Asthma causes airway inflammation that makes it difficult to breathe—leading to symptoms such as wheezing, coughing, and shortness of breath. While some people find the condition can be easily controlled, others are so impaired that they are eligible for Total Disability Individual Unemployability (TDIU) benefits.
Causes of Asthma
Asthma can be caused by a number of factors. Overweight individuals, smokers, and those with a family history of asthma are at the highest risk. However, Veterans often find that their asthma is triggered by the pollutants associated with their service—including burn pits, Agent Orange, or exposure to asbestos while marching through deserted buildings.
Please note that having asthma doesn’t disqualify a person from military service. You can still receive benefits if your condition worsened due to your service. When the military accepts a soldier, they are accepting the risk associated with any preexisting physical or mental impairments.
How the VA Rates Asthma
The VA rates asthma under 38 C.F.R. 4.97, diagnostic code 6602. Ratings are based on two key criteria:
- Forced Expiratory Volume (FEV-1). This is the amount of air a Veteran with asthma can exhale forcefully in one second.
- Forced Vital Capacity (FVC). This is the maximum amount of air a Veteran with asthma can inhale or exhale from their lungs.
FEV-1 and FVC should be measured according to the symptoms a Veteran experiences during an attack.
How to Receive TDIU Benefits
To receive TDIU benefits, you must have at least one service-connected disability rated at least at 60% or two or more service-connected disabilities with at least one disability rated at 40% or more with a combined rating of 70% or more.
Most Veterans receiving TDIU benefits for asthma have multiple service-connected conditions. Sleep apnea is the most common, since about 50% of adults with asthma also suffer from this impairment. Acid reflux, heart disease, hypertension, stroke, and Type 2 diabetes are also common secondary conditions among Veterans with asthma.
We’re Here to Help
If you are unable to maintain substantially gainful employment and wish to seek TDIU benefits, you must thoroughly document all of your service-connected conditions. Working with an experienced Veterans benefits attorney is the best way to do this. Contact the office of Sean Kendall, Attorney-at-Law, today to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation to discuss how our Veteran’s benefits attorneys can help you receive the TDIU benefits you need and deserve.