Why Do I Need Nexus / Imo Letters For My Veteran Disability Claim
The Institute of Medicine was asked by the Veterans Disability Benefits Commission to study and recommend improvements in the medical evaluation and rating of veterans for the benefits provided by the Department of Veterans Affairs to compensate for illnesses or injuries incurred in or aggravated by military service The IOM noted that inadequacy of the raters employed by the VA: Few raters have medical backgrounds. They are required to review and assess medical evidence provided by treating physicians and VHA examining physicians and determine percentage of disability, but VBA does not have medical consultants or advisers to support the raters. Medical advisers would also improve the process of deciding what medical examinations and tests are needed to sufficiently prepare a case for rating General reported that 24 percent of the C& P examinations had been incomplete in FY 1993, a percentage that had not improved much in FY 1996, when 22 percent were incomplete . The IOM found also that For example, of the spine exams requested during the second quarter of fiscal year 2005, 32 percent of the exam requests had at least one error such as: not identifying the pertinent condition not requesting the appropriate exam
Allergic Rhinitis Vs The Cold
Oftentimes, people may confuse allergic rhinitis with the common cold. And its easy to see why both conditions produce a runny nose, congestion, coughing, and general misery. But the cold is a product of a virus, whereas allergic rhinitis is an allergic response to certain stimuli.
When you have a cold, you may notice that the fluid dripping out of your nose is somewhat yellow. Allergic rhinitis produces clear, watery mucus. You may also run a low-grade fever as a result of the common cold, whereas allergic rhinitis will not produce any fever.
Dc 6524 Granulomatous Rhinitis:
- Granulomatous Rhinitis with Wegeners granulomatosis, lethal midline granuloma, rate at 100%.
- Granulomatous Rhinitis other with infection, rate at 20%.
Pro Tip: Were you exposed to Burn Pits? If you served in Afghanistan, Southwest Asia or certain other regions and developed Sinusitis, Rhinitis, or Asthma within 10 years from your separation from active duty service, these respiratory conditions are presumed to be service-connected. This is especially big news for Afghan war veterans.
Symptoms Of Chronic Rhinitis
Allergic rhinitis symptoms can vary from person to person, but there are a few universal identifying symptoms. Given the name rhinitis , a runny nose and nasal congestion are defining symptoms. You may also start sneezing uncontrollably, have drainage in your throat, or develop a cough.
Some peoples eyes swell up, water, and itch as a part of allergic rhinitis. The roof of your mouth, your nose, or your throat may begin to itch, too. You may also notice swollen, blueish bags under your eyes or that youre exhausted all the time.
In this video, one of our certified VA disability lawyers talks about burn pit exposure and your VA ratings.
Sinusitis Caused By Burn Pits
Sinusitis occurs when the tissue lining of the sinuses becomes inflamed or swollen. Its symptoms include ear pain, headaches, fatigue, sore throat, and runny nose and it may also cause secondary disabilities such as bronchitis, laryngitis, and sleep apnea.
The VA assigned sinusitis diagnostic codes 6510 through 6514. Veterans may receive a disability rating between 10% and 50%, depending on their symptoms and how many incapacitating episodes of sinusitis they experience annually.
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Va Disability For Sinusitis
Sinusitis is most commonly the bacterial or viral infection of the sinus cavities in the head and face. When your sinuses become infected, they can swell up and cause difficulty breathing, headaches, and fevers. When the bodys ability to drain mucus is hindered, it can cause a buildup that hosts harmful pathogens.
Viral sinusitis typically lasts 7-10 days, while bacterial sinusitis usually lasts over 10 days and may require antibiotics. If the sinusitis lasts for longer than four weeks, it stops being referred to as acute and may require continued medical treatment. After 12 weeks, it becomes chronic sinusitis. Chronic sinusitis is a persistent condition that requires proper care and can be very debilitating depending on the severity of symptoms.
VA disability for allergic rhinitis and sinusitis is awarded based on the level of unemployability. The harder these conditions make it for a veteran to work, the higher the disability rating they will receive.
How Do I Get A Rhinitis Va Rating
There are 3 primary ways a veteran can get a VA disability rating for Rhinitis:
#1: Direct Service Connection for Allergic Rhinitis with a rating of 10% or 30%. This means an in-service event, injury, or disease related to your military service caused you to develop Rhinitis.
#2: Secondary Service Connection for Allergic Rhinitis with a rating of 10% or 30%. For example, a veteran can be rated for Rhinitis secondary to Deviated Septum.
#3: Allergic Rhinitis Presumptive to Burn Pit Exposure with a rating of 10% or 30%. If you served in the Gulf War region during the presumptive period, the VA assumes your Rhinitis is related to burn pits. The presumptive period for particulate matter exposure is Afghanistan, Djibouti, Syria, and Uzbekistan during the Persian Gulf War, from September 19, 2001, to the present, or the Southwest Asia theater of operations from August 2, 1990, to the present. To be eligible for VA benefits, you must have gotten one of these conditions within 10 years of your separation from active duty military service.
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When To See A Doctor
Many of us tend to ignore allergic rhinitis symptoms until they go away, and most of the time, that works fine. However, there are some cases when you may need to visit a doctor. Schedule an appointment if you cant get relief from your symptoms or if you have another respiratory condition that leaves you susceptible to greater complications.
You will also need to see a doctor if you believe your allergic rhinitis may qualify you for VA disability. The first step to getting VA disability compensation is getting an official diagnosis from a qualified doctor. So, if you think you may want to apply for compensation, go ahead and make an appointment the next time your nose starts running, even if you dont think you need treatment from a doctor.
What Is Chronic Rhinitis
Chronic rhinitis is defined as inflammation of the mucous membrane in the nose for more than four consecutive weeks. The average individual usually experiences periods of acute rhinitis in which symptoms last a few days up to four weeks. If a veteran develops chronic rhinitis as a lasting result of their time in the military, they may be eligible for compensation. Dealing with these cold-like symptoms for more than four weeks is not easy. Allergies that dont go away when the allergens do are essentially their own illness. The chronic rhinitis VA rating will typically be higher than the acute rhinitis VA rating.
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Contact Tuley Law Office For Assistance With Your Rhinitis Va Rating
Tuley Law Office is a law firm with decades of experience handling personal injury and VA disability cases. Our VA disability lawyers have years of experience working with VAs complex systems and regulations. Navigating the legal requirements can be quite challenging if its your first time, especially if youre dealing with a physical condition such as allergic rhinitis. Hiring legal counsel will help answer the unknown that you may have questions about.
Reach out to our law firm by calling 625-2053 or filling out our online contact form today.
Sleep Apnea As A Secondary Disability
Additionally, you may also be able to qualify for a VA disability claim for sleep apnea since its a secondary condition that can be caused by allergic rhinitis. However, there are different criteria youll need to meet to get VA benefits for sleep apnea. First, you must have an official diagnosis after being involved in a sleep study. Second, you must show a service connection to your condition. And third, you must show that your sleep apnea began or worsened during your service time. The VA will then rate your sleep apnea at either 0%, 30%, 50%, or 100%.
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Common Causes Of Allergic Rhinitis
Allergic rhinitis is caused by both environmental irritants and allergens. The causes of seasonal allergic rhinitis depend on the time of year and where youre located. In the early spring, the most common cause is tree pollen, and in late spring and early summer, youre more likely to see grass pollen as a cause. In the fall, ragweed pollen is the most likely culprit though this is more commonly found in the Midwest and eastern parts of the United States.
Perennial allergic rhinitis can be more difficult to treat since its not always clear what causes it. Even if you can locate the cause, it is often hard to avoid it or eliminate it. Common causes are cat and pet dander, dust motes, mold or fungus, or cockroaches. These particles can live in our homes and especially in furniture, linens, carpets, and clothing so these should be washed as frequently as possible with hot water to mitigate their effects. Carpets should be vacuumed using an allergy filter.
Another common cause of allergic rhinitis and other respiratory system issues for veterans is prior exposure to burn pits which are frequently used by the military to dispose of waste.
What Are Veterans Particulate Matter And Burn Pit Exposure Claims
The Veterans Law Blog® first posted about veterans particulate matter exposure and burn pit claims back in 2016. You can read the initial post here.
And you can learn more about particulate matter from the US Environmental Protection Agency by clicking here.
Basically, particulate matter refers to the microscopic particles of something that is in the air we breathe.
The particles can be solids or liquids and are extremely small. Particulate matter is measured in microns . Generally, anything below 10 microns can pass through the lining of your lung and into your bloodstream, and can or will cause cancer or other disease.
Particulate matter that is smaller than 10 microns is referred to as PM 10 Particulate matter that is smaller than 2.5 microns is referred to as PM 2.5
To give you a sense of the size we are talking about, the dot on this letter i is about 400-500 microns. The diameter of a human hair is between 50 and 70 microns.
Veterans particulate matter claims, specifically those impacted by the VAs new regulation, derive from a very common type of exposure and source.
But fire is not the only way to create particulate matter. Particulate matter can result from chemical interactions and even just from spraying chemicals. Wind can stir up dirt and dust that is small enough to qualify as particulate matter.
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What Are Presumptive Conditions
Presumptive conditions are medical conditions linked to a Veterans military service. Being in the military exposes service personnel to combat hazards, workplace hazards, and toxic hazards, all of which can have serious health consequences.
For instance, hearing loss is sometimes considered a presumptive condition for Veterans who work on the flight decks of aircraft carriers. Since the Veterans in question are exposed to loud noises during their workdays, its logical that exposure caused their hearing damage.
In another example, Agent Orange exposure likely caused presumptive conditions in the form of medical issues or illnesses that develop over time. Several studies have shown medical links between Agent Orange exposure and certain medical conditions.
Presumptive service conditions allow Veterans to receive disability benefits without proving a military connection, unlike many other benefits applications. If a Veteran is diagnosed with a presumptive condition, they could be eligible for VA benefits much more quickly.
Furthermore, each group of presumptive conditions contains various secondary service-related disabilities. These may warrant extra compensation from VA disability benefits.
Can Allergic Rhinitis Cause Sleep Apnea
One of the more serious effects of allergic rhinitis is when it causes or exacerbates sleep apnea . An apnea is any time your breathing stops for a few seconds up to a minute, resulting in reduced oxygen intake. Obstructive sleep apnea occurs when the airway becomes obstructed resulting in difficulty sleeping and snoring, but can lead to more serious conditions like heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and high blood pressure.
Since allergies can result in a stuffy nose they can force you to breathe out of your mouth, thus losing the natural filtration that breathing through your nose brings and this can worsen symptoms of OSA.
Allergens have been known to cause up to 60% of breathing disruptions due to nasal congestion and this can cause or exacerbate sleep apnea. In fact, over 50% of people who suffer from allergic rhinitis are at a greater risk for OSA. Veterans with service-connected allergic rhinitis caused by airborne toxins may also develop sleep apnea as a secondary condition and qualify for additional disability benefits.
If sleep apnea is caused by a veterans service-connected allergic rhinitis, it may qualify as a secondary condition that can increase a veterans monthly disability benefits.
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Proving A Service Connection
Once you have your diagnosis, you will need to isolate a specific incident or set of conditions during your service that caused your condition. In certain conditions, allergic rhinitis may be ruled a presumptive condition. This means if you served in certain areas during specific periods of time, the VA assumes your condition is tied to your service.
For those with rhinitis who served near burn pits in the Gulf War or post-9/11 era and qualify under the PACT Act, there is a presumed connection.
For allergic rhinitis, common service connections may include working in dusty or smoky conditions. Extended exposure to smoke, dust, or mold can cause an allergic response to develop. You may also be able to get allergic rhinitis covered as a result of service-connected asthma.
One of our VA disability lawyers talks about how to service connect COPD in this video:
Common Triggers Of Rhinitis Symptoms
Many people have allergic responses to pollen, especially in the spring or summertime when plants are flourishing and pollen counts are high. Pollen can come from trees, grass, ragweed, and other such plants. Certain fungi can also produce spores that cause this reaction.
Outside of seasonal allergies, dust, mites, and cockroaches can cause allergic rhinitis. Pet dander may cause symptoms, and mold is a year-round trigger. If your symptoms seem worse in winter, these substances are likely the culprits since youre shut up in your house more during these months.
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Service Connection For Allergic Rhinitis
If you develop allergic rhinitis while in the military, you may be able to obtain disability compensation for it with a VA disability claim. You will need to meet the three required elements for a successful service connection for your VA disability claim, including:
- A current diagnosis of allergic rhinitis
- An in-service occurrence that caused or aggravated your condition, such as exposure to dust or sand
- Medical nexus connecting the current, diagnosed allergic rhinitis to the in-service occurrence
Here is an example. If you were working in the Southwest Asia theater of operations, Syria, Djibouti, Uzbekistan or Afghanistan and were exposed to particulate matter or allergens, then you may have a service connection for the diagnosis of allergic rhinitis. People working in Iraq, Kuwait or Saudi Arabia, for example, may have been exposed to dust and debris that creates a greater risk of developing allergic rhinitis.
Even those working in the airspace above these places may have been exposed to particulate matter, which means that they may have a link to their service if they develop allergic rhinitis over the years that follow.
Get Your Allergic Rhinitis Va Rating
Allergic rhinitis can be annoying at best and life-altering at worst. If you suffer from this condition, you may be eligible for VA disability compensation. Schedule an appointment with your doctor today and start getting your allergic rhinitis VA rating and the compensation you deserve.
If youd like to get help with your disability claim or appeal, get in touch with us at Woods and Woods, The Veterans Firm. We fight for veterans every day and you dont pay unless we win. Contact us today and make your disability application process easier and more successful than ever.
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What To Do If Your Claim Is Denied
If your VA disability claim is denied, dont give up. You can appeal your ruling all the way up to the BVA in Washington if needed. Make sure you move quickly on your appeal so you dont miss any deadlines that could eliminate your eligibility.
You may also want to hire a lawyer to help you with your disability application appeal process. They can help you navigate deadlines and form requirements. They can also help you with some tips and tricks that will get you the greatest possible compensation amount.
What If My Claim Is Denied
If your VA rhinitis claim is denied, you have the ability to appeal the ruling. When you appeal a claim, you can have it reviewed by a different VA adjudicator, or provide additional information that may change the decision. Ultimately, the Board of Veterans Appeals can overrule VA decisions. VA disability lawyers understand how to file an appeal and the rules surrounding the process. If you receive an unfavorable decision from VA, whether its a denial or just a lower rating than expected, a disability attorney can help you challenge that decision.
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