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Type II diabetes, also known as Diabetes Mellitus, can cause significant health problems for veterans. A diagnosis of this disease would require a former servicemember to monitor their diet and make lifestyle adjustments. They may also have to take insulin injections and occasionally go to the hospital for blood sugar imbalances.

For many veterans, a diabetes diagnosis can be linked to time spent on active duty. Those who served in Vietnam and other areas in Southeast Asia from 1962 through 1975 may be able to trace this condition to their exposure to Agent Orange. Other former servicemembers would need to show that it is “at least as likely as not” that there is a connection between active duty service and the diagnosis.

Pursuing diabetes claims can be difficult for unrepresented veterans, and many applicants are denied on their first try. Fortunately, a member of VetLaw’s diligent legal team can help you gather the necessary evidence and establish entitlement to service connection for your Type II diabetes diagnosis if you have been denied benefits from the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).

Connecting Diabetes and Active Duty Service

A diagnosis of diabetes has a significant impact on a veteran’s life. According to 38 Code of Federal Regulations §4.119, diabetes that is manageable through a controlled diet warrants a ten percent disability rating. As a former servicemember’s dependency on insulin injections or ongoing medical care increases, so does their eligibility to receive higher ratings, up to and including a one hundred percent total disability rating from VA.

However, proving a diagnosis of diabetes and showing its effect on a veteran’s life by citing relevant medical records is only part of a successful claim. Veterans must also establish a connection between their diagnosis and an event in service or otherwise show that service connection is warranted due to exposure to Agent Orange or other toxic chemicals during time spent on active duty in order to receive disability compensation.

An applicant for benefits who was diagnosed with diabetes during active duty would be able to prove entitlement to service connection by pointing to military records which indicate their reported condition. Veterans diagnosed within one year of discharge may presumptively qualify for disability compensation. An attorney from our firm can help veterans gather and present evidence to a Veterans’ Law Judge if an initial diabetes claim for benefits is denied by VA.

Using a Diabetes Diagnosis as the Basis for a Presumptive Claim

Proving a connection between a diabetes diagnosis and time spent on active duty can be difficult. However, this connection may be implied under certain conditions. Veterans who served “boots on the ground” during the Vietnam War or supported these operations in Thailand or elsewhere, including Blue Water Navy veterans, may have been exposed to a toxic chemical known as Agent Orange.

Agent Orange, sometimes simply referred to as an herbicide by VA, is extremely toxic and can have a debilitating effect on a person’s health. Even if a former servicemember did not face direct exposure or personally handle the chemical, serving in the area where this substance was used could have caused serious health problems. Many of these problems do not develop for years or even decades after exposure.

VA recognizes diagnoses of diabetes related to Agent Orange exposure as presumptive service-related conditions. This means veterans who served in Vietnam and some other areas in Southeast Asia from 1962 through 1975 may automatically qualify for disability compensation upon a showing of a valid diabetes diagnosis. A VA-accredited attorney would be familiar with helping veterans obtain disability compensation for diabetes claims and can assist in establishing a claimant’s entitlement to service connection.

Ask an Attorney for Advice on Diabetes Claims

For many veterans, a diagnosis of diabetes may be a direct consequence of active duty military service. If you received this diagnosis and you served in Vietnam or certain other parts of Southeast Asia from 1962 through 1975, you may automatically qualify for VA disability compensation. Otherwise, it may be necessary to prove entitlement to service connection by showing a diagnosis within one year of discharge or by showing the condition is otherwise related to your military service. If you have already been denied benefits for diabetes it is important to outline the reasons why the condition may be service connected.

An attorney from our firm can work with you to make the essential connection between your time on active duty and your diagnosis. Contact our team today to explore your options for moving diabetes claims forward.