Living with rheumatoid arthritis can be overwhelming. Your pain may not always be well controlled. Tasks that were once easy are now impossible. And, you can’t work as much as you used to, or even at all. If your rheumatoid arthritis is service-connected, you have the right to file for veteran disability benefits or appeal a denial of your claim. At VetLaw, we have a unique perspective on VA disability for rheumatoid arthritis. We’re not just lawyers who seek justice for service members. We’re veterans, too.
Applying for VA disability benefits is more than just simple paperwork. You have to have sufficient evidence to back your service-connection claim. And, the VA’s rules and requirements are always changing. We’re here to help you create a strong VA disability benefits application. It costs you nothing for us to get started on your claim. Our firm only collects a fee if we secure benefits for you.
You spent hours gathering information and filling out forms. And yet, your VA disability benefits application was denied. Unfortunately, VA benefit denials are common. Some of the top reasons that VA disability for rheumatoid arthritis claims are denied are:
If you received a denial, you may still be eligible for benefits. You have the right to appeal a denial of veteran disability benefits for your rheumatoid arthritis claim. Our attorneys can help you file an appeal, even if we didn’t work on your initial claim.
The VA will assign a disability rating based on the severity of your rheumatoid arthritis. The criteria for rating rheumatoid arthritis is detailed in the Code of Federal Regulations, Title 38, § 4.71a, diagnostic code 5002. This rating is expressed as a percentage. Veterans with rheumatoid arthritis may receive a VA disability rating of 20%, 40%, 60%, or 100%.
When determining your VA disability for rheumatoid arthritis rating, the VA considers:
The VA’s requirements for rheumatoid arthritis disability benefits may be different from how other organizations rate or classify this health condition.
In addition to rheumatoid arthritis, some veterans have other service-related illnesses or injuries. In those cases, the VA considers all service-connected conditions to calculate a combined disability rating. A combined VA disability rating cannot exceed 100% because a person cannot be more than 100% able-bodied.
Unlike some other forms of arthritis, rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disorder. When a person has rheumatoid arthritis, their immune system attacks the healthy tissues in their joints. Rheumatoid arthritis can be genetic or brought on by environmental factors.
Veterans may develop service-related rheumatoid arthritis if they:
Service connection is the key piece of evidence in a VA disability claim. If your documentation doesn’t sufficiently prove that your military service caused your rheumatoid arthritis, your benefits will be denied.
You and your medical providers must be able to establish a link between a specific event or occurrence and your rheumatoid arthritis diagnosis. This link is formally called a “nexus.” When the VA evaluates service connection, they’ll look at:
Your service connection may also be backed by firsthand accounts from fellow veterans and service members.
Veterans may qualify for VA disability benefits if they’ve been diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis and can demonstrate that this condition is service-related. But you won’t receive VA disability automatically. You have to apply for this monthly benefit. Our attorneys can help you build the strongest case possible so that you receive the money that you qualify for.
If you’re a veteran who developed service-connected rheumatoid arthritis, you may qualify for monthly payments from the VA. The amount of this benefit is determined by the disability percentage that the VA assigns to you.
If the VA assigned you a disability rating that is lower than what your symptoms actually are, give our office a call. We may be able to help you file an appeal and pursue a higher, more appropriate disability rating.
Some veterans do develop this autoimmune disorder as a result of their military service. Exposure to certain dust and fibers can cause rheumatoid arthritis. There are also relatively new findings that support a link between military burn pits and rheumatoid arthritis.
VA disability benefit requirements can change over time. If you were told in the past that your rheumatoid arthritis was not service-connected, the laws may be different now. Give us a call today for a free case review as we can help you file a Supplemental Claim if you’re eligible, no matter how long ago you received a denial letter for rheumatoid arthritis from Veteran Affairs.
A Veteran Disability Lawyer’s role is to assist you throughout the confusing and often frustrating claim appeals process if you have received a denial of benefits for your service-connected rheumatoid arthritis. Generally, you need to be denied at least once before an attorney can assist, but once a lawyer is involved they will often be able to quickly determine what needs to be done in order to prove entitlement.
If your VA disability claim for rheumatoid arthritis has been denied, be sure to contact the VA Accredited Attorneys at VetLaw right away to help make sure you get the entitlement you deserve.