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VA Adding More Secondary TBI Illnesses to Veterans Disability Benefits

Posted on February 18, 2016 by Disability Help Group

Veterans who suffered a TBI – Traumatic Brain Injury – during their military service and also suffer from one of five illnesses may qualify for veterans’ disability benefits for the secondary illness.

The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) announced on December 7 that five new illnesses will be added as secondary conditions related to a service-connected TBI. The five illnesses are:

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

These are secondary illnesses for which, according to VA researchers, “sufficient evidence of a causal relationship” (seizures) or “sufficient evidence of an association” (all others) existed between occurrence of a TBI and the secondary disease. The “sufficient evidence of a causal relationship” standard is the highest according to theInstituteofMedicine.

What is a secondary illness or disease?

A secondary illness is a diagnosed disabling condition that is believed to have occurred due to an initial service-connected injury. Qualifying for veterans’ disability benefits due to a secondary illness is often determined by the onset of the illness.

In the VA’s rule for establishing eligibility for veterans disability benefits a veteran must show proof of the service-connected injury and medical evidence that the secondary illness shows evidence of an association to the initial injury. In the case of a TBI during military service, the initial injury may qualify a veteran for the initial veterans’ disability benefits.

If a secondary illness arises after the initial injury, the veteran may seek a disability review to increase their disability rating. Higher disability ratings result in higher levels of veterans disability benefits.

Applying for Veterans Disability Benefits

Veterans who have yet to apply for their veterans disability benefits may also benefit from this rule change if they are filing a first time application. To qualify you will need to first have the documentation to show you suffered a TBI during your military service.

Once the initial TBI rating is determined, a secondary illness may be factored in to increase the disability rating you are given. For help whether you are applying for benefits for the first time or if you would like a secondary illness to be factored into your benefits, contact the Disability Help Group. We can help evaluate your claim to determine if additional veterans’ disability benefits may be available. Call 1-(800)-800-3332.