Friday, July 12, 2024

Va And Parkinson’s Disease

What Is The Va Rating For Parkinsons Disease

Veterans and Parkinsons: Mobility and Driving Safety

One of the questions we often field is, Is Parkinsons disease a 100% compensation disability? The VA Parkinsons disability rating can rise to 100%. However, it is not 100% by default.

Instead, the Parkinsons VA disability rating has a minimum or default rating of 30%, but that is just the starting point. When you apply for VA Parkinsons disability benefits, the VA looks at two numbers.

First, it looks at your individual disability rating using the aforementioned formula. Then, it compares that number to the default or overall disability rating for Parkinsons disease, which is 30%. If your individual disability rating exceeds 30%, that is your disability rating.

In that way, your disability rating can reach 100%. Conversely, if your personal disability rating is, for example, 22%, you will instead receive a combined rating of 30%.

Caring For A Veteran With Parkinson’s

Along with information and resources available to all Parkinson’s caregivers, this page adds links and phone numbers to resources specifically available through the VA for Parkinson’s care partners. Also included are the signs of depression, hospital preparedness, and the phone number to the Parkinson’s Foundation’s Helpline.

So Yes Parkinsons Does Qualify For Disability

Yes, it qualifies, we just have to work on getting it service-connected for you. Parkinsons disease is a presumptive condition for those who served around Agent Orange or at Camp Lejeune. But even for veterans who dont meet that qualification, you can still qualify for disability compensation.

If youd like to get help in filing and appealing your VA disability benefits claim, get in touch with us at Woods and Woods. We fight for veterans every day, and you dont pay anything unless we win your case. Contact us today to start getting the disability compensation youre entitled to.

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Impairment Ratings And Veterans Parkinsons Disease

If you look for Parkinsons in the Impairment Rating Tables , you wont find a listing for Parkinsons Disease.

Theres 2 reasons for that.

First, the VA rates symptoms, not conditions.

Second, Parkinsons is one of those conditions that can have a LOT of residual symptoms it can affect every part of your nervous system: from information processing speeds, to gait/walk, speech, use of arms/hands, inability to process smells/odors, etc.

In the worst cases, we see Veterans with dementia that results from Parkinsons Disease, too.

So, how do you make sure that the VA properly rates your Parkinsons Disease.

What To Expect At Your Appointment

Hoe to Get Service Service Connected for Parkinson disease

When you first begin the Parkinsons diagnosis process, youll need to visit your primary care physician. From there, they may refer you to a neurologist if they think your symptoms may indicate Parkinsons disease. A neurologist specializes in nerve disorders, especially those that affect the brain.

At your appointment, your doctor will ask you a number of questions about your medical history. Theyll want to know when your symptoms began, whether the symptoms come and go, and if anything seems to improve your symptoms or make them worse. Depending on what they find, they may want to order some of the additional tests we discussed.

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Va Disability Ratings For Parkinsons Disease

VA rates Parkinsons Disease under 38 CFR § 4.124a Schedule of Ratings, Neurological Conditions, and Convulsive Disorders, Diagnostic Code 8004. This diagnostic code assigns an automatic minimum 30 percent rating for the condition, but it does not take into account the symptoms associated with it.

Therefore, after beginning with the minimum 30 percent rating for Parkinsons Disease, VA should continue rating as follows:

  • Evaluate each of the veterans symptoms/residuals associated with Parkinsons Disease
  • Calculate the combined disability rating for those symptoms
  • Assign the higher evaluation

Examples of symptoms/residuals of Parkinsons Disease that VA can evaluate when assigning a disability rating include the following:

Parkinsons Disease And Traumatic Brain Injuries

Additionally, a 2018 study published in Neurology, demonstrated an increased risk of Parkinsons disease and parkinson like symptoms from traumatic brain injuries the report used U.S. military and VAs databases to identify vets with TBIs to study.

Below, well get into certain environmental factors, such as occupational exposure to chemicals, that have been linked to Parkinsons.

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Pension Extras: Aid And Attendance And Housebound

If you receive a military pension and have PD, you may be able to receive extra pension money. Check the VAs pension website if you are unsure whether youre eligible for a military pension.

The 2 types of extra payment are Aid and Attendance and Housebound. You can receive one or the other, but not both at the same time.

  • Aid & Attendance : Available if you need assistance with daily living activities , if you are bedridden, if you are in a nursing home, or if you have limited vision
  • Housebound: Available if a permanent disability keeps you essentially limited to one place
  • These extra payments count toward your pension eligibility. If you arent eligible for pension because of higher income levels, these payments may push you over the cutoff rate and make you eligible after all.

    Visit the VAs A& A and Housebound Pension webpage for full details and instructions for applying.

    Use Of Imaging In Diagnosis

    Environmental Exposures in Veterans with Parkinson’s Disease

    Although clinical diagnostic criteria and prodromal features can improve diagnostic accuracy, it can be extremely challenging to distinguish idiopathic PD from nondegenerative parkinsonism or atypical syndromes . Compared with the gold standard of pathologic assessment, the clinical diagnostic accuracy for PD ranges from 73% for nonexperts to 80% for fellowship-trained movement disorders specialists.36 Thus, objective biomarkers are sought to improve diagnostic accuracy both for clinical care as well as for research purposes, such as enrollment into clinical trials.

    Multiple potential imaging biomarkers for preclinical PD can aid in early diagnosis and help differentiate PD from related but distinct disorders. While beyond the scope of this review, these techniques have recently been reviewed.7 Of these, the most widely available and accurate is dopamine transporter imaging, which uses a radioiodinated ligand that binds to DAT on striatal dopaminergic terminals binding is detected through single photon emission computed tomography scanning. Thus, a SPECT DaTscan directly assesses the integrity of the presynaptic nigrostriatal system and is well correlated with severity of motor and nonmotor parkinsonism.37,38

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    Can I Service Connect For Parkinsons Disease With The Va

    What is it? Can you get it service connected? Is it a presumptive condition?

    Today, we will be discussing Parkinsons disease. This disease is a chronic and progressive disorder that affects your nervous system, meaning it develops gradually and gets worse over time. As you may know, one of the most noticeable signs of Parkinsons disease is a tremor. However, there are some signs and symptoms you can be watching for if you think you are developing Parkinsons disease.

    Please be aware that every person is affected by this disease in a different way. It is common for the signs and symptoms to begin on one side of the body, and may continue to be worse on that side throughout the disease process.

    Some typical signs and symptoms are:

    · Tremor

    · Difficulty with posture and balance

    · Loss of automatic movements such as blinking, swinging your arms and smiling

    · Changes in your speech

    · And difficulty remembering things

    If you feel you may be suffering from this disease, please make an appointment to see a private physician or contact your local VA medical center. Typically, you will be referred to a neurologist, who is a physician that specializes in disorders such as Parkinsons disease, for a final diagnosis. There are a few steps you can take to make this appointment more beneficial:

    · Make a list of any symptoms you are having and when they began. Also, does anything make these symptoms better?

    · Have you had any major stress or big changes in your life recently?

    Va Disability Benefits For Parkinsons Disease

    What Is Parkinsons Disease?

    Parkinsons disease is a neurological condition that causes shaking, stiffness, and can lead to difficulty with walking, coordination, and balance. This disease occurs when neurons, the cells that form brain tissue, become impaired or die in the area of the brain that controls motor functions. Typically, these cells produce an important neurochemical called dopamine, which helps control movement. When these cells die or produce less dopamine, issues with movement result. Some of the most common early symptoms of Parkinsons are:

    • Tremor in hands, arms, legs, jaw, or head
    • Stiffness in the limbs and trunk
    • Slowness of movement
    • Impaired balance, which can lead to increased risk of a fall

    In later stages of Parkinsons, some individuals have difficulty talking and walking. Other neurological symptoms can also result from Parkinsons, such as sleep problems, behavioral changes, depression, fatigue, and memory difficulties. Doctors still do not know the exact cause of Parkinsons, although there is evidence showing that both genetic and environmental factors can have an impact on its development.

    Getting Service Connected For Parkinsons Disease

    How The VA Rates Parkinsons Disease

    Getting Help With Your Parkinsons VA Claim

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    Disabilities Secondary To Parkinsons Disease

    While most people tend to think of Parkinsons disorder as a neurological movement disorder, and it most certainly is, many people do not realize that other systems in the body can also be severely affected by Parkinsons. Often, the same chemical exposure can also cause other disorders, such as ischemic heart disease. However, often it is the Parkinsons itself, or the medication used to treat it that is the causal factor in the development of a new disorder. Whether a veterans Parkinsons was caused by exposure to the TCDD in agent orange, pesticides, trichloroethylene, or its origins are unknown, Parkinsons cause many secondary health effects and disabilities.

    Exercise And Medical Interventions

    VA Appeals for Parkinsons Disease

    Research has demonstrated the benefits of exercise for patients with PD. Not only have exercise programs been shown to improve motor function and reduce the risk of falls, but they also improve overall quality of life and possibly slow the course of the disease.

    Fatigue is associated with lower diastolic blood pressureFatigue is a common debilitating symptom in PD. A 2019 study by researchers at the VA Ann Arbor Health Care System and University of Michigan found that symptoms of fatigue in PD patients were associated with small reductions in diastolic blood pressure throughout the day. Diastolic blood pressure measures pressure in the arteries when the heart rests between beats.

    The investigators assessed hourly home blood pressures in 35 people with PD. They then asked the study participants to describe any symptoms of fatigue. The patients with fatigue symptoms had lower mean diastolic blood pressure than those without. The differences in pressure were most notable in the morning.

    Fatigue is a complex condition. Understanding the mechanisms that underlie PD fatigue can help scientists find new treatment approaches, wrote the researchers. Fatigue experienced by PD patients could be a clinical manifestation of low blood pressure, they say.

    Researchers taught an adapted version of the Argentine tango to 20 people with mild to moderate PD. Over three weeks, participants completed 15 dance lessons, each lasting 90 minutes.

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    Proving Service Connection For Parkinsons Disease Without A Presumption:

    As for any other non-presumptive conditions, veterans with Parkinsons who did not serve in a location listed above may still qualify for VA compensation. You will need to submit additional evidence to show that your exposure was during military service, and link the exposure to your Parkinsons.

    Because PD is progressive, the VA does not make veterans wait for the disease to slowly evolve. So medical documentation of symptoms should pave the way to service connection. The first thing you need to provide is documentation that you have symptoms of Parkinsonism.

    You will need to provide the VA with your

    • Military separation records
    • Service treatment records
    • Medical evidence of diagnosis and treatment of Parkinsons

    Timing and sufficient evidence of Parkinsons are critical, as a timely filing for VA compensation properly ensures that you can start receiving benefits from the date VA has your claim in hand.

    You will also need your physicians opinion saying that your PD was caused by exposure to toxins in service, or by a service-connected traumatic brain injury . We recommend providing a statement detailing your exposure or event.

    Regarding Parkinsons in particular, various instances exist by which veterans may qualify for service-connected VA compensation, including

    Secondary Service Connection For Disabilities Caused By Parkinsons Disease

    Parkinsons Disease, while a neurological movement disorder, may affect other systems of the body which can lead to additional disabilities. In the instance of Parkinsons Disease, a secondary service-connected disability would be a disability that was caused by the Parkinsons Disease, once it has been deemed service-connected.

    Below are some conditions which may be considered secondary to Parkinsons Disease:

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    Whats The Pact Act And How Will It Affect My Va Benefits And Care

    The PACT Act is perhaps the largest health care and benefit expansion in VA history. The full name of the law is The Sergeant First Class Heath Robinson Honoring our Promise to Address Comprehensive Toxics Act.

    The PACT Act will bring these changes:

    • Expands and extends eligibility for VA health care for Veterans with toxic exposures and Veterans of the Vietnam, Gulf War, and post-9/11 eras
    • Adds more than 20 new presumptive conditions for burn pits and other toxic exposures
    • Adds more presumptive-exposure locations for Agent Orange and radiation
    • Requires VA to provide a toxic exposure screening to every Veteran enrolled in VA health care
    • Helps us improve research, staff education, and treatment related to toxic exposures

    If youre a Veteran or survivor, you can file claims now to apply for PACT Act-related benefits.

    Symptoms Of Parkinsons Disease

    Early Parkinson’s Disease

    One of the earliest symptoms of Parkinsons is a tremor or shaking, usually beginning in your hands. You may notice yourself rubbing your thumb and forefinger back and forth like youre rolling a pen between your fingers. Over time, this tremor may turn to painful, stiff muscles that limit your range of movement.

    As your muscles tense up, your posture may worsen, and you may have balance problems. You might have trouble blinking, smiling, and performing other unconscious movements. You might also notice your handwriting changing and your tone of voice becoming more monotone as the disease progresses.

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    Risk Factors For Vets

    There are a few factors that can increase your risk of developing Parkinsons disease. First among these is age young people rarely develop Parkinsons Disease. The disease generally starts presenting in middle age, around 60 or so, and gets worse as you age.

    If you have a history of Parkinsons in your family, you may be at greater risk of developing the disease. Men are more likely than women to develop Parkinsons, with more than 63 percent of Parkinsons patients being men. People who have been exposed to herbicides and pesticides, including Agent Orange, are also at greater risk.

    There is still research ongoing about links to Parkinsons and burn pits and Gulf War syndrome. The important thing about getting your VA disability application in is that sometimes new discoveries only apply to people that get their applications in before a certain date or policy change.

    Parkinsons Disease might just be part of your VA disability claim if you were near burn pits during your service. Here is a video detailing burn pit claims.

    The Right Legal Guidance Can Make The Difference In Getting Disability Benefits For Parkinsons Disease

    At Marc Whitehead & Associates, we can help you prepare an initial SSDI or LTD application for the best possible outcome. If youve already been denied benefits for Parkinsons, our attorneys will develop and file a solid appeal to rebut a wrongful claim denial.

    Our accredited veterans claims lawyers help vets across the U.S. get their rightful benefit payments approved in the shortest amount of time possible.

    We have helped hundreds of claimants with Parkinsons disease get disability benefits. and as we analyze your situation, we identify and fix critical information gaps in any of part of your claim including missing medical data or incomplete vocational and functional evidence. We work in cooperation with your treating physicians and may enlist the assistance of qualified vocational experts, and much more.You must never give up. Call us toll free at or request a Free Legal Consultation to learn how we can help. Parkinsons is a serious disability, and we are able to assist you wherever you live.

    About Marc Whitehead

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    How The Va Grading System Works

    Each application for VA disability benefits gets a rating. That rating then determines the total amount of benefits you will receive each month. The rating uses a percentage system. With a 100% disability rating, you will receive the maximum amount of compensation each month. Conversely, a 10% rating will net you much less.

    You can always find current information on the VAs rating system on their website. Before you do that, however, here are the basics. The VA determines your VA disability rating by using a points system. The points are awarded based on several factors, including age, length of service, and the severity of symptoms.

    The VA then uses a special formula to assign you an individual disability rating and an overall disability rating. Together, these determine your combined disability rating, which dictates your monthly compensation.

    Information For The Veterans Community


    In this booklet, you will learn about PD, its symptoms, how it is treated, and the benefits available to you as a veteran of the United States armed services.

    Am I eligible for VA disability compensation benefits?

    You may be able to get VA disability benefits if you got sick, were injured or exposed to environmental toxins, or developed a mental health condition while serving in the military. Even if your disability did not appear until years after your service, you may still be entitled to benefits so long as you can show that your condition is service-connected resulted from an in-service injury, illness, or event.

    To be eligible to receive VA disability compensation, you must have:

  • served on active duty in the Uniformed Services, or served on active duty for training or inactive duty training, AND
  • received a discharge under other-than-dishonorable conditions .
  • In addition to meeting the above criteria, you must prove that your disability is service-connected i.e. was caused by or aggravated by your military service. To establish service connection, you must prove the following with relevant, credible evidence:

  • a current diagnosis of your disability by a medical professional
  • an in-service injury, illness, or event and
  • a medical nexus, or link, between the diagnosed disability and the in-service injury, illness, or event.
  • What determines my monthly VA benefit amount?

    The VA publishes information on its compensation rates online.

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