Veteran Nerve and Neurological Damage
Nerve and neurological damage can affect veterans after they return home to their families. This can lead to various neurological disorders in our country’s servicemen and women. Some of these disorders are treatable, while others will last a lifetime. Learning about the nerve damage disability rating and if you qualify for VA benefits can help veterans receive the support they deserve.
When you sign up to serve in the United States military, you expect to face dangerous environments, challenging conditions, and enemy combat. The country compensates you for your service and thanks you for putting your life on the line to defend freedom in America and worldwide.
However, some injuries sustained in the military can stay with you long after your service concludes. For some veterans, these injuries will be with them for life. And not all injuries are visible.
If you suffer from nerve or neurological damage, you may qualify for a nerve damage disability rating and benefits from the United States Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). These benefits can help you through your rehabilitation and treatment. For permanent neurological and nerve damage, the benefits can also support you as you learn to live with your disorder.
What Are Nerve and Neurological Disorders in Veterans?
When veterans serve in the United States armed forces, they can sustain injuries that result in nerve and neurological disorders. These injuries can originate from various adverse health events, from toxic exposure to combat wounds.
According to the VA, veterans’ nerve and neurological disorders can include the following:
- Nerve damage
- Multiple sclerosis (MS)
- Sciatic nerve paralysis
- Median nerve paralysis
- Traumatic brain injury (TBI)
Even the least of these disorders can be incapacitating. Migraine headaches can prevent you from driving to work. They can leave you disabled for hours. If you cannot earn a living due to injuries you received in service to your country, you deserve compensation for your hardship.
Most conditions affecting your nervous system — including radiculopathy and other types of nerve impairment — are considered chronic, presumptive conditions under federal law.
If your condition or conditions cause severe symptoms that keep you from retaining steady employment, you may consider filing for total disability based on individual unemployability (TDIU).
Why Do Veterans Experience Nerve and Neurological Issues?
Not all veterans leave their military service with nerve and neurological issues. However, enough veterans suffer from these issues to warrant disability benefits and accompanying VA forms explicitly aimed at veterans suffering from nerve damage and neurological issues.
Individuals serving in the military may be exposed to numerous environments that could result in neurological issues. Hazardous environments that can increase the risk of nerve and neurological issues include:
- Being exposed to toxic materials, including burn pit exposure in Afghanistan or contaminated water exposure at Camp Lejeune.
- Getting struck by an object — shrapnel, bullets, etc. — or a vehicular accident that resulted in a traumatic brain injury or spinal cord damage.
- Contracting Gulf War Syndrome, which was recently proven to be caused by exposure to sarin, a chemical weapon.
- Experiencing post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and stressful events can trigger nervous system symptoms that cannot be explained by neurological disease or other conditions. However, doctors often diagnose post-traumatic stress disorder in veterans with additional neurological conditions.
How Are Neurological Disorders Treated?
A wide range of neurological disorders plague veterans in the United States. As such, doctors can apply no single treatment evenly across the board. Instead, doctors and neurologists must carefully evaluate each veteran’s neurological disorder with comprehensive assessments and diagnostic testing. Once the source of the disorder is verified, your doctor may suggest an individualized treatment plan.
Examples of neurological treatments include those for the following conditions:
- Multiple sclerosis: Currently, there is no cure for multiple sclerosis. Instead, treatments focus on slowing the disease’s progression, managing symptoms, and speeding recovery from attacks.
- Radiculopathy: Treatments depend on the type of radiculopathy you suffer from. Treatment may include heat or ice therapy, posture adjustment, over-the-counter pain medications, corticosteroids, or surgery. Sometimes radiculopathy symptoms improve without the need for treatment.
- Traumatic brain injury: Treatment for traumatic brain injuries depends on the severity of the injury. If your injury is mild to moderate, you may require minimal treatment — perhaps a few weeks or months of abstaining from sports, work, school, and other taxing activities. For severe injuries, you may require hospitalization, rehabilitation, and surgery. Veterans suffering from all severity levels of traumatic brain injury may benefit from counseling and emotional support.
Are Neurological Disorders Eligible for VA Disability?
Veterans with neurological disorders are eligible for VA disability benefits. If you have a condition affecting your nervous system, each bodily extremity can be compensated separately. So if you have injuries that affect your right arm, left arm, right leg, and left leg, you are eligible to receive compensation for each of these limbs. In some cases, you can claim additional compensation for other conditions causing nerve impairment in your body.
How Does a Veteran Qualify for Neurological Benefits?
If you file a claim for neurological benefits, you must address two main issues before the VA grants you disability benefits.
The first issue concerns the origin of your neurological disorder. You must prove that you sustained your condition while serving in the military.
The second issue concerns the severity of your injury. You must prove that your neurological disorder is severe enough to qualify for disability benefits.
Neurological Disability VA Disability Ratings
When you apply for neurological disability benefits, it is important to understand how much money you are eligible to receive. This knowledge can help you set your family’s daily living expenses to remain within a reasonable budget.
Your monthly disability payment will hinge on your nerve damage disability rating. This rating ranges from zero percent to 100 percent in 10 percent increments.
Each of the following VA ratings for nerve damage is associated with a monthly payment. For example:
- 10 percent: $165.92
- 20 percent: $327.99
- 30 percent: $508.05
- 40 percent: $731.86
- 50 percent: $1,041.82
- 60 percent: $1,319.65
- 70 percent: $1,663.06
- 80 percent: $1,933.15
- 90 percent: $2,172.39
- 100 percent: $3,621.95
These payment amounts are for a veteran alone, without additional dependents. You may be entitled to a higher payment if you have dependents (a spouse, children, or parents). This is generally true if you qualify for VA disability for neurological disorders of 30 percent or higher.
The maximum nerve damage disability rating you can receive is 100 percent. If you have dependents, the VA may add additional monthly payments to your benefit for each additional qualifying dependent.
Qualifying dependents include:
- Each child under the age of 18
- Each child over the age of 18 in a qualifying educational program
- A spouse receiving Aid and Attendance benefits
- One or two dependent parents
For example, your monthly payment will be $2,133.06 if you have a nerve damage disability rating of 70 percent and have the following dependents:
- Two parents
- A spouse
- One child
Additional children at the 70 percent rating will increase your monthly payment. Your payment will increase by $70 for each child under 18 and $226 for each child over 18 enrolled in a qualifying educational program.
File a VA Disability Claim
If you suffer from nerve or neurological damage sustained during your military service, you may be eligible to file a VA disability claim.
Qualifying for VA disability payments can bring you the economic relief you deserve to recover from the injury you sustained in service to your country. Alternatively, it can allow you to focus on living with your neurological disorder in a healthier, more fulfilling manner.
If you are suffering from a nerve or neurological disability, don’t delay your benefits any longer. File your VA disability claim today.
Nulla ullamcorper ut libero id lobortis. Duis id ex sed ex convallis finibus eu sed nulla. Sed ac pharetra dolor, feugiat tempus eros.