VA Disability Rating for Uterine Fibroids
If you can prove your uterine fibroids resulted from your military service, you will be entitled to a VA disability rating and monthly benefits. You may also be eligible for additional compensation and access to VA programs due to conditions caused by your fibroids. Strong medical evidence, letters from doctors, military records, and statements from people you served with or family members that support your claim are critical to getting compensation matching your disability level.
Uterine fibroids are muscle and tissue masses that form on or in the uterus. They are common and sometimes asymptomatic, but in other cases lead to severe symptoms and possibly surgery. There is no known cause of uterine fibroids, but researchers have shown strong links to family history, onset age of menstruation, and exposure to certain chemicals.
If you were diagnosed while you were serving, it is easier to get a uterine fibroids VA rating and disability compensation. If you were not diagnosed and showed no symptoms during service, getting a disability rating later will be more difficult since you’ll have to prove a service connection to your condition.
A successful VA disability claim for fibroids rests on showing this connection and presenting medical evidence that your symptoms affect your overall health and ability to carry out daily tasks.
Veterans and Uterine Fibroids
Uterine fibroids are noncancerous tumors that form in and on the uterus. They can emerge as single growths or turn into clusters, and while some are very small, they can grow to eight inches or larger in diameter. Researchers aren’t sure what causes fibroids, but they have linked them to family history, early onset menstruation, obesity, and exposure to certain chemicals.
People with fibroids may experience symptoms such as the following:
- Frequent urination
- Lower back and abdominal pain
- Excess or painful bleeding during menstruation
- Bloating or a feeling of fullness in the lower abdomen
Several research studies have linked industrial chemicals called phthalates to fibroid growth, particularly di-2-ethylhexyl phthalate, or DEHP. The EPA classifies DEHP as a probable human carcinogen. The chemical is commonly used to make plastic, such as PVC products, more flexible. Some examples of military-related materials containing phthalates are munitions, seals, adhesives, and flexible plastics.
The Department of Defense is examining the use of phthalates because of their potential toxicity and evidence that they harm the reproductive system. Recent Navy tests found DEHP levels more than four times the acceptable limit at a Navy shipyard building in Pearl Harbor.
Service Connection for Uterine Fibroids
To get VA disability benefits, you must show your uterine fibroids more likely than not started during or resulted from your military service. The easiest path is through military medical records showing a fibroid diagnosis while serving. Absent the diagnosis, presenting evidence that you had undiagnosed fibroid symptoms during your service will help establish the connection. Include statements from people you served with who can attest to your symptoms with your application for disability benefits.
If your fibroids diagnosis came after your service and you did not previously have symptoms, it will be more difficult to establish the connection necessary to be eligible for VA disability benefits. If you have no family history of fibroids or other risk factors, you can argue that chemical exposure in the military caused your fibroids.
How Does the VA Rate Uterine Fibroids?
VA Ratings for Uterine Fibroids
Symptoms that do not require continuous treatment
Symptoms that require continuous treatment
Symptoms that are not controlled by continuous treatment
To give the VA the clearest picture of your symptoms, ask your doctor to complete the Disability Benefits Questionnaire for gynecological conditions. This form lets your doctor list your symptoms and whether you require treatment.
A 0 percent VA disability rating for uterine fibroids is not eligible for monthly compensation, but it can be helpful in other ways. In assigning the 0 percent rating, the VA may determine the condition is service-related and merits a rating. However, it may find your symptoms don’t interfere with your ability to carry out daily activities. If you decide to appeal or ask for an increase if your condition worsens, you do not have to prove the connection again.
You may also get an increase to a 10 percent rating if you meet the following three criteria:
- Having two or more permanent non-compensable service-related disabilities
- Not receiving VA disability compensation for any conditions rated over 0 percent
- Finding it difficult to work because of your service-related disabilities
Uterine Fibroids and Secondary Disabilities
Several complications related to uterine fibroids merit an additional VA disability rating. Once you have established a service connection for your fibroids, you must only show that another condition was caused by your fibroids or treatment to receive another rating. Some conditions secondary to uterine fibroids include the following:
- Urinary tract infections
If you need a complete hysterectomy, the VA assigns a disability rating of 100 percent for three months and 50 percent after that. A partial hysterectomy results in a 100 percent rating for three months and 30 percent after that. If you have other disabilities due to your hysterectomy, such as depression, you may receive another rating.
If you need a myectomy to remove your uterine fibroids, you may be eligible for temporary VA disability compensation. You must show that your surgery was for a service-connected disability and resulted in severe issues such as wounds that haven’t healed, an inability to leave your house, or the need to use a wheelchair or crutches.
Temporary disability pays 100 percent benefits for one to three months, depending on your circumstances. You can get a three-month extension if your case is severe.
Total Disability Individual Unemployability and Uterine Fibroids
If you cannot hold substantially gainful employment due to uterine fibroids and secondary conditions, you may be eligible for 100 percent disability benefits under the VA’s Total Disability Individual Unemployability program, or TDIU, even if your actual rating is lower. To be eligible, you must have the following:
- One disability rating of 60 percent or higher
- Multiple disabilities ratings combined at 70 percent or higher, with one rated at least 40 percent
For example, if you had a hysterectomy to treat your uterine fibroids and have a 50 percent disability rating, you might also receive a 30 percent disability rating for depressive disorder. The VA uses a table of combined ratings to determine your disability level for multiple conditions. In this case, your combined score is 65 percent. That gets rounded up to a 70 percent disability rating.
To get 100 percent disability benefits under TDIU, you must submit strong evidence that you cannot work due to your disabilities.
How To Obtain VA Disability Benefits for Uterine Fibroids
Military records, private and VA doctor and hospital records, and statements from people—such as those you served with or family members who can attest to your condition—are critical to getting disability benefits. You can also ask your doctor to write you a Nexus letter that describes the connection between your uterine fibroids and your military service.
You can submit your evidence with your claim in three ways:
- Filling out the VA online application for disability benefits
- Mailing VA Form 21-526EZ to the VA Claims Intake Center
- Bringing your application to the nearest VA regional office
If the VA needs more information to make a rating decision, it may require you to undergo a Compensation and Pension exam, also known as a C&P exam. The VA may require additional exams if you submit a claim for multiple conditions. You may also need to undergo C&P exams to reassess your condition and maintain your disability level.
If you need help understanding uterine fibroids VA ratings or have other questions about VA disability benefits, contact the experts at Veterans Guide.
Nulla ullamcorper ut libero id lobortis. Duis id ex sed ex convallis finibus eu sed nulla. Sed ac pharetra dolor, feugiat tempus eros.