If you suffer from foot problems related to having flat feet, you understand how difficult it can be to work and perform daily activities. The pain can become overwhelming and prevent you from engaging in normal day-to-day life. Unfortunately, thousands of veterans struggle with pes planus and plantar fasciitis as a result of their military service.
At VetLaw, we work with veterans across the United States to build a strong case for flat feet VA disability benefits, increase their flat feet VA rating, and successfully appeal unfairly denied claims. To learn more about how our team of experienced attorneys can help, consider contacting us today.
Having flat feet is a condition where one or both feet have no arches or arches that are very low. This can cause the feet to lie fully flat, with the pads of the feet pressing into the ground. This can prevent proper posture and result in pain, swelling, stiffness, and overall discomfort. Pes planus is the medical terminology for flat feet, and a person with bilateral pes planus is affected in both feet. Some common symptoms of pes planus include the following:
Pes planus can develop for several reasons. In some cases, flat feet are genetic and run in a family. In other situations, certain health issues can increase your risk of flat feet, including injuries to the Achilles tendon, diabetes, broken bones, obesity, pregnancy, rheumatoid arthritis, and high blood pressure.
Some individuals suffer from pes planus combined with plantar fasciitis. This condition occurs when the plantar fascia – a tissue on the foot used during walking and movement – becomes inflamed. Oftentimes, plantar fasciitis develops as a consequence of having flat feet. Symptoms of plantar fasciitis may vary from person to person, with some of the most common signs of this condition being:
There are several ways that a person can develop plantar fasciitis. Having pes planus is one common cause of plantar fasciitis. Consistent work or exercise on hard surfaces, prolonged use of poor-fitting shoes, and repeated exercise without stretching can also lead to plantar fasciitis. Between strenuous physical activity and hours spent standing on tough terrain, veterans are at a high risk of developing issues with their feet due to their time in the service.
Yes, the VA does consider flat feet to be a disability. To qualify for flat feet VA disability benefits, you must prove that you have been diagnosed with pes planus, bilateral pes planus, or pes planus with plantar fasciitis, and establish that an in-service incident or stressor was the cause of your condition. This connection, known as a nexus, is extremely important to your case. If you cannot prove that your condition is directly linked to your time in the service, you may be denied benefits.
To establish the nexus between your condition and military service, you must provide a sufficient amount of evidence that supports your claim. This evidence can include:
The evidence you provide in your claim will be used to determine your flat feet VA rating and whether or not you qualify for disability benefits. Your attorney can provide greater insight into how this process works and the type of evidence that may be beneficial in your unique case.
All flat feet VA ratings are evaluated against 38 C.F.R § 4.71a. According to Diagnostic Code 5276, your flat feet VA rating will be between 0% and 50% depending on the severity of your condition. Specifically, the VA ratings for pes planus are determined based on the following criteria:
The VA rating for plantar fasciitis varies and is determined using Diagnostic Code 5269. The ratings for this condition are assigned as follows:
Veterans who suffer from bilateral pes planus combined with plantar fasciitis may be eligible to receive a pes planus VA rating of 50% and an additional 30% for their plantar fasciitis.
It is not uncommon for the VA to deny a veteran’s claim for pes planus. If you have been denied flat feet VA disability benefits, you may appeal the denial using one of the VA’s three appeal options:
The appeal option that you utilize will depend on the unique circumstances of your case. The right appeal strategy will optimize your chance of success and help you secure benefits as quickly and efficiently as possible.
Your claim for flat feet VA disability benefits may have been denied for a range of reasons. Perhaps a nexus between your condition and your military service cannot be established, or maybe the evidence you provided in your claim was not sufficient to receive more than a 0% pes planus VA rating. At VetLaw, we work alongside veterans to understand why their claim was denied and craft a legal strategy that will help them secure the benefits they need and deserve. Consider contacting us today to schedule your free case review and learn more about how we can help win your case.