Millions of Americans experience some form of peripheral neuropathy. It is especially common for those affected by diabetes. Many Veterans also acquire this condition due to their military service or because of underlying conditions caused by their active duty.
In many cases, Veterans can apply for and receive benefits from the VA Office for their peripheral neuropathy. But it’s important to know the VA rating system for this condition – and what to expect from applying for benefits for peripheral neuropathy – before filing your paperwork.
Today, let’s break down the VA rating for peripheral neuropathy in detail and explore the kinds of benefits you might expect for your condition.
In brief, peripheral neuropathy means that one or more peripheral nerves have been damaged. The damaged nerve(s) may cause pain, weakness, or numbness. Peripheral neuropathy affects the hands and feet for most Americans and Veterans, but it may affect the nerves everywhere, including the legs, arms, torso, neck, and face.
Many Veterans obtain peripheral neuropathy from their service, either through battle, exposure to harmful toxins like Agent Orange, or through service-related duties. Even beyond the military, about 30 million Americans suffer from some type of peripheral neuropathy every day. Diabetic peripheral neuropathy is the most common variant of this condition.
Unfortunately, peripheral neuropathy is often lifelong, though some treatments can alleviate or even eliminate certain symptoms. Many Veterans require financial assistance to receive the care or treatment they need to tackle these symptoms and restore their quality of life.
The symptoms of peripheral neuropathy can vary from person to person, as they are dependent on the exact nerve(s) affected and the extent of the damage. Many of the most common peripheral neuropathy symptoms include:
Peripheral neuropathy may be caused by several conditions or injuries, including:
Peripheral neuropathy is often caused by diabetes – usually Type II. Diabetic retinopathy and diabetic neuropathy may also lead to peripheral neuropathy.
Most peripheral neuropathy is unable to be fully treated or cured. However, Veterans may receive treatment based on their benefits and unique symptoms and how their lives are impacted by their condition. Potential treatments for peripheral neuropathy include:
Like all other disability benefits, a VA disability rating for peripheral neuropathy requires proof of:
Because peripheral neuropathy is a condition that affects the nervous system, it may be rated under several different diagnostic codes. There is no single or designated diagnostic code for peripheral neuropathy itself. The potential diagnostic codes for your peripheral neuropathy may include:
VA disability benefits lawyers such as Berry Law can be invaluable for navigating this complex process.
Generally, it’s best to file your disability benefits claim based on the recommendation of your medical advisor. They will provide you with a record of your symptoms, which you can then provide to the VA benefits office. A licensed medical practitioner will also be able to inform you about which nerve(s) are most affected by your peripheral neuropathy.
If you do not have a medical provider treating you for your neuropathy, you can still file a claim. You can file a claim with a description of your symptoms, and the VA will provide you with a Compensation and Pension examination to evaluate your symptoms and provide the etiology of your condition.
All VA ratings for peripheral neuropathy range from between 10% and 40% maximum. Ratings are determined based on the severity of the Veteran’s displayed and recorded symptoms.
However, a Veteran may be entitled to a maximum rating of 40% disability benefits for each extremity affected. For example, suppose the Veteran has peripheral neuropathy in both the right leg and the left foot, with severe and provable symptoms. In that case, they may be entitled to up to 80% of maximum VA disability benefits for both affected extremities.
If damage is not complete enough for a 40% rating, the evidence Veteran must show that there is incomplete paralysis of up to three different levels of severity, ranging from mild (10%) to severe (30%).
In addition to VA disability grants using regular proof, some Veterans may qualify for disability benefits for their peripheral neuropathy via presumptive conditions. In a nutshell, early-onset peripheral neuropathy is a presumptive condition for any Veterans who may have been exposed to herbicides during their military service.
Note that, for a Veteran to qualify for this type of disability benefit, it is presumptive if it is shown that the neuropathy is severe enough to have received a 10% within one year from release from active duty.
Herbicides such as Agent Orange, in particular, have been proven to increase one’s likelihood of developing peripheral neuropathy due to damage to the nervous system. Many Vietnam Veterans may qualify for VA disability compensation for peripheral neuropathy based on their service conditions.
While Veterans may apply for benefits for their peripheral neuropathy, there’s never a guarantee that you’ll receive the maximum benefits or compensation you deserve. The VA benefits filing process is complex and often confusing, and it’s easy enough to make a minor mistake that may cap your benefits lower than you need.
That’s where we come in. Berry Law Veterans Law Attorneys has years of experience helping Veterans just like you file for the benefits they need or appeal VA claim denials. If you’ve already received benefits for your peripheral neuropathy but need to increase your disability rating, we can also help with that.
When fighting for your benefits, there’s no one more well-equipped and experienced and Berry Law. Contact us today for a free consultation and more information.
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