Title: VA Disability Rating for Veterans Suffering from Dementia
Meta Description: Many Veterans have dementia yet do not know the benefits they may be entitled to. Here are the different ratings for dementia.
The Department of Veterans Affairs recognizes numerous disorders and disabilities and will give benefits to Veterans who suffer from them.
One disorder they will give compensation for is dementia. Many Veterans have dementia and need benefits to help offset the costs of treatment.
However, many Veterans are unaware that they are entitled to benefits, given that their disorder was caused by their time in the service.
Veterans must know all of their options to receive benefits since it can help them in their lives.
Dementia is not one single disease. Instead, it is an umbrella term covering many medical disorders.
Any disorder under the category of dementia is caused by abnormal changes in the brain.
These changes cause the brain to lose its cognitive, thinking, and independent skills. Many people also endure strain on their emotional and relational life.
Because dementia is an umbrella term and not one single disease, there are many different types of dementia.
The most common form is Alzheimer’s disease, which makes up about 60-80% of the cases of dementia. Changes in the brain and protein buildup, such as amyloid plaques, cause Alzheimer’s disease.
Another form of dementia is frontotemporal disease. This form of dementia is that it occurs in people younger than 60. Protein buildups such as tau and TDP-43 can cause this form of dementia.
Lew body dementia is associated with a buildup of proteins known as alpha-synuclein.
Finally, vascular dementia is caused by conditions that disrupt the flood of blood and oxygen to the brain.
A combination of any form of dementia, called mixed dementia, can worsen the symptoms. Many people over the age of 80 who have dementia have mixed dementia, where one of the most common combinations is Alzheimer’s disease and vascular dementia.
Any Veteran who feels as though they may be suffering from dementia must have a medical professional diagnose their symptoms immediately.
The best thing to treat dementia is to catch the conditions that cause it early so that the Veteran can begin treatment and possibly reverse the abnormal changes.
The process of diagnosing dementia can be very involved. Often, doctors will first try to see if any underlying conditions related to dementia may be treatable.
They will also ask whether or not dementia runs in the family since that may make a Veteran more at risk.
A doctor may have a Veteran undergo numerous tests to get as much detail about their condition as possible. Brain scans help see whether or not a Veteran has tumors, damage from strokes, or other factors that can cause dementia. They will also see whether or not there have been abnormal changes in the brain.
Cognitive and neurological tests help to detail the Veteran’s ability to think and function physically. They will use various means to assess this, such as reflexes, memory, problem-solving, and sensory response.
The doctor may also have the Veteran undergo a psychiatric evaluation. There are times when mental health problems can cause dementia. If so, undergoing these types of tests will be able to show if a mental health problem is contributing to the cause of dementia.
There are multiple symptoms of dementia. They result from healthy neurons no longer being able to function in the brain.
Everyone will begin to lack neuron function in the brain as they age. However, people with dementia struggle more than is standard.
If a Veteran is beginning to show any signs of dementia, they must see a medical professional to get a diagnosis and find treatment as soon as they can. Getting a diagnosis will also allow them to begin the claims process for getting benefits.
There are numerous mental health conditions that the VA will give benefits for.
Since dementia can be caused by underlying mental health conditions, such as depression or post-traumatic stress disorder, it is important to assess what caused the Veteran’s dementia.
To qualify for benefits through the VA, the Veteran will have to show that their dementia is service-connected. This means something that occurred within the Veteran’s time of service caused their dementia.
A Veteran will need to show three things on their claim for them to make a service connection:
If any of these components are missing from a Veteran’s claim, then the VA will not grant the claim.
When a Veteran compiles evidence for their claim, they must gather evidence that helps to prove the three necessary components.
The best way to ensure that the Veteran has all the necessary documents and evidence to make a claim is by working with an experienced attorney.
Because the VA has a complicated process filled with regulations and rules, it can be challenging to make a claim. Many Veterans are unaware of all the regulations and make mistakes they may not even know about.
To avoid this, it is in the Veteran’s interest to work with an attorney with experience with the VA, such as Berry Law.
Working with an experienced attorney will give the best chance of acquiring the benefits that a Veteran deserves. Without working with an attorney, a Veteran may make mistakes that lead them to have their claim denied by the VA.
If this happens, and the Veteran would still like to get benefits, they will have to go through the appeal process. This adds more time, which can be stressful for a Veteran who needs benefits.
Since the VA considers dementia a mental health condition, it will follow that disability rating rather than its own individual one.
The disability ratings for mental health conditions include 0, 10, 30, 50, 70, and 100 percent.
The various ratings depend on the severity and longevity of the condition. Depending on the evidence in a Veteran’s claim, the disability rating can be different.
The VA will consider all the symptoms of a Veteran’s mental health condition, not just specific examples of symptoms. This will give them the most detail to make a proper assessment.
If a Veteran is assigned a 0 percent rating, this means that though there is a medical diagnosis, the symptoms are so mild that it does not require treatment and does not interfere with their work and social life. Because of this, a Veteran would not receive any benefits if they are assigned a 0 percent rating.
On the other hand, if a Veteran is assigned a 100 percent rating, they will receive the maximum amount of benefits. The evidence in a Veteran’s claim must show that they have a complete inability to function socially and at work. The symptoms can include disorientation, inappropriate behavior, and severe confusion.
Many times, Veterans will get benefits for their disability claim, but do not get the rating they would like.
When this happens, a Veteran can appeal a VA decision to try to get a higher disability rating.
For this to happen, the Veteran will have to gather evidence that shows that their symptoms are more severe. It is also best for a Veteran to work with an attorney since the appeals process can be more complicated and longer than the original claims process.
Dementia can cause great strain on a Veteran’s work and family life.
Many things can cause dementia, both in the service and out of the service. However, a Veteran can get a service connection for their dementia, and failure to do so will result in a denial from the VA.
If a Veteran wants to get a better rating than what they have received, they can also appeal the VA’s decision.
For more information on VA benefits and law, visit our website.
What is Dementia? Symptoms, Causes & Treatment | alz.org
What Is Dementia? Symptoms, Types, and Diagnosis | National Institute on Aging
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