What do I do if my disabled rating percentage should be more than the VA claims?

Posted on: Tuesday, June 05, 2018
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What do I do if my disabled rating percentage should be more than the VA claims?

Question

 
I have a severe case of DJD or (osteoarthritis). As a result have had two back surgeries, and a lot of problems with my knees secondary to my back. I was only given 10% for my back initially. VA refused to give me an increase since the most recent surgery and is treating me like this was a fix.  Unfortunately, I continue to be in pain and the surgery is not a fix. Neurosurgeon tried the conventional approach, but stated I may be looking at a fusion. I suffer everyday. Walking short distances are becoming a challenge as well as I am unable to sit for prolonged periods. I went to see a chiropractor, and he said there is nothing he could do, and advised me to not allow any chiropractor touch my back. This man was about business and not money. What do you advise I do because my back situation has me more than 10% disabled. This is interfering with my everday life.
 

Jim's Reply

 
Your story is unusual. Degenerative Joint Disease is often enough diagnosed but not service connected and thus not rated. DJD is often assumed to be a product of aging; we'll all have arthritis if we live long enough. That you say your DJD condition is rated at 10% establishes service connection. When we have surgery for a service connected condition VA will pretty automatically set your rating at 100% on a temporary basis while you recuperate. That 100% usually lasts 3 to 6 months or so and then there's a C & P exam to establish whether the treated condition has improved. I've reviewed a lot of cases similar to yours and in every instance VA has established a higher rating than the original %. There are secondary issues to be considered, particularly scarring and such and that almost always leads to a higher rating. If you aren't satisfied with the rating(s) you received, you must initiate an appeal per VBA requirements. You do that much as you would any claim or appeal, you start by completing the usual form and mailing it in or using eBenefits to submit electronically. Always remember...no form, no benefit...talking won't help, you have to file the claim.
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