Getting Veterans (VA) Disability for Hypertension
If you served in the military and developed hypertension (high blood pressure) during or after your service, you could be eligible for disability benefits from the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs. To receive a grant of veterans (VA) disability for hypertension, you must establish that it resulted from an in-service event, injury, or illness.
Even with a valid claim, the application process for VA disability can be complex and unpredictable, and many veterans receive denials despite meeting the necessary criteria. The veterans advocates at Chisholm Chisholm & Kilpatrick LTD can help. Let us put our experience to work for you. Call now for a free consultation at 800-544-9144.
What Is Service Connection?
Your entire disability benefits case hinges on whether you can prove your condition is “service-connected.” Service connection simply means there is a link between your hypertension and an in-service illness, injury, or event.
Presumptive Service Connection for Hypertension
Presumptive service connection is a form of service connection for veterans whose condition was more likely than not caused by service. If a veteran is eligible for presumptive service connection, VA will presume the condition was caused by service.
Hypertension is eligible for presumptive service connection based on exposure to Agent Orange. Agent Orange is an herbicide that was used extensively throughout the Vietnam War Era and was later found to cause numerous adverse health conditions.
Medical evidence has previously linked hypertension to Agent Orange exposure. Recently, the Honoring Our PACT Act extended presumptive service connection to veterans who developed hypertension as a result of Agent Orange exposure.
In order to be eligible for this presumption, the veteran needs to have served in one of the following:
- The Republic of Vietnam between January 9, 1972 and May 7, 1975;
- Thailand, at any US or Thai base, January 9, 1972 and June 30, 1976;
- Laos between December 1, 1965 an September 30, 1969;
- Cambodia, specifically at Mimot or Krek, Kampong Cham Province, between April 1969 and April 30, 1969;
- Guam or American Samoa or in the territorial waters thereof between January 9, 1962 and July 30, 1980;
- Johnston Atoll island or Johnston Atoll the ship between January 1, 1972 and September 30, 1977
If the veteran has a diagnosis of hypertension and served an above-listed location and time period, they should be eligible for presumptive service connection.
How Can I Prove Service Connection for My Hypertension?
Hypertension is another word for high blood pressure. To be eligible for monthly compensation, your blood pressure must have a diastolic measurement (the bottom number) of 100 or more or a systolic measurement (the top number) of 160 or more.
Assuming the veteran has a valid diagnosis of hypertension with systolic pressure above 160 or diastolic pressure above 100, the next task is to establish a definitive connection between an event, injury, or illness that occurred during military service and hypertension.
VA presumes service connection for hypertension if you received a diagnosis within one year of your release from active duty. If you received your diagnosis after the one-year mark, then the burden is on the veteran to prove service connection. To do so, evidence such as a medical opinion can be very helpful.
How Does VA Rate Hypertension?
The amount of your monthly compensation for hypertension depends on your disability rating. VA assigns this rating based on the severity of your condition.
If you are granted service connection, you will receive a rating from 0 to 100 percent (in 10-percent increments). Your hypertension must be rated at 10 percent or higher to receive monthly compensation— though a 0 percent rating still qualifies you for health care and other ancillary benefits.
Your rating depends on your blood pressure reading. Per § 4.104-10 Diagnostic Code 7101:
- If your diastolic pressure (bottom number) is 130 or higher: 60 percent rating
- If your diastolic pressure is 120 to 129: 40 percent rating
- If your diastolic pressure is 110 to 119, or your systolic pressure (top number) is 200 or higher: 20 percent rating
- If your diastolic pressure is 100 to 109, or your systolic pressure is 160 to 199: 10 percent rating
Your diagnosis of hypertension must be supported by evidence proving that two or more blood pressure readings were performed on three different days. This rule is in place to ensure that a diagnosis of hypertension is not based solely on “readings taken on a single, perhaps unrepresentative, day.”
If you undergo consecutive sets of blood pressure readings in the same month, VA gives veterans the “benefit of the doubt” and assigns them the highest rating based on those test results. If two sets of readings are taken months apart while a veteran’s claim is being decided, the veteran is assigned the rating that correlates to the first set of blood pressure levels. If the second set of blood tests yields higher blood pressure levels, a staged rating is assigned effective from the date of the second set of tests.
How Much Can I Receive for My Hypertension Each Month?
Veterans with hypertension can be assigned ratings ranging from 0 percent to 60 percent.
As of December 1st, 2021, the VA disability rate benefit amounts are as follows:
- 0 percent disability rating: $0.00 per month
- 10 percent disability rating: $152.64 per month
- 20 percent disability rating: $301.74 per month
- 60 percent disability rating: $1,214.03 per month
If VA rates your hypertension at 30 percent or higher, you may be able to receive additional benefits on behalf of qualified dependents living in your home. Usually, this means a spouse, children, or parents who live in your household and depend on you financially.
Chisholm Chisholm & Kilpatrick LTD Fights for Your Benefits
VA benefit application denials are all too common for deserving veterans. We want to help you appeal VA’s denial and get the compensation you deserve after fighting for our country. Call us today to set up your free consultation at 800-544-9144.
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