On their rating decision, can you tell me exactly what code, condition name and rating is listed for all three conditions?

There should also be a section where they explain their rating choices. What does it say about the right hip?

 
At September 30, 2017 at 5:23 PM , Blogger Unknown said...

so here is exactly what their ratings decision said
Trochanteris pain syndrome with arthritis claimed as right hip condition 30%
Explanation: service connection for trochanteris pain syndrome with arthritis claimed as right hip condition has been established as related to the service connected disability of degenerative joint disease (DJD) of lumbar spine claimed as low back pain.
We have assigned a 30 percent evaluation for your trochanteris pain syndrome with arthritis claimed as right hip condition based on: flexion of the thigh limited to 11 to 20 degrees. Additional symptoms include : None Ankylosis, None Femur, painful abduction, painful adduction, painful extension, painful external rotation, painful flexion, painful internal rotation. Xray evidence of degenerative arthritis.
The provisions of 38CFR $4.40 and 4.45 concerning functional loss due to pain, fatigue, weakness, or lack of endurance, incoordination, and flare-ups, as cited in Deluca v brown and Mitchell v Shinseki have been considered and are not warranted.

The left hip I don't have my paperwork I think I left it with my vwf representative. but on ebenefits there are three separate ratings for my left hip which was examined at the same time.
troncheritis pain syndrome of the left hip claimed as hip pain extension rated at 30%

the same for flexion 20%
abduction 10%
just like your website says and what I was expecting for the hip they used the three codes you said can be used together Codes 5251 5252 5253.
I am getting different representation the VFW fired the two guys that knew what they were doing so I have handled this all by myself. So far after three days of scouring the web I need to know where it says all three of those codes can be used and I am going to send in a CUE.

 
At October 1, 2017 at 7:56 PM , Blogger Unknown said...

Hi,
Can I receive a rating under 5257 for a tore ligament and a separate rating under 5003 or 5099-5024 for arthritis? Or will the VA combine them into one? Thank you!

 
At October 4, 2017 at 8:16 AM , Blogger Military Disability Made Easy said...

If the complete range of motion was recorded for your right hip in each direction, then you definitely have a case for an appeal. Each direction can be rated separately, so if your medical records show clear limitation in each direction, they should be rated separately.

You can find the VA rule for this in M21-1MR, Part III, Subpart iv, Chapter 4, Section A:

"g. Considering Multiple Limitation of Motion Evaluations for a Joint

In VAOPGCPREC 9-2004 Office of General Counsel held that separate evaluations under DC 5260 (limitation of knee flexion) and DC 5261 (limitation of knee extension) can be assigned without pyramiding. Despite the fact that knee flexion and extension both occur in the same plane of motion, limitation of flexion (bending the knee) and limitation of extension (straightening the knee) represent distinct disabilities.

Important:
• The same principle and handling apply only to
− qualifying elbow movement diagnostic codes, flexion (DC 5206), extension (DC 5207), and impairment of either supination or pronation (DC 5213).
− qualifying hip movement diagnostic codes, extension (DC 5251), flexion (DC 5252), and abduction, adduction or rotation (DC 5253).
• Always ensure that multiple evaluations do not violate the amputation rule in 38 CFR 4.68.

References:
• for more information on pyramiding of evaluations, see
− 38 CFR 4.14, and
− Esteban v. Brown, 6 Vet.App. 259 (1994),
• for information on painful motion in multiple evaluations for joint limitation of motion, see M21-1MR Part III, Subpart iv, 4.A.1.h, and
• for an example of actual limitation of motion of two knee motions, see M21-1MR Part III, Subpart iv, 4.A.1.i."

 
At October 4, 2017 at 8:19 AM , Blogger Military Disability Made Easy said...

Yes. 5257 for instability is the only knee code that can be included in addition to an arthritis rating.

 
At October 4, 2017 at 2:37 PM , Blogger Unknown said...

Thank you sir!

 
At October 6, 2017 at 2:13 AM , Blogger Sabot said...

I was being treated in country for IBS and joint pain in 90/91 ODS. I have records for that. All joints were effected, but my left knee has,always been the worse joint.
After my second deployment during 9/11 I was put on permanent profile on active duty for my left knee.
I was just rated 30% this week for IBS, but denied non service connected for arthritis in left knee. How was I denied for something that happened during my first deployment 27 years ago that is well documented? This is getting worse and I can only sleep 2-3 hours on account of it.

 
At October 11, 2017 at 12:20 PM , Blogger Military Disability Made Easy said...

"Joint pain" doesn't equal arthritis. Do your medical records only state that you were treated for joint pain? If so, that is probably the issue. Unless you can prove that arthritis began at that time, it'll be very difficult to prove service-connection for arthritis.

 
At October 11, 2017 at 12:39 PM , Blogger Unknown said...

Hello, Doctor, I have a few questions that maybe you can help with. I injured my AC joint and one of my bicep tendons when I was on active duty in 2002. Both of those injuries were diagnosed and treated, one was bicep tendonitus and the other was not given a name, but I was given a 3 wk profile for the injury. However, I have now been diagnosed with osteoarthritis along with bone spurs and tears in my capsular. My civilian doctor is writing up an medical opinion as to how these conditions are related back to the original injury. I filed a claim in 2006 for my shoulder but did not have a diagnoses then so the VA denied the claim. If I am successful in this claim, would this claim be dated back to the one in 2006? I have at times, with movement, a lot of pain from my shoulder that feels like its trying to separate. This whole condition has affected my quality of life. An example, I took up drumming as a hobby but my shoulder won't allow me to continue so I gave it up a few years ago.

I was also diagnosed with sleep apnea in 2011, however, I was not in the service any longer. I do have medical records from my counseling sessions for my chronic depression that specifically states my complaints with sleep issues such as waking up several times at night every night along with my wife complaining about my snoring and how I would stop breathing during my sleep. These complaints and my lack of energy during my workday are exactly why I started asking my doctor about sleep and he ordered a sleep study. Is there any chance of service-connection being made here?

Thank you!

 
At October 11, 2017 at 2:09 PM , Blogger Unknown said...

I also need to state that I have a moderate deformity at my AC joint and just about shoulder level when raising my arm is where I start to experience pain. I also cannot stretch my arms back without my shoulder giving me hell.

Would the bicep tendon issues I have(osteoarthritis)also be lump into whatever rating I received for my shoulder (osteoarthritis) or are they considered the same joint to the VA?

 
At October 11, 2017 at 8:37 PM , Blogger Unknown said...

I have posted my MRI results for my shoulder-

MRI Results-

Rotator Cuff: Mild tendinopathy and subtle interstitial tearing are present in the supraspinatus tendon near its enthesis at the greater tuberosity. No full-thickness tear or retraction. Minimal fraying of the articular sided fibers of infraspinatus is noted as well. Teres minor tendon appears unremarkable. Mild tedinopathy of the distal subscapularis tendon near its enthesis. Also, no full-thickness tear or tendon retraction. The muscles comprising the rotator cuff appear well-developed. No significant fatty atrophy is evident.

Gleniod labrum: mild superior labral degeneration is evident. A discrete posterior labral tear is present at approximately the 9:00 position posteriorly with a small cyst. This is seen in association with minimal bone marrow edema in the posterior glenoid.

Biceps Tendon: Minimal intra-articular biceps tendinopathy. The extraarticular portion the biceps tendon is intact as is the biceps anchor.

Acromioclavicular Joint: Advanced acromioclavicular joint osteoarthritic changes are seen including joint space obliteration, extensive subchondral bone marrow edema, and osteophytic spurring as well as pericapsular edema.

 
At October 16, 2017 at 2:18 PM , Blogger Military Disability Made Easy said...

All tendon issues are rated on how they affect the surrounding joints, so you would receive just a single shoulder rating for its overall condition considering all of the issues involved.

Usually the VA only links compensation to an earlier denied claim if there is proof that they made an error at the time. According to the information that was available at that time, they did not make an error. So if your claim is successful this time, you will most likely not get back pay to 2006 unless there is undeniable evidence that you should have been compensated starting at that time (possible, depending).

For sleep apnea, it is too long after you were separated for the VA to consider it service-connected. For a condition not on the Presumptive List to be rated, it must be diagnosed within 1 year of service or be directly caused by another service-connected condition.

 
At November 2, 2017 at 5:18 PM , Blogger shortnsweet said...

Yes I am short...4'12" smiles.
Question desiring a reply. During the build up to the Persian Gulf war I had a chemical war equipment bag weighing close to 40 pounds. On one occasion I picked it up and knee-jerked it over my right shoulder and popped the carpals of my right wrist. Then started the journey of getting it evaluated,...as I was approaching retirement within three months. The Air Force finally got it documented as separated carpals, but during the VA exam the wrist was diagnosed as arthritis. Took a few years to obtain a copy of my service medical records and convince the VA that the wrist carpals required fusion. Gave up on the VHA and went to a private doctor in 1994 and the carpals were fused together and one of the carpals were removed. Now the wrist has rotated towards the thumb and arthritis has developed causing extensive pain when ever the wrist is rotated...
I am currently 10% for tendinitis. If I file for an increase due to the pain, will it be evaluated separately?

 
At November 6, 2017 at 10:46 AM , Blogger Military Disability Made Easy said...

No. The VA will only give a single rating for the overall wrist condition, but they can definitely increase the current rating to reflect your more severe symptoms.

Since you have your service treatment records showing separated carpals, you might want to submit an entirely new claim for this condition. If it is listed on the claim carpal fusion for separated carpals, then it will clearly be considered service-connected since that is what appears in your records. Make sure to include all of the conditions caused by the surgery (arthritis, etc.).

Your overall condition is much more severe than "tendonitis", so just seeking an increase for that doesn't really reflect your overall condition. You can go either way, but asking for an increase for tendonitis may not get you the results you want since it is clear that the surgery for separated carpals is the cause of the current issues.

 
At November 7, 2017 at 6:28 PM , Blogger Unknown said...

Hi Dr. Johnson
Back in 2007 I had a front to front car accident while on duty. Drunk driver hit my vehicle.I hit my head and neck with the air back and the seat, the seat belt also hurt my shoulders, lower back. I have an LOD of this accident. After that I have back , cervical , shoulder head pain and disconfort but never complain officialy. After be discharged 9 years later I couldn't manage the pain anymore and went to see doctors, was diagnosed with escoliosis, osteoarthitis lumbar DDD, cervical and bilateral clavicle ostheoarthritis. Filled a claim in 2016
And still waiting for C&P exam.
My question is there a possibility to get service connection even when I filled a claim 9 years after the accident?

 
At November 17, 2017 at 12:01 PM , Blogger Military Disability Made Easy said...

The biggest issue is that you were never seen for these conditions while in service. Since they have no record that these conditions existed while you were in service, there technically is no evidence that they were even caused by that accident at all. Unfortunately, it is highly likely that the VA will deny your claim saying that there just isn't enough evidence to establish service-connection.

 
At December 13, 2017 at 10:43 AM , Blogger Josh S said...

Dr thank you in advance.

I have a few questions, I submitted a claim back in Nov 2011. It was denied even though I have an lod for bilateral hip pain. I went through c&p in 2013 for bilateral snapping hip syndrome and degenerative arthritis. Again denied.

Fast forward Dec 2016 went through a BVA. Received their decision a few days ago. They finally approved my claim for both.

In late 2013 I finally had an MRI done on both sides of my hips and it received that I actually have a torn labrum in both hips. I have been taking pain killers since Aug of 2011 because of the pain.
My questions are means that it was diagnosed wrong should I file a new claim or a secondary injury to the snapping hip syndrome or just wait.

I have been in the national guard for almost 15 years and will be starting the Med Board Process for the same issues. Which they have all of my va med records. Should I just wait for their decision. I have already been told that what the military decides on for percentages the va will follow suit or be a higher rating.

And as of right now am unsure of the rating from the va. Any idea what percentage it would be with the info that I gave you

 
At December 19, 2017 at 1:07 PM , Blogger Military Disability Made Easy said...

First, the rating for your hip will not change with the new diagnosis unless your symptoms have worsensed. The ratings for both conditions are based on the same thing--abnormal/limited motion--so regardless of the diagnosis, your rating will remain the same unless your symptoms worsen.

The DoD will actually copy the VA's ratings, not vice-versa. The VA rates all conditions, and then the DoD just uses the ratings that the VA gives for the condition at the time.

When you begin the MEB process, you can submit to have the hip condition corrected, but again, it probably won't change the rating unless your symptoms have worsened.

 
At December 19, 2017 at 1:42 PM , Blogger Unknown said...

Hello Dr Johnson,

Based on the nexus below, which conditions should I apply for?

"After reviewing all of the veteran’s medical and military records, it is my expert medical opinion that it more likely than not that the veteran’s polyarthropathy of the bilateral knees and lumbar spine with lower extremity radiculopathy are service-connected secondary to his serviceconnected plantar fasciitis and Morton’s neuroma".

 
At December 28, 2017 at 5:00 AM , Blogger Military Disability Made Easy said...

It sounds like you already are rated for plantar fasciitis and Morton's neuroma since they are your service-connected conditions. If so, then just apply for everything else:

"polyarthropathy of the bilateral knees"
"lumbar spine condition"
"lower extremity radiculopathy"

If you are not currently rated for those first conditions, then just submit a claim with everything.

 
At January 17, 2018 at 12:39 PM , Blogger Rodney said...

I am a member of the National guard. While on active duty orders I was involved in a car accident. I have been on MedCon orders every since and will be for several more months. I am rehabbing my shoulder after surgery for a labrum tear. At what point should I submit my information to the VA? Separate from the torn labrum I fractured a vertebra in my neck which also caused ringing in the ears. Thank you for any advice.

 
At January 24, 2018 at 4:14 PM , Blogger Military Disability Made Easy said...

You can file a VA claim at any time. They can provide benefits the entire time you are not on active duty, so definitely go ahead and file.

http://www.militarydisabilitymadeeasy.com/vadisabilityclaim.html

Make sure to include evidence of the accident and it's connection to your service, and you should be good to go.

 
At February 3, 2018 at 3:38 AM , Blogger TA2 said...

TEST COMMENT

 
At February 11, 2018 at 8:22 PM , Blogger Oldcodger said...

I fractured my right wrist on ACDUTRA with the National Guard in 1964. A few years ago, I started getting pain in that area. SC is not an issue because I had a favorable LOD decision for the accident that caused the fracture. I filed a claim using a VSO, and had a C&P exam after about 3 months with a decision in about a year. I was awarded 10% using the pain as the reason. The decision had the standard "painful motion of the wrist...a higher evaluation of 20% unless the x-ray evidence shows evidence of involvement of two or more joints or two or more minor joint groups".
I got a second opinion from an outside orthopedic MD who after ordering new x-rays, did an complete examination of the wrist, wrote a diagnosis that there were in fact two minor bone groups Involved with degenerative arthritis, and the verbal responses indicated there were occasional incompacitating exacerbations. He named the bone groups Involved as the carpometacarpal joint of the thumb as well as the scaphoid trapezium trapezoid joint of the right wrist. Does this put the disability rating in the higher category? Does the dominant arm factor apply in such a claim? Thanks in advance, and thanks for what you do for veterans.

 
At March 3, 2018 at 2:46 PM , Blogger Unknown said...

Dr Johnson,
I have just been diagnosed with RA. I am no longer in the service but while I was in the service I was having many problems and my PA did blood work and X-rays of my hands and told me it was not RA based on that. I am wondering if now I could get service connect for RA due to them not diagnosing this back when originally looked at. Back in the service I did not see a rheumatologist, and they did RF test and not anti-ccp. This time I saw the VA’s rheumatologist and RF still came back negative and anti-ccp came back positive. Thank you for your help.

 
At March 6, 2018 at 5:40 PM , Blogger Military Disability Made Easy said...

Sorry for the delayed response. We were having technical issues with comments not appearing, and we just got it fixed so yours did.

So, the wrist is considered a single major joint. The only way to get a higher rating is if another major joint (elbow, shoulder, knee, hip, etc.) also had arthritis, or if there was significant limited motion in the wrist that would then qualify for the higher rating.

http://www.militarydisabilitymadeeasy.com/thewrist.html#limo

Without additional joints or limited motion, the highest rating possible is 10%.

 
At March 6, 2018 at 5:43 PM , Blogger Military Disability Made Easy said...

You can try to apply for it, but depending on how long it's been since you were separated, it is unlikely that they will grant service-connection. You'd have to be able to prove that your RA was just misdiagnosed at that time. Now, depending on your evidence, maybe you can, so it is always worth a try.

 
At March 27, 2018 at 1:30 PM , Blogger DCW said...

Dr. Johnson:

I am currently rated as 10% for the left and 10% for the right knee. Last week I had right knee surgery (i. arthroscopic chondroplasty of the patellofemoral joint & ii. chondroplasty of the medial femoral condyle).

The pre-op diagnosis as:
i) right knee patellofemoral chondromalacia.
The post-op diagnoses are:
i) right knee patellofemoral chondromalacia (garde IV lteral facet chondromalacia with beginning of fissuring of the medial facet of the patella,
ii) grade II chondromalacia of the medial femoral condyle &
iii) fissuring of the lateral tibial plateau
The prognosis: at some point in the future, the patient may benefit from isolated patellofemoral replacement.

How will this procedure, diagnosis and prognosis affect my current rating?

Thank you for your response.

 
At March 31, 2018 at 4:59 PM , Blogger osidemarine said...

Hello Dr. Johnson.
I just got my MRI Back to day with this verbiage, I'm currently getting 20% for my lower back, pls advise.
This report assumes five lumbar-types vertebral bodies
theirs is disc desiccation at L4-5
Anterior osteophytes at T12-L1
L1-2 no appreciable spinal canal or foraminal narrowing
L2-3 same as above
L3-4 same as above
at L4-5 left asymmetric disc bulge with annular fissure potentially contacting the exited left L4 nerve root.Mild left greater than right foraminal narrowing. no spinal canal stenosis.
L5-S1 disc bulge with left greater than right foraminal narrowing. no spinal canal stenosis.
the conus tip lies at L2 and is low -lying and has normal signal and morphology.
mild discogenic and spondylotic changes worst at L4-5 as described.

 
At April 4, 2018 at 9:28 AM , Blogger Military Disability Made Easy said...

Right now, you qualify for Convalescent Rating - 100% for the length of post-op if you are unable to work during this period.

http://www.militarydisabilitymadeeasy.com/vasrdprinciples.html#conval

After that, you will be rated on the symptoms you still have at that time. Basically, you will be rated on any limited motion and instability.

Limited Motion:

http://www.militarydisabilitymadeeasy.com/kneeandleg.html#limo

Instability: http://www.militarydisabilitymadeeasy.com/kneeandleg.html#i

 
At April 4, 2018 at 9:32 AM , Blogger Military Disability Made Easy said...

With degenerative discs, you can either be rated on the spine's General Rating Formula, which is based on limited motion, or you can be rated on Incapacitating Episodes. The VA will choose the one that provides you with the highest rating.

Limited motion: http://www.militarydisabilitymadeeasy.com/thespine.html#form

Incapacitating episodes: http://www.militarydisabilitymadeeasy.com/thespine.html#inter

 
At April 11, 2018 at 8:03 AM , Blogger Old soldier said...

Hi. I was rated at 10% disability for degenerative arthritis in my right anklr in 2006 for a physical training injury (left ankle-torn ligament) and nothing for a torn rotator cuff repair (left shoulder) made in 2001. I went back on active duty in 2009 and retired in 2016. During that time I had another rotator cuff surgery (right sholuder) and ligament repair (right ankle), plus heel spurs in both feet. I was recently examined for a new claim. During the exam I was told that I have arthritis in my left shoulder and my left ankle. I also have a range of motion loss in my right shoulder. Will my claim be rated with each joint being viewed separately or as groups and what do you think the percentages will be?

 
At April 13, 2018 at 9:22 AM , Blogger Military Disability Made Easy said...

Each joint is usually rated separately as long as there is pain with motion.

I can't say what they will be rated as they will be rated on limited motion measurements of the joint.

http://www.militarydisabilitymadeeasy.com/shoulderandarm.html#limmo

http://www.militarydisabilitymadeeasy.com/theankle.html#joint

The minimum rating for each joint as long as there is pain with motion is 10%.

You'll also qualify for the two bilateral factors since both arms and both legs are affected.

http://www.militarydisabilitymadeeasy.com/vamath.html#bilateral

 
At April 19, 2018 at 2:14 PM , Blogger Unknown said...

Good day Dr.

I just released from the army after spending 10 years as a full time infanteer. I had an injury in my back in 2012 and then re-injured it in 2013. They just did physio for a few months taking me out of the field here and there and going back to my normal duties. I was a machine gunner, so my total weight carried was 100-150 lbs. I have been getting assessed for VA claims and have been diagnosed with Arthritis in my back and neck, permanent nerve damage to my C6 and C7 nerves in my back, neck and right arm, tendonitis in my right shoulder, elbow, bicep, forearm and wrist. Migraines , Chronic pain in my back, neck, right arm and knees, loss of function in my right arm temporarily here and there, tinnitus and hearing loss in both ears. Just seeing what your thoughts are. Thanks Dr.

 
At April 24, 2018 at 8:33 AM , Blogger Military Disability Made Easy said...

Hi Kimberly - Any and all of these conditions that were diagnosed while on active duty will definitely be eligible for VA Disability. You should qualify for a rating for your cervical spine, the nerve damage, shoulder, elbow, wrist, knees, migraines, tinnitus, and hearing loss. Some of the conditions in your arms may not be rated separately because of the pyramiding principle, but the symptoms will just be combined and covered under a single rating. As long as you can prove service-connection, make sure to apply for it all.

http://www.militarydisabilitymadeeasy.com/vasrdprinciples.html#pyram

http://www.militarydisabilitymadeeasy.com/service-connected.html

http://www.militarydisabilitymadeeasy.com/vadisabilityclaim.html

 
At May 14, 2018 at 6:54 PM , Blogger Unknown said...

Hi Dr. Johnson
I was diagnosed with Psoriatic Arthritis in January of 2018 by my civilian doctor (I'm national guard). It affects my spine, ribcage, knees, wrist, fingers, toes, and feet. I was put on Humira long term, with a Prednisone emergency dose during flare ups, and I'm expecting to be on this treatment plan until it starts to fail. I still have soreness and pain while on my Humira, and off it I often have a hard time walking/sitting/breathing. I was just informed that I was was non-retainable, and that I would likely be separated within 30-60 days. I noticed your caveat about having an arthritis diagnosis within 1 year of discharge and was curious about how autoimmune arthritis is treated in regards to this. Do I even qualify for the 1 year thing? If I do, when I take my packet to the VA would they rate me under joint range of motion (this changes literally by the day) or would they give me a rating for corticosteroid/immunosupressantants? Any feedback would be incredibly appreciated! Thanks.

 
At May 14, 2018 at 8:35 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I applied for degenerative arthritis and my records and xrays say that i have it in my knees and elbow but have been denied for both claims.what am i doing possibly wrong with my claim? Iv done all my claims on my own and im currently rated at 90 percent.any help would be greatly appreciated.i just put in for joint pains on my knees with limited motion.its in preparation for decision after only 2 weeks.we will see how it goes.thanks for your help

 
At May 20, 2018 at 11:38 AM , Blogger bill said...

just had a few questions. I was did charged from army in 1987 with a medical discharge for left knee, army removed both meniscus as well as what was left of acl, due to their misdiagnosing for years. once I returned home I went to va and they performed a procedure where they installed an Achilles tendon from a cadaver and place me in a leg long cast for about 9 weeks. needless to say this procedure didn't take and knee blew again. it dislocates on a regular bases with any slight lateral movement or twist. I was awarded 30% for this. which i don't believe is much for the incapacitation it renders, but is what it is. i have been so disgusted with va medical system after all this and hve not returned in over 25 years, i prefer to pay for my medical care. but since then i have ra throughout all my joints now where it incapacitates me and causes severe pain. i have requested my medical records for over 4 years now but have yet to receive them. nobody can tell me why. i hurt my neck while i was in military but never really caused much issues until last few years and have been pinching nerves and causing pain and numbness down my arm, i feel that the ra has either spread from my left knee joint or caused by it. even broke my wrist once when knee dislocated going down stairs. i am just wondering what your suggestion would be

 
At May 26, 2018 at 9:04 AM , Blogger Military Disability Made Easy said...

Hi Brittney -

Your biggest issue is the fact that you are National Guard. The rules for service-connection for Reservists is much more strict than active duty.

http://www.militarydisabilitymadeeasy.com/service-connected.html#reservists

Were you on full-time active duty before you were diagnosed? How long were you active duty? In order for the arthritis to be seen as service-connected, it has to be more likely than not caused by your military service and no other cause. If you spent just as much or more time off duty, then it is less likely definitively caused in the line of duty.

Make sure to apply for both the psoriatic arthritis AND the psoriasis. If they determine that you do qualify for service-connection, then would rate the two conditions separately.

The rating for Psoriasis will take into account your medications and the amount of skin affected.

http://www.militarydisabilitymadeeasy.com/theskin.html#p

This code does not cover the arthritis. That would be rated as Rheumatoid arthritis based on limited motion or incapacitating episodes.

http://www.militarydisabilitymadeeasy.com/diseasesofthemusculoskeletalsystem.html#rheum

 
At May 26, 2018 at 9:07 AM , Blogger Military Disability Made Easy said...

Hi Jimmy -

So you were officially diagnosed with arthritis in these joints while in service and you have records that prove it but the VA is denying it? What is their reason for denial? I can't know the best way to fight it without knowing why they are denying it. They should state their reason on your rating decision.

 
At May 26, 2018 at 10:05 AM , Blogger Military Disability Made Easy said...

Hi Bill -

Sorry to hear about your experiences.

Have you tried accessing your medical records through their eBenefits system? You should now be able to access your entire VA file through the system.

As for the knee, the 30% does sound correct. That is the maximum rating for instability. Unless there is also limited motion, then you are rated correctly.

Your RA may not be considered service-connected since it developed more than a year after service, but you can try to submit a claim for it and see what they say. If you can submit a NEXUS letter from your physician that claims that the RA is "more likely than not" caused by your knee, it could help. That is not usually how RA develops, however. Degenerative arthritis, definitely, but not as common with RA.

The neck could be ratable as long as you can show that the current issues are related to the service injury. The broken wrist would definitely qualify as secondary to the knee since it was a direct result of the instability.

Go ahead and apply, but make sure to try and provide as much evidence of service-connection as possible.

 
At June 2, 2018 at 7:38 PM , Blogger Unknown said...

Hi Dr. Johnson,

Thanks for getting back to me. I have only every been NG, and its been around 5 years. All of my ADOS orders put me at around 300 total days on active duty. My arthritis took a long time to develop as well. Maybe 2 years? I ended up developing it around 10 years younger than average though, and it went very quickly from "not good" to "I need Humira to stand and breathe without pain" after I was diagnosed. I did read the above links, so I'm pretty disheartened at how low my likelihood of getting a claim approved is. Is there anything I can do to give me a fighting chance? Any help/advice would be incredibly appreciated. Thanks!

 
At June 12, 2018 at 8:36 AM , Blogger Military Disability Made Easy said...

You have a tough case, for sure. However, if you can get a specialist to write a NEXUS letter that states that they believe your condition was directly due to your military training/service requirements, then that could strengthen your case.

Since the arthritis is caused by the psoriasis, that needs to be the focus. If you can pinpoint the cause of the psoriasis as something directly related to your service, then you have a chance.

Be prepared that even with a letter, this is a tough case that is likely to be denied. But it is worth a shot to try and apply. If you can give them as much undeniable evidence as possible, then you could have a chance.

 
At June 22, 2018 at 10:36 PM , Blogger Unknown said...

Hello I am at 50% Service connected for Flat Feet Bilateral and I want to add my left foot arthritis that developed 2 years ago from an injury to my foot 16 years ago when I was in the Army can I get rated for the foot for arthritis since I have Flat Feet rating already.

 
At June 25, 2018 at 6:10 PM , Blogger Military Disability Made Easy said...

The VA will only give you a single rating per body part unless the nerves are involved. However, if the arthritis is actually in the ankle (not the foot), then that does qualify as a separate body part.

It won't hurt to apply for it even if it is in the feet, though, because the VA will choose whichever condition offers the higher rating, and then it will be covered for medical treatment.

 
At June 30, 2018 at 2:52 PM , Blogger Unknown said...

Ok sounds good I am already at 100% overall with PTSD at 70% Sleep Apnea at 50% Flat Feet at 50% Hiatal Hernia at 10% and Lower Back Strain at 10% I guess my next question is I am 35 and in March I got diagnosed with Left Side Heart Failure with EF at 41% I am trying to connected it to my PTSD or my medications from PTSD I take Ambien, Quetiapine, and Sertraline for PTSD. I notice that Quetiapine is connected to Heart Failure. I am working on trying to get up to 300% Service Connected from the VA going the SMC route.

 
At July 6, 2018 at 1:50 PM , Blogger Military Disability Made Easy said...

A letter from your cardiologist that states that the heart failure is "more likely than not" caused by the PTSD meds will be your best bet for having a successful claim for this one.

 
At July 16, 2018 at 1:51 PM , Blogger Unknown said...

Ok thank you I had a visit with my Primary Care Doctor and she mention my Sleep Apnea maybe the cause. What do you think

 
At July 18, 2018 at 5:26 AM , Blogger Military Disability Made Easy said...

There is precedent of connection there too, though it is impossible for me to opine on your case. Your physicians know your case and are better able to determine the causes, etc. You can claim the condition either way as long as you provide opinions from your physicians denoting the connection.

 
At July 21, 2018 at 11:51 AM , Blogger Unknown said...

Ok thank you Dr. Johnson have a good one take care.

 
At August 14, 2018 at 8:19 AM , Blogger eyetechfashionista said...

I have a question. I have had sleep issues for years including while I was in. All the military and VA did was give me medication. Finally this year my doctor mentioned a sleep study because it's causing me to have more migraines (service-connected). If it is determined I have sleep apnea can I file a claim even though I've been out for 16 years since there's a history in my records.

 
At August 14, 2018 at 10:06 AM , Blogger Military Disability Made Easy said...

You can try, but there is a high likelihood that it would be denied. The presence of sleep issues while in service does not directly mean sleep apnea. Since it has been so many years, it is just as likely that the sleep apnea developed on its own and isn't connected. But depending on the quality of in service evidence, it could be enough. Worth a shot to apply.

 
At August 14, 2018 at 10:10 AM , Blogger eyetechfashionista said...

Okay thank you.

 
At September 15, 2018 at 10:27 AM , Blogger John said...

Hello,
I was rated 20% for my back issues that I've had for several years now. After many CP exams this is now what has been updated on ebenefits. Can you explain a bit more and also can they rate this together?

degenerative arthritis of the thoracolumbar spine (previously rated as strain, lumbosacral spine, with disc space narrowing DC5237

 
At September 18, 2018 at 8:02 AM , Blogger Military Disability Made Easy said...

Code 5237 is used for general back pain. Regardless of the code, however, most spine conditions are all rated on the same system: limited motion. You can get a rating higher than 20%, but only if your range of motion worsens.

http://www.militarydisabilitymadeeasy.com/thespine.html#conditions

 
At November 16, 2018 at 10:27 AM , Blogger Unknown said...

Hello, My question relates to psoriatic arthritis. Is this analogous to RA or Degenerative Arthritis? Through X-rays that display "rat bites" on my distal joints and wrists to psoriatic sores on my hands and blood tests show positive results for the arthritic condition. I have been self medicating for 15 years with Ibprophen (about 1600mg a day) and the Corpsmen documented the white and red patches for years. The Rhumetologist, Epidemiologist have all determined that yes I have arthritis that exhibits psoriasis in most of the areas that are affected by arthritis. I am on methotrexate and REALLY thinking about the switch to Humira. I have 7 months until retirement (20 years). What is my disability for this type of arthritis? It affects daily life and job. Also, what is an "incapacitating episode"? And how long are they supposed to last?

 
At November 21, 2018 at 10:32 AM , Blogger Chuck said...

Hello Dr. Johnson. I have recently been diagnosed with Epidural Lipomatosis. It is primarily in my L4-L-5-S1 region. I am a Gulf War Vet and am currently SC. 70% PTSD, 20% hearing loss, 10% tinnitus, 10% post right foot fx. Could I file this new diagnosis secondary to my right foot injury since the way I walked affects my back alignment. The pain issues in my foot have been ongoing for years. If you need additional information to reply, please let me know. Thank you.

 
At November 27, 2018 at 5:12 PM , Blogger Military Disability Made Easy said...

Psoriatic arthritis is rated analogous to RA:

http://www.militarydisabilitymadeeasy.com/diseasesofthemusculoskeletalsystem.html#rheum

"Incapacitating episodes" for RA are periods where the condition is aggravated to the point that it is impossible for you to do your job or function well in daily life. The length of this period will depend on the specific of the condition, but it would have to be significant. Considering that you have not been medically separated because of the condition, it is unlikely that you have had many incapacitating episodes. It would make you unfit for duty.

Without knowing full details regarding incapacitating episodes, I'd assume that your condition would be rated on limited motion of the effected joints. At most, 20% for 1-2 incapacitating episodes/year.

 
At November 27, 2018 at 5:20 PM , Blogger Military Disability Made Easy said...

The most common cause of epidural lipomatosis is steroid use. If you have used steroids as a treatment for a service-connected condition, then it could qualify that way.

Foot conditions could contribute to arthritis in the spine, but not really fat deposits. There is no significant medical evidence to correlate the build up of fat to abnormal gate.

 
At December 10, 2018 at 12:43 PM , Blogger lbadge said...

Dr. Johnson, I currently have a service connected disability rating for a lateral collateral ligament sprain with degenerative arthritis of the left ankle. I'm thinking of filing a claim for Achilles Tendonitis, my question is will the VA rate Achilles Tendonitis as a separate stand alone condition separate from the issues I have with my ankle? Would this condition fall under diagnostic code 5024: Tenosynovitis (swelling of the tissues that surround the tendons) or would the VA group the Arthritis (diagnostic code 5003) and Achilles Tendonitis/Tenosynovitis together for final codes of 5024-5003?

 
At December 11, 2018 at 3:01 PM , Blogger Military Disability Made Easy said...

Since both conditions directly affect the use of the ankle, the VA will lump both conditions together and give you a single rating under the code that allows the higher rating. Because of the Pyramiding Principle, it is standard practice to only give a single body part a single rating unless there is also nerve damage (there are other exceptions, but not for the ankle).

http://www.militarydisabilitymadeeasy.com/vasrdprinciples.html#pyram

 
At December 11, 2018 at 9:18 PM , Blogger lbadge said...

Thanks for the quick reply, I currently have a rating of 10% for the lateral collateral ligament sprain with degenerative arthritis of the left ankle. I understand a joint condition can only be rated as degenerative arthritis if it does not have a limited enough range of motion. I'm trying to figure out of the conditions I have with my ankle what could give me a rating increase. What is the highest rating I can get for Achilles Tendonitis/Tenosynovitis and is that solely based on the range of motion of the ankle?

Also my ankle hurts when I move it so can I apply the painful motion principle to my already existing ankle rating to get an increase?

 
At December 12, 2018 at 8:42 AM , Blogger Homesteading Sustainability said...

Dear DR Johnson,
I am currently a 50% disabled veteran. 10% for pain in my leg from back problems. 40% for ankylosing spondylosis and DDD.
I recently had a full spine MRI with these findings.
1. Normal MRI study of the cervical and thoracic spine. 2. L4-L5 disc protrusion and acute L5-S1 disc protrusion. Mild to moderate neural foraminal narrowing is present at L4-S1 levels 3. No sacroiliac joint fusion to suggest ankylosing spondylitis. I had earlier x-rays of my neck, that a neurologist told me I had arthritis in my neck. With me not having AS, but my back condition has became worse and more painful, plus I have problems with my neck, pain and numbness radiating down my right arm. My question is, did my DDD cause my arthritis in my neck- is there any kind of connection there? Also because of the no ankylosing spondylosis will my rating go down, even though my back symptoms have worsened. And I have the new neck problems. It does mention in my rating paperwork arthritis in my back as well. Thank you for your time and have a great day

 
At December 16, 2018 at 10:43 PM , Blogger Military Disability Made Easy said...

Painful motion only comes into play if the ankle doesn't qualify for any other rating. since you already have 10%, the pain is rated and won't allow for additional.

Yes, tendonitis would be rated as limited motion as well. Check out our range of motion rating info on our website. A 20% is the highest you can receive for a significantly limited ROM.

http://www.militarydisabilitymadeeasy.com/theankle.html#joint

 
At December 16, 2018 at 10:49 PM , Blogger Military Disability Made Easy said...

The spine is very related, so it is possible for your DDD to cause your cervical spine problems. You would want to get a NEXUS letter from a specialist confirming this correlation.

The spine is rated as a whole, so if your symptoms are worse, your rating will most likely increase, regardless of the specific conditions at play. You can compare your current symptoms to the spinal ratings to determine what you currently qualify for:

Since your issues are mainly disc-related, they'll be rated under code 5243:

http://www.militarydisabilitymadeeasy.com/thespine.html#inter

 
At February 4, 2019 at 7:40 PM , Blogger De said...

Hi Dr,
Just today I went in to apply for a shoulder increase. I told the Claims Rep that I now have arthritis in my shoulder (the one that is rated due to an injury while active duty and a surgery) .. He did not write "arthritis" he just submitted "left shoulder increase" .. Is this correct? or should I have a totally different one as arthritis due to service connected injury? Or will i tell the examiner when i have my evaluation?
Thanks doc.

 
At February 5, 2019 at 10:38 AM , Blogger Military Disability Made Easy said...

Excellent question, and a tricky situation. Technically, you are correct that it should have been submitted as a secondary condition since arthritis was not present at all during service. Arthritis has now developed secondary to your shoulder condition.

However, a shoulder can only be given a single rating, so the VA would ultimately not rate the arthritis as a separate condition. They would just consider it along with your other condition and give you a single overall rating that reflects the overall condition of the shoulder. Thus, you would ultimately only receive an increased evaluation.

Because of this, it probably won't cause a problem that it was claimed this way. However, it is still very important to provide evidence that the arthritis is secondary along with the claim. As long as they have evidence that the shoulder condition worsened and caused arthritis, then it should still be processed correctly.

So... yes, the correct way is the one you suggested, but your claim should still process correctly. If it isn't too late to request the change, you can submit it as secondary, but if it would delay things too much, you will probably still be fine as is.

 
At February 6, 2019 at 4:58 PM , Blogger Unknown said...

Dr. George P Johnson I have been officially diagnosed with chandramalicia patella I am receiving 10% on my VA for it but now I am gonna be in a knee brace and using a tens unit how much will my rating go up to due to having those items to use

 
At February 8, 2019 at 9:18 PM , Blogger Amber H said...

I have a 60% rating for dermatomyositis (40% for Raynauds secondary to the DM). I've taken methotrexate for a few years. About 6 months ago I started to have severe pain and swelling in my hands and wrists. It would last for a few weeks and then disappear. This has happened about 3 times since that first occurrence. My rheumatologist ordered an U/S that showed mild synovial hypertrophy in each wrist. In addition to the methotrexate I'm now taking Plaquenil and Voltaren gel. I've started a secondary claim for arthritis and joint pain.

I'm wondering if the ultrasound and symptoms alone are enough for the VA to award secondary service connection? I'm also wondering with symptoms such as these if it's more likely I'm rated under 5002 or 5003? I'm really not sure what to expect and wondering if I'm wasting my time with this secondary claim. Any input would be great, thanks! -Amber

 
At February 11, 2019 at 9:22 AM , Blogger Military Disability Made Easy said...

Not at all. Chondromalacia patella is rated on either limited motion of the knee or a minimum 10% analogously under arthritis. Unless you also have instability, the only way to increase your rating is for your range of motion to significantly decrease.

http://www.militarydisabilitymadeeasy.com/kneeandleg.html#limo

 
At February 11, 2019 at 9:32 AM , Blogger Military Disability Made Easy said...

Synovial hypertrophy is closer to RA, and would be rated under 5002.

A NEXUS letter from your physician would strengthen your claim for the hypertrophy as a secondary condition.

http://blog.militarydisabilitymadeeasy.com/2018/01/secondary-conditions-for-va-disability.html

It's never a waste of time to make sure the VA is aware of your full range of conditions.

 
At February 11, 2019 at 10:38 PM , Blogger lbadge said...

Sir,

I have been diagnosed with multilevel facet arthropathy (aka facet joint osteoarthritis) in my upper neck and I'm in the process of getting a service connected rating from the VA. Since this condition had gotten somewhat worse I have been experiencing headaches. I'm thinking of filing a claim for headaches as a secondary condition to the facet joint osteoarthritis in my neck. Would the VA even consider this? I did some research online and read headaches can sometimes arise from problems in the neck, and degenerative conditions like osteoarthritis in the neck.

 
At February 13, 2019 at 7:12 PM , Blogger Efrain Saucedo said...

Thanks for all the help and advice you are giving us.

 
At February 19, 2019 at 9:47 AM , Blogger Military Disability Made Easy said...

Yes, as long as they consider the arthropathy as service-connected, you have potential for getting headaches covered as secondary. In order to strengthen your case that your spine is the cause of the headaches, you'll need to get a NEXUS letter from your physician linking the conditions.

 
At February 19, 2019 at 9:52 AM , Blogger Military Disability Made Easy said...

Happy to help!

 
At February 22, 2019 at 9:54 AM , Blogger lbadge said...

Sir, I got a bit of bad news today as the VA denied my claim for multilevel facet arthropathy or as they call it "cervical spondylosis". This claim was reviewed as a secondary condition to my service connected rating for lateral collateral ligament sprain with degenerative arthritis, left ankle. Basically I was trying to convince the VA that the pain issues with my neck was caused by my left ankle when walking ect. My question to you is should I open a new claim for the cervical spondylosis and not try to tie it to an existing secondary condition? I was an Air Force parachute specialist for 8 years and this job required a lot of standing at a table with my neck bent/hunched over looking down at the parachute equipment when packing. I figure doing an entire new claim and submit evidence this issue could possibly be exasperated from my time as a parachute specialist would be better than filing an appeal as a secondary condition for my ankle.


I also have a question about Administrative Decision For Cue. The VA opened this claim up and I'm not sure why because I did not make a request a Cue. From what I understand a “CUE claim,” is when a veteran asks the VA to revise a decision that is final. My question to you is could the VA be looking at one of my service connected disabilities and potentially give me an increased rating or could this be a possible downgrade in a rating where they are looking to take something away from me. This is making me very nervous.

Thanks Sir

 
At February 26, 2019 at 10:56 AM , Blogger Military Disability Made Easy said...

You are in a tough spot for your spondylosis. It is medically indicated that the ankle would cause this condition, so it makes sense that the VA denied it. However, without any symptoms present while you were active duty, it is highly unlikely that they will grant service-connection simply based on your posture during service. Chronic conditions must develop to at least 10% within 1 year of service to be considered at all. You can always try to submit a new claim, but it is likely to not be successful.

It is odd for the VA to open a CUE claim without you having requested it. Most often CUE claims are used to prove that the VA made a definite error that harmed the veteran's case that must be remedied. Rarely are they used to lower a veteran's ratings.

 
At February 28, 2019 at 7:15 PM , Blogger lbadge said...

Sir, you sent me a reply to my question about Administrative Decision For Cue the VA initiated. Well I got a letter today stating THEY made a calculation error when I submitted a claim for two painful scars. For one scar they did a 10% as a secondary condition to my service connected ankle. Then a scar on my knee they rated a stand alone 10%. Well the regulations state "If there are 1 or 2 scars that are unstable or painful it is rated 10%." so they are taking 10% away from me.

My question to you is since this is an error made by the VA will I be required to pay back any money to the VA?


Thank you Sir

 
At March 5, 2019 at 12:26 PM , Blogger Military Disability Made Easy said...

Good question. Ultimately, yes, they may ask for the extra money they paid you to be returned. Often, however, they do not. It depends on what the authority decides at the time they make the correction. Since it was their error, they often will decide to let it slide, but they do have the legal right to request the funds be returned.

 
At March 5, 2019 at 5:22 PM , Blogger lbadge said...

Sir, I was recently diagnosed with multilevel cervical facet arthropathy or as the VA calls it "cervical spondylosis." Is there a possibility degenerative disc disease (DDD) causes or exasperates the condition of cervical spondylosis? I'm thinking about doing a secondary claim for the cervical spondylosis to the DDD.

 
At March 12, 2019 at 10:27 AM , Blogger Military Disability Made Easy said...

Most spine conditions are inter-related as they cause further wear and tear on other parts of the spine. Never hurts to strengthen your case by getting a NEXUS letter from your physician, however.

 
At April 29, 2019 at 6:56 PM , Blogger Amber H said...

Dr. Johnson,

Since last posting my question I have been to the VA for my C&P exam but I am still awaiting my rating.

I claimed synovial hypertrophy/proliferative synovium of bilateral wrists and also arthritis of bilateral fingers, hands, and wrists all secondary to amyopathic dermatomyositis (for which I am SC).

The examiner notated the following in regard to the synovial hypertrophy/proliferative synovium:
"a. The condition claimed is at least as likely as not (50% or greater probability) proximately due to or the result of the Veteran's service connected condition."

For the arthritis of bilat hands/fingers/wrists the examiner stated the following:
"b. The condition claimed is less likely than not (less than 50% probability) proximately due to or the result of the Veteran's service connected condition."

So I take this as they will grant SC for the synovial hypertrophy but not the arthritis?

Additionally, I have had four "flare ups" in less than a year, two of which I received prednisone for and two of which I did not. The examiner documented this as two incapacitating episodes as well as two non-incapacitating episodes. When examining my wrist the examiner also notated abnormal results for ROM. Right wrist: Palmar Flexion (0-80): 0 to 55 degree Dorsiflexion (0-70): 0 to 45 degree Ulnar Deviation (0-45): 0 to 25 degree Radial Deviation (0-20): 0 to 15 degree, and left wrist: Palmar Flexion (0-80): 0 to 60 degree Dorsiflexion (0-70): 0 to 40 degree Ulnar Deviation (0-45): 0 to 45 degree Radial Deviation (0-20): 0 to 20 degree.

Given this information, do you believe I will be rated under 5002 for wrist arthralgia (claimed as bilateral proliferative synovium/synovial hypertrophy) or will I be rated for limited ROM? Is it possible to be rated under 5002 for the arthralgia/flare ups as well as limited ROM? Thank you for your time!

 
At May 1, 2019 at 9:19 AM , Blogger Military Disability Made Easy said...

Hi Amber -

Yes, the examiner basically stated that in their opinion the synovial hypertrophy is SC while the arthritis is not. The rating authority could look at your case and disagree, but the examiner's opinion does hold weight.

As for the rating under code 5002, the VA will rate either by these rating requirements (which would rate you 20% for the 2 incapacitating episodes) or as limited motion, whichever gives you the higher rating. You cannot rate both. Since limited motion of the wrist is only rated 10% at the most, the 20% rating under 5002 is the more likely rating option.

http://www.militarydisabilitymadeeasy.com/diseasesofthemusculoskeletalsystem.html#rheum

 
At June 4, 2019 at 10:00 PM , Blogger lbadge said...

Sir, I was diagnosed with multilevel cervical facet arthropathy or as the VA calls it "cervical spondylosis." How does the VA rate this condition? Are ratings based on range of motion for example to get 10%, flexion measures more than 30° but less than 45°. Or would this condition fall under diagnostic code 5003: Degenerative arthritis and if there is pain on movement then it rates 10% because of the Painful Motion principle.

 
At June 11, 2019 at 11:15 AM , Blogger Military Disability Made Easy said...

It is usually rated on code 5242.

http://www.militarydisabilitymadeeasy.com/thespine.html#conditions

It's rated first on limited motion. If not enough, then arthritis. The painful motion principle does apply.

 
At February 11, 2020 at 12:42 PM , Blogger JBD said...

I was diagnosed with Chondromalacia Patella when I separated from the service in 1978. I received a 10% disability at separation for on one knee. Over the years my knees have become worst and was recently diagnosed with degenerative arthritis in both knees. I filed for compensation change but was denied because of range of motion was not enough. However, they rated my left knee with 10% as a result of Chondromalacia Patella.

Would I have a chance for additional disability rating if I filed the arthritis as a secondary cause of the Chondromalacia Patella?

Thanks in advance for your response.

 
At February 11, 2020 at 8:28 PM , Blogger lbadge said...

Hello Sir, I was recently diagnosed with degenerative talonavicular arthrosis of my right foot. Does the VA look at and rate arthrosis the same as arthritis?

thanks,



 
At February 13, 2020 at 8:34 AM , Blogger Military Disability Made Easy said...

Yes, the arthritis can be granted secondary service-connection to the Chondromalacia Patella, but it is important to note that only a single rating can be given for the overall knee condition (unless instability is present--that can be rated separately). Thus, the VA could increase your current rating if the ratings for arthritis allow it, but you would not give a second separate rating for the arthritis.

 
At February 13, 2020 at 8:39 AM , Blogger Military Disability Made Easy said...

Yes, "arthrosis" is really a term describing the joint itself. Degenerative talonavicular arthrosis is really just degenerative arthritis of the talonavicular joint.

 
At February 16, 2020 at 6:59 AM , Blogger Unknown said...

Hello, I was awarded service connection at 0% for both my left and right knee in 2011. Both of my legs have recently begun swelling, the right leg occasionally and the left almost daily. I went to have the swelling checked and a large Baker's cyst was found behind my left knee as well as arthritis. I am overseas working and at a loss how to communicate with the doctors here. I want to file for an increase and wonder what rating codes this would be under. I have pain in both knees and they actually feel like they are on fire inside. My left knee occasionally gives out and I limp but that comes and goes. Can you please help me understand a bit more about what type of rating I should expect.

 
At February 18, 2020 at 4:19 PM , Blogger Military Disability Made Easy said...

The cyst and the arthritis would all be rated together under code 5003, degenerative arthritis, on how they affect the motion of the knees. The presence of pain would qualify for a minimum 10% per knee.

http://www.militarydisabilitymadeeasy.com/diseasesofthemusculoskeletalsystem.html#a

This is the only rating that can be given for the cyst and arthritis, however, you may qualify for one more rating under code 5257 if instability is officially diagnosed.

http://www.militarydisabilitymadeeasy.com/kneeandleg.html#i

 
At March 7, 2020 at 12:28 AM , Blogger lbadge said...

Hello Sir,
I currently have a 10% rating for cervical spine degenerative disc disease. I recently had an MRI done of my cervical spine which indicated mild multilevel degenerative changes of the cervical spine, most pronounced at C4-C7. Specifically...

• C3/C4: Posterior disc osteophyte complex in contact with the anterior spinal cord. Bilateral facet arthropathy. Moderate spinal canal stenosis. Moderate-to-severe left and moderate right neuroforaminal narrowing.

• C4/C5: Symmetric posterior disc bulge. Bilateral facet arthropathy. Mild spinal canal stenosis. Moderate-to-severe right and moderate left neuroforaminal narrowing.

• C5/C6: Symmetric posterior disc bulge with superimposed focal central to right subarticular disc protrusion. Bilateral facet arthropathy. Mild spinal canal stenosis. Mild bilateral neuroforaminal narrowing.

• C6/C7: Symmetric posterior disc bulge. Bilateral facet arthropathy. Minimal spinal canal stenosis. Minimal bilateral neuroforaminal narrowing.

• C7/T1: Disc desiccation without posterior protrusion. No facet arthropathy. No spinal canal stenosis or neuroforaminal narrowing.

DOCTORS IMPRESSION: 1. Multilevel cervical degenerative disc disease, most pronounced at C3/C4 resulting in moderate spinal canal stenosis, moderate-to-severe left neuroforaminal narrowing, and moderate right neuroforaminal narrowing. Correlation for radicular symptoms. 2. C4/C5 degenerative disc disease resulting in moderate-to-severe right and moderate left neuroforaminal narrowing. Correlation for radicular symptoms. 3. Multilevel bilateral facet arthropathy.

My question to you is can I get a rating increase to my cervical spine degenerative disc disease rating due to the facet arthropathy in my cervical vertebrae? I did some research on a website called spine-health.com which stated "degenerative discs and osteoarthritis often occur hand in hand because the disc and facet joints are both part of the same three-joint complex. It is thought that degenerating discs can place undue stress on the facet joints, thus over time leading to degeneration and formation of osteoarthritis in the facet joints".

Also based on the MRI results listed above are there any conditions I could file for separately for example "Mild spinal canal stenosis, mild bilateral neuroforaminal narrowing"?

Thank you,


 
At March 10, 2020 at 10:59 AM , Blogger Military Disability Made Easy said...

The baseline issue is the fact that the VA will only you a single rating for the cervical spine as a whole, no matter how many diagnosed conditions you have (nerve conditions are rated separately). They will look at the overall symptoms and assign the highest rating they can based on those symptoms. So, you cannot receive a rating for degenerative disc disease and another for facet arthropathy. Only one.

All of these conditions are rated on the general rating formula which is baed on limited motion. If your motion is more limited, you may qualify for a higher rating on that alone.

http://www.militarydisabilitymadeeasy.com/thespine.html#form

Since you have multiple disc conditions, you could qualify for a rating under Intervertebral Disc Syndrome instead if that offers higher rating under incapacitating episodes.

http://www.militarydisabilitymadeeasy.com/thespine.html#inter

Again, they will only give one overall rating, but if your symptoms do qualify for a higher rating, it is definitely worth applying for an increased evaluation.

 
At March 25, 2020 at 11:45 AM , Blogger lbadge said...

Sir, I think I understand when you say the VA will only give you a single rating for the cervical spine as a whole, no matter how many diagnosed conditions you have. So with my recent diagnosis of moderate spinal canal stenosis I cant say that is secondary to my cervical degenerative disc disease (currently rated at 10%), correct?

 
At March 30, 2020 at 10:16 AM , Blogger Military Disability Made Easy said...

You can definitely claim it as secondary, but the VA will not rate it as a separate condition. They will simply include it in your overall cervical spine condition. If it causes significantly new or progressed symptoms, it could contribute to having your overall cervical spine condition increased.

 
At June 28, 2020 at 12:33 AM , Blogger lbadge said...

Greetings, I am currently rated 10% for cervical spine degenerative disc disease, I was also diagnosed with cervical facet arthropathy. Is it possible to get the facet athropathy secondary to cervical spine DDD (two separate ratings)? Also would Cervical Radiculopathy be a possible secondary condition to cervical degenerative disc disease (two separate ratings)

Thanks,

 
At June 29, 2020 at 10:29 AM , Blogger Military Disability Made Easy said...

No, the VA will only give you a single spine rating for your cervical spine. They will, however, rate your radiculopathy separately.

 
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