Emma Peterson: Hi, I’m Emma Peterson, and Welcome to our new CCK shorts. Today, we’re going to be talking about veteran disability benefits for GERD. GERD is a gastroesophageal reflux disease, a digestive disorder in which stomach acid flows up from the esophagus causing discomfort and inflammation so GERD is a little bit more than just your average heartburn. It occurs actually when the muscle at the bottom of the esophagus is weakened and let that acid back up into your esophagus. Common symptoms can include heartburn, difficulty swallowing, regurgitation, and chest pain. Veterans can qualify if they have a current diagnosis. if they have an in-service event where you were diagnosed in service or something happened to you in service to cause the GERD injury or illness and you have a medical Nexus linking those two with either your current diagnosis of GERD to the in-service event or injury. Veterans can also get secondary service connection as they can with any disability. So if one condition causes another that condition can be service-connected as well. Let’s say you have a respiratory disorder and you have to take some medication for that and that medication causes you to develop GERD.
GERD can eventually be service-connected on a secondary basis. You will get a rating for it and start receiving disability payments for that secondary service-connected GERD.
Can you get presumptive service connection for GERD? And the short answer is no. One, it is one of the presumptive conditions that’s linked to herbicide exposure or agent orange, and two, it is specifically excluded from the Persian Gulf War regulations as it’s not considered a functional gastrointestinal disorder like IBS irritable bowel syndrome. GERD is considered structural.
So as I mentioned before, you can get secondary service connection for GERD, and a lot of the folks we work with end up getting GERD service-connected that way because there is many common causes and risk factors for GERD such as obesity, hernias, respiratory disorders as I mentioned before, anxiety medications and many other medications such as sedatives or narcotics and medications that irritate the esophagus lining. Now, you’ve been s service-connected. How are we going to get rated? What kind of disability payments are you going to be looking at? GERD in fact does not have its own diagnostic code. VA is rating criteria is made up of a number of diagnostic codes but GERD is not one of them. So VA will rate it analogous to a hernia. That is the most common analogous diagnostic code they will use. That’s under 38 CFR 4.114 if anyone wants to take a look at that. The diagnostic code itself is 73-46.
Ratings are going to range from 10% on the low end all the way up to 60. If you have symptoms of pain, vomiting, material weight loss, moderate anemia, or other symptoms productive of severe impairment of health. So you really have to be suffering from a very severe form of GERD to get that 60% rating. but as always you can find out more info about GERD at ccklaw.com, please be sure to subscribe to our YouTube channel and follow us on all our social media platform Instagram, Facebook, and as I mentioned YouTube, thanks for joining and once again, it has been Emma Peterson.
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