Complications of Diabetes impact on rating disabilities

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We know that Diabetes has complications. For a Veteran with a rated Diabetes condition it is very important to know that complications of Diabetes can be service connected. 38 CFR 3.310 discloses the regulation criteria to satisfy this type of claim. Taking advantage of of injury or medical conditions caused by your service connected condition.

Most Veterans who were exposed to Agent Orange Dioxin Chemical during Vietnam era and Korea conflict era are aware of the presumptive basis for obtaining service connection for this condition. Some Veterans were diagnosed while on active duty. For those with a rating for Diabetes it is important to know the ratings qualifications to determine if you are in the correct rating for your conditions.  The table below (Table 1) helps identify the symptoms of Diabetes Type II and corresponding ratings. But most important is to know that any condition or injury resulting from your Diabetes diagnosis can receive a separate rating percentage.

Complications of Diabetes can include

  • erectile dysfunction
  • cardiac conditions
  • hypertension
  • peripheral vascular disease
  • stroke, skin conditions
  • diabetic retinopathy
  • renal diseases

What to do if you think you may have complications of Diabetes?

Talk to your doctor about your concerns. Allow your clinical experts to evaluate your concern and provide the test necessary to identify a diagnosis. If your doctor confirms a diagnosis obtain copies of all treatment records, lab and impression results. If possible discuss with your doctor the possibility of the new diagnosed condition link to your Diabetes. Ask your doctor for their written medical opinion regarding the link to your diabetes.

What if your doctor will not provide a medical opinion?

Most physicians and or Nurse Practitioners will documents the patient’s complaint. Start your appointment discussion with your doctor stating you believe you may have the conditions due to your diabetes. Most important is to request copies of that interaction note after your appointment and or test to use as evidence for your claim.

Prior to submitting your formal claim, gather your evidence. If you do not have a diagnosis, follow the path to discover if you have a suspected condition first. Then gather your evidence to discuss with a claims agent or Veteran Service Officer. Don’t put the horse before the cart.

7913 Diabetes mellitus:
Requiring more than one daily injection of insulin, restricted diet, and regulation of activities (avoidance of strenuous occupational and recreational activities) with episodes of ketoacidosis or hypoglycemic reactions requiring at least three hospitalizations per year or weekly visits to a diabetic care provider, plus either progressive loss of weight and strength or complications that would be compensable if separately evaluated100
Requiring one or more daily injection of insulin, restricted diet, and regulation of activities with episodes of ketoacidosis or hypoglycemic reactions requiring one or two hospitalizations per year or twice a month visits to a diabetic care provider, plus complications that would not be compensable if separately evaluated60
Requiring one or more daily injection of insulin, restricted diet, and regulation of activities40
Requiring one or more daily injection of insulin and restricted diet, or; oral hypoglycemic agent and restricted diet20
Manageable by restricted diet only10

 

 

If this is the case, then you are going to want to tell the VA you are claiming service connection based on a legal theory of “Secondary service connection” (C.Attig; 2014). Veteran attorney Chris Attig has an excellent blog on this topic. You are encouraged to visit and review. https://www.veteranslawblog.org/secondary-service-connection/

Medical evidence is the key as Attig explains. Do not assume that the VA will develop and prove this theory for you. Take charge and obtain any and all evidence to prove your case.

Evidence can include but not limited to:

  • lay statements
  • expert medical opinions
  • Disability Benefit Questionnaire reports
  • medical records suggesting the link

Do not file this type of claim without first confirming a diagnosis to claim. Bottom line is—Documentation Beats Conversation. Get it in writing.

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