Vietnam Vet with 20% disability re prostate cancer


Hi Jim, I was Vietnam 1968-1969 and was diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2012. I had my prostate removed, filed a claim with VA and was rated at 20% disability. Yes, I do have leakage and erectile dysfunction ED. After talking with several individuals in my condition they are getting 100% disability. Should I file an appeal or is this rating normal 20%. When I first applied for disability compensation,  a rep. from DAV said I should get 100%. would like your thoughts. Thank You,

Jim's Reply:

Vietnam veterans who served with boots on the ground were exposed to agent orange and that chemical is thought to have contributed to many diseases...known as the presumptive list. Prostate cancer is on that list and is a frequently claimed condition among Vietnam veterans. Upon diagnosis of the condition, the veteran must file a claim and he will be awarded a 100% temporary benefit that will remain in effect until he has a treatment, usually either surgery or radiation. After the treatment the cancer is gone so the rating will fall to a level that reflects any residual disabling conditions after the treatment and recuperative period ends. The ratings are based on urinary leakage and depend on how many absorbent pads one must use in a day. Two or 3 pads will rate 20%, 4 pads rates 40% and 6 or more pads each day will get you a 60% rating. Erectile dysfunction (ED) is a separate rating known as SMC-k. The SMC-k rating pays in addition to the usual disability ratings, just over $100.00 each month. If you never received a 100% rating you may have filed the claim too long after the surgery to be eligible for the cancer and recuperative benefit. However, you should go ahead and file for an increase if warranted and file for the SMC-k benefit as well.