I want to discuss
something that is a fairly common factor in claims that are denied by the VA:
the condition’s name.
When deciding what to
call your conditions on your claim, it’s important to remember that each
condition must be service-connected
in order for it to qualify for VA Disability
This basically means that it
was either diagnosed while in the military or can be directly tied to your time
in the military.
If you try to submit a
claim for something that has no clear ties to your military career, the VA will
deny your claim. They have every right to. VA Disability is only meant to help
compensate for conditions that were directly caused by military service.
Now if you submit a
claim for a condition you believe was caused by the military, but there is no
proof, it will still be denied. The VA isn’t going to find the proof for you.
You have to prove that every condition is service-connected. This can
sometimes be a bit frustrating, but one definite solution that very few vets
think of is renaming the condition you are applying for.
This does NOT mean
applying for a condition you do not have or trying to lie about your situation.
Just don’t get caught up on a single name for your condition, especially if you
just think it sounds more serious or just plain cooler. Sometimes something
more simple will get you much farther.
I think the best way
to explain what I mean is with the following example.
We were recently
contacted by a veteran whose claim had been denied by the VA for chronic
obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), a pretty serious respiratory condition.
While in the military,
he was diagnosed with chronic bronchitis and a host of other more minor
respiratory conditions. It wasn’t until after he left the military that he was
officially diagnosed with COPD. Chronic bronchitis and many of the other
respiratory conditions he had in the military are common symptoms of COPD, so
the vet and his physicians assumed that his COPD was just a development of his
service-connected respiratory conditions, and so would definitely be ratable.
Unfortunately not. It
may seem logical, and many physicians might claim that it is connected, but
technically, while chronic bronchitis is a symptom of COPD, it can be argued
that you can have chronic bronchitis without having COPD. Many will argue it’s
the same, but chronic bronchitis does not automatically equal COPD. These are
the type of technicalities the VA can and will use to refuse claims.
So what can the vet
do? Is he doomed to never get the compensation he feels he deserves, and in
this case probably does? This is where a knowledge of the VASRD
can come in
REALLY handy and why we’ve made all this information available to everyone on
our website, www.MilitaryDisabilityMadeEasy.com
So, okay, claiming
COPD doesn’t work since it isn’t officially service-connected. Let’s explore
the other options for rating conditions of the Respiratory System
. COPD is an Obstructive Lung Disease
, so if we look under this category, we find that all obstructive
lung diseases are rated on the Respiratory Rating System
. COPD is rated under code
, but we’ll notice as we look at this section that Chronic Bronchitis is also listed here under code 6600
So what do we know?
- All conditions in
this section are rated using the exact same rating criteria: the Respiratory
- Both COPD and
Chronic Bronchitis are in this section.
- Chronic Bronchitis
was diagnosed while the vet was in the military.
Chronic Bronchitis is
service-connected, will definitely be rated by the VA, and will receive the
exact same rating that COPD would have since it is rated using the same
criteria. Thus, the easiest
solution to the vet’s problem is to ignore the diagnosis of COPD altogether and
instead submit a claim for chronic bronchitis.
COPD sounds cooler and
is in essence a more mature form of chronic bronchitis, but in this case,
chronic bronchitis will get the job done.
Don’t get hung up on a
Take the time before you submit a claim to
fully research your conditions on our site. We’ve provided all the information
you need to figure out the best way to prepare your claim to get you the
maximum benefits you deserve. It will take a bit of effort at the beginning,
but it will be time well spent.