The thyroid is a butterfly-shaped gland in your neck that is located just above your collarbone. Most of us give its function little thought, but hypothyroidism can actually cause a wide range of symptoms that negatively impact a person’s daily life.
When hypothyroidism is the result of exposure to Agent Orange during military service, a Veteran is eligible for VA disability benefits based on the severity of their condition. Hypothyroidism is rated under 38 CFR 4.119 – Schedule of Ratings, Endocrine System, Diagnostic Code 7900, and will receive a 30% disability rating for six months after the initial diagnosis. After this, the rating is based on the residual symptoms of the disease or complications experienced as the result of medical treatment.
Receiving a Presumptive Service Connection for Hypothyroidism
Hypothyroidism can be caused by a number of different factors, including autoimmune disorders and the effects of certain medications. However, when a Veteran has served in an area known to have been exposed to Agent Orange, they will qualify for a presumptive service connection. This means the VA will operate under the assumption that their condition is the result of their military service. They will only need to document their diagnosis and specific symptoms to begin receiving VA disability benefits.
Fatigue, weight gain, constipation, dry skin, thinning hair, memory impairment, and depression are examples of some of the most common symptoms exhibited by people with hypothyroidism. However, these are often subtle in the early stages and can overlap with many other medical conditions. A blood test can confirm the diagnosis, but Veterans may also want to request a free Agent Orange Registry health exam to look for other service-connected conditions that could be causing their symptoms.
Get Help Accessing Your VA Disability Benefits
Although qualifying for a presumptive service connection for hypothyroidism should make it easier to be approved for VA disability benefits, it’s possible that errors may be made that limit your total compensation. The office of Sean Kendall, Attorney-at-Law, is committed to helping Veterans exposed to Agent Orange receive full compensation for their service-connected disabilities. Contact our office to request a free, no-obligation consultation.