Genetics is considered a common cause of Alzheimer’s disease, but other factors such as traumatic brain injury, hypertension, and poor nutrition can increase a person's risk for the condition. While currently, the VA does not recognize a link between Alzheimer’s disease and exposure to Agent Orange, Veterans may still be eligible for compensation. Keep reading to find out more from our experienced Veterans benefits attorney.
Exposure to Agent Orange and Alzheimer’s Disease
Many Veterans were exposed to Agent Orange during their time in service during the Vietnam War. This exposure has been linked to many illnesses that may not have surfaced until years after the Veteran returned home. While many conditions can be linked to Agent Orange exposure, Alzheimer’s Disease is currently not.
Some research indicates that Alzheimer’s or other types of dementia can be caused by a traumatic brain injury such as one experienced in combat or linked to post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Other research shows Agent Orange could cause or aggravate neurological diseases such as Alzheimer’s.
Ratings for Alzheimer's and Dementia
A common type of dementia is Alzheimer’s disease. This condition is caused by an abnormal buildup of protein in the brain and can cause a range of symptoms that often start as subtle and progress as the disease worsens. To qualify for disability benefits, an established service connection must show that dementia developed or worsened while in service.
The VA rates Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia as follows:
- 0 percent. In the earliest stage of dementia with no interference with work or social obligations, and the Veteran does not require medication.
- 10 percent. Dementia only rarely interferes with work or social obligations, and medication must be used to control symptoms to live a normal life.
- 30 percent. In the early to moderate stages of dementia and may exhibit symptoms such as anxiety, depression, panic attacks, and disrupted sleep.
- 50 percent. Dementia causes a decreased ability to meet work and social obligations, and there are changes in mood and behavior.
- 70 percent. Dementia affects most areas of the Veteran’s life. There are signs of irritability and changes in mood, and personal care is neglected.
- 100 percent. Dementia has affected all areas of the Veteran’s life, and they are experiencing severe symptoms such as disorientation and hallucinations. At this stage, they are not able to care for themselves.
Contact Our Veterans Benefits Attorney
If you need help establishing a service connection for Alzheimer’s or dementia, working with an attorney can help you get the highest possible rating and compensation for your condition. To find out more, contact the office of Sean Kendall, Attorney-at-Law, for a free, no-obligation consultation. We will work to protect your legal rights and help maximize the benefits you deserve. Don’t wait another day; call us today at 877-629-1712 or use our online contact form.