If a Veteran is suffering from a physical or psychological disability, this condition can have a massive negative impact on their life. Disabilities can interfere with a Veteran’s ability to work, maintain a healthy social life and relationships, and go through life normally. Because disabilities, both physical and mental, have such a significant effect, the Department of Veterans’ Affairs (VA) seeks to provide disabled veterans with tax-free benefits. These benefits can make a massive difference, helping a disabled Veterans remain financially stable and allowing them to take care of their loved ones and themselves.
The VA grants disability benefits to Veterans suffering from service-related disabilities – physical and mental problems that are directly linked to an event or injury that happened during a Veteran’s time in the military. However, the VA also acknowledges that a Veteran’s disability can give way to other issues, which may not be directly service-related. The VA refers to these problems as secondary conditions.
A secondary condition, according to the VA, is any physical or psychological problem that is worsened by a service-related disability. A secondary condition could have been something a veteran suffered from before they entered the military that was worsened by a service-related injury. It could also be a condition that developed as a result of a service-related injury – in some circumstances, a Veteran’s disability makes them more susceptible to other problems that stem directly from their service-related injury or experience.
A secondary condition can influence the disability rating that a Veteran receives from the VA. If a Veteran is suffering from mental or physical problems stemming from a service-related disability, these problems can lead to an increase in the disability rating that the Veteran receives from the VA. Although secondary conditions may not directly result from service-related events or injuries, if the VA can establish a connection between these problems and a service-related disability, secondary conditions can make a Veteran eligible to receive more benefits each month.
If you are suffering from a secondary condition in addition to your service-related disability, your disability rating from the VA could likely be higher than it currently is. If the VA has only assessed your initial disability and not factored in any secondary conditions, you may have received a lower rating than your condition warrants. Because secondary conditions can make life much more difficult for Veterans and were caused by military service, the VA recognizes secondary conditions as grounds for raising a disabled Veteran’s disability rating.
In addition, secondary conditions matter in VA disability claims because they are often overlooked. Secondary conditions are often harder for the VA to assess, diagnose, and measure than disabilities that are directly connected to a Veteran’s military service. If you suffer from a secondary condition and think that the VA may be giving you less compensation than you deserve, request a review of the VA’s decision regarding your claim.
Below are some of the most common secondary conditions recognized by the VA. If you suffer from any of these conditions, make sure you are getting the support you deserve from the VA.
If you are suffering from a secondary condition in addition to a service-related disability, you deserve to have your disability rating raised by the VA. However, the VA does not always make a decision that accurately reflects a Veteran’s condition. If the VA has ruled inaccurately regarding your disability claim, you can dispute their decision with a decision review or an appeal.
In a decision review, the VA may request that you provide additional medical evidence or other information to verify that you are suffering from a diagnosable secondary condition. Sometimes, the VA will also allow you to request for your claim to be passed on to a senior VA official for reevaluation. A decision review can have a positive outcome for your claim, but sometimes it will still not be enough to get you the rating you deserve. If you still don’t have the benefits you need, you should enlist the support of a professional.
You have the right to appeal any VA decision with the help of an attorney. In a VA appeal, an attorney will present your case to the VA on your behalf. The process can end with the VA changing their decision and granting you a higher disability rating based on your secondary condition. If you need your rating raised by the VA, don’t settle for less than you deserve! One of Berry Law’s skilled attorneys can help you get a better outcome from the VA by supporting you in the appeals process. Call today for a free case evaluation.
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