Knee problems are a commonly claimed disability for VA benefits, and there are many different ways that a knee disability can be evaluated. A veteran filing a claim or appealing a claim denial for a knee condition should be aware of the various ways that a knee disability can be evaluated.
Just how common are knee problems among veterans? According to the VA 2015 Annual Benefits Report, limitation of knee flexion wasr the fourth most-commonly claimed disability during the 2015 fiscal year, with over 80,000 veterans receiving benefits for this claim. In addition, over 37,000 veterans received benefits for general impairment of the knee. Among all compensation recipients, nearly 658,000 veterans receive benefits for limited knee flexion.
Knee problems can be rated under several different diagnostic codes. Some of them are based on range of motion measurements. Greater restrictions in the knee joint’s range of motion can lead to higher disability ratings.
Limitation of knee flexion, or the ability to bend the knee, can be evaluated at up to 30 percent. Limitation of knee extension, or the ability to straighten the knee, can be evaluated at up to 50 percent. A knee that has limited range of motion in both extension and flexion can receive a different rating for each limitation.
A knee joint with too much range of motion can also receive a rating of up to 30 percent. For this rating, the knee would have to dislocate regularly. Lower ratings may also be given if the knee moves to much from side to side or is moderately unstable.
A total knee replacement will be given a 100 percent rating for one year. After this time, it will receive a permanent rating of up to 60 percent. Partial knee replacements will be rated based on any symptoms they cause, such as limited range of motion.
Other knee conditions that may be rated at 10 percent or higher for VA disability benefits include a frozen knee joint, an amputated leg above or below the knee, and a dislocated or removed meniscus.
Some knee problems may be eligible to receive multiple ratings. Talk to a veterans attorney to learn more about which disability ratings are appropriate for your knee condition.
If you need assistance with a disability compensation appeal, contact Chisholm Chisholm & Kilpatrick. Our veterans law practitioners have over 25 years of experience working with veterans. Call us at 401-331-6300 for a no-cost case evaluation.