If you sustained a traumatic brain injury during your military service, you might be entitled to veterans disability benefits. Unfortunately, recovering these benefits is difficult. The disability attorneys at Chisholm Chisholm & Kilpatrick LTD can help you get veterans (VA) disability for traumatic brain injury (TBI).
We can examine your situation and help you gather the evidence needed to build the strongest case before the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). Call our office today for a free consultation: 401-331-6300.
How can I receive VA disability benefits for a traumatic brain injury?
For you to receive VA disability compensation, we must demonstrate several things to the VA. First, we must show evidence that you have been diagnosed with a Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI). Next, we must provide the results of a comprehensive physical and mental examination to demonstrate the full effects of your TBI. Then, most importantly, we must prove that your TBI is service-related.
The VA assigns disability benefits based on the severity of your medical condition. In the case of a TBI however, this can be highly arbitrary, as brain injuries can manifest themselves in many different ways with symptoms that come and go. For this reason, the VA evaluates the physical, emotional, and cognitive effects your TBI might have.
The more evidence we submit showing the various effects of your TBI, the better chance we have of winning your claim and getting you the highest compensation amount you deserve.
Here are some of the symptoms the VA is evaluating to determine the severity of a TBI:
- Cognitive problems (e.g., decreased attention, difficulty concentrating, difficulty with executive functions)
- Pain (particularly that which is severe in intensity and frequent in duration)
- Vision problems (e.g., partial or total blindness, blurred vision, double vision)
- Hearing problems (e.g., deafness, tinnitus)
- Neurobehavioral problems (e.g., irritability, restlessness)
- Bladder and bowel problems
- Memory impairment
While this list features some of the more common symptoms associated with TBI, it is not exhaustive. We can use your lay testimony and medical records to paint the most comprehensive picture of your TBI and the severity of its effects. These records might contain any of the following:
- Results of MRIs and PET scans.
- Documentation of altered mental state.
- Documentation of prolonged loss of consciousness.
- Documentation of memory loss.
- Documentation of Glasgow Coma Scale score (this test measures level of consciousness following a brain injury).
New VA Regulations for Traumatic Brain Injuries
For many years, the VA faced criticism for not recognizing the severity of TBI and the role it plays in facilitating other serious, crippling conditions. It responded to the criticism in 2013 by proposing new regulations that expanded benefits for veterans with TBI who later develop certain conditions. The regulations went into effect in January 2014.
The new regulations presume service connection for five diseases if precipitated by a service-connected TBI. In other words, if you suffered a TBI during your service, the VA must grant service connection to the following:
Parkinson’s disease: Presumed to be service-connected if diagnosed following moderate or severe service-connected TBI.
Seizures: Presumed to be service-connected if diagnosed following moderate or severe service-connected TBI and doctors have established no other cause.
Dementia: Presumed to be service-connected if diagnosed within 15 years of moderate or severe service-connected TBI.
Depression: Presumed to be service-connected if diagnosed within three years of moderate or severe service-connected TBI or within one year of mild TBI.
Hormone Deficiency: Presumed to be service-connected if diagnosed within one year of moderate or severe service-connected TBI.
How much can I receive in VA disability for a traumatic brain injury?
The VA uses a rating schedule to determine disability benefit amounts. To determine your rating, the VA evaluates the residual emotional/behavioral, physical, and cognitive dysfunction that resulted from your TBI. This can be complex as there can be several different injuries and ratings related to your TBI.
Here are the payout amounts for 2017 based on disability rating:
- 0 percent disability rating: $0 per month
- 10 percent disability rating: $133.57 per month
- 20 percent disability rating: $264.02 per month
- 30 percent disability rating: $408.97 per month
- 40 percent disability rating: $589.12 per month
- 50 percent disability rating: $838.64 per month
- 60 percent disability rating: $1,062.27 per month
- 70 percent disability rating: $1,338.71 per month
- 80 percent disability rating: $1,556.13 per month
- 90 percent disability rating: $1,748.71 per month
- 100 percent disability rating: $2,915.55 per month
If you have dependents in your household, such as a spouse, children, or dependent parents, you can receive benefits on their behalf with a disability rating of 30 percent or higher. A separate schedule from the VA shows your benefit amount based on the number of dependents in your household.
Do I need an attorney to pursue VA disability for traumatic brain injury?
A qualified attorney from Chisholm Chisholm & Kilpatrick LTD can help you navigate the often-frustrating process of applying for VA disability benefits. We gather the evidence and present the case in a compelling manner, handling the process from beginning to end and taking the burden off your shoulders. Our attorneys are experienced in dealing with the VA and can put our extensive knowledge and research to work for you.
Call our office today to go over the details of your case. The consultation is always free, and the sooner you file your claim, the sooner you can start receiving benefits. Call today: 401-331-6300.