Hemorrhoids are painful, irritating conditions that affect millions of Americans each year, including many Veterans. Sometimes, hemorrhoids can be so painful that they become debilitating or disabling. If you or a loved one developed hemorrhoids from military service, you could have grounds for a successful disability benefits claim.
Let’s take a closer look at the VA disability rating for hemorrhoids, whether you can receive disability benefits, and how to maximize your claim’s effectiveness.
Hemorrhoids are swollen, irritated, and/or painful veins around the anus or rectum. Normally, these veins are thin and underneath the skin. Under some circumstances, these veins can become filled with blood or otherwise enlarged, leading to minor to severe pain, bleeding, and other side effects.
There are two types of hemorrhoids:
In either case, hemorrhoids are common, and most adults eventually experience them. Only some hemorrhoids are so severe as to require disability compensation, however.
The common symptoms of hemorrhoids include:
Generally, people become aware that they have hemorrhoids when they notice slight or persistent bleeding during or after bowel movements.
Various trigger factors, including irritable bowel syndrome and other conditions, can cause hemorrhoids. However, hemorrhoids can also be caused by your diet, ingesting toxic compounds, intense strain or exercise, and more.
You can receive disability benefits for hemorrhoids under three different circumstances.
First, you may receive disability benefits for hemorrhoids if you develop or aggravate them during military service. In this case, you will establish a direct service connection between your military service and hemorrhoids.
The only way to qualify for disability benefits is to prove that your hemorrhoids manifested during your time in the military. You may be able to collect medical records and service records at the time of your hemorrhoid outbreak.
Next, you may receive disability benefits for hemorrhoids if your military service exacerbated or worsened your symptoms. For instance, if you had hemorrhoids before joining the military, but they worsened while you were in the service, you could establish a service connection.
To do that, you must prove that your hemorrhoids worsened because of your military service, like walking around for many hours with heavy equipment, performing certain types of physical labor, etc. You can do this with a doctor’s letter if the doctor tracked the state of your hemorrhoids over time and if they believe that your hemorrhoids’ progression was unnatural.
As an example, hemorrhoids might be caused by excessive strain during bowel movements. If you were constipated at some point in the military because of your diet or other factors, you might be able to tie that to your hemorrhoid symptoms worsening.
Finally, you may still be able to collect disability benefits for hemorrhoids if they were diagnosed after your military service. However, your hemorrhoids must have manifested during your time in the military.
For instance, you may manifest hemorrhoids while on deployment, but you only receive a diagnosis after you leave the military. In such a circumstance, you could still qualify for a service connection because the hemorrhoids and their symptoms began while you were performing military actions.
To receive a service connection in this context, you must provide evidence or testimony that your hemorrhoids manifested during service and that you could not get a diagnosis for them at the time of their formation.
You can additionally acquire disability benefits for hemorrhoids by proving a secondary service connection.
A secondary service connection is possible if you already have a primary service-connected disability or illness for which you receive disability benefits from the VA. If that service-connected disability or illness caused or exacerbated your hemorrhoids, you could receive a secondary service connection.
For example, suppose you were severely injured in the military such that you experience frequent constipation or have to strain heavily to pass bowel movements. In that case, those side effects may cause hemorrhoids or hemorrhoid exacerbation.
If you can prove this, you may receive secondary disability benefits for your hemorrhoids; logically, you would not have developed hemorrhoids had you not first developed your primary, service-connected condition.
If you already applied for service-connected disability benefits for your hemorrhoids and were denied, consider contacting Veterans law attorneys to investigate a secondary service connection. Through the appeals process, you may be able to increase your total disability rating and the monthly compensation benefits you receive.
Should you receive a service connection for hemorrhoids, the VA will assign you a disability rating following Diagnostic Code 7336. Under this Diagnostic Code, you may receive a disability rating of 0% to 20% as follows:
As you can see, a 20% rating is the highest disability rating you can expect to get for hemorrhoids. You might still be entitled to an extra schedular rating for your hemorrhoids if you demonstrate that the rating doesn’t accurately reflect your symptoms and accompanying disabilities.
For instance, if your hemorrhoids are so severe that you cannot move entirely or experience such excessive bleeding that you faint frequently, you could qualify for a higher disability rating as a result. Speak with Veterans law attorneys to determine the likelihood of receiving an extra schedular rating in this case.
You may have heard about a 2017 motion to reduce the VA budget deficit. This prospective legislation would have theoretically narrowed the eligibility for VA disability compensation by excluding various disabling conditions potentially unrelated to military duties.
In the proposed legislation, the VA would have counted hemorrhoids as one of the conditions unlikely to be caused or exacerbated by military service. If this legislation had passed, Veterans receiving disability compensation for hemorrhoids would have seen their compensation reduced or eliminated.
Fortunately, the 2017 motion did not pass. You can still receive disability benefits for hemorrhoids, and there are no indications that the VA will soon eliminate hemorrhoid disability ratings.
To acquire disability compensation for hemorrhoids, you must follow the same process as you must acquire compensation for any service-connected disability.
First, speak to knowledgeable Veterans law attorneys. They can help you gather the right evidence and file a successful disability benefits claim.
Next, gather the appropriate evidence, like doctors’ notes, lay statements from your friends and family members, etc. You’ll submit all this evidence to the VA with your disability benefits application.
Finally, wait for a decision from the VA. If the VA initially denies your claim, you can appeal it with the assistance of your Veterans law lawyers. Appealing the process means revisiting the evidence you’ve collected, substantiating your evidence with more information, and re-opening your claim for disability benefits.
You can appeal your claim to either start receiving benefits or to increase your disability rating.
You can receive disability compensation benefits for hemorrhoids if you developed the condition as a direct result of your military service or if your military service exacerbated a pre-existing condition. With the right disability benefits claim, you could receive vital financial assistance to help you pay for ongoing medical care and medication.
Berry Law may be able to help. Our experienced attorneys can help you file a successful disability benefits claim or appeal a previous denial. Contact us today to get started.
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