VA Proposes Adding 5 Secondary Illnesses to TBI Benefits

A service-connected TBI – Traumatic Brain Injury – is one of the most common combat injuries suffered by soldiers today. A head injury can result in a mild TBI or a more severe injury that may lead to several related disabling conditions. A recently submitted proposed change to the rules for veterans’ disability benefits may add additional secondary disabling conditions.

On December 7, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) proposed the addition of five secondary illnesses to qualify as disabling conditions associated with a TBI. The secondary illnesses being considered are:

  • seizures;
  • Parkinson’s disease;
  • dementias;
  • depression; and
  • diseases of hormone deficiency that may result from hypothalamo-pituitary changes.

Any secondary medical conditions that are believed to have developed due to a combat-related injury or environmental exposure may qualify a servicemember for veterans’ disability benefits.

Showing a Secondary Illness Connection for Benefits

A servicemember who suffers a combat-related injury during service should have documentation of the injury and diagnosis. Once discharged from the military, either voluntarily or for medical reasons, injured veterans may apply for veterans’ disability benefits. You may also seek benefits for disabling conditions related to the service-connected injury, including any secondary illnesses.

According to the VA, the secondary illnesses mentioned above are those that show “sufficient evidence of a causal relationship” or association between the TBI and the illness. Through extensive research with the National Academy of Sciences, Institute of Medicine, these illnesses have frequently appeared in soldiers who suffered mild, moderate, or severe TBI.

A TBI can cause mild disability such as persistent headaches, or cause severe brain damage resulting in cognitive of physical impairment. In addition to the initial disabling conditions, the occurrence of secondary illnesses may increase the disabling impact of the injury on the veteran’s life.

An Attorney Can Help You Reevaluate or Apply for First Time Benefits

If you suffer from a secondary illness believed to relate to a service-connected TBI and already receive veterans’ disability benefits you may need to reevaluate your disability rating. A South Florida disability benefits attorney can help review your case and determine if you should seek a medical review to obtain a new disability rating to submit as evidence for additional compensation.

The Law Offices of Veterans Help Group can help when the rules for veterans’ disability benefits change. Our attorneys are ready to help current veterans’ disability benefit recipients and new applicants obtain the benefits to which they are entitled. To discuss whether you are entitled to certain programs and benefits contact our veterans’ disability rights firm today 1-855-855-8992.