Back pain affects many military veterans and can leave a lasting impact on day-to-day life. For veterans who are looking to file for disability benefits for spinal conditions, having a good understanding of the application and appeals process is key. Below you’ll find a brief breakdown of how VA disability ratings are determined and qualifications standards veterans must meet to apply.
Who’s Eligible to File a Veterans Disability Claim?
According to the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs, veterans who are looking to file a disability benefits claim must suffer from a medical issue that is related to active military duty and received an honorable discharge from service.
When you’re applying for veterans disability benefits with back pain, having your doctors support can be vital. Showing proof to the VA that your condition exists and is limiting can increase your chances of being appointed a higher disability rating by the VA.
VA Rating for Spinal Conditions
The VA gives every veteran who applies for benefits a disability rating. This rating ranges from 0%-100% and indicates the occupational limitations that a soldier may have due to active military duty. The higher your VA rating, the more you may be able to receive in monthly compensation. The VA has listed spinal conditions under section 4.71 Schedule of ratings–musculeskeletal system. Here you can find information on the criteria will be looking for when determining a disability rating for almost every back issue.
For spinal conditions such as Lumbosacral or cervical strain, spinal stenosis, spondylolisthesis, ankylosing spondylitis, spinal fusion, and vertebral fracture/dislocation, the VA will use the General Rating Formula for Diseases and Injuries of the Spine to determine a disability rating. When using this rating system, the VA will evaluate both the cervical spine and the thoracolumbar spine through a variety of tests. These tests will measure the veteran’s range of motion. The results will then be used to determine what their VA disability rating is. Under the general rating formula, an applicant will receive a rating of either 0%, 10%, 20%, 30%, 40%, 50%, or 100%.
How to Appeal a Denied Veterans Disability Claim
Appealing a veterans disability denial can be tough, especially if you face a complicated claim. For this reason, many applicants will turn to a VA-accredited attorney for assistance. Legal representatives are well aware of the process and can help you collect proper documentation, connect with the VA, and represent your claim throughout the entire appeals process.
If you’re ready to connect to a disability attorney in your area, fill out our free veterans disability benefits evaluation below and check your eligibility.