Residual vs. Secondary Conditions


Hi Jim, can you explain to me any difference between residuals and secondary conditions? I am currently rated 100% temporary for prostate cancer with with a c&p exam coming soon. I spoke with my VSO yesterday and she couldn't really help me. She told me to tell the examiner about my incontinence and use of pads,  but thought we might have to file secondary claims. Can you explain how the VA handles this?

Jim's Mailbag:

Great question. In the way that VA uses those terms, a residual effect is one caused by a treatment of a condition. A condition is a disease or injury (either mental or physical) that is disabling or potentially disabling to a measurable degree. A rated condition is one adjudicated to be service connected...somehow caused, contributed to or aggravated by active military service. A secondary condition is a disease or injury caused, contributed to or aggravated by an already rated condition.

In the case of prostate cancer (PC, your symptoms of urinary leakage and erectile dysfunction can't be secondary to prostate cancer since it's gone. We'll assume that your treatment cured the cancer, so no secondary conditions can result from cancer. You'll be rated for any disabling conditions that have been caused by the treatment for PC. VA calls those residual conditions and you'll be rated pretty much for the number of pads you use each day. Two pads will get 20%, 4 pads 40%, 6 or more will rate 60% and 60% is as high as I've seen. Be sure and stress nighttime frequency and anytime urgency...whatever you do, don't be embarrassed and minimize your symptoms. Be as graphic as you need to be. The ED is a Special Monthly Compensation (SMC) benefit and will be rated separately from you other ratings as an SMC-k benefit and add a bit more than $100.00 each month to your payment. Again, be sure and stress that prior to surgery there was no ED, now there is. Yeah, this is pretty convoluted and hard to follow, I understand...welcome to VA!