​What Is the VA Disability Rating for Shoulder Pain?

The VA disability rating for shoulder pain typically ranges from 10 to 40 percent, depending on the severity of the injury. The rating varies based on functional loss and loss of range of motion. The rating also considers whether the shoulder injury affects the dominant arm. 

The VA disability rating determines what type of compensation you will receive. The more severe the condition, the higher the rating, and subsequently, the greater the benefits. So, understanding this rating is like holding the key to unlocking the support you rightfully deserve. Let’s take a closer look at how this process works.

Initial Evaluation of Shoulder Pain for VA Disability Benefits

The VA evaluates shoulder injuries using the criteria outlined in the 38 C.F.R. § 4.71 – Schedule of Ratings. This regulation provides a framework for assessing disabilities related to musculoskeletal injuries, including those affecting the shoulder.

The specific criteria within this regulation help determine the disability rating for shoulder injuries based on factors such as range of motion, strength, and functional impairment. The VA uses this information to assign a percentage of disability with increments of 10%. The higher the percentage, the greater the compensation you may receive.

For shoulder pain, the evaluation often involves assessing the range of motion in various directions (flexion, abduction, adduction, rotation), as well as considering the impact on strength and functional impairment. The severity of these limitations contributes to the overall disability rating.

It’s important for Veterans seeking VA disability benefits for shoulder pain to be familiar with specific criteria outlined in these regulations. This will help you to provide thorough documentation and evidence supporting your claim. Consulting with a lawyer who has extensive experience in VA disability claims can help in navigating the process. Your lawyer can make sure all relevant factors are considered in the evaluation.​

Process for Filing for VA Disability Benefits for Shoulder Pain

To be eligible for VA disability benefits, first, you have to establish a service connection, demonstrating that your shoulder injury is connected to your military service. This can be achieved by providing medical evidence, service records, and any other relevant documentation that shows the injury occurred or was aggravated during military service.

The VA will then assign a disability rating based on the severity of the injury. For shoulder injuries, the rating is determined through the VA’s Schedule for Rating Disabilities. This involves considering the following factors:

  • Range of Motion: The extent to which the shoulder’s range of motion is limited is a key factor. The VA will assess flexion, abduction, adduction, and rotation.
  • Strength: The loss of strength in the shoulder is also evaluated. This could be measured against the unaffected shoulder or against the normal range for the general population.
  • Functional Impairment: The impact of the shoulder injury on the Veteran’s ability to perform daily activities and work is considered.

The combination of these factors results in a disability percentage in increments of 10%. The higher the percentage, the greater the disability rating and, consequently, the higher the monthly compensation.

You will need to submit an initial claim for disability benefits, providing all necessary supporting documentation, including medical records, relevant service records, and any other evidence that supports the claim. In many cases, the VA may require you to undergo a medical examination to assess the current state of your shoulder injury.

What If I’m Not Happy with My VA Disability Rating?

You have the right to appeal the disability rating assigned for your injury if you disagree with the decision made by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). There are several circumstances in which you might consider appealing:

  • Disagreement with the Rating: If you believe that the assigned disability rating does not accurately reflect the severity of your service-connected injury.
  • New Medical Evidence: If you obtain new medical evidence that was not considered in the initial decision and believe it could impact your disability rating.
  • Worsening Condition: If your condition worsens after the initial rating, you may appeal to seek a higher disability rating that reflects the increased severity of your impairment.

A lawyer can help in the appeals process to help you increase your disability rating. Veterans often seek the assistance of attorneys to navigate the complex appeals process, gather supporting evidence, and present a compelling case. Legal representation can be particularly beneficial in ensuring that your rights are protected and that the appeal is conducted effectively.

Common Shoulder Injuries Sustained by Veterans

Military service can subject individuals to various physical demands, with musculoskeletal injuries being among the most common types of ailments affecting Veterans. This includes shoulder injuries. Here are some types of shoulder injuries that someone in the armed forces might suffer during their military service:

  • Rotator Cuff Tears: Resulting from repetitive use or trauma, these tears in the group of muscles and tendons supporting the shoulder joint can be painful and limit mobility.
  • Shoulder Dislocation: High-impact activities or falls can lead to the shoulder joint being forced out of its normal position, causing dislocation.
  • Impingement Syndrome: Occurs when the tendons of the rotator cuff become pinched or compressed, often due to repetitive overhead movements.
  • Fractures: Traumatic events, such as falls or direct blows, can cause fractures in the shoulder bones, including the clavicle (collarbone) or the humerus.
  • Labral Tears: Injuries to the labrum, the cartilage that surrounds the shoulder socket, can result from dislocations or overuse.
  • Frozen Shoulder (Adhesive Capsulitis): Characterized by stiffness and limited range of motion, this condition can develop after prolonged immobilization or as a result of inflammation.
  • Shoulder Bursitis: Inflammation of the bursa, small fluid-filled sacs that cushion the joints, often caused by repetitive motions or direct trauma.
  • Acromioclavicular (AC) Joint Injuries: Sprains or separations of the AC joint can occur due to impact or falls on the shoulder.
  • Brachial Plexus Injuries: Trauma to the nerves that control the shoulder and arm, often associated with high-velocity impacts or injuries.
  • Tendinitis: Inflammation of the tendons in the shoulder, commonly the result of repetitive motions or overuse.

These injuries can vary in severity and may require different forms of treatment, including rest, physical therapy, or in some cases, surgical intervention.

How Can a Lawyer Help with My Disability Claim?

An attorney can be a valuable ally for Veterans navigating the VA disability claims process. We serve as advocates, helping you understand your rights and ensuring your voice is heard. Our lawyers help gather and present relevant evidence to support your claim.

Lawyers with experience handling VA disability benefits claims bring a deep understanding of the laws and regulations involved. Legal representation provides you with the support and guidance needed to navigate the often intricate and bureaucratic aspects of the claims process.

Berry Law attorneys have played a key role in securing increased disability ratings and ensuring fair compensation for service-connected injuries. In some cases, our legal team has helped Veterans secure approval of claims that were initially denied. We are dedicated to advocating for your rights.

Contact Berry Law

If you’re a Veteran seeking the maximum disability rating for your shoulder pain, let Berry Law be your advocate in this fight. Together, we’ll navigate the VA claims process, ensuring your sacrifices are acknowledged and compensated to the fullest extent. At Berry Law, we take pride in our unique perspective; we’re a team of Veterans who understand the challenges you face. We are allies who understand the complexities of the VA claims process and are committed to ensuring you receive the benefits you rightly deserve.

Our experienced VA disability benefits attorneys know the VA claims process can be daunting, but we thrive on challenges. Let us navigate the intricacies with you, ensuring every aspect of your shoulder injury is considered for the highest possible disability rating. As Veterans ourselves, we understand the sacrifices you’ve made.

Berry Law has a track record of securing successful outcomes for Veterans. From increasing disability ratings to winning denied claims, we’re committed to achieving the best results for you. Our team is ready to stand by your side, just as you’ve stood for our country. Call our legal team at 888-883-2483 or fill out our online contact form. We represent Veterans in all 50 states and our legal team is available to you 24/7. Your fight is our fight. Let’s secure the benefits you deserve together.

Berry Law

The attorneys at Berry Law are dedicated to helping injured Veterans. With extensive experience working with VA disability claims, Berry Law can help you with your disability appeals.

This material is for informational purposes only. It does not create an attorney-client relationship between the Firm and the reader, and does not constitute legal advice. Legal advice must be tailored to the specific circumstances of each case, and the contents of this blog are not a substitute for legal counsel.

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