Veterans with ALS Need VA to Change Disability Ratings Rule
According to an article on King5.com, veterans with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) struggle to get their necessary equipment from the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) because of a rule within the disability rating system.
ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, destroys your body functions and can kill a person within a couple years from diagnosis. Multiple studies have found veterans “are twice as likely to develop ALS as those with no history of military service.” Furthermore, whether the patient saw combat or not has no bearing on those statistics.
In 2008, the U.S. government accepted the relationship between ALS and a person’s military service, and therefore, the VA extended benefits to those veterans with disabilities diagnosed with ALS, which included medical equipment used to help with mobility; however, wheelchairs and hospital beds aren’t delivered until the VA’s disability rating system determines that a veteran is 100% disabled.
With ALS, it can take months to obtain such a classification. Given the nature of the disease, seemingly every veteran should automatically be 100% disabled as there’s no set speed at which ALS patients lose their mobility.
To increase a veteran’s disability rating involves multiple trips to doctors’ offices and piles of paperwork. In the time it takes to complete that, however, complete paralysis could become a reality. Approximately 18 months ago the VA proposed giving ALS patients a 100% disability rating upon diagnosis; however, it was never implemented.
If you are a disabled veteran who has been denied disability compensation or have not yet applied for benefits from the VA, a South Florida disability representative from Disability Help Group is ready to help. To learn if you are entitled to certain programs and benefits contact our veterans disability rights firm today – 1-(800)-800-3332.