If you are a Veteran with a service-connected back injury due to your military training or combat or from an accident or fall you suffered while in service, you may qualify for disability compensation. When a back condition worsens or results in a secondary service condition, you may be able to get an increase in your overall disability rating and benefit amount. Consulting with a Veteran’s benefits attorney can help provide support for your physical disability claim, protect your legal rights, and ensure you get the benefits you deserve.
Secondary Conditions Resulting From Back Pain
Back pain can cause problems that can affect daily life and activities. Back problems can lead to chronic, debilitating pain and result in secondary medical conditions that may qualify for disability compensation. Some secondary conditions resulting from back pain include:
- Radiculopathy. Radiculopathy occurs when the nerves in the lower back are compressed. This can cause a range of symptoms such as sharp pain that shoots and radiates in the lower back down into the legs, weakness, and numbness. Radiculopathy can affect various nerves, but the sciatic nerve is the most common one affected.
- Urinary frequency or incontinence. Urinary frequency or incontinence can worsen over time due to back problems, and you may notice making more frequent trips to the restroom or an increase in incontinence.
- Myelopathy. Myelopathy is a serious condition that can occur if you have a previous back injury or trauma. It is caused by compression on the spine and causes symptoms such as sharp, radiating pain and a loss of bowel or urinary control. Myelopathy can affect the cervical spine, thoracic spine, and lumbar spine.
- Depression and other mental health conditions. Chronic back pain can affect a person’s mental health and lead to depression and other disorders.
In addition, back problems can lead to conditions such as obesity, gastrointestinal issues, and disabilities that affect the hip, legs, or feet. Some medications taken for back problems have serious side effects and cause a range of issues as well.
Treating a back condition can be an ongoing process, and many who suffer live in chronic pain that affects their ability to work or enjoy daily life. Some back problems require extensive treatment and even surgery.
VA Ratings and Secondary Conditions
If you have a direct service connection for a back problem and have developed a secondary condition as a result, you may be able to file a claim to increase your overall disability rating. You may not only be entitled to benefits for your back condition, but for your secondary condition as well. Adding a secondary condition to your disability claim can give you an increase in your monthly disability compensation. Some secondary conditions make you eligible for Total Disability Individual Unemployability (TDIU), depending on if the condition affects your ability to work. In order to qualify for benefits for a secondary service connection, you will be required to provide the following:
- Diagnosis by a medical professional of the secondary condition
- Evidence showing that your back disability resulted in the secondary condition and that there is a direct link between the two conditions
A secondary service condition will follow the same claim process as required for the primary back condition. In order to qualify for TDIU, a Veteran must have the following:
- A 60% rating for one of the service conditions
- Two or more conditions that are rated at 40% or more and have a minimum combined rating of 70% or more
Ratings for a back condition and a secondary condition will be used to determine what the overall disability will be for the Veteran, and benefits will be based on the overall rating.
Contact Our Office Today
If you have questions about qualifying for disability benefits due to a secondary condition that results from back pain, contact the office of Sean Kendall, Attorney-at-Law for a free, no-obligation consultation today. Our experienced disability benefits attorneys can help with your claim and make sure you get the full amount of compensation you deserve.