VA Disability For Diabetes

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Wettermark Keith Can Help Veterans Receive Diabetes Disability Compensation

Diabetes is a condition common to United States military veterans and affects a higher percentage of veterans compared to the country's general population. Many factors contribute to diabetes in veterans, but exposure to Agent Orange and other herbicides while serving in the Vietnam War has caused many Veterans to suffer from this disease.

The body's inability to make or use insulin is the cause of diabetes. Produced by the pancreas, insulin helps regulate sugar (or glucose) in the bloodstream which is necessary for providing body cells and tissues with energy. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), 11.3 % of the US population (37.3 million) has diabetes. This more than doubles among the VA patient population, with 25 percent of veterans affected by the disease.

Complications from diabetes can make it difficult for a person to maintain daily activity and steady employment. You might qualify for Veterans Administration (VA) disability benefits if you developed diabetes during or after military service. A veteran can submit a claim form with medical records and documentation of diabetes. Then, the VA decides and grants VA benefits based on those records.

The VA law firm of Wettermark Keith can assist in preparing those VA forms or help if you are denied VA disability compensation for diabetes. Rather than handling the VA claims and appeals process alone, our experienced veteran disability lawyers can help improve the chances of getting the maximum disability benefits an affected veteran is due. VA disability monetary payments can provide for you and your family if your employment status changes and you can no longer work full-time.

WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN DIABETES TYPE 1 AND TYPE 2?

Type 1 diabetes, affecting 5-10% of the population, is genetic, and onset generally occurs early in life. The immune system attacks and destroys insulin-producing cells in the pancreas. The body must have insulin drugs to survive the condition. Military recruits with diabetes, type 1 are usually ineligible for service in the armed forces.

Type 2 diabetes, much more common and affecting 90-95% of the population, tends to develop over the course of a person's life and is usually related to lifestyle or exposure to environmental factors. People with type 2 diabetes may also need insulin drugs, but sometimes the condition can be managed by losing weight, exercising more, and eating a restricted, healthier diet. If you developed type 2 diabetes during or after your service in the military, you might be eligible for VA disability compensation; however, you have to prove a connection exists between your service and the claim of your health condition.

The VA claim process can be challenging, and the VA often rejects claims due to errors in the application or omission of certain medical evidence. If you are overwhelmed by the thought of the appeal process, call the VA attorneys at Wettermark Keith and let us fight for you and your rights.

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diabetes VETERANS DISABILITY SOLUTIONS

FOR YOU AND YOUR FAMILY

Many symptoms are associated with diabetes. If you experience any of the following signs, you may want to consult a doctor to confirm a diagnosis. The following are some of the most common indicators of diabetes:

  • Frequent urination
  • Feeling very thirsty (excessive drinking)
  • Feeling very hungry (even with eating)
  • Extreme fatigue
  • Blurry vision
  • Cuts and bruises that heal slowly
  • Frequent infections
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Tingling, pain, or numbness in hands and feet
  • Dry skin

If you've filed a disability claim with the VA for compensation, the VA may ask you to undergo a Compensation and Pension (C&P) examination as part of the VA claim process. A VA healthcare provider will ask questions and do a medical exam to gather evidence of a veteran's disability. The VA uses this exam's results to decide and determine a diabetic disability rating regarding the claimed condition. A simple A1C blood test measures the average blood sugar levels for the past 2-3 months. An A1C below 5.7% is normal, between 5.7 and 6.4% indicates prediabetes, and 6.5% or higher indicates diabetes.

To prove to the VA that your diabetes is service-connected, you must have a current diagnosis of type 2 diabetes which your medical records can verify. You might be eligible for VA disability benefits if you developed diabetes during or after your service in the military. To get veterans disability for Diabetes Mellitus -Type 2, a connection must be made between the disease and an injury, illness, or event during your military service time. Many Vietnam veterans with Agent Orange exposure in the service have that connection and can receive compensation. The VA already presumes there is a service-related connection.  

Presumptive disabilities usually make it easier for a veteran to receive VA benefits and compensation based on their disability case. One such condition is diabetes. If a veteran served in the Vietnam War between January 1962 and May 1975, the VA presumes the condition was caused by exposure to Agent Orange used in the jungle and woods. For a veteran who served in Vietnam, Korea, or Thailand, type 2 diabetes is a presumptive condition and is assumed by the VA to be service related. 

In other cases, your diabetes can qualify for a presumed service connection if you are diagnosed while in the service or if symptoms appear and are present within one year of discharge. The symptoms must present to a compensable degree of severity to be awarded monthly VA disability benefits. 

HOW HARD IS IT FOR A DIABETIC TO GET VETERAN DISABILITY COMPENSATION?

A veteran with diabetes does not always qualify for disability benefits. The serious effects of diabetes must be proven to receive compensation. If a veteran can manage diabetes with a restricted and healthier diet alone, it may be rated as 10% disabling. A 100% rating may be given if insulin is required more than once daily and other more serious conditions are met.

WHAT ARE SECONDARY CONDITIONS ASSOCIATED WITH DIABETES?

The longer a person has diabetes and the less controlled blood sugar is, the higher the risk of complications and other secondary conditions. Secondary conditions stemming from diabetes can affect a disability claim, rating, and compensation. Some of these conditions include:

  • Diabetes-Related Peripheral Neuropathy (nerve damage)
  • Diabetes-Related Retinopathy (and other eye conditions)
  • Renal (Kidney) Dysfunction
  • Hypertension
  • Coronary Artery Disease, Heart Attack, or Stroke
  • Erectile Dysfunction (ED)
  • Sleep Apnea
  • Skin Conditions

A service-connected condition often results in a disability or disease that was not sustained while in the service but because the service-connected condition caused it. The VA will also pay a benefit. This is called a secondary service connection. Medical evidence supporting these secondary conditions can increase a veteran's diabetes rating, and compensation can increase too.

WHAT IS THE VA DIABETES RATING CHART?

Once the VA decides there is a service connection, a veteran is assigned a VA disability rating determining the amount of compensation and benefits available. The VA rates the condition of Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2, by the veteran's blood sugar control and the degree it limits activities and affects the loss of earning capability for the veteran. The VA ratings range incrementally from 0% to 100%, depending on how severe the VA considers a person's diabetes based on symptoms and current treatment plan. Ratings can change over time if symptoms increase or get worse. More VA compensation is given for higher percentage ratings. Listed below is a general guide to the disability rating for diabetes percentages:

  • 10% - can be managed by a restricted and healthier diet (without medication)
  • 20% - requires insulin once daily or oral medication and a restricted diet
  • 40% - requires an insulin regimen and restricted diet and regulation of daily activity
  • 60% - requires an insulin regimen and restricted diet and regulation of activity with episodes of ketoacidosis or hypoglycemic reactions requiring 1-2 hospital visits per year or bimonthly visits to a diabetic healthcare provider, plus complications the VA wouldn't evaluate separately by themselves, like hypertension, retinopathy, etc.
  • 100% - requires more frequent daily insulin injections and a restricted diet and regulation of physical activity with 3 or more hospital visits and progressive weight loss or loss of strength due to diabetes complications

Let Wettermark Keith Lawyers Help You Receive The Diabetes Disability Compensation You Deserve

Wettermark Keith lawyers understand the VA diabetes disability benefits veterans deserve. Our lawyers have years of experience dealing with the VA, the claims process for veterans benefits, and appeals for denial. We can help prepare you for the VA application process and explain what to expect with a veteran claim. If rejected, we can assist with the VA appeals process.

Contact us about getting VA disability benefits for diabetes by scheduling a free consultation with our legal team. We can discuss your concerns and answer your questions. Our office operates on a no-fee guarantee basis, so if we can't help you get VA compensation, you won't owe us anything.

You served our country and came home with medical issues, so now let us serve you. Contact Wettermark Keith today, and let's get started with your VA disability case right now.

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES:

American Diabetes Association

Denied Veterans Disability Benefits

United States Department of Veterans Affairs (VA)

Veterans Crisis Line (24/7 - Confidential Crisis Support for veterans and their families)

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