VA disability benefits aren’t only available for chronic conditions or specific surgeries. Many female Veterans are surprised to discover that VA disability benefits are available for hysterectomies, which are surgeries that remove some or all of their reproductive systems.
However, VA disability ratings for hysterectomies are a little more complex than the rating systems for other benefits claims. Benefits are dependent on how much of the reproductive system was removed and other circumstances surrounding the claim.
Today, let’s break down VA disability for hysterectomy in detail. This guide will be beneficial if you’re a beginner to the VA benefits system overall.
A hysterectomy is a surgery that removes a woman’s entire or partial reproductive system, including the cervix, uterus, or ovaries. There are three types of hysterectomies:
Different types of hysterectomies may be necessary depending on doctor recommendations, the presence of cancer, or other chronic symptoms. Regardless, hysterectomies are difficult on the body and often require long recovery periods.
Many women, including Veterans, could need a hysterectomy for a wide variety of reasons, including:
Women now comprise about 14.5% of all active-duty military members, so the number of military Veterans who require hysterectomies has increased.
Because of this, the VA has recently extended VA disability benefits to hysterectomy surgeries and related conditions to make benefits fair and equal for both sexes.
To receive VA disability benefits for any condition, service connection must be established. This is no different for hysterectomies, though it can be more complex or challenging to prove a service connection given the nature of the surgery. Legal experts at Berry Law may help or assist female Veterans attempting to overturn a denied claim through the appeals process.
To establish a service connection for their hysterectomy, female Veterans must demonstrate that:
The in service event doesn’t necessarily have to affect the uterus directly. It can affect the rest of the body but eventually leads to a medically necessary hysterectomy over time.
Some examples of in service events include:
While this may seem complex, hysterectomy claims are among the most common service-connected conditions that women Veterans claim today. Veterans who are entitled to VA disability benefits should enlist the help of attorneys like Berry Law. An experienced VA attorney may be able to help you determine the medical nexus leading to your hysterectomy and present the most effective claims case possible to the VA.
In addition, female Veterans may establish a secondary service connection to receive VA disability benefits for their hysterectomies. A secondary service connection is a medical condition caused by a primary medical condition for which the Veteran is already receiving disability benefits.
For example, a Veteran undergoes a partial hysterectomy to save her life after a gunshot wound to the abdomen. Later, she must undergo a complete hysterectomy due to the buildup of scar tissue or an infection. The complete hysterectomy may qualify for additional benefits and compensation as it is probably related to her military service.
In many cases, secondary service connections can increase your total disability benefits rating – possibly even up to 100%.
As of September 2017, the VA has updated its Schedule for Rating Disabilities. VA disability ratings for hysterectomies are broken down into two codes:
In both cases, the 50% and 30% disability benefits floors are only minimums. They may be increased depending on the symptoms or side effects that a female Veteran experiences after or as she recovers from her surgery.
Furthermore, any other gynecological conditions or breast disorders are rated under the same diagnostic codes above, usually for full or partial surgeries, respectively.
If a female Veteran receives a disability rating above 30% for her hysterectomy surgery, the VA will also consider whether others in her family rely on her for financial support. For example, if you underwent a hysterectomy surgery and have a disability rating of 40% after recovery, but you have two children who are dependents, you may receive additional monthly compensation.
This special monthly compensation only lasts until the dependents are no longer under your care, however. After this point, your disability rating will return to its normal state and the additional monthly compensation will cease.
Navigating the intricacies of VA disability ratings for hysterectomies, both full and partial, can be tough to do alone. That’s why Berry Law Veterans Law Attorneys is here to help.
We have many years of experience supporting Veterans just like you and helping them to acquire the maximum benefits possible for their hysterectomies or other service-related conditions. On top of that, we can help you overturn a denied claim through the appeals process. You’ve already done your part for your country; let us do our part for you and make sure you can pay for your medical bills and live comfortably.
Contact Berry Law for a free consultation and more information to see how we can help with your VA benefits claim today.
Our monthly newsletter features about important and up-to-date veterans' law news, keeping you informed about the changes that matter.