Not all military disabilities are the result of grievous or traumatic injuries. Others may occur because of military dress code mandates or unhygienic practices that servicemembers must adopt due to being deployed. Many military members suffer from pseudofolliculitis barbae, also known as razor bumps.
If you or a loved one have experienced the symptoms of pseudofolliculitis barbae, you may wonder whether you qualify for disability compensation. Read on for more information about pseudofolliculitis barbae VA ratings.
Pseudofolliculitis barbae is a medical condition characterized by ingrown hairs and skin irritation. Pseudofolliculitis occurs whenever hair is trapped beneath the surface of your skin, causing it to bend back in on itself and grow deeper. Over time, this can lead to related problems and symptoms.
The most common symptoms of pseudofolliculitis barbae include:
On the outside, pseudofolliculitis barbae frequently looks like aggravated soft tissue around the face and neck. It can also lead to the development of scars if it is left unchecked. While pseudofolliculitis barbae can occur anywhere within the skin, it is most common on the face, scalp, and neck, and men are much more likely to develop it than women since they have thicker hair on average.
Many different health conditions or skin irritants can cause pseudofolliculitis. For example, if you have eczema, alopecia, dermatitis, or superficial scars, you may be more likely to develop recurring pseudofolliculitis barbae in the affected areas. Deep acne, chloracne, and skin cancer can also cause pseudofolliculitis barbae to develop over time.
However, your time in the military may also lead to or worsen pseudofolliculitis and its symptoms directly or because it causes one of the above conditions. For example, if you are exposed to harsh chemicals and develop chloracne as a result, any pseudofolliculitis barbae you also experience is technically due to your military service.
Therefore, if you have pseudofolliculitis barbae during or after your time in the military, you could be entitled to disability compensation from the VA.
You need to establish service connection to recover benefits for your pseudofolliculitis barbae. This condition can receive direct or secondary service connections depending on where the condition originated and the severity of your symptoms.
Direct service connection means that your pseudofolliculitis barbae was directly caused or aggravated by your time in the military. For instance, if you suffered an in-service event or injury that later caused or aggravated pseudofolliculitis barbae, you may receive direct service connection from the VA.
Secondary service connection means that your pseudofolliculitis barbae wasn’t directly caused or aggravated by an event in the military but was caused or aggravated by another service connected condition or illness caused or aggravated by an event in the military.
For example, Agent Orange led many Veterans to develop chloracne and other skin conditions, including skin cancer. Since chloracne can cause or aggravate pseudofolliculitis barbae, you may have grounds to claim disability compensation.
The VA doesn’t rate pseudofolliculitis barbae specifically, but it does rate general skin conditions. According to the General Rating Formula for the Skin, pseudofolliculitis barbae could receive a disability rating of one of the below types:
The worse your symptoms are for your pseudofolliculitis barbae, the more likely you will receive a higher disability rating. Your pseudofolliculitis rating is usually measured, assuming you are receiving treatment.
Because pseudofolliculitis barbae can develop and worsen over time, it may lead to scar formation. Veterans with scars on the head, neck, or face because of pseudofolliculitis barbae and who already have a disability rating could receive an additional disability rating.
The VA rates scars based on their severity and how much skin has been lost. According to Diagnostic Code 7800, pseudofolliculitis barbae scars may yield an additional disability rating of:
To recover benefits for service-connected pseudofolliculitis barbae, you need to sit for a Compensation and Pension (C&P) exam. The C&P exam will have you examined by a licensed, the VA contracted physician, who will look at your skin condition and determine the severity of its symptoms.
Afterward, you may also want to also supply the VA with a medical nexus letter. The nexus letter can be provided by a licensed physician and include their professional medical opinion that your skin condition developed or worsened because of your military service, either while in the military or after being discharged.
Once you have both items, you can assemble your benefits application. It’s a good idea to contact knowledgeable Veterans law attorneys, however. The right attorneys can provide a wide range of assistance during your case.
For instance, they can help you gather additional evidence to ensure your disability benefits claim is as strong as possible. Appropriate evidence for a pseudofolliculitis barbae benefits claim includes:
Furthermore, knowledgeable Veterans law attorneys can provide you with legal counsel throughout the process. If you have a question about the evidence you need to gather, or if you need help filing an appeal to increase your disability rating, they can help.
Ultimately, your pseudofolliculitis barbae could entitle you to disability compensation if you acquired this condition during your time in the military. Depending on the severity of your symptoms, you could receive a disability rating of up to 60% and monthly compensation, especially with the assistance of knowledgeable Veterans law attorneys.
Berry Law is well-equipped and ready to take a look at your case. Our educated lawyers can assist in various ways, from gathering evidence on your behalf to helping you put together the perfect application package. Contact us today to learn more.
Pseudofolliculitis barbae in the military ; a review | Oxford Academic
Our monthly newsletter features about important and up-to-date veterans' law news, keeping you informed about the changes that matter.