Veterans that have current disabilities that were a result of their military service are entitled to compensation, and there is a long list of disabilities that a Veteran could claim disability benefits for. One of the often-overlooked disability claims that a Veteran can file is for osteoarthritis. Veterans suffering from osteoarthritis may be eligible for disability benefits from the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).
Osteoarthritis (OA) is the most common form of arthritis and is defined by Mayo Clinic as a degenerative condition in which the protective cartilage that cushions the ends of your bones wears down over time. Once this cartilage reaches a certain point, symptoms such as pain, stiffness, loss of flexibility in the joint, tenderness and swelling, and bone spurs can occur.
While age is generally considered to be the biggest risk factor in the development of osteoarthritis, obesity, repeated stress on the joint, and injuries to the joint can all cause or aggravate arthritis.
What does this mean for Veterans? Military service often puts the body’s joints under repeated stress for long periods of time. Additionally, injuries to knees, ankles, shoulders, and other joints are common, but not always reported every time such an injury occurs. As the Mayo Clinic notes, “osteoarthritis symptoms often develop slowly and worsen over time.” This means that an injury which occurred in service may have caused osteoarthritis in a particular joint, even though the osteoarthritis was not discovered until years after discharge from the military.
While this information is not necessarily definitive in and of itself, it does provide a basis for asking your doctor or other medical professional for an opinion as to whether your osteoarthritis may have been caused by an injury in service. Remember, to establish service connection you must show three different things:
Each person’s situation is different, and your doctor or medical professional is best suited to determine whether your condition is related to service.
Many Veterans are suffering from disabilities caused by service. Unfortunately, they often find it difficult to receive an adequate VA disability rating for their injuries. If you have been denied disability benefits for osteoarthritis or any other disability, Berry Law may be able to help.
Our team has experience helping Veterans across the country appeal unfavorable rating decisions to receive the disability compensation they deserve. Contact Berry Law today to appeal the VA’s decision and take the next steps in receiving the full VA disability benefits you deserve.
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