Getting Social Security Disability Vs Va Disability For Vestibular Disorders
The VA decides their disability claims very differently than the Social Security Administration. While SSD is decided on a yes or no basis, VA disability is on a rating scale based on how much of your income can you not earn because of your disability. If youve already qualified for SSD, that can help
- If you are approved for SSD for Menieres, much of your same paperwork can be used for your VA application
- If you cant service-connect your Menieres diagnosis for VA benefits, you might be able to service-connect one or two of the individual symptoms, like fullness in the ear, vertigo, or hearing loss
- If your diagnosis isnt bad enough for the VA, start your application process anyway. There is no cure for Menieres and the syndrome progresses with age, unfortunately.
Am I Eligible For Va Disability Compensation
Veterans with a service-connected physical or mental disability that makes everyday tasks difficult or impossible may be eligible for VA disability benefits.
Eligibility to file a VA disability claim is dependent on meeting one of the following conditions as set by the VA:
- A Veteran who became sick or injured while serving in the military, or
- A Veteran with an illness or injury before enlisting that was worsened by service, or
- A Veteran with a service-connected disability that didn’t appear until after separating from the military
The VA will need evidence to support your disability claim when applying, which we discuss in the next section.
What Are The Va Disability Rates For Sleep Apnea
The VA rating you receive for sleep apnea determines how much you will receive in monthly compensation for disability.
The VA sleep apnea rating system is under federal code 38 CFR 4.97 Code 6847.
There are 4 distinct VA disability ratings for sleep apnea .
The VA disability rating is non-compensable.
Regardless, you may be entitled to other military benefits such as VA healthcare.
The VA disability rating may receive partial disability coverage.
However, the majority of sleep apnea claims currently get denied by the U.S. military which is why compensation is not guaranteed at the 30% rating.
In most instances, the military deems this rating an inconvenience to your sleep/lifestyle habits yet not detrimental enough to warrant compensation.
The 50% VA disability rating drastically improves your chances of receiving compensation.
The military grants this liability rating when the patient requires a breathing device to assist with sleeping and getting rest.
The 50% rating can have a noticeable impact on your overall combined rating and compensation received.
The highest rating recognizes chronic respiratory problems and failure.
Thus, patients with this rating are entitled to full benefits as long as they can prove the condition is service-connected.
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What Is Va Disability Compensation
Disability compensation is a tax-free benefit paid to a veteran for disabilities that are a result of or made worse by injuries or diseases that happened while on active duty, active duty for training, or inactive duty training. Disability compensation is also paid to certain veterans disabled from VA health care.
Who Is Eligible?
You may be eligible for disability compensation if you have a service-related disability and you were discharged under other than dishonorable conditions.
How Much Does VA Pay?
The amount, for a single veteran, of basic benefit paid ranges from $140.05 to $3,057.13 per month, depending on how disabled you are.
Note: You may be paid additional amounts, in certain instances, if:
- you have very severe disabilities or loss of limb
- you have a spouse, child, or dependent parent
- you have a seriously disabled spouse
Disability Ratings And Va Benefits
The VA provides disability compensation for hearing loss and tinnitus.
The first thing a veteran needs to do is to establish that their hearing loss or tinnitus is connected to their service. Visit the VAs eligibility for benefits webpage to read more about how to start a claim.
For hearing loss and tinnitus, a veteran will need to know the basics of their condition:
The VA requires both a pure-tone and a Maryland CNC test for hearing loss. Depending on the results, the VA will assign a disability rating from 0 to 10 percent. You can read more about disability ratings from the VAs ratings guide.
For tinnitus, the disability rating is 10 percent. Veterans with hearing loss and tinnitus can get separate ratings for each disability.
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Hearing Loss Testing Requirements
Hearing loss as a result of loud noises that veterans were exposed to during service, such as airplane engines or gunfire, are quite common. To be deemed service-connected, hearing problems must be diagnosed by a licensed audiologist and must include two tests:
- a Maryland CNC test , and
- a puretone audiometric test .
Make sure to tell your audiologist that you must have both tests in order to satisfy the VA’s requirements for service connection. And be sure to remove any hearing aids you may have before being tested.
The VA takes the auditory test results and, using a numerical formula, determines the actual rating to assign. This formula is laid out in Section 4.85 of the Code of Federal Regulations. Typical ratings for hearing loss are 0% or 10%, but severe or profound hearing loss can qualify for a higher rating.
Abouthearing Loss And Tinnitus
Around 466 million people around the world have disabling hearing loss. Disabling hearing loss means hearing loss greater than 40 decibels in adults and 30 dB in children. Compare that to a person with normal hearing, who has hearing thresholds of 25 dB or better in both ears.
Hearing problems can range from mild or moderate to severe or profound. It can affect one or both ears. Those who are hard of hearing experience hearing loss ranging from mild to severe.
People who are hard of hearing may use hearing aids, cochlear implants or other assistive devices. Those who are deaf typically have profound hearing loss, and often use sign language to communicate.
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Lower/less Severe Va Ratings
The VA rates sleep apnea at a 0% rating if your condition is asymptomatic, but you have a documented history of sleep disorder breathing.
Under this rating, its nearly impossible to gain any benefits from the VA as a disability.
The VA rates sleep apnea at a 30% rating if you experience hypersomnolence or excessive daytime sleepiness.
The 30% designation recognizes that the patient is not seeing improvement with a sufficient amount of sleep, or naps during the day.
Under this rating, you have a higher likelihood of receiving approval yet still are against the odds since the military often does not grant VA disability benefits for this type of condition.
Sleep Apnea Rating Schedule For 2020
Sleep apnea is becoming a bigger problem in the United States Armed Forces.
According to the Veterans Benefits Administration , the three types of sleep apnea lead the way in terms of service-connected respiratory disabilities.
Sleep apnea VA disability claims account for nearly 1 in 4 respiratory claims.
According to the VBA, there were over 282,300 service-connected sleep apnea claims that were awarded in 2017.
The number of VA disability ratings that are awarded for sleep apnea is on the rise, however, it still fails to address the entire issue.
The U.S. Armed Forces utilize VA disability ratings to determine the severity of sleep apnea and these types of claims are notoriously hard to receive approval.
Consequently, the VA denies the majority of sleep apnea claims.
Part of the problem is the VA has altered its rules for assigning sleep apnea disability ratings and providing benefits over the years.
Therefore, many service members are subject to misinformation or interpretation when filing a VA disability claim.
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Preparation & Medical Appointments
Step 1: Schedule an appointment with a medical professional to discuss your sleep problems and symptoms.
Step 2: Request that the VA schedule a sleep study examination for sleep apnea. Make sure the sleep test is performed at an approved clinic.
Step 3: Obtain the test results from the sleep study along with a nexus letter from a medical professional. The nexus letter contains the professional opinion that sleep apnea is related to your military service and therefore service-connected. This process is referred to as a direct service connection.
Step 4: Consider making your case more persuasive by adding a secondary basis . The secondary service connection, such as linking PTSD to sleep apnea helps add value to the claim that you deserve VA disability benefits. There are several conditions linked to sleep apnea in the military such as asthma, hypertension, type 2 diabetes, and mental health conditions.
Completing The Disability Claim
Step 5: Submit a personal statement along with the disability claim. The personal statement outlines when you believe the condition started and how your time in the military made sleep apnea worse. Include as many medical records and evidence as possible.
Step 6: Patients that need a CPAP or another type of breathing device while sleeping should get written acknowledgment from a doctor that the machine is necessary because of sleep apnea. This simple step should guarantee a 50% rating or higher.
Step 7: Some patients opt to include buddy letters from family, friends, and military associates that are familiar with the condition and how it has negatively affected your life.
Step 8: Review the disability claim for errors and submit. Patience is necessary with VA disability claims, particularly those associated with sleep apnea since the government does not have a stellar track record of approving these types of claims.
Causesof Hearing Loss Or Tinnitus In Veterans
With veterans, hearing loss and tinnitus can be caused by noise exposure to gunfire, tanks, bombs or aircraft noise.
Hearing problems can also occur due to age, or a combination of both noise exposure and age. Veterans are 30 percent more likely than nonveterans to have severe hearing impairment as well.
Even though hearing protection is mandatory and standard issue for all active-duty service members, hearing loss can still occur.
The good news is, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs can help. Nearly 3 million veterans receive compensation for tinnitus or hearing loss.
What Is Special Monthly Compensation
Special Monthly Compensation is a term used to describe additional benefits that a Veteran can receive on top of their monthly disability payments. Because the VA recognizes that certain conditions require greater compensation, they may add additional benefits to the compensation that a Veterans disability rating warrants. Special compensation includes compensation based on:
The VA will give more benefits for combinations of any of these disabilities . The amount received in these cases depends on the specific combinations of disabilities. If a veteran has other service-connected disabilities in addition to those described above, an even higher amount of VA Special Monthly Compensation may be considered. Through the combination of a high disability rating and special monthly compensation, a severely disabled Veteran can stay financially stable even when they are unable to work.
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How Va Benefits Can Change The Lives Of Hearing
Many Veterans who are deaf or hard of hearing struggle to find work that is feasible and sustainable. Loss of hearing can dramatically alter the way a person experiences and interacts with the world, and it can make many traditional employment options out of the question. The difficulty that the deaf and hard of hearing often have finding jobs is not always the result of workplace discrimination, but it can be. Whether from being discriminated against because of their disabilities or the lack of work opportunities for the hearing-impaired, many deaf Veterans struggle to find jobs.
In addition, many deaf or hard of hearing Veterans deal with other service-connected disabilities in addition to hearing loss. Many Veterans have lost their hearing due to injuries that had multiple physical and psychological effects. Some deaf Veterans may be dealing with the long-term effects of intense trauma, and others may be physically disabled in addition to being hearing-impaired. The combination of hearing loss with other service-connected disabilities can make it even harder for many Veterans to find work and function well in everyday life.
For many disabled Veterans who are hard of hearing, mental health problems like anxiety and depression can arise. These issues often develop due to the jarring transition from being able to hear into life without hearing. Many deaf Veterans may also feel isolated and cut off from their friends and family due to their hearing loss.
How Does The Va Rate Hearing Loss
posted on May 11, 2021
According to the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs , more than 2.7 million veterans currently receive disability benefits for hearing loss. Veterans are 30 percent more likely than nonveterans to have severe hearing impairment. Those who served after September 2001 are four times more likely.
Most of the hearing loss in the military is due to noise exposure often from gunfire, aircraft, tanks, heavy equipment, and roadside bombs. Normal age-related hearing loss can make the problem worse.
How to Establish Service Connection for Hearing Loss?
In order to receive VA disability benefits it must been proven to the VA that the hearing loss is the result of time in service. For a direct service connection the following three things must be established:
The first step to getting VA disability for hearing loss is showing that there is a current diagnosis. The VA is strict about the type of diagnosis it will accept when it comes to hearing loss. In general, hearing loss is usually diagnosed when there are certain decibels that are lost at different frequencies of hearing.
For VA purposes, a veteran must undergo a hearing exam by a licensed audiologist. The audiologist must administer two tests in order for the VA to accept a diagnosis of hearing loss:
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Fourth Individual Unemployability Misconception
Fourth. Veterans can maintain employment and still be eligible for TDIU.
In South Dakota, the Board of Veterans Appeals agreed. They found a veteran to be eligible for TDIU despite working 30 hours per week as an automotive parts salesman for 4 years. Citation Nr: 1027075. There, the veteran had long been employed in this field, with two years of college and experience in automotive maintenance.
Even if a veteran could find work, the work must be substantive and ongoing to disqualify the veteran from TDIU.
Further, the term unemployability is synonymous with an inability to secure and follow a substantially gainful occupation. VAOPGCPREC 75-91. In this decision, the veteran had worked in the specific position for 4 years.
If 4 years in that job was not considered a substantially gainful occupation, employment for a lesser period would fall within this classification.
Your Hearing Loss May Also Qualify For Free Or Low
If the VA determines you have service-connected hearing problems, then theyll approve your claim for disability benefits. Hearing aids can certainly help some veterans hear better than they do without them. Depending on what caused your own hearing issues, the VA may provide the following at no cost to you:
- Free hearing aids and any other required accessories
- Replacement batteries as needed
- Repairs and hearing aid replacements for the rest of your life, provided you maintain eligibility for VA healthcare services
However, you cannot get this free or low-cost benefit until after you file a VA disability claim for hearing loss.
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How Does Va Rate Hearing Loss
Once service connection is established, VA will assign a disability rating based on severity. Specifically, VA takes the results of veterans pure tone threshold test and averages it for each ear. To do so, VA uses a grid chart with different frequencies and lines up the thresholds, using the Numeric Designation of Hearing Impairment Based on Puretone Threshold Average and Speech Discrimination, to determine a Roman numeral designation for hearing impairment based on a combination of the percent of speech discrimination and the puretone threshold average . The Roman numeral is located at the point where the percentage of speech discrimination and puretone threshold average intersect.
Veterans can find the above-mentioned intersection using the table below. To do so, veterans should first find the Roman numeral going down the left side for the ear that has greater auditory function. Next, veterans should locate the Roman numeral of the ear with less auditory functioning, which can be found across the top of the table. Finally, veterans should locate the rating where the two Roman numerals intersect Please note that VA rates both ears together, resulting in only one rating for hearing loss.
How Much Does Va Pay For Veterans Disability Compensation
Unlike Social Security disability which is considered total disability, The Department of Veterans Affairs recognizes partial disability up to 100% tied to ever increasing levels of inability to maintain gainful employment.
If a claim is approved, VA will assign a disability rating from 0% to 100%. A 0% disability rating does not pay any benefit. Why then would one want such a rating? The answer is that by receiving a 0% rating, your Regional Office Veterans Service Center has recognized that the disability is service-connected. You have already overcome a large hurdle towards getting a benefit. If, in the future, the disability worsens or causes a secondary disability, then service connection is already established and you now only have to provide evidence that the condition has worsened or that it has caused a secondary condition.
We post the rates for 2020 below. You will notice that the difference between 90% and 100% is significant. This represents the loss of earnings capacity between someone who might possibly still be employed and someone who at 100% is considered unemployable.
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