What Are The Most Common VA Disabilities?

Veterans can develop a wide range of illnesses after their tours of duty end and they return to civilian life. Much attention is given to the veterans who are experiencing things like PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder), but not everyone has it.

What Are The Most Common VA Disabilities?

Some veterans may just find themselves with a fair amount of joint pain from jumping out of trucks while carrying a full backpack. Musculoskeletal conditions are frequently reported by veterans, due to the extremely physical nature of most jobs in the military. But while vets are currently receiving benefits for more than 21 million types of disabilities, there are some that show up the most.

The Top Ten

The most common disabilities seen by the VA are:

  1. Tinnitus—this annoying condition is the result of working around aircraft, gunfire or other munitions. It can be an underlying condition of hearing loss, neck injuries, a traumatic brain injury, as well as depression. Tinnitus ringing, buzzing, hissing or other noise in one or both ears, and can make concentration difficult.
  2. Hearing loss—another common condition in veterans, and requires a service connection in order to receive benefits. If you have both hearing loss and tinnitus, you may be able to have a separate rating for each.
  3. Limitations of knee flexions—knees may begin to “freeze up” and have limited ranges of motion as the years pass. Symptom severity will determine your VA ratings.
  4. Cervical or lumbosacral pain—neck and back pain that can be disabling and make daily life activities more difficult. Prescribed painkillers can present even more limitations for veterans who take them.
  5. Scars and scarring—even after healing, scars can still be painful. Injuries from combat and chemical burns can cause scars that leave lifelong problems as well as require multiple surgeries to treat. The VA rates based on the location and size.
  6. Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, or PTSDa mental health condition that follows exposure to a traumatic event. While treatment is available, there is currently no cure.
  7. Limitation of motion in the ankles—much like knee problems, ankle problems are evaluated for stability, extension and flexion before a rating is assigned.
  8. General impairment of the knee—this includes injuries as well as knee replacement, both partial and total.
  9. Migraine headaches—the throbbing pain that is usually confined to one side of the head may require you to lay down until it passes. You may also experience dizziness, nausea, and sensitivity to sound and light. Some migraines may last for days.
  10. Sciatica (aka Paralysis of the Sciatic Nerve)—the largest nerve in the body, it runs from the lower back through the hips down to the leg. Pressure on this nerve causes pain to develop in these areas.

Other Common Veterans Disabilities

While the VA reports these as the most common disability claims they receive, there are more, like musculoskeletal. They are sometimes secondary conditions, and include:

  • Diabetes
  • Gastrointestinal disorders
  • Sleep Apnea
  • Chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder (COPD) or other respiratory conditions
  • Traumatic brain injuries
  • Other mental health disorders (depression, anxiety, etc.)
  • Peripheral neuropathy (numbness, tingling, or loss of movement in the limbs)
  • Bronchial asthma

As with any disability condition, a service connection must be proved for either cause or aggravation.

Your Houston VA Disability Attorney

Applying for VA disability benefits is a long process with a lot of obstacles, but there is no time limit on when you can apply. Whether you have one of these top disability conditions, or something else that’s service related, we can help you wade through the red tape involved in applying for the benefits you deserve after your service.

When you’re ready to start, or you need help with an appeal, call The Herren Law Firm at 713-682-8194 (or use our online contact form) to schedule your free consultation. Our contingency fee basis means you won’t owe a fee until we win your case, and there’s no obligation.

Filing A Veterans Disability Claim In Houston, TX

If you’re one of the thousands of veterans who were injured in the line of duty and are now disabled, chances are you’ve at least once attempted to apply for disability benefits. If you’re reading this blog post, it’s also possible your claim has been denied. But whatever your current status, there is a process to filing your Veterans disability claim.

Filing a Veterans disability claim in Houston, Texas.

The VA’s website is the place to start, and offers basic guidelines and tells you what evidence you need to support your claim. This includes:

  • VA medical records that are either related to your injury/illness, or demonstrate that your rated disability is worsening
  • Hospital reports and other private medical records that are either related to your injury/illness, or demonstrate that your rated disability is worsening
  • Supporting statements from friends, family, fellow service members and others that can provide additional information on how your injury/illness occurred, or how it has worsened. This is also called “lay evidence.”

You can apply online at the VA’s website, by visiting your local VA office, by calling by calling 800-827-1000, or by printing the application here and mailing it to your local VA office.

If you need help, please see our recent blog post on getting assistance with filing your application.

Medical Records And Evidence

The VA provides a list on its website of all the evidence you’ll need to gather for your claim application in addition to VA Form 21-526 and your DD-214.

There are two options for submitting your claim:

  • A Fully Developed Claim, in which you’ll take full responsibility for gathering, organizing and enclosing all of your relevant medical records, supporting documentation, and certify that the VA does not need to recover any more of your records to support your claim. Once you certify that all the relevant records are enclosed, you will be required to attend any medical exams the VA needs and requests for them to reach a decision on your claim.
  • A Standard Disability Claim, in which the VA takes responsibility for recovering any documentation needed for your claim. You’ll need to specify in your application where the records can be obtained or found, especially if they are not with a federal agency. You may be asked to obtain some of these records, such as medical records from a private doctor or hospital, and you will also be required to attend any medical exams the VA needs and requests to reach a decision on your claim.

Lay Evidence

This is evidence that doesn’t require specialized knowledge to deliver, including:

  • Your personal testimony regarding the symptoms of your current disability
  • Your spouse, children or other relative’s testimony about a diagnosis you received many years ago at a military hospital
  • A “buddy statement” that corroborates something that happened to you while you were in the service
  • Performance evaluations done before and after an incident that caused your illness, injury or disability

This supporting evidence is usually submitted as a written statement, and is included with your claim.

Bureau of Veterans Affairs

Once everything is submitted, the BVA will review your file, and determine whether or not you qualify for disability benefits, and if so, assign a percentage.

However, you are ineligible for benefits if:

  • Your disability was caused by misconduct
  • You were dishonorably discharged
  • You were avoiding duty when the injury occurred, i.e., AWOL or deserting
  • You were injured while in prison or detained in relation to a court martial or a civil court felony

If you are denied and would like to appeal, contact an attorney who specializes in disability law. You have a short time frame for appeal, so get started immediately.

Helping Houston’s Disabled Veterans

Have you had trouble applying and qualifying for VA disability benefits? Been denied and need to appeal? It’s time to reach out for help. William Herren is a veterans disability attorney who can make the claims and appeals process easier. Call The Herren Law Firm today at 713-682-8194 (or use our online contact form) to schedule your free consultation. Our contingency fee basis means you won’t owe a fee until we win your case, and there’s no obligation.

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